Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Motherboard Overview

Introduction

With their latest revision in the TUF line, ASUS decided to rebrand the line as TUF Gaming, opening the brand to the rapidly growing gaming enthusiast market. The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming motherboard is the flagship board in ASUS' TUF (The Ultimate Force) product line designed with the Intel Z390 chipset.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming offers support for the latest Intel Coffee Lake processor line as well as dual-channel DDR4 memory running at up to 2666MHz speeds in stock configuration. ASUS priced the board competitively with a $169.99 MSRP, making it a good deal in light of the board's build quality and integrated features.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming motherboard is built with the same quality and attention to detail that you've come to expect from TUF-branded motherboards. The board contains the following integrated features: eight SATA 3 ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; an 8-channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A port support.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS TUF Z390 Pro Gaming motherboard!

ASRock Preparing Budget Intel B365M-ITX/ac Mini ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | February 2, 2019 - 10:12 AM |
Tagged: mini ITX, LGA 1151, Intel, coffee lake, asrock

ASRock is preparing to launch a new Mini ITX motherboard based on Intel’s B365 chipset. The aptly-named ASRock B365M-ITX/ac pairs the new (but based on older 22nm fabrication processes) chipset with the LGA 1151 socket and support for the latest 8th and 9th Generation Intel Core processors along with support for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory in two DIMM slots (specifications aren’t clear if the new 32GB DC-DIMMs are supported or if this is just for future reference). The B365M-ITX/ac takes advantage of ASRock’s “Super Alloy” suite of technologies which includes five phase digital power delivery, 60-amp chokes and dual stacked MOSFETs along with the black glass PCB.

ASRock B365M-ITXac Mini-ITX Motherboard.jpg

The Mini ITX motherboard supports Intel processors up to 95W. Connectivity includes a single PCI-E x16 slot, one M.2 Key E for Wi-Fi modules in line with the rear I/O (with an included Intel 802.11ac + BT 4.2 module), one M.2 22110 slot for solid state drives (B365 does support Optane), and four SATA 3 ports. ASRock uses an Intel I219V NIC for Gigabit Ethernet and while the B365 chipset does not have built-in Wi-Fi there is an Intel wireless module for 802.11ac 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi bundled with the board. Audio is handled by a 7.1 channel Realtek ALC887 codec that has been spruced up slightly with ELNA capacitors.

Rear I/O on the B365M-ITX/ac includes HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort video outputs up top followed by one PS/2 port, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 (10Gbps), one RJ45 jack for Gigabit Ethernet, two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, and three 3.5mm audio outputs.

Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced yet. With that said, looking around online, I would guess that the B365-based board will launch somewhere around $100 at retail (MSRP may be a bit higher) with the B360M-ITX/ac board sitting at around $90 right now and the higher end Fatality boards using the higher end Z chipsets sitting around $120+. 

The B365M-ITX/ac appears to be an interesting board that will hopefully fall on the budget side of pricing. I am looking forward to the reviews on this as the spacing seems better than average (Morry will appreciate the CMOS battery placement), and I/O is decent. The audio doesn’t seem to be as beefed up as some of the competition, however, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt would have been nice-to-have along with right angled power connectors but all that would add to the cost. In any event, the more small form factor options, the merrier (so long as the quality is there)!

What are your thoughts on ASRock’s latest SFF offering?

Related reading:

Source: ASRock
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

With the release of Intel's lastest consumer-oriented chipset, the Z390, GIGABYTE has unveiled its own Z390 motherboard lineup. We got our hands on one of these new boards, the mid-range GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Pro.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Z390 AORUS Pro features a matte black PCB and an integrated rear panel shield. In keeping with its previous AORUS series board designs, GIGABYTE spread RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, which are configurable via a Windows applet. The board offers support for the latest Intel 9th generation processors (as well as maintaining support for the 8th generation processors) and Dual Channel DDR4 memory via the Intel Z390 chipset. The Z390 AORUS Pro can be found at retail at an MRSP of around $190.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The following features have been integrated into the board: six SATA III 6Gbps ports; two M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable ports; an RJ-45 port featuring an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a Realtek ALC1220-VB Audio CODEC; an integrated HDMI video port; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

To power the board, GIGABYTE integrated a 13-phase (12+1) digital power delivery system into the Z390 AORUS Pro board's design. The digital power system was designed with an IR Digital PWM Controller and DrMOS ICs, high grade choke, and all-metal long-life capacitors. The power circuitry and board trace design works together to give the board excellent overclockability when used in combination with Intel 9th generation processors.

