UEFI ransomware may brick your BRIX

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2017 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, brix, uefi, ransomware

Be careful what you do with your BRIX as two rather unpleasant vulnerabilities were disclosed at a recent BlackHat event.  Gigabyte did not implement two security features which these exploits take advantage of, there is no write protection on the UEFI firmware nor a system of cryptographic signatures on UEFI firmware files which can let any file update the UEFI.  While the proof of concept demonstration only prevented the infected BRIX from booting again, this could also be used to infect your machines UEFI quietly and in a way extremely difficult to repair, you would need a UEFI update that wrote over every sector of the firmware to ensure you removed the bugs.  Pop by Slashdot for more on this depressing topic.

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"Last week, at the BlackHat Asia 2017 security conference, researchers from cyber-security firm Cylance disclosed two vulnerabilities in the firmware of Gigabyte BRIX small computing devices, which allow an attacker to write malicious content to the UEFI firmware."

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Source: Slashdot

The clean cut Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3

Subject: General Tech | March 24, 2017 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, AB350-Gaming 3, b350, amd, ryzen

The design of the Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 is quite spartan, but don't let that fool you as it is heavily infected with RGB-itis.  This brand new AMD motherboard is a hair thinner than your average ATX motherboard, at 305x230mm but that doesn't mean the board is lacking in features.  There is a single x16 PCIe 3.0 slot, and a sole x4 PCIe 2.0 slot with three  x1 PCIe 2.0 slots for additional cards.  Of the six SATA ports, only four can be used if you install an M.2 SSD, a reasonable pool of drives for most.  There is HDMI 1.4 and DVI connectors on the back, along with a half dozen USB 3.1 ports on the back of which two are Gen 2 and four Gen 1.  Check out the full review at Modders Inc.

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"AMD is back with a new CPU line-up that brings competitive performance once again against Intel’s current generation of processors at a lower price. In true AMD fashion, the AM4 motherboard line offers the same value alternative as well, offering the latest features similarly found on the latest generation Intel processors natively including USB 3.1 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe support …"

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Source: Modders Inc

The X370s aren't here yet so take a gander at the fancy X270 from GIGABYTE

Subject: Motherboards | February 28, 2017 - 04:24 PM |
Tagged: intel z270, Aorus Z270X Gaming 9, gigabyte

What an interesting time it will be with Intel slinging Z270's at the same time AMD's Z370 arrives on the scene; there is no possible way some people could get confused.  It will also make the next generation of board names interesting as the two companies fight for numbering rights.  GIGABYTE's Aorus Z270X Gaming 9 comes with an impressive price tag of $500, so it will be interesting to see if [H]ard|OCP finds the feature set on the board worth of that investment.  The four 16x PCIe 3.0 slots will support four GPUs simultaneously and there are both a pair of M.2 and U.2 slots, to say nothing of the onboard SoundBlaster.  Head on over to read through the full review.

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"GIGABYTE’s Z270X Gaming 9 is one of the most feature rich and ultra-high end offerings you’ll see for the Z270 chipset this year. We were super fond of last year’s similar offering and as a result, the Z270X Gaming 9 has very large shoes to fill. With its massive feature set and overclocking prowess, it is poised to be one of the best motherboards of the year."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte is Ryzen up to the challenge of their rivals

Subject: Motherboards | February 24, 2017 - 05:30 PM |
Tagged: aorus, gigabyte, ryzen, b350, x370

Gigabyte have lead with five motherboards, two X370s under Aorus and three B350s with Gigabyte branding.  They all share some traits in common such as RGB Fusion with 16.8 million colours to choose from and an application to allow you to customize the light show to your own specifications.  It supports control from your phone if you are so addicted to the glow you need to play with your system from across the room. 

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Smartfan 5 indicates the presence of five headers for fans or pumps that will work with PWM and standard voltage fans, which can draw up to 12V at 2A.  The boards also have six temperature sensors to give you feedback on the effectiveness of your cooling and modify it with the included application.  Most models will offer Thunderbolt 3, Intel GbE NICs and an ASMedia 2142 USB 3.1 controllers which they claim can provide up to 16Gb/s.  All will have high end audio solutions, often featuring a headphone pre-amp and high quality capacitors.  There are a lot more features specific to each board, so make sure to click through to check out your favourites.

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The Aorus boards, the GA-AX370-Gaming K7 and GA-AX370-GAMING 5 are very similar but if you plan on playing with your BCLK it is the K7 which includes Gigabyte's Turbo B-Clock.  The Gigabyte lineup includes the GA-AB350M, GA-AB350-Gaming and GA-AB350-GAMING 3.  The GA-AB350M is the only mATX Ryzen board of these five for those looking to build a smaller system.  For audiophiles the full size the GAMING 3 includes an ALC1220 codec as opposed to the ALC 887 used on the other two models. 

You can expect to see reviews of these boards which offer far more details on perfomance and features after they are released on March 2nd.  Full PR under the break.

Source: Gigabyte
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

With the release of Intel Z270 chipset, GIGABYTE is unveiling its AORUS line of products. The AORUS branding will be used to differentiate enthusiast and gamer friendly products from their other product lines, similar to how ASUS uses the ROG branding to differentiate their high performance product line. The Z270X-Gaming 5 is among the first to be released as part of GIGABYTE's AORUS line. The board features the black and white branding common to the AORUS product line, with the rear panel cover and chipset featuring the brand logos. The board is designed around the Intel Z270 chipset with in-built support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Kaby Lake processor line (as well as support for Skylake processors) and Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at a 2400MHz speed. The Z270X-Gaming 5 can be found in retail with an MSRP of $189.99.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the Z270X-Gaming 5 motherboard: three SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports with Intel Optane support built-in; two RJ-45 GigE ports - an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC and a Rivet Networks Killer E2500 NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; ASMedia 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our preview of the GIGABYTE Z270X-Gaming 5 motherboard!

Faster than a speeding Gigabyte, the Aorus GTX 1080 XE

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 20, 2017 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 1080 Xtreme Edition, GTX 1080, gigabyte, aorus

Gigabyte created their Aorus line of products to attract enthusiasts away from some of the competitions sub-brands, such as ASUS ROG.  It is somewhat similar to the Gigabyte Xtreme Edition released last year but their are some differences, such as the large copper heatsink attached to the bottom of the GPU.  The stated clockspeeds are the same as last years model and it also sports the two HDMI connections on the front of the card to connect to Gigabyte's VR Extended Front panel.  The Tech Report manually overclocked the card and saw the Aorus reach the highest frequencies they have seen from a GP104 chip, albeit by a small margin.  Check out the full review right here.

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"Aorus is expanding into graphics cards today with the GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Edition 8G, a card that builds on the strong bones of Gigabyte's Editor's Choice-winning GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming. We dig in to see whether Aorus' take on a GTX 1080 is good enough for a repeat."

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The Gigabyte GTX 1060 G6, a decent card with a bit of work

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 25, 2017 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: windforce, factory overclocked, GTX 1060 G1 GAMING 6G, GeForce GTX 1060, gigabyte

In their testing [H]ard|OCP proved that the Windforce cooler is not the limiting factor when overclocking Gigabyte's GTX 1060 G1 Gaming G6, even at their top overclock of  2.1GHz GPU, 9.4GHz memory the temperature never reached 60C.  They did have some obstacles reaching those speeds, the cards onboard Gaming mode offered an anemic boost and in order to start manually overclocking this card you will need to install the XTREME ENGINE VGA Utility.  Once you have that, you can increase the voltage and clocks to find the limits of the card you have, which should offer a noticeable improvement from its performance straight out of the box.

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"We’ve got the brand new GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 G1 GAMING 6G video card to put through the paces and find out how well it performs in games and overclocks. We will compare its highest overclock with one of the best overclocks we’ve achieved on AMD Radeon RX 480 to put it to the test. How will it stand up? Let’s find out."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Shows Off Half Height GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 17, 2017 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: SFF, pascal, low profile, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050, gigabyte

Without much fanfare Gigabyte recently launched two new low profile half height graphics cards packing factory overclocked GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti GPUs. The new cards measure 6.6” x 2.7” x 1.5” (167mm long) and are cooled by a small shrouded single fan cooler. 
 
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Around back, both the Gigabyte GTX 1050 OC Low Profile 2G and GTX 1050 Ti OC Low Profile 4G offer four display outputs in the form of two HDMI 2.0b, one DisplayPort 1.4, and one dual-link DVI-D. It appears that Gigabyte is using the same cooler for both cards. There is not much information on this cooler, but it utilizes an aluminum heatsink and what looks like a ~50mm fan. Note that while the cards are half-height, they use a dual slot design which may limit the cases it can be used in.
 
The GTX 1050 OC Low Profile 2G features 640 Pascal-based CUDA cores clocked at 1366 MHz base and 1468 MHz boost out of the box (1392 MHz base and 1506 MHz boost in OC Mode using Gigabyte’s software) and 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 7008 MHz (7GT/s). For comparison, the GTX 1050 reference clock speeds are 1354 MHz base and 1455 MHz boost.
 
Meanwhile, the GTX 1050 Ti OC Low Profile 4G has 768 cores clocked at 1303 MHz base and 1417 MHz boost by default and 1328 MHz base and 1442 MHz boost in OC Mode. The GPU is paired with 4GB of GDDR5 memory at 7GT/s. NVIDIA’s reference GPU clocks are 1290 MHz base and 1392 MHz boost.
 
The pint-sized graphics cards would certainly allow for gaming on your SFF home theater or other desktop PC as well as being an easy upgrade to make a tiny OEM PC gaming capable (think those thin towers HP, Lenovo, and Dell like to use). 
 
Of course, Gigabyte is not yet talking pricing and availability has only been narrowed down to a general Q1 2017 time frame. I would expect the cards to hit retailers within a month or so and be somewhere around $135 for their half height GTX 1050 OC LP 2G and approximately $155 for the faster GTX 1050 Ti variant. That is to say that the low profile cards should be available at a slight premium over the company's larger GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards.
Source: Gigabyte

CES 2017: Gigabyte Teases New AM4 Platform Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | January 11, 2017 - 09:31 PM |
Tagged: x370, x300, ryzen, gigabyte, CES 2017, CES, b350, AM4, a320

Last week AMD provided additional details on the chipsets and AM4 platform (JoshTekk article link) that will support the company's upcoming Ryzen processors. On tap are the X370, B350, A320 for enthusiast, mid range, and budget markets respectively and the odd-man-out and somewhat mysterious pinky sized X300 chipset specifically geared for Mini ITX and other small form factor motherboards. Gigabyte answered some of Josh and I's questions on what actual motherboards will look like and what features manufacturers would take advantage of when it unveiled (nearly) its full lineup of AM4 motherboards at CES 2017.

Except for an X300-based motherboard which was absent from their booth, Gigabyte teased four new motherboards using each of AMD's new chipsets. Specifically, there will be two Aorus-branded high end X370-based motherboards known as GA-AX370-Gaming 5, GA-AX370-Gaming K5, a midrange B350-based Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 motherboard, and a budget micro ATX A320M-HD3 using the lower end A320 chipset.

All four of the motherboards surround the 1331-pin AM4 processor socket with four dual channel DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, at least one M.2 slot, at least two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and modern USB 3.1 external IO connections.

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Tech Report takes a look at Gigabyte's planned AM4 motherboard lineup.

The Gigabyte GA-AX370-Gaming 5 is the company's highest end motherboard and is clad in silver and black with white heatspreaders and "armor" plating. Being part of the Aorus brand, the motherboard has RGB LEDs and is reportedly at feature parity with Gigabyte's RGB-lit Z270 offerings. Powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS, the Gaming 5 uses a 10-phase VRM along with large heat spreaders to facilitate overclocking. The board features three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots that are electrically wired as x16/x8/x4 with support for CrossFireX and SLI (though only AMD will let you go to three cards on the third x4 slot) and three PCI-E x1 slots. The storage subsystem includes a single U.2 port and two SATA Express connectors (part of the total six SATA 6Gbps, not in addition to).

External I/O includes:

  • 1x PS/2
  • 6x USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (1 x Type-C)
  • 2x Gigabit Ethernet
    • 1x Intel
    • 1x Killer Ethernet 2500
  • 6x Audio
    • 5x Analog out
    • 1x SPDIF

Other little features like a BIOS code readout display and hybrid fan headers are part of the higher end boards but absent on the lower end ones.

Moving from the Gaming-5 to the GA-AX370-Gaming K5, the heat spreaders are scaled back and the color scheme is black and silver instead of white, silver, and black. Further, the power phases are less robust at seven phases, there is no LED display for error codes, no U.2 port, and no Killer Networks Ethernet. The slightly lower end board does keep the M.2 slot, SATA Express connectors, and PCI-E slots of the Gaming 5, however.

The Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 is where things start to noticeably change in the feature set. The VRM area is scaled back further with seven phases and a smaller heatsink. There is no U.2 or SATA Express, and one fewer PCI-E x1 slot than the X370 offerings. The motherboard does have three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (I am guessing still wired as x16/x8/x4 but AMD's slide from Josh's story is a bit unclear in this regard) but officially CrossFire and SLI are not supported according to AMD's slide. Around back, the board differs from the higher end models by including display outputs and lacking S/PDIF audio outputs. Specifically, the Gaming 3 board features:

  • 2x USB 2.0
  • 1x PS/2
  • 4x Video outputs
    • 1x VGA
    • 1x DVI
    • 1x DisplayPort 1.2
    • 1x HDMI 2.0 [updated 10:32]
  • 4x USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • 1x Intel Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3x Analog audio outputs (AmpUp! audio)

Finally, the lowest end A320M-HD3 is a micro ATX motherboard with four DDR4 slots, six SATA port, two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (likely wired as x8/x4), a single M.2 slot, and a PCI slot of all things. The all black board uses a 7 phase VRM and thanks to most of the connectivity being housed in the processor and A320 chipset, the PCB looks rather barren. This does have the positive effect of allowing AMD to still put four DIMM slots on the board and two PCI-E slots with room to spare. External I/O on this board is identical to the AB350-Gaming 3 above.

In all, it is refreshing to see an updated AMD motherboard platform with the latest storage and graphics connectivity options, and while SATA Express and even U.2 aren't as useful as they could be (not many products actually use those connectors, M.2 has really stolen the show here) the inclusion of native USB 3.1 Gen 2 is great as is the ability to use all six SATA 6Gbps ports along with dual graphics cards (things get dicer when adding PCI-E storage and/or using the 4th x16 slot which may reduce the number of available SATA ports but that is a bit beyond this article.) It is nice to see these features coming from AMD directly and not having to rely on third party chips for modern features as AMD's AM3 platform had to. Seeing the initial launch boards take advantage of the new features fully is promising as well though I expect to see different configurations in the audio, M.2, and external I/O departments from future Gigabyte boards and their competitors. 

I am curious to see how well the chipsets perform versus Intel's in the USB 3.1 and PCI-E storage departments as well as how overclocking will work with Ryzen and how far the AM4 platform boards will be able to push the new chips. It appears that AM4 has Zen off to a good start, and here's hoping that the AM4 platform will carry Zen into the future and help Ryzen, ahem, rise up to the task of delivering on all those performance promises from AMD!

For more photos and information on Gigabyte's AM4 offerings, The Tech Report got a first look at the boards last week and Gamer's Nexus shot some video footage of them on the CES show floor.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

GTX 1070 on the run, Gigabyte's P57X v6 gaming laptop

Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2017 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, P57X v6, gaming laptop, gtx 1070

NVIDIA no longer adds an 'm' after this generations mobile parts, the GTX 1070 in this gaming laptop from Gigabyte is simply labelled GTX 1070 even though it's boost clock of 1645MHz is somewhat lower than the reference of 1683MHz.  A 256GB Transcend MTS800 M.2 SATA SSD gives your OS and programs somewhere to live while the 1TB Hitachi Travelstar 7K1000 provides data storage and believe it or not this laptop also comes with a DVD-RW drive.

The slightly lower clock still provides enough performance for the integral 1080p display, and will power a VR headset over the USB 3.0 Type-A and HDMI 2.0 ports.  The Tech Report;s testing shows performance that tends to fall between the desktop GTX 1060 and 1070 which is not terribly surprising.  Check out their full review here.

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"Powered by Nvidia's mobile GeForce GTX 1070, Gigabyte's P57X v6 laptop promises truly desktop-class desktop-class performance in a relatively compact and portable chassis. We put it to the test to see what a new generation of mobile graphics means for gamers on the go."

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