MSI's Z87-GD65 Gaming is a brilliant board at a reasonable price

Subject: Motherboards | July 15, 2013 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: Z87-GD65 GAMING, z87, msi

At just under $200 the MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming offers great value and performance for someone building a Haswell based system.  It has all of the current features you expect from a high end board from MSI such as OC Genie 4, Military Class 4 components, super ferrite chokes, Hi-C Capacitors, Dark Caps and a Killer NIC.  [H]ard|OCP was also very glad to see the end of MSI's ClickBIOS and were much happier with the new UEFI BIOS that MSI is using on their new boards.  With three PCIe 16x slots you can utilize multiple GPUs and 10 SATA 6Gbps ports ought to satisfy almost any user.  It picked up a Gold Award from [H] and you can see why in the full review.

If you missed Morry's review of this board you can get it right here.

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"MSI’s GAMING series is back with an all new entry. The Z87-GD65 GAMING is certainly a promising contender and is one of the more unique offerings we’ve seen from MSI. We liked the last GAMING board we looked at, and we have liked all previous GD-65 series motherboards, hopefully this followup entry can measure up."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASRock Announces Mini ITX H87E-ITX/ac LGA 1150 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 13, 2013 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: lga 1150, Intel, haswell, H87, asrock, 802.11ac

ASRock has announced a new Mini-ITX form facotr motherboard for Intel’s latest Haswell processors (LGA 1150). It utilizes the H87 chipset and should be a good board for enthusiasts looking to build a SFF machine.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The H87E-ITX/ac features a LGA 1150 socket powered by a 4-phase DrMOS VRM, two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 32GB), and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. Storage is handled by six SATA III 6Gbps ports located between the CPU socket and PCI-E slot. The board uses an Intel i217V chipset for the 802.11ac WLAN and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC. A Realtek ALC1150 chipset handles the audio duties.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard Rear IO.jpg

Rear IO on the H87E-ITX/ac includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack
  • 1 x eSATA III
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks

The rear IO also has two antenna connectors for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. ASRock includes an antenna but users should be able to use any third party antennas as it uses standard connectors.

ASRock has not yet released pricing or availability information, but you can find additional specifications and photos on this product page. I would wait for reviews, but it looks to be a decent board, and if the price is right it should be a popular option for SFF desktops and HTPC builds.

Source: ASRock
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force is the flagship board in GIGABYTE's LGA1150 line of boards. GIGABYTE used the previous generation flagship board, the Z77X-UP7, as a template and improved the design to take the new build to even greater performance heights. In addition to the fan-cooled and optionally water-cooled heat pipe, the board includes the latest iteration of GIGABYTE's power system, dubbed Ultra Durable 5 Plus. For a flagship board, performance and craftsmanship comes at a premium. For $419.99, the Z87-OC Force is a sound investment.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE designed the Z87X-OC Force with an impressive 16-phase digital power delivery system, powered by International Rectifier (IR) manufactured PowIRstage™ ICs and PWM controllers. GIGABYTE integrated a plethora of features into the Z87X-OC Force including: 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports; dual Intel GigE NICs; five PCI-Express x16 slots for up to quad-card support; two PCI-Express x1 slots; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, pre-power (OC Ignition), base clock up/down, CPU ratio up/down, OC Tag, OC Gear, and OC Turbo buttons; dual BIOS, BIOS select, PCIe port, and LN2 switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force motherboard!

Breaking Limitations! CPU OC on ECS H87, B85, and H81 Motherboards

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | July 5, 2013 - 03:25 PM |
Tagged: elitegroup, ECS, H87, B85, H81

ECS has some great news for those who want to upgrade to Haswell but aren't able to afford one of the high end Z87 motherboards.  They've announce three motherboards all designed with overclocking in mind.  If you save a bit on the motherboard you can use those savings to pick up a faster 'K' model to put in your motherboard!

2013/7/5 Taipei, Taiwan – Now you don’t necessarily need K-Series CPU along with Z-Series chipset to experience the joy of overclocking. ECS recently announced that ECS motherboards with all Intel® 8 Series chipset, including H87, B85, and H81, have the CPU overclocking ability, giving non Z-Series motherboard users an additional benefit of CPU overclocking performance.

ECS has achieved the Non-Z Series CPU overclocking with H87, B85, and H81 motherboards by simply adjusting the CPU Ratio in BIOS setting, offering an extremely easy way of performing CPU overclocking. More importantly, H87, B85, and H81 CPU overclocking ability provides an affordable solution for all different levels of overclockers.

H87

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B85

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H81

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Source: ECS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

The Z87 MPOWER board is one of the first boards released as part of MSI's Z87 update of the much vaunted MPOWER line. The board supports the next generation of Intel processors based on the LGA1150 socket (Haswell), and is packed full of features and overclocking goodness. In-line with the MPower's established theme, the Z87 MPower board maintain's the black and yellow stylings from the last generation with the MSI brand logo proudly displeased on the chipset heat sink. At a retail price of $229.99, the Z87 MPower would be a nice value add to any enthusiast or gaming system.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

In keeping with its enthusiast appeal, MSI incorporated a full 16-phase digital power delivery system into the Z87 MPower, ensuring CPU stability under the most intense system loads. MSI integrated the following features into the Z87 MPower: eight SATA 6Gb/s ports; an mSATA 6Gb/s port; a Killer E2205 GigE NIC; Atheros 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth adapter support; three PCI-Express x16 slots for up to tri-card support; four PCI-Express x1 slots; Lucidlogix Virtu® MVP 2.0 support; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, base clock control, OC Genie, and Go2BIOS buttons; multi-BIOS and OC Genie mode switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of MSI

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z87 MPOWER motherboard!

Gigabyte's Z87X-UD5H has a lot going for it, but perhaps it could do better

Subject: Motherboards | July 2, 2013 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, z87, Z87X-UD5H

Gigabyte's new Z87X-UD5H is more than just a chipset refresh, they've included 12 phase digtial power, fuses and ESD protection on the USB ports as well as high quality ICs and long life capacitors.  The board can handle multiple GPUs on its two PCIe 16x slots, running at 8x when both are populated and additionally has a 4x and three 3x slots for any other cards you might want to install.  A brand new UEFI offers an attractive interface but [H]ard|OCP were not as impressed with some of the functionality of the new UEFI on the board.  Check out their full review here.

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"Gigabyte brings a lot to the test bench with the Z87X-UD5H. New UEFI, New Easy Tune software, and a whole lot more. Gigabyte is facing some very tough competition based on what we’ve seen from other manufacturers. Does Gigabyte still have what it takes to compete? Let’s find out."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

EVGA Announces Flagship X79 Dark LGA 2011 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 1, 2013 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: x79 dark, x79, lga 2011, evga

EVGA has announced a new flagship LGA 2011 motherboard called the X79 Dark. The new motherboard is E-ATX and measures 304.8 x 263.5mm. It features a 12 layer PCB, new UEFI BIOS, and a number of enthusiast and overclocking-friendly features.

EVGA X79 Dark LGA2011 Motherboard.jpg

The motherboard features a 12+2 VRM for the CPU, and a 4 phase VRM for the memory. The board has a single LGA 2011 processor socket surrounded by four DDR3 DIMM slots on either side and a large hexagonal heatsink for the VRM above it. Below the CPU socket, EVGA has included five PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and a single PCI-E 3.0 x4 slot. All of the physical PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots are at least electrically x8, and two of them are electrically x16. The bottom-right corner of the motherboard is taken up by a massive PCH heatsink with a large red EVGA logo. To the right of the PCH heatsink, the board has 10 SATA ports at right angles to the board PCB. Six of the SATA ports are SATA III 6Gbps and four of them are SATA II 3Gbps.

Of course, the board has Intel Ethernet controllers, 8 channel audio, and internal headers for two additional USB 3.0 ports. The board requires one 24-pin, two 8-pin, and one 6-pin PCI-E power connectors to supply power to the board and connected components. Finally, EVGA has also included EVBot voltage measurement points along with an updated UEFI BIOS.

EVGA X79 Dark LGA2011 Motherboard UEFI Motherboard.jpg

The EVGA X79 Dark has a fairly extensive external IO panel, which includes:

  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Bluetooth
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x eSATA 3Gbps
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel NICs)

The new LGA 2011 X79 Dark motherboard is model number 150-SE-E789-KR and will be available soon for $399.99.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Dominates Computex Overclocking Event, Used to Break Eight World Records

Subject: Motherboards | June 26, 2013 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, computex 2013, ASUS ROG, ASUS Maximus VI Extreme, asus

During Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan, Intel and Corsair sponsored the Computex OC Main Event where overclockers set out to push some of the latest hardware to the max. The ASUS Maximus VI Extreme motherboard was one of the pieces of hardware used at this event, and it was the board used in 10 out of 11 winning overclocking runs. Further, it was used in runs that ended up breaking a total of 8 world overclocking records.

PR ASUS Maximus VI Extreme took ten out of eleven wins at the Intel and Corsair Computex OC Main Event .jpg

Overclockers were able to achieve top spots for a number of benchmarking scores as well as CPU and GPU clockspeeds. The benchmarking records include new high scores for 3DMark01, 3DMark05, 3DMark06, SuperPi 32M, PiFast, and AquaMark3. The overclockers were also able to push an Intel "Haswell" Core-i7 4770K processor to an impressive 7092.68 MHz with HyperThreading disabled and two physical cores active. Considering how stubborn the new Haswell chips are when it comes to overclocking, hitting a bit over 7GHz is quite the feat. CPUs were not the only pieces of hardware that were pushed to the limits, however. Overclockers were also able to overclock four DDR3 DIMMs to 3957 MHz with 13-16-16-45 timings.