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Pro motherboard!

Shopping for new CPU before the end of the year?

Subject: Processors | October 26, 2018 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: Intel, and, ryzen, Threadripper, HEDT, coffee lake

The Tech Report took a look at the current market and are now offering their opinion on which ones you should consider.  The question is more complicated than simply buying the most expensive AMD or Intel processor you can afford; not many of your games are CPU limited and even those that are will see more benefit if you switch the API being used.  Read on for a variety of suggestions at various price points as well as why picking up a top end processor might actually give you less performance.

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"Choosing a CPU for a gaming PC can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. We walk you through the types of gaming experiences where CPUs matter and where they don't, and we pick chips for every budget that make the most of today's powerful graphics cards."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Refreshing Intel's Coffee was quite effective

Subject: Processors | October 19, 2018 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: 2700x, amd, coffee lake, coffee lake refresh, i5-9600K, i7-9700K, i9-9900K, Intel, ryzen 7, Z390

With the advent of the 9th generation of Core processors from Intel, we see the market return to what we have been used to in the past.  Intel's offering is now faster and more effective than AMD's Ryzen, but it is also significantly more expensive.  Instead of getting an APU and heatsink for ~$300, you will be paying ~$530 for just the processor with no cooler.  That said the i9-9900K makes sense for those who have spent the money on an RTX 2080 Ti and a high resolution monitor, since they've already set a large budget; while those with less lofty dreams will be very happy with the Ryzen 7 2700X.

The question of overclocking is an interesting one, as Ken had no luck getting the chip to run above 5GHz.   [H]ard|OCP had a slightly better experience, hitting 5.14GHz with a 3600MHz memory bus, which could not match the content creation power of Threadripper 2 even though it was sucking down more juice.  Check out their review and then browse through the ones below.

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"The new 9th generation Intel i9-9900K CPU is upon us! AMD has been pushing into Intel's desktop market and Intel knows it. Today Intel is pulling the curtain back on "not paid for" reviews and we are happy to be serving you one of those up here today. Is the i9-9900K better than the Ryzen 7 2700X, and is it worth the staggering price premium?"

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Overview

One of the most radical changes to happen in the last two years in the PC hardware space has to be the launch of AMD's Ryzen processors. Despite the failure that was the FX-series with their Bulldozer architecture, AMD managed to shock the industry with the performance of their next generation Zen architecture.

After generations upon generations of consumer processors topping out at four cores going back to the Core 2 days, Intel finally launched their first 6-core processor for consumers with the 8700K almost exactly a year ago.

AMD's continued to persevere with the launch of the second generation Ryzen 7 2700X earlier this year, which managed to improve the single-threaded performance gap between AMD and Intel. 

Still, this performance gap existed, leaving room for what Intel is launching today, their first 8-core mainstream consumer processor, the Core i9-9900K. Finally having core count parity with AMD, and still holding an advantage in single-threaded performance, this launch has garnered a lot of attention.

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  Core i9-9900K Ryzen 7 2700X Threadripper 2950X Core i9-7900X Core i7-8700K Core i7-7700K
Architecture Coffee Lake Refresh Zen+ Zen+ Skylake-X Coffee Lake Kaby Lake
Process Tech 14nm++ 12nm 12nm 14nm+ 14nm++ 14nm+
Cores/Threads 8/16 8/16 16/32 10/20 6/12 4/8
Base Clock 3.6 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.7 GHz 4.2 GHz
Boost Clock 5.0 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.7 GHz 4.5 GHz
L3 Cache 16MB 16MB 32MB 11MB 12MB 8MB
Memory Support DDR4-2666 (Dual-Channel) DDR4-2933 (Dual-Channel) DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2666 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2666 (Dual-Channel) DDR4-2400 (Dual-Channel)
PCIe Lanes 16 16 64 44 16 16
TDP 95 W 105 W 180 W 140 W 95 W 91 W
Socket LGA1151 AM4 TR4 LGA-2066 LGA1151 LGA1151
Price (MSRP) $499 $329 $899 $1000 $349 $329

Click here to continue reading our review of the Intel Core i9-9900K

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Preview and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

With the release of Intel's lastest consumer-oriented chipset, the Z390, GIGABYTE released the details of their Z390 board line. GIGABYTE's initial sampling to PC Perspective was their Z390 AORUS Pro motherboard, featuring a matte black PCB and an armored rear panel assembly and an integrated rear panel shield. In keeping with their previous AORUS series board designs, GIGABYTE spread RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, configurable via the Windows applet. The board offers support for the latest Intel 9th genation processors (as well as maintaining support for the 8th generation processors) and Dual Channel DDR4 memory via the Intel Z390 chipset.

Board Features

Courtesy of GIGABYTE

  • Supports 9th and 8th Intel® Core™ Processors
  • Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • 12+1 Phase Digital VRM Solution with DrMOS
  • Advanced Thermal Design with Screw mounted Heatsinks and Heatpipe
  • ALC1220-VB Enhance 114dB(Rear)/ 110dB(Front) SNR in Microphone with WIMA Audio Capacitors
  • Intel® Gigabit LAN with cFos Speed
  • RGB FUSION with Multi-Zone LED Light Show design, support Addressable LED & RGB LED strips
  • Smart Fan 5 features Multiple Temperature Sensors and Hybrid Fan Headers with FAN STOP
  • Front USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C™ Header
  • Dual Ultra-Fast NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 with Thermal Guards
  • CEC 2019 Ready, Save the Power as Easy as One Click

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The following features have been integrated into the board: six SATA III 6Gbps ports; two M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable ports; an RJ-45 port featuring an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a Realtek ALC1220-VB Audio CODEC; an integrated HDMI video port; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

To power the board, GIGABYTE integrated integrated a 13-phase (12+1) digital power delivery system into the Z390 AORUS Pro board's design. The digital power system was designed with an IR Digital PWM Controller and DrMOS ICs, high grade choke, and all-metal long-life capacitors. The power circuitry and board trace design works together to give the board its excellent overclockability when used in combination with the Intel 9th generation processors.

Continue reading our preview of the GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Pro motherboard!

Podcast #514 - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti Deep Dive

Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2018 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: turing, RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, rtx, podcast, pascal, nvidia, Intel, i9-9900K, i7-9700K, coffee lake

PC Perspective Podcast #514 - 09/20/18

Join us this week for discussion on both the Turing architecture, NVIDIA RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti product reviews, more 8-core Intel Coffee Lake Rumors and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:38:19

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. Thanks to Casper for supporting our podcast! Save $50 on select mattresses at http://www.casper.com/pcper code pcper
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:26:40 Jeremy: @#*$ing NewEgg
    2. 1:28:35 Josh: Physical Media 4 Evah
    3. 1:31:20 Allyn: Lego Voltron
  5. Closing/outro

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

A little Optane for your HDD

Intel's Optane Memory caching solution, launched in April of 2017, was a straightforward feature. On supported hardware platforms, consisting of 7th and 8th generation Core processor-based computers, users could add a 16 or 32gb Optane M.2 module to their PC and enable acceleration for their slower boot device (generally a hard drive). Beyond that, there weren't any additional options; you could only enable and disable the caching solution. 

However, users who were looking for more flexibility were out of luck. If you already had a fast boot device, such as an NVMe SSD, you had no use for these Optane Memory modules, even if you a slow hard drive in their system for mass storage uses that you wanted to speed up.

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At GDC this year, Intel alongside the announcement of 64GB Optane Memory modules, announced that they are bringing support for secondary drive acceleration to the Optane Memory application.

Now that we've gotten our hands on this new 64GB module and the appropriate software, it's time to put it through its paces and see if it was worth the wait.

Performance

The full test setup is as follows:

Test System Setup
CPU

Intel Core i7-8700K

Motherboard Gigabyte H370 Aorus Gaming 3 
Memory

16GB Crucial DDR4-2666 (running at DDR4-2666)

Storage

Intel SSD Optane 800P 

Intel Optane Memory 64GB and 1TB Western Digital Black

Sound Card On-board
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti 11GB
Graphics Drivers NVIDIA 397.93
Power Supply Corsair RM1000x
Operating System Windows 10 Pro x64 RS4

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In coming up with test scenarios to properly evaluate drive caching on a secondary, mass storage device, we had a few criteria. First, we were looking for scenarios that require lots of storage, meaning that they wouldn't fit on a smaller SSD. In addition to requiring a lot of storage, the applications must also rely on fast storage. 

Click here to continue reading our look at accelerating secondary drives with Optane

Meet the Intel Z390 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | May 14, 2018 - 05:56 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Z390, coffee lake

Intel published a paper giving an overview of the features to expect on motherboards using Z390 chipset.  Most of the features will be familiar so why not start with the fancy layout diagram?

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One of the features you might not consider, but perhaps should, is the combination of the quality of the onboard graphics chip on Coffee Lake with the outputs of a Z390 motherboard.  The motherboard can support up to three HDMI or DP outputs, which can provide 10bit colour, High Dynamic Range and Rec. 2020 at up to 4k resolutions.

Storage options are as you would expect, with Intel Rapid Storage Technology supported for both SATA and PCIe, with support for Optane if you so choose to use it.  Intel have updated their HD Audio in this generation and their Smart Sound Technology branding indicates the presence of a DAC on your motherboard. 

Networking is also worth a mention, with gigabit transfers available on the integrated NIC as well as through the Wireless-AC 9560 NIC, with integrated Bluetooth 5 support as well.  

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Yes, it will support overclocking unlocked processors.  The PR is below.

CREATE YOUR NEXT GREAT PERFORMANCE WITH THE 8TH GENERATION INTEL CORE PROCESSOR
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors give you the edge you need to successfully defeat your rivals. Quickly upload and access your favorite streams and get the gaming boost you need with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. With the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors, you can conquer your quests with confidence.

GREAT PERFORMANCE - UNLEASHED
Release your inner gaming beast with the Intel Z390 chipset and unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Unlock your core, graphics, and memory frequencies to new levels as you defeat your gaming foes. Gaming and productivity is redefined with the Intel Z390 chipset paired with new unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Crush your competition with 8th Generation Intel Core desktop processors and the Intel Z390 chipset.

FAST PC RESPONSIVENESS AT YOUR COMMAND
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors enable support for Intel Optane memory which speeds up access to your favorite programs and files. With the fast application response times enabled by Intel Optane memory, you can quickly access your digital life. Experience immersive sound quality via Intel High Definition Audio and enable your PC to respond to your voice commands with Intel Smart Sound Technology.

UNLEASH YOUR NETWORK PERFORMANCE
Achieve Gigabit wireless connections with 1st generation integrated Intel Wireless-AC support. The Intel Z390 chipset integrates an Intel wireless 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5 solution allowing you to connect up to Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds with Intel Wireless-AC 9560. With no Ethernet cable required, your desktop will be ready for all current and future wireless use cases and has the flexibility to be located in more places within your home or office.

IMMERSIVE VISUALS WITH INTEL UHD GRAPHICS
Intel UHD Graphics on 8th Generation Intel Core processors provide eye-popping 4K UHD resolutions. Experience more immersive gaming with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Rec. 2020 (Wide Color Gamut) support. Playback your favorite videos with color precision via native true 10-bit graphics output. Watch the latest 4K UHD premium content on your PC from leading online providers. With up to three independent, DisplayPort* and/or HDMI* displays supported with the Intel Z390 chipset, you can immerse yourself into your gaming experience.

MASSIVE STORAGE CAPABILITIES
Expand your storage capabilities with the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Boost your media transfer speeds with the integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 support of the Intel Z390 chipset. Create fast storage volumes and back-up your media and critical information via RAID support with Intel processor and chipset-connected PCI Express* SSDs. Expand your storage with up to 6 SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Enable blazingly fast data transfers to your favorite devices with PCI Express* 3.0.

Source: Intel