Subject: Mobile | April 4, 2016 - 02:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Skylake, GTX 970M, gigabyte, gaming laptop, Aorus X3 Plus v5
Gaming notebooks do not tend to generate positive feedback in our reviews, as many reader feel the sacrifices to fit a powerful machine into a slim chassis are just too much of a compromise. BGA processors have negative connotations surrounding them, in some cases fair criticism but there is obviously a market for these machines as companies are producing and selling them. The Tech Report takes a peek at Gigabyte's Aorus X3 Plus v5, a 14" 3200x1800 IPS laptop powered by a Core i7-6700HQ and GeForce GTX 970M, a 512GB Samsung NVMe SSD and 16GB o fDDR4-2133. They loved the machine apart from the fact that the 970M just can't drive the panel at native resolutions when playing a demanding game and perhaps a lower resolution would have been preferable; which would bring a different set of negative comments.
The Lagavulin allegory which starts out the review is apropos, if you like something enough, you will find a way to afford it. That said, if you consider $90 as the high end of Scotch your tastebuds have some nice surprises in store; your bank account not so much.
"Aorus' X3 Plus v5 laptop packs eight threads of Skylake pro cessing power and a GeForce GTX 970M graphics card into a 14" chassis. We put the X3 Plus v5 to the test to see whether it ushers in a new era of portable computing power."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- Gigabyte P35W v5 @ eTeknix
- Microsoft Surface Book @ The Inquirer
- Xtorm AL390 18000mAh Laptop Power Bank Review @ NikKTech
- ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser @ TechARP
- Galaxy S7 Edge vs iPhone 6S @ The Inquirer
Subject: Motherboards | March 16, 2016 - 02:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, gigabyte, X99P-SLI, LGA2011-v3
X99 based systems do not come cheap, with some boards costing well over $300 and very few under $200 the X99P-SLI could be considered mid-range. The board doesn't skimp on a lot at this price either, an M.2 slot, a pair of USB 3.1 ports, OP-AMP based onboard sound, a conveniently placed header for USB 3.0 on your front panel and yes, it does have a single SEx port. Hardware Canucks breaks down how the PCIe slots are shared and many other of the boards features in their review which you should check out, the board was determined to be a Dam Good Value.
"The X99 platform may not be known for affordability but Gigabyte's new X99P-SLI aims to change that opinion with USB 3.1, M.2, great overclocking, quad GPU support and more for less than $250."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Maximus VIII Formula LGA 1151 @ [H]ard|OCP
- ASRock E3V5 WS @ Kitguru
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/AC @ Modders-Inc
- Supermicro X11SAE Workstation @ eTeknix
- ASUS B150 PRO GAMING/AURA @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte 990FX-Gaming @ Kitguru
Part 1 - Picking the Parts
I'm guilty. I am one of those PC enthusiasts that thinks everyone knows how to build a PC. Everyone has done it before, and all you need from the tech community is the recommendation for parts, right? Turns out that isn't the case at all, and as more and more gamers and users come into our community, they are overwhelmed and often under served. It's time to fix that.
This cropped up for me personally when my nephew asked me about getting him a computer. At just 14 years old, he had never built a PC, watched a PC be constructed - nothing of that sort. Even though his uncle had built computers nearly every week for 15 years or more, he had little to no background on what the process was like. I decided that this was perfect opportunity to teach him and create a useful resource for the community at large to help empower another generation to adopt the DIY mindset.
I decided to start with three specific directions:
- Part 1 - Introduce the array of PC components, what the function of each is and why we picked the specific hardware we did.
- Part 2 - Show him the process of actual construction from CPU install to cable routing
- Part 3 - Walk through the installation of Windows and get him setup with Steam and the idea of modern PC gaming.
Each of the above sections was broken up into a separate video during our day at the office, and will be presented here and on our YouTube channel.
I would like to thank Gigabyte for sponsoring this project with us, providing the motherboard, graphics card and helping work with the other vendors to get us a great combination of hardware. Visit them at Gigabyte.com for the full lineup of motherboard, graphics cards and more!!
Part 1 - Picking the Parts
Selecting the parts to build a PC can be a daunting task for a first timer. What exactly is a motherboard and do you need one? Should you get 2 or 4 or more memory modules? SSD vs HDD? Let's lay it all out there for you.
