You can't keep an X99 down, the Gigabyte X99 Phoenix SLI rises

Subject: Motherboards | September 23, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel X99, Phoenix SLI

The Gigabyte X99 Phoenix SLI certainly sports some unique colours though the design of the board is similar to other G1 Gaming boards.  It sports a rare U.2 port and an M.2 port which [H]ard|OCP describes as being specifically for a wireless NIC.  There are four PCIe 16x 3.0 slots and thanks to the X99 chipset it can run all four at 8x speeds simultaneously.  Along with a variety of other features the board including USB 3.1 is the Ambient Surround LED feature, which is exactly what it sounds like.  Pop over and take a peek.

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"GIGABYTE’s X99 Phoenix SLI is another entry into the G1 Gaming lineup. While there is little to nothing that’s truly unique about the feature set, the combination of features and unique aesthetics are hard to argue with. The X99 Phoenix SLI offers good features and stellar looks at a reasonable price point."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Dahhhling, we only use Designare boards here. Gigabyte's new Z170X

Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2016 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: Z170X-Designare, gigabyte, RGB

At $250 the Gigabyte Z170X-Designare motherboard is a bit on the expensive side for this chipset but it does come with a long list of features which make it interesting.  This ATX board has both three reinforced PCIe 16x and 1x slots as well as onboard U.2, Thunderbolt 3 with dual USB 3.1 Type-C, and dual Intel LAN which is more that you find on a Z170 board.  Modders Inc offers more information on additional features present on this board, including the RGB rash present on it, as well as performance benchmarks in this recent review.

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"The majority of mainstream motherboards are priced under $200. When it comes to describing one situated north of this border, "practical" is not exactly the first word that comes to mind. For the budgetary pragmatic, this is indulgence territory and for the most part that is a correct assessment. But as the old proverb goes, all work and no play …"

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Source: Modders Inc
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

02-board-full.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Formula is the latest board in the ROG (Republic of Gamer) board line, featuring the Armor overlay common to the Formula and Sabertooth boards, integrated RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, and support for the Intel Z170 chipset. The base board aesthetics feature the ROG standard black and red in an ATX form factor. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset gives the board support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. The Maximus VIII Formula can be found in the wild for an MSRP of $399, making it more expensive than most offerings but justified in light of the integrated features and design quality of the board.

03-board.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximus VIII Formula board: four SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 2x2 802.11ac WiFI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, Clear CMOS, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; LN2 Mode jumper; Aura LED 12V power header; 2-digit Q-Code LED diagnostic display; Q-LED support; ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Formula features an impressive 10 phase digital power system in an 8+2 configuration, providing more than enough power to the CPU/GPU for whatever you choose to throw at it. The power delivery system itself consists of Texas Instruments NexFET MOSFETs, MicroFine alloy chokes, and 10k-rated Japanese-sourced black-metallic capacitors.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Formula motherboard!

AMD Officially Launches Bristol Ridge Processors And Zen-Ready AM4 Platform

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | September 7, 2016 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: Zen, Summit Ridge, Excavator, Bristol Ridge, amd, A12-9800

This week AMD officially took the wraps off of its 7th generation APU lineup that it introduced back in May. Previously known as Bristol Ridge, AMD is launching eight new processors along with a new desktop platform that finally brings next generation I/O to AMD systems.

Bristol Ridge maintains the Excavator CPU cores and GCN GPU cores of Carrizo, but on refreshed silicon with performance and power efficiency gains that will bring the architecture started by Bulldozer to an apex. These will be the last chips of that line, and wil be succeeded by AMD's new "Zen" architecture in 2017. For now though, Bristol Ridge delivers as much as 17% higher per thread CPU performance and 27% higher graphics performance while using significantly lower power than its predecessors. Further, AMD has been able to (thanks to various process tweaks that Josh talked about previously) hit some impressive clock speeds with these chips enabling AMD to better compete with Intel's Core i5 offerings.

