Mini-STX Has Arrived: Meet the ECS H110SU-02 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 13, 2016 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-stx, LGA 1151, Intel H110, ECS, CES 2016, CES

ECS has entered the brand new Mini-STX market with their H110SU-02 motherboard, one of our first looks at a motherboard based on Intel's 5x5 concept for a sub-mITX form-factor.

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The ECS H110SU-02 (Image credit: Maximum PC)

As you can see this tiny motherboard offers a standard LGA 1151 socket for Intel processors up to 65W, and uses SoDIMM memory (DDR4). The board only offers one SATA port, with a pair of M.2 slots in a stacked configuration for both full-length (2280) SSDs and the shorter (2230) cards such as wireless network adapters.

Specifications:

  • Platform: Intel H110/B150 chipset
  • CPU: LGA1151 socket for Intel i3/i5/i7/Pentium/Celeron Processors (65W)
  • Memory: 2x SO-DIMM DDR4 slots
  • Storage: 1x M.2 Slot (2280); 1x SATA
  • Networking: RJ45; 1x M.2 Slot (2230) for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 card
  • USB: 1x USB 3.1 Type-C; 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Audio: 3.5 mm combo jack
  • Power Supply: DC-in 19V, 90W
  • Dimensions (W x D) 140 x 147 mm

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Mini-SFX vs. Mini-ITX comparison (Image credit: Maximum PC)

Maximum PC posted this video with their overview of the motherboard:

With no PCI Express slot and the limitation of a 65W processor (which eliminates current high-end models such as the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, both at 91W) this is targeting a different audience than those choosing mini-ITX for a small gaming rig, for example. Still, there will undoubtedly be a number of applications for a system of just over 5 inches square; though Intel's existing NUC platform provides essentially the same experience in a smaller package, minus the socketed desktop CPU support, of course.

No details were given on pricing or availability.

Source: Maximum PC

ASUS updates the TUF line of motherboards with the ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1

Subject: Motherboards | November 20, 2015 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: asus, TUF SABERTOOTH Z170, LGA 1151

It has been a while since we saw a new Sabertooth motherboard from the other side of ASUS, The Ultimate Force, up for review but [H]ard|OCP has remedied that with the new Z170 member of this line of products.  It bears the same Thermal Armour design as previous models, adding a small fan that doesn't quite fit in with the overall design of the motherboard.  As well you will notice an absence of a visible CMOS battery, it is indeed buried under the armour.  [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the memory subsystem, the board is rated for DDR4 2400MHz DIMMs maximum and no higher.  On the other hand the incredible stability of this board and the amount of features available on this relatively inexpensive Z170 board did garner a Gold Award.  Read the full review to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this motherboard.

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"In our opinion ASUS’ TUF series motherboards target the sweet spot in regard to features, price, and performance. TUF motherboards give you more features than most mid-range motherboards but lack certain features found on the high end. The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 is the flagship part of the current TUF series."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Kaby Lake has overflowed onto the internet

Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2015 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, LGA 1151, leak, kaby lake, intel 200, Intel, cannon lake

Benchlife.info got hold of two slides from an Intel presentation for Kaby Lake which cover some of the features you can expect to find on the new processor family.  As with all leaks you should ensure you take a dosage of Sodium Chloride while looking through the information.

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The Intel 200 chipset will provide up to 30 PCIe lanes, 24 of which can be dedicated to PCIe slots and another half dozen for SATA 6Gbps.  The chipset can also manage up to 10 USB 3.0 ports though do not expect to see all of these present on a board at the same time, there is only so much bandwidth to go around, as M.2 slots were not mentioned and will also share the PCIe pool.  If you are wondering what Intel Optane Technology is you can be forgiven as apparently calling it NVME support would be too easy.

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As for the processor, it will remain LGA 1151 with power ranging from 35W to 95W which means it should be compatible with existing boards, assuming a UEFI update is released.  The processor will support hardware acceleration for 10-bit VP9 playback and 10-bit HVEC encoding, as well as supporting 5K video at 30Hz and 60Hz, impressive for an onboard GPU.  The processors will be unlocked and have enhanced BCLK overclocking as well.  As you would expect the CPU is ready for NVMe, Thunderbolt 3 and even Intel RealSense.  Follow the link if you want to give your translator program a workout.