The specific configuration used in Austin's PC build is pretty impressive!
|Austin's First PC Build|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-6600K - $249|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 - $189|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4-3200 - $192|
|Graphics Card||Gigabyte GTX 970 Gaming Xtreme - $374|
|Storage||Corsair Neutron XT 480GB - $184
Western Digital 3TB Red - $109
|Case||Corsair Obsidian 450D - $119|
|Power Supply||Corsair RM550x - $117|
|Keyboard||Logitech G910 Orion Spark - $159|
|Mouse||Logitech G602 - $51|
|Headset||Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum - $192|
|Monitor||Acer XB280HK - $699|
|OS||Windows 10 Home - $119|
|Total Price||$2054 (not including the monitor) - Amazon.com Cart|
Subject: Systems | February 16, 2016 - 03:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SFF, system build, gigabyte, ocz, G.Skill, evga, logitech
The Tech Report have put together a video tour of their Breadbox system, a SFF gaming system built around the Z170 chipset. The machine uses a i5-6600K on the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 motherboard with 16GB of DDR4-3000 and Gigabyte's tiny version of a GTX 970. The components are all housed in a EVGA Hadron Hydro, a tight fit but sufficient to hold the parts. Check out the video for more information on the components and how the system performs when gaming.
"We recently built a small-form-factor PC we like to call the Breadbox with some help from our sponsors at Gigabyte, OCZ, G.Skill, EVGA, and Logitech. We documented this Breadbox on video, and now it's ready to make its Hollywood debut. Grab some popcorn and enjoy our tour of this pint-sized gaming PC."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Cyberpower Infinity Luxe 805 GT @ Kitguru
- Silent 4k Gaming Build Guide @ Silent PC Review
- Vibox Rapture-Chaos MX2 @ Kitguru
NVMe was a great thing to happen to SSDs. The per-IO reduction in latency and CPU overhead was more than welcome, as PCIe SSDs were previously using the antiquated AHCI protocol, which was a carryover from the SATA HDD days. With NVMe came additional required support in Operating Systems and UEFI BIOS implementations. We did some crazy experiments with arrays of these new devices, but we were initially limited by the lack of native hardware-level RAID support to tie multiple PCIe devices together. The launch of the Z170 chipset saw a remedy to this, by including the ability to tie as many as three PCIe SSDs behind a chipset-configured array. The recent C600 server chipset also saw the addition of RSTe capability, expanding this functionality to enterprise devices like the Intel SSD P3608, which was actually a pair of SSDs on a single PCB.
Most Z170 motherboards have come with one or two M.2 slots, meaning that enthusiasts wanting to employ the 3x PCIe RAID made possible by this new chipset would have to get creative with the use of interposer / adapter boards (or use a combination of PCI and U.2 connected Intel SSD 750s). With the Samsung 950 Pro available, as well as the slew of other M.2 SSDs we saw at CES 2016, it’s safe to say that U.2 is going to push back into the enterprise sector, leaving M.2 as the choice for consumer motherboards moving forward. It was therefore only a matter of time before a triple-M.2 motherboard was launched, and that just recently happened - Behold the Gigabyte Z170X-SOC Force!
This new motherboard sits at the high end of Gigabyte’s lineup, with a water-capable VRM cooler and other premium features. We will be passing this board onto Morry for a full review, but this piece will be focusing on one section in particular:
I have to hand it to Gigabyte for this functional and elegant design choice. The space between the required four full length PCIe slots makes it look like it was chosen to fit M.2 SSDs in-between them. I should also note that it would be possible to use three U.2 adapters linked to three U.2 Intel SSD 750s, but native M.2 devices makes for a significantly more compact and consumer friendly package.
With the test system set up, let’s get right into it, shall we?
Subject: Motherboards | January 28, 2016 - 05:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: update, Skylake, gigabyte, bug
Gigabyte has released UEFI updates today which will resolve the freezing issues on Skylake seen in certain circumstances of Prime95 and GIMPS processing. Just head over to their download site and enter in your motherboards model and download the new UEFI, or BIOS if you prefer the old terminology.
As a bonus you may receive the ability to use higher clocked RAM, see any stability issues fixed or better performance from integrated components such as LAN or SATA. Their update process is easy with none of the stress that once accompanied updates via floppy disjs or masks and UV light. We can neither confirm nor deny these updates will also resolve unwanted ear hair growth.
Subject: Motherboards | January 28, 2016 - 03:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, Z170X-UD5, LGA 1151
What is special about the Z170X-UD5 that would make you pick it over other boards? A $190 price tag is impressive for a Z170, the design is very clean and would look great in a windowed case, USB 3.1 including a Type-C connection, a pair of M.2 slots along with eight SATA and three SEx ports and it even supports three way GPU setups. Not a bad list of features, though it is missing the Thunderbolt support of its more expensive sibling. [H]ard|OCP found it easy to overclock using either EZ-Tune or doing it manually and the watchdog system was great when things did not work out so well. Check out the full review to learn more about this board that matches up affordability with a nice list of features.
"GIGABYTE’s mid-range Z170X-UD5 has some impressive specifications, a lengthy feature set, and comes in with a sub-$200 street price. This motherboard has all the ingredients for a spectacular enthusiast option on paper. But how does it do in the real world when you put it to the test? It actually does very well."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASRock Z170 Extreme4 @ TechARP
- ASUS RoG Maximus VIII Extreme Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/3.1 mainboard @ HardwareOverclock
- ASRock X99 WS-E/10G @ Kitguru
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 21, 2016 - 10:44 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: modular psu, gigabyte, ATX PSU
Gigabyte made an announcement teasing two new power supplies last week. The G750H and B700H are 80 PLUS rated models topping out at 750W and 700W respectively. A company most well-known for its motherboards, it was somewhat surprising to see it tease power supplies and to discover that these PSUs are not even the first to be sold by Gigabyte with its branding.
The G750H and B700H are ATX form factor and use a semi-modular design that leaves the 24-pin ATX and 8-pin CPU power cables permanently attached and uses modular cables for all other connections (see below). One neat thing is that Gigabyte is using all black flat individually sleeved cables which may make it easier to hide and route them behind the motherboard tray (which on some cases can be an especially narrow channel). Both models are rated for SLI and Crossfire multi-GPU setups, use at least some Japanese capacitors (the G750H uses all Japanese capacitors), have a MTBF of 100,000 hours, and five year warranties.
In addition to the motherboard and CPU power, users can install two eight pin PCI-E, five SATA power, three Molex, and one floppy power connector. The modular cable configuration is the same on both PSU models.
The G750H is up to 90% efficient (80+ Gold) and uses a 140mm temperature controlled fan to keep noise levels low and the internal components cool (and efficient). Gigabyte has opted for a single rail design that sees the 12V rail rated at up to 62 amps.
On the other hand, the B700H is up to 85% efficient (80+ Bronze) at typical loads. It has a smaller 120mm temperature controlled fan for cooling. This model also uses a single 12V rail, but it tops out at 54 amps.
Several sites around the Internet have indicated (including Maximum PC) that Gigabyte has made the G750H and B700H available now, but they do not seem to be for sale yet in the US. I have tried to unearth pricing as well as the identity of the ODM Gigabyte is using for these new units, but no such luck so far. From my research, it appears that Gigabyte has used a number of different ODM/OEMs of varying quality for their past power supplies. It seems that we will have to wait for reviews to know for sure how these new PSUs will perform. I hope that Gigabyte has stepped up its power supply game as it has quite a bit of competition these days!
Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2016 - 02:34 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: x99-m, X170, X150, video, Silent Base 800, Q4 2015, Predator X34, podcast, gigabyte, g-sync, freesync, earnings, be quiet, asus, amd, acer
PC Perspective Podcast #383 - 01/21/2016
Join us this week as we discuss the Acer Predator X34, ASUS X99-M, AMD Q4 Earnings and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store (audio only)
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:25:53
Subject: Motherboards | January 15, 2016 - 05:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X170-Extreme ECC, X170, X150M-PRO ECC, X150M-PLUS WS, X150-PRO ECC, X150, gigabyte, GA-X150-PLUS WS
These five motherboards will be more at home powering a server than a high end gaming machine as they fully support Intel's Xeon E3-1200 v5 and other LGA 1151 processors, all but two offer ECC memory compatibility using Intel's C236 and C232 chipset. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider them for your next build as they should offer rock solid stability and hey, they're camouflaged!
Up first are the X170-EXTREME ECC and X150-PRO ECC, with the first PCIe 3.0 16x slot connected directly to the CPU socket, no detours for that data. The boards support PCIe Gen.3 x4 NVMe M.2 natively and you can pick up a U.2 converter if that is what you need for your drives and Intel's USB 3.1 controller will give you performance on both the original flavour and Type-C USB ports. The X170 Extreme comes with a Killer E2400 Gigabit NIC, along with all of the benefits provided by that chip.
Up next are the X150M-PRO ECC, X150M-PLUS WS and X150-PLUS WS motherboards which are listed on Gigabyte's site. The X150M-Pro is mATX but Gigabyte still managed two PCIe 16x slots, with one limited to 4x speeds and a pair of PCI slots along with an M.2, 6 SATA 6Gbps and a SEx connector. The X150M Plus is very similar but sports a single PCIe 16x and a 4x no legacy connectors nor a SEx port. Finally the full ATX GA-X150-PLUS WS which adds a pair of PCIe x1 slots in addition to two PCIe 16x slots, with one limited to 4x speeds and a pair of PCI slots.