Bristol Ridge.png

At the top end AMD has the (65W) quad core A12-9800 running at 3.8 GHz base and 4.2 GHz boost paired with GCN 3.0-based Radeon R7 graphics (that support VP9 and HEVC acceleration). These new Bristol Ridge chips are able to take advantage of DDR4 clocked up to 2400 MHz. For DIY PC builders planning to use dedicated graphics, AMD has the non-APU Athlon X4 950 which features four CPU cores at 3.5 GHz base and 3.8 GHz boost with a 65W TDP. While it is not clocked quite as high as its APU counterpart, it should still prove to be a popular choice for budge builds and will replace the venerable Athlon X4 860 and will also be paired with an AM4 motherboard that will be ready to accept a new Zen-based "Summit Ridge" CPU next year.

The following table lists the eight new 7th generation "Bristol Ridge" processors and their specifications. 

  CPU Cores CPU Clocks Base / Boost GPU GPU CUs GPU Clocks (Max) TDP

A12-98004

4 3.8 GHz / 4.2 GHz Radeon R7 8 1,108 MHz 65W
A12-9800E4 4 3.1 GHz / 3.8 GHz Radeon R7 8 900 MHz 35W
A10-9700 4 3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz Radeon R7 6 1,029 MHz 65W
A10-9700E 4 3.0 GHz / 3.5 GHz Radeon R7 6 847 MHz 35W
A8-9600 4 3.1 GHz / 3.4 GHz Radeon R7 6 900 MHz 65W
A6-9500 2 3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz Radeon
R5
6 1029 MHz 65W
A6-9500E 2 3.0 GHz / 3.4 GHz Radeon
R5
4 800 MHz 35W
Athlon X4 950 4 3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz None 0 N/A 65W

Source: AMD

To expand on the performance increases of Bristol Ridge, AMD compared the A12-9800 to the previous generation A10-8850 as well as Intel's Core i5-6500. According to the company, the Bristol Ridge processor handily beats the Carrizo chip and is competitive with the Intel i5. Specifically, when comparing Bristol Ridge and Carrizo, AMD found that the A12-9800 scored 3,521.25 in 3DMark 11 while the A10-8850 (95W Godavari) scored 2,880. Further, when compared in Cinebench R11.5 1T the A12-980 scored 1.21 versus the A10-8850's 1.06. Not bad when you consider that the new processor has a 30W lower TDP!

With that said, the comparison to Intel is perhaps most interesting to the readers. In this case, the A12-9800 is about where you would expect though that is not necessarily a bad thing. It does pull a bit closer to Intel in CPU and continues to offer superior graphics performance.

  AMD A12-9800 (65W) Intel Core i5-6500 (65W) AMD A10-8850 (95W)

3DMark 11 Performance

3,521.25 1,765.75 2,880
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated 3,483.25 3,702 Not run
Cinebench R11.5 1T 1.21 Not run 1.06

Source: AMD

Specifically, in 3DMark 11 Performance the A12-9800's score of 3,521.25 is quite a bit better than the Intel i5-6500's 1,765.75 result. However, in the more CPU focused PCMark 8 Home Accelerated benchmark the Intel comes out ahead with a score of 3,702 versus the AMD A12-9800's score of 3,483.25. If the price is right Bristol Ridge does not look too bad on paper, assuming AMD's testing holds true in independent reviews!

The AM4 Platform

Alongside the launch of desktop 7th generation APUs, AMD is launching a new AM4 platform that supports Bristol Ridge and is ready for Zen APUs next year. The new platform finally brings new I/O technologies to AMD systems including PCI-E 3.0, NVMe, SATA Express, DDR4, and USB 3.1 Gen 2.

According to Digital Trends, AMD's AM4 desktop platform wil span all the way from low end to enthusiast motherboards and these boards will be powered by one of three new chipsets. The three new chipsets are the B350 for mainstream, A320 for "essential," and X/B/A300 for small form factor motherboards. Notably missing is any mention of an enthusiast chipset, but one is reportedly being worked on and will arive closer to the launch of Zen-based processors in 2017.

The image below outlines the differences in the chipsets. Worth noting is that the APUs themselves will handle the eight lanes of PCI-E 3.0, dual channel DDR4, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and two SATA 6Gbps and two NVMe or PCI-E 3.0 storage devices. This leaves PCI-E 2.0, SATA Express, additional SATA 6Gbps, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 connection duties to the chipsets.