Left: CPU Overclock. Right: RAM Overclock. Click on image(s) for a larger version.

The breakdown of the new top benchmarking scores for the various software used at the OC Main Event (from systems using the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme board, Haswell CPU, and GTX TITAN) is listed below.

Benchmark/Overclocking Feat Score/Clockspeed
3DMark01 186,758
3DMark05 73,316
3DMark06 56,041
SuperPi 32M 4m, 35s, 406ms
PiFast 9.78s
AquaMark3 571,570
Haswell Clockspeed 7092.68 MHz (two cores)
DDR3 Clockspeed 3957 MHz (13-16-16-45)

Naturally, ASUS is extremely pleased with the performance of its new motherboard, which proved stable enough to support some impressive CPU, GPU, and RAM overclocking under LN2 and extreme clockspeeds. I'm looking forward to see what Morry is able to achieve using the board in a more real world 24/7 overclock scenario in our upcoming OC review using this ASUS board!

Check out our full review of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme (overclocking performance details coming soon, as per the new review format).

Source: ASUS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Z87-Pro was among the first offerings from ASUS designed around the Intel Z87 chipset and offering support for the forth generation Intel Core CPU line, code named Haswell. The board sports the yellow/gold and black coloration common to ASUS' mainstream board line with more than enough features to satisfy most gamers and enthusiasts. At a retail MSRP of $209.00, the Z87-Pro becomes a hard proposition to turn down with its mix of features and performance.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Under the hood, the Z87-Pro offer a massive 12+2 phase digital power system to keep the CPU juiced up and ready to go no matter what you decide to throw at is. ASUS integrated the following features into the Z87-Pro's design: eight SATA 6Gb/s ports; an Intel I217-V GigE NIC; Atheros 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots for dual or tri-card support; four PCI-Express x1 slots; onboard power, CMOS MemOK!, BIOS Flashback, and DirectKey buttons; 3-way TPU and EPU switches; 2-digit LED diagnostic display; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Z87-Pro motherboard!

ECS Reveals its First Motherboard with the AMD Kabini - KBN-I

Subject: Motherboards | June 19, 2013 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: SoC, KBN-I, Kabini, ECS, A6-5200

ECS' new KBN-I board simply needs you to add some RAM and storage to become a fully functional computer.  The integrated 2.0Ghz A6-5200 with its accompanying HD 8400 graphics are enough power for general computing duties and perhaps even newer titles if you turn the settings down somewhat. If you do plan on gaming there is a PCIe 3.0 16x slot for an expansion card, though you might be better served with a TV capture card instead of a graphics card.   

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19th Jun 2013, Taipei, Taiwan - Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) reveals its latest Mini-ITX motherboard family-KBN-I-featuring the world 1st Quad Core SoC (system-on-a-chip) processor with the newest “Jaguar” 28 nanometer architecture. The ECS KBN-I is integrated AMD Quad Core A6-5200 APU with AMD Radeon HD 8400 Graphics, support new generation DirectX 11.1 graphics, and offer 50% longer battery life performance. The ECS KBN-I with official Windows 8 WHCK certification (Windows Hardware Certification Kit) allows users to take full advantage of the touch browser and function-oriented design of Windows 8. The NM70-I is optimized for home, general computing productivity and multimedia applications.

Up to 25% More Power Efficiency
Designed to save space and energy, the ECS KBN-I is the ideal solution for small-form factor systems, with the AMD Kabini Quad Core SoC processor and maximum of 25W low power consumption. It improves a better power efficiency with up to 25% more power efficiency thru clock gating and unit redesign compared with current generation low power platform. Thanks to new generation design of increasing the amount of core, instructions per clock(IPC), and boost clock speed, the ECS KBN-I reducing energy usage by operating at lower frequencies when performance is not necessary. The ECS KBN-I also has 9W fanless Heat Sink design, full electrostatic discharge protection and 100% solid capacitors to maximize the reliability and longevity of your system.

Excellent Extension Support
Even with the mini-ITX size of the KBN-I, ECS has kept in mind the expansion needs of future-proof minded customers. The ECS KBN-I supports video and storage upgrades with 1 x PCI-E x16, 2 x SATA 6GB/s connections, 2 x USB 3.0 ports and 4 x USB 2.0 ports. For industrial applications, the KBN-I is equipped with Serial port output (COM). The Mini-PCIe slot is designed for laptops and other small-footprint computer systems and supports Mini-PCI card (one full-card and one half-card) for mini-Wireless, mini-TV tuner and so on. Moreover, users can enjoy high definition media as the KBN-I support HD 1080p output including HDMI and standard analog D-Sub VGA output. The NM70-I is bundled with additional software including Norton anti-virus, Muzee, Cyberlink Media Suite, and the ECS iEZ utility, which combines eBLU BIOS Live Update Utility, eDLU Drivers Live Update Utility and the eSF Smart Fan Utility.

Source: ECS