MSI Z170A Gaming M7, a board nicely balanced in performance and price

Subject: Motherboards | November 6, 2015 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: Z170A Gaming M7, msi, LGA 1151, Intel

At $220 currently the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 sits comfortably between a value board and a flagship model.  The heatsinks not only look good but provide decent cooling as well, as [H]ard|OCP points out in their review.  As far as connectivity goes, this board has a half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports, two SEx ports and two M.2 slots along with a total of seven USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.1 ports, one of which has a Type-C connection.  There are three PCIe 3.0 slots, x16 in design and capable of running x8/x8/x4 when all populated, with another four 1x slots for an impressive total number of slots.  Check out the overclocking performance and the new UEFI which replaces the old Click BIOS in the full review.

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"MSI has changed gears as of late vowing to be the number one motherboard manufacturer in the "gaming" segment. While a "gaming" motherboard MSI is still focused on overclocking with this model. We look at the Z170A Gaming M7 to see if it brings MSI one step closer or a step away from that very goal."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Two new ROG desktops from ASUS, the G11CD and the G20CB

Subject: Systems | October 9, 2015 - 06:01 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, LGA 1151, Intel H170, Intel H110, G11CDm G20CB, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS has announced two new models of ROG Desktops for gamers based on Intel's new Skylake processors.  Both models offer a choice of i5 or i7 processors and a gamut of video cards including and AMD R9 380 and in the case of the G11CD/CB an NVIDIA GTX 745 up to a 980 Ti while the G20CB ranges from a GT740 to a TITAN X.

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The G11 is a full sized desktop, 176x440x442mm (6.9x17.3x17.4") and if you choose the CB model you will be able to have an H170 motherboard, a GTX 980Ti and up to a 512GB M.2 SSD.  The CD model does not support those features and is built on an H110 motherboard.  Both models off a choice between a DVD or Blu-Ray optical drive.

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The ROG G20 offers more power in a slightly smaller case, 104x340x358mm (4.1x13.4x14.1") which is achieved by using an external power supply and dropping the optical drive altogether.

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ASUS has managed to offer a vertically mounted TITAN X in this form factor, which is no small achievement.  The ROG G20 also offers wireless connectivity in addition to a wired LAN Port, along with space for two internal drives. 

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All models share the familiar black and red ROG colour scheme, a nice mix of  USB 3.1, 3.0 and 2.0 ports and 7.1 audio.  There is no word on the pricing for either of these desktops, keep an eye out for updates as we learn more.

Source: ASUS

ASRock Scores a Fatal1ty With Its $200 Mini ITX Gaming Motherboard For Skylake CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | September 28, 2015 - 01:23 AM |
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, M.2, LGA 1151, Intel Skylake, asrock

ASRock (the Taiwan-based manufacturer currently owned by Pegatron) recently revealed its take on miniature Skylake motherboards with the Mini ITX form factor Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac.

The new SFF motherboard uses an 8-layer PCB with high quality Nichicon capacitors and the company’s Digi Power 8-phase power delivery feeding the LGA 1151 socket. The board has a red and black aesthetic with red VRM and Z170 chipset heatsinks, memory slots, and PCI-E slot adding a bit of flair to the otherwise all-black PCB and connectors. Very little space is wasted on this board save for the top edge. To the right of the CPU socket are two DDR4 memory slots (maximum 32GB at 4,000 MHz) and a single SATA Express connector. The Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac further features four SATA III 6 Gbps (in addition to the two ports used for SATA Express) ports.

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Expansion slots include a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, a M.2 slot with four lanes of PCI-E 3.0 mounted on the underside of the board, and a half-size Mini PCI-E slot that is used for the pre-installed 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 card

ASRock is using an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC, a 2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio, and Realtek ALC1150 audio codec on this board. Keeping in line with the “Fatal1ty” theme, the board supports, using software, and adjustable USB polling rate on a certain rear port from 1 Hz up to 1,000 Hz with the default being 500 Hz.

On the back of the motherboard, it provides the following I/O options:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 5 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x USB 3.0 “Fatal1ty Mouse Port” (adjustable polling rate up to 1,000 Hz)
  • 2 x USB 3.1 (one Type-A and one Type-C)
  • Video outputs:
    • 2 x HDMI (4K@60Hz)
    • 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3 x Analog audio ports
  • 1 x Optical audio output

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming ITX/ac is available now for $185 at various online retailers (Amazon affiliate code – support PC Perspective when you shop at Amazon).

This board looks to be a solid base for a tiny gaming system (perhaps paired with the R9 Nano in a svelte living room friendly chassis even without going in for the Fatal1ty gamer-centric branding, if that's your thing. I am expecting this board to be priced competitively with or to come in slightly less than the Asus Mini ITX Z170 motherboard I wrote about yesterday. The audio and overclocking potential, at least in theory and bare specifications, appear to be a bit cut back on this board in comparison, but in exchange for that it's (hopefully slightly cheaper while still giving you most of the essentials. We'll have to wait for actual reviews where they are both put to the test to see for certain though!

For those curious, check out the manufacturer's page with photos and specifications as well as our previous coverage of the board from CES before we had the details on pricing and confirmation of 4K@60Hz HDMI and the Ultra M.2 slot support (and the user discussions).

Source: ASRock

Gigabyte's Z170X Gaming 7, affordable luxury with a nice clean cut look

Subject: Motherboards | September 25, 2015 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z170X Gaming 7, Z170, LGA 1151, opamp

Gaze upon the empty space surrounding the Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7's LGA 1151 socket, enough to fit brand stamps and a huge CPU cooler.  The only thing impinging on it is the second M.2 slot, if you were so inclined to use it instead of leaving PCIe lanes free for the three PCIe 3.0 16x slots or the three SEx ports.  There are five fan headers onboard including one designed for use with a water pump.  It also comes with an Intel SSD 750 connector, perhaps you can afford one as this board is not as expensive as many Z170 models on the market.  Check out the performance and features, including a KillerNIC and Creative Sound Core 3D with OPAMP at [H]ard|OCP.

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"GIGABYTE's G1 series represents the pinnacle of GIGABYTE's engineering prowess and is targeted squarely at the gamer and overclocking enthusiasts alike. To that end the Z170X Gaming 7 offers almost everything a gamer could want and more. The G1 series gets a new look and evolves in some unexpected ways."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Announces H170, B150, H110 and Q170 Motherboard Series

Subject: Motherboards | September 1, 2015 - 09:00 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, motherboard, LGA 1151, Intel Q170, Intel H170, Intel H110, Intel B150, asus

ASUS has announced a number of new motherboards today, all of which feature new Intel chipsets for LGA 1151 processors.

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We've seen quite a few Z170 motherboards show up on the market in the past month, and now prepare for the onslaught of the alphabet soup of variations. In addition to Z170 you will now be seeing H170, B150, H110, and Q170 (and who knows what else might manifest itself?). Fortunately, ASUS has announced boards with all of these new chipsets so you can find one precisely tuned to your build's needs - since we don't all need overclocking or multi-GPU support after all.

The boards will be segmented into a couple of classes, Signature and Pro Gaming. As ASUS describes:

  • ASUS Signature: H170, B150, H110 and Q170 chipsets in ATX, mATX and mITX, with 5X Protection II, USB Type-C, and LED-illuminated audio
  • ASUS Pro Gaming: High-value H170 and B150 boards with gaming-optimized audio and networking, USB 3.1 and M.2 connectivity, and smart DIY features

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Taking a look at the Signature series first, the H170-PRO, H170M-PLUS, and Q170M-C motherboards all require DDR4 memory, each supporting up to 64 GB 2133 MHz DDR4 RAM with 4 DIMM slots. The H170I-PLUS D3, on the other hand, makes use of the existing DDR3 standard for a less expensive upgrade path to Skylake, which natively supports both DDR3L (1.35V) and DDR4.

All four boards have Realtek ALC887 audio, and both “PLUS” boards offer Intel NICs with the Q170M-C sporting Intel vPro Gigabit LAN.

Moving down to the B150-PRO D3, B150M-PLUS D3, H110M-PLUS D3, and H110I-PLUS D3 we find a series of lower-cost boards that all make use of DDR3 memory, the same Realtek ALC887 audio, and Realtek Gigabit LAN. Both Intel B150 based boards also feature USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C along with standard USB 3.0 ports.

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Finally, we have the Pro Gaming tier, with the H170 PRO GAMING and B150 PRO GAMING D3. As you might have guessed the PRO GAMING D3 uses DDR3 memory, while the H170 version uses the new DDR4 standard. Both motherboards feature Intel NICs, Realtek ALC1150 audio, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C.

Specifics on pricing and exact availability have not been disclosed, but the boards will be available “soon”.

Source: ASUS

MSI Releases Intel Z170 Motherboards Featuring XPower Titanium

Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 09:32 PM |
Tagged: XPower Titanium, Skylake, msi, motherboards, LGA 1151, Intel Z170

We've heard news of Z170 motherboards from a couple of vendors today, but how many of them can claim a silver motherboard? If you guessed none you'd be correct - until this moment, that is.

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Feast your eyes on the all new MSI XPower Gaming Titanium motherboard, a silver ATX design featuring the new Intel Z170 chipset. While this board is obviously rather new it already has the distinction of holding the highest DDR4 overclock to date (a fact which seems not to have escaped MSI's attention).

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In addition to apparently overclocking memory rather well the XPower Titanium also features:

  • OC DASHBOARD: On-the-fly overclocking
  • Twin Turbo M.2 64Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready
  • GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Intel
  • Audio Boost 3, Nahimic Audio Enhancer
  • Game Boost: 8 levels of easy overclocking
  • GAMING Hotkey: Assign macros, launch your favorite games or do real-time overclocking using a single button
  • XSplit Gamecaster v2.5: 1 year free premium license
  • Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
  • MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots

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The name of the new motherboard might have something to do with the Military Class 5 titanium chokes, but there's no mistaking the look of this board which will provide a fresh option for new builds. Options like this keep rolling in, and it's going to be a very busy rest of the summer!

Source: MSI

ASUS Releases Z170 Signature Motherboards for Intel Skylake

Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: Z170-Deluxe, motherboards, LGA 1151, Intel Z170, deluxe, asus

We previously reported news of the new Maximus lineup for the Z170 platform, but ASUS had more to announce today.

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The new signature motherboard lineup (click here for the full comparison chart) includes new Z170 versions of the familiar models from previous chipsets, and they have specifically detailed quite a bit about their new high-end Z170-Deluxe model.

The Z170-Deluxe is crammed with proprietary goodies such as:

5-Way Optimization: "The unbeatable combination of automated overclocking, advanced fan controls, enhanced efficiency, digital power and per-app performance profiles"

 ASUS Pro Clock: "A dedicated base-clock (BCLK) generator designed for 6th-generation Intel processors that allows overclocked base clock frequencies up to 400MHz"

Water Pump Header: "Self-contained and custom water cooling systems now have a dedicated fan header to connect to that provides the required 1A of power for both DC- or PWM-controlled pumps"

Dual PCIe M.2 x4: "The Hyper M.2 x4 card supports a full range of M.2 lengths up to 22110, while providing flexibility to install M.2 drives away from heat-generating sources"

USB 3.1: "With both Type A and Type C USB 3.1 ports onboard, the Z170-Deluxe is capable of handling current...as well as up-and-coming devices"

Crystal Sound 3, Intel Ethernet & Turbo LAN: "Pairing best-in-class integrated audio with low-latency networking on both hardware and software fronts"

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And the Deluxe also features advanced cooling capability, with onboard headers individually controllable by assigment to different temp diodes on the motherboard. (The board also supports the awesome-looking "ASUS Fan Extension card" which I feel strangely compelled to purchase - depending on price of course).

Lastly, what modern motherboard would be complete without full RGB lighting? If you said "no motherboard is complete without that!" then you won't be disappointed. The Z170-Deluxe, like the Maximus series, contains just this kind of lighting:

"All the Z170 Signature Series motherboards have a 256-color LED that lets users customize the lighting of their builds. This LED can also be set to reflect the CPU temperature or pulse to the beat of the music playing through the system."

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The Z170-Deluxe and the rest of the Signature motherboards are said to be available immediately, so keep checking your favorite outlets as they are gradually appearing for sale.

Source: ASUS