AMD Bristol Ridge AM4 Chipsets.jpg

As of today, AMD has only announced the availability of AM4 motherboards and 7th generation APUs for OEM systems (with design wins from HP and Lenovo so far). The company will be outlining the channel / DIY PC builder lineup and pricing at a later (to be announced date).

I am looking forward to Zen and in a way the timing of Bristol Ridge seems strange. On the other hand, for OEMs it should do well and hold them over until then (heh) and enthusiasts / DIY builders are able to buy into Bristol Ridge knowing that they will be able to upgrade to Zen next year (while getting better than Carrizo performance with less power and possibly better overclocking) is not a bad option so long as the prices are right!

The full press blast is included below for more information on how they got their benchmark results.

Source: AMD

ASUS Introduces X99-E-10G WS Motherboard with 10 Gigabit Ethernet

Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2016 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: X99-E-10G WS, workstation, motherboard, Intel X99, asus, 10GbE, 10 gigabit

ASUS has officially announced their latest workstation board for the Intel X99 platform, and the X99-E-10G WS offers a 10GbE NIC. In fact, it has two of the Intel X550-powered 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports onboard (along with many more premium features).

X99E10G_1.jpg

ASUS lists these key features:

  • First workstation board with dual Intel® 10G LANs (X550-AT2) on board
  • 4-Way PCI-E Gen3 x16 link supporting NVidia GeForce SLI® and AMD CrossFireX™ on demand
  • 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5 – One click, total system optimization
  • Ultimate transfer speed : the latest 10Gb/s USB 3.1 type-A and type-C, 32Gbit/s M.2 and U.2
  • SafeSlot : reinvented, strengthened PCIe slot utilizes a new insert-molding process for superior retention and shearing resistance

X99E10G_2.jpg

The full list of specifications is daunting, as ASUS has packed just about every imaginable option into this board. Processor support also extends beyond Core i7 processors to include Intel Xeon E5-1600 v3, E5-2600 v3, E5-1600 v4, and E5-2600 v4 series CPUs. (Naturally, ECC memory is supported when using a compatible CPU.)

We await info on pricing and availablity.

Source: ASUS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

02-board.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

The Strix X99 Gaming motherboard is the newest product in ASUS Strix product line, bringing a more performance gaming focused board into the ROG (Republic of Gamer) sphere. The board features an armored rear panel and audio components, integrated RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, and support for the Intel X99 chipset. The board supports all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory in up to a quad channel configuration. The Maximus VIII Formula can be found in the wild for an MSRP of $399, making it more expensive than most offerings but justified in light of the integrated features and design quality of the board.

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Courtesy of ASUS

04-board-flyaprt.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated the following features into the Strix X99 Gaming board: eight SATA 3 ports; one SATA-Express port; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I218-V Gigabit NIC; 2x2 802.11ac WiFI adapter; four PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; Aura RGB LED 4-pin power header; RGB Q-Slot support; 2-digit Q-Code LED diagnostic display; Q-LED support; ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel audio subsystem; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Formula motherboard!

PCIe 4.0 Will Still Deliver 75W of Slot Power

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | August 29, 2016 - 01:20 AM |
Tagged: pcie, PCI SIG

Last week, various outlets were reporting (incorrectly) that PCIe 4.0 would provide “at least 300W” through the slot. This would have been roughly equal to the power draw that a PCIe 3.0 GPU could provide with an extra six-pin and an extra eight-pin power connector, but do so all through the slot.

pcielogo.gif

Later, the PCI-SIG contacted Tom's Hardware (and likely others) to say that this is not the case. The slot will still only provide 75W of power; any other power will still need to come from external connectors. The main advantage of the standard will be extra bandwidth, about double that of PCIe 3.0, not easing cable management or making it easier to design a graphics card (by making it harder to design a motherboard).

ASUS tossed everything they could find onto the Rampage V Extreme 10

Subject: Motherboards | August 25, 2016 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: ROG, rampage v edition 10, asus

Remember in the 90's when all the cool people had lights glowing from underneath their cars?  Now your motherboard can do the same thing, but with extra colour choices and even different effects!  Leaving the RGB disease alone for now, the features on the motherboard are impressive, dual USB 3.1 Type-C ports, support for both M.2 and the Dublin version of storage, PCIe lane switches and even a mulligan button to let you retry a failed POST before having to reset your overclocking settings.  The SupremeFX Hi-Fi audio codec on the board supports proper headphone thanks to the fan controller-like expansion which requires a 6 pin PCI-Express power connector to run; it even comes with coasters. 

That is more than enough about the features, to see how well it performs you can pop by [H]ard|OCP.

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"ASUS celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Republic of Gamers brand in style with the new Rampage V Extreme 10! To properly commemorate its decade of innovation, this motherboard needs to be nothing short of the best motherboard ASUS has ever built and a worthy successor to the Rampage name. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Releases the X99A WORKSTATION Motherboard with ECC Support

Subject: Motherboards | August 15, 2016 - 10:49 PM |
Tagged: X99A WORKSTATION, workstation, socket 2011-3, msi, motherboard, Military Class 5, Intel X99, ECC

MSI’s new X99A WORKSTATION motherboard offers what the company calls “extreme QA testing” to go along with the “industries higher quality components” in a motherboard that doesn’t scrimp on features, either. The ATX motherboard supports ECC Registered DIMMs (with a supported Xeon processor), has dual Intel NICs onboard (with teaming support), and offers Steel Armor PCI-E and DDR4 slots, among other features.

X99A_W_1.jpg

“Engineered to cater even the most demanding professional. By using industries’ highest quality components, with an unmatched R&D design and extreme QA testing, the WORKSTATION motherboards guarantee the best in performance, stability and reliability.

Packed with features, including optimizations for NVIDIA QUADRO graphics cards and industry leading storage solutions, the WORKSTATION motherboard is the perfect multi-tasking powerhouse for demanding productivity applications.”

X99A_W_2.jpg

Features from MSI:

  • Supports New Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition for LGA 2011-3 socket.
  • DDR4 Steel Armor with Best signal stability. Supports ECC Registered memory.
  • MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports Nvidia Quadro SLI.
  • Maximized high speed storage support: Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 32Gb/s + SATA-E 10Gb/s
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 2X FASTER: USB 3.1 Gen2 offers performance twice as fast as a regular USB 3.0 connection.
  • Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes.
  • Dual Intel LAN with Teaming: higher networking performance and stability.
  • Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
  • Guard-Pro: Improved Protection and Power Efficiency
  • EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • Overvoltage Protection:Prevent Unforeseen Damage
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high resolution scalable font

The MSI X99A WORKSTATION motherboard is not yet listed on Newegg, but the listing is active (though temporarily out of stock) on Amazon with a $389.99 price tag. As to supported processors, that part of the source link currently offers no information, though MSI states "The X99A WORKSTATION supports the latest Intel processors out of the box, both Broadwell-E and XEON based models".

Source: MSI

A mouthfull of a motherboard, the MSI X99A XPower Gaming Titanium Edition

Subject: Motherboards | August 12, 2016 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: X99A XPower Gaming Titanium Edition, Intel X99, msi

The list of features on this motherboard is as long as the name; five PCIe 3.0 16x slots, the  Game Boost overclocking knob, 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, one each of SEx, M.2 and U.2, 13 USB 3.1 ports including a single Type C, WiFi and Bluetooth ... all it is missing is a game fowl in a fruit tree.  [H]ard|OCP did have problems with XMP settings, but nothing they couldn't overcome via manual settings and the issues they had with the Core-i7 6950X turned out to be caused by the PSU and RAM and not the motherboard at all.  If you need a plethora of storage and add-in cards then check this board out as it can handle almost anything you want to stick in it.

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"MSI’s X99A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is a mouthful, but the XPOWER series has been a favorite of ours here at HardOCP for years now. The latest X99 iteration has much to prove. Is the X99A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM another pretty face, or is it a fitting addition to the venerable XPOWER line?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP