Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: AMD

AM4 Edging Closer to Retail

Many of us were thinking that one of the bigger stories around CES would be the unveiling of a goodly chunk of AM4 motherboards.  AM4 has been around for about half a year now, but only in system integrator builds (such as HP).  These have all been based around Bristol Ridge APU (essentially an updated Carrizo APU).  These SOCs are not exactly barn burners, but they provide a solid foundation for a low-cost build.  The APUs features 2 modules/4 cores, a GCN based GPU, and limited southbridge I/O functionality.

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During all this time the motherboards available from these OEMs are very basic units not fit for retail.  Users simply could not go out and buy a Bristol Ridge APU and motherboard for themselves off of Newegg, Amazon, and elsewhere.  Now after much speculation we finally got to see the first AM4 retail style boards unveiled at this year’s CES.  AMD showed off around 16 boards based on previously unseen B350 and X370 chipsets.

AMD has had a pretty limited number of chipsets that they have introduced over the years.  Their FM2+ offerings spanned the A series of chipsets, but they added very little in terms of functionality as compared to the 900 series that populate the AM3+ world.  The latest offering from AMD was the A88x which was released in September 2013.  At one time there was supposed to be a 1000 series of chipsets for AM3+, but those were cancelled and we have had the 900 series (which are identical to the previous 800 series) since 2011.  This has been a pretty stagnant area for AMD and their partners.  3rd party chips have helped shore up the feature divide between AMD and Intel’s regular release of new chipsets and technologies attached to them.

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There are three primary chipsets being released as well as two physical layer chips that allow the use of the onboard southbridge on Ryzen and Bristol Ridge.  The X370 for the enthusiast market, the B350 for the mainstream, and then the budget A320.  The two chipset options for utilizing the SOC’s southbridge functionality are the X300 and A/B300.

Before we jump into the chipsets we should take a look at what kind of functionality Ryzen and Bristol Ridge have that can be leveraged by motherboard manufacturers.  Bristol Ridge is a true SOC in that it contains the GPU, CPU, and southbridge functionality to stand alone.  Ryzen is different in that it does not have the GPU portion so it still requires a standalone graphics card to work.  Bristol Ridge is based off of the older Carrizo design and does not feature the flexibility in its I/O connections that Ryzen does.

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Bristol Ridge features up to 8 lanes of PCI-E 3.0.  The I/O on it includes 2 native SATA6G ports as well as the ability to either utilize two more PCI-e lanes or have them as x2 NVME.  That is about as flexible as it gets.  It also natively supports four USB 3.1 gen 1 ports.  For a chip that was designed to be a mobile focused SoC it makes sense that it will not max out PCI-E lanes or SATA ports.  It still is enough to satisfy most mobile and SFF builds.

Click here to read more about AMD's AM4 platform!

CES 2017: EVGA Announces a Trio of Intel Z270 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | January 6, 2017 - 05:24 PM |
Tagged: stinger, motherboard, mini-itx, kaby lake, intel z270, Intel Optane, Intel, FTW K, eatx, Classified K, CES 2017, CES, atx

EVGA has introduced three new motherboards based on the new Intel Z270 chipset, with new versions of their Classified K, FTW K, and Stinger designs.

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We'll start with the Z270 Classified K, an EATX form-factor board with all of the storage support bases covered (M.2, U.2, and Intel Optane Memory ready), Killer E2500 and Intel i219 NICs, Creative Sound Core3D audio, along with "a newly-designed VRM and hardware design built for cutting-edge performance and overclockability".

EVGA Z270 Classified K features:

  • Highly-Efficient 13 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Triple BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Intel Thunderbolt Support
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor
  • 300% Increase in CPU Gold Content

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Next there is Z270 FTW K, a standard ATX form-factor option that offers the same storage flexibility as the larger Classified K including Intel Optane Memory support, Killer E2400 and Intel i219 NICs, and 11-Phase Digital VRM power delivery (among other things).

EVGA Z270 FTW K features:

  • Highly-Efficient 11 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor
  • 150% Increase in CPU Gold Content

EVGA_stinger.jpg

Finally, there is the mini-ITX Z270 Stinger, which packs a surprising number of features into a 6.7-inch square, including 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi, an Intel i219 NIC, M.2, U.2, and Intel Optane support:

  • Highly-Efficient 6 Phase VRM
  • Onboard Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • 150% Increase in CPU Gold Content

Pricing and availablity information is not yet available.

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!

Source: EVGA

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).

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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

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.

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“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.”

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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

MSI Announces the X99A TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2016 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: X99A TOMAHAWK, msi, motherboard, Intel X99, gaming, atx, armor

MSI has announced their newest X99 motherboard, the X99A TOMAHAWK, a premium design with a stealthy black and gray color scheme, and boasting several new features according to MSI.

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"The X99A TOMAHAWK has been designed from the ground up as completely new X99 GAMING model. It comes packed with several new and unique MSI features and a fully armored IO and audio cover, harnessing optimized gaming audio and industries’ highest quality components, providing gamers with best-in-class features and protection.

Besides its stunning looks, the cover labeled with TOMAHAWK also protects against Electro Magnetic Interference and ensures pure performance and the best audio signal for your gaming rig. Heavy plated heatsinks with MSI’s unique styling, make sure your system can handle anything when and runs cool when racking up frags and climbing the leaderboards when gaming for longer periods of time."

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Here's the rundown of features for the X99A TOMAHAWK, which include dual Intel NICs and USB 3.1 Gen2 support (full specs and more info available on the product page):

  • Supports New Intel® Core™ i7 processors Extreme Edition in LGA 2011-3 socket
  • Supports Quad Channel DDR4-3333+(OC) Memory
  • DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • Support lntel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0.
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 2X FASTER: USB 3.1 Gen2 offers performance twice as fast as a regular USB 3.0 connection
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 32Gb/s + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A+C + SATA 6Gb/s
  • TWIN GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Intel®: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency
  • Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
  • 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 to show off your skills and achievements to the world
  • SteelSeries Certified: Optimized for SteelSeries gaming gear
  • 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. Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI™ & AMD Crossfire™
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high resolution scalable font
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience
  • USB Speed Up: for up to 30% performance improvement on USB devices

Pricing and availablity for the X99A TOMAHAWK has not been announced.

Source: MSI

Motherboard by Colorful Includes GTX 1070 Graphics

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | June 6, 2016 - 05:14 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, motherboard, gtx 1070, GP104, colorful

So here's an interesting bit of news from Colorful, via Videocardz and LG Nilsson. Remember when on-board graphics was a pejorative? Since the GPUs that are attached to many CPUs tend to sufficiently cover everything below a discrete graphics add-in board, there is not a whole lot of mind-share for discrete, on-board GPUs. You get the occasional desktop-style device with a mobile add-in module, but that's about it.

colorful-2016-gtx1070motherboard.jpg

Image Credit: LG Nilsson (via Videocardz)

In this case, it looks like Colorful, the Chinese PC hardware manufacturer, integrated the required components from a GTX 1070 directly onto a motherboard's PCB. We've heard rumors that GP104 would be available in mobile form-factors in a few months, so it's possible that this draws from some laptop initiatives, but it's interesting to see others consider it too. As Videocardz pointed out, this is not an ATX-standard board, so it's possible that Colorful is planning on getting into (or supporting someone getting into) small form factor desktops or is building hardware for all-in-one PCs.

So what's next? A vendor like ASUS making a VRWorks Audio sound card with integrated Pascal?

Source: VideoCardz

EVGA Winter 2016 Prize Pack and Giveaway!!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling | February 2, 2016 - 02:07 PM |
Tagged: Z170, PSU, power supply, motherboard, GTX 970, giveaway, ftw, evga, contest

For many of you reading this, the temperature outside has fallen to its deepest levels, making it hard to even bare the thought of going outdoors. What would help out a PC enthusiast and gamer in this situation? Some new hardware, delivered straight to your door, to install and assist in warming up your room, that's what!

PC Perspective has partnered up with EVGA to offer up three amazing prizes for our fans. They include a 750 G2 power supply (obviously with a 750 watt rating), a Z170 FTW motherboard and a GTX 970 SSC Gaming ACX 2.0+ graphics card. The total prize value is over $650 based on MSRPs!

All you have to do to enter is follow the easy steps in the form below. 

We want to thank EVGA for its support of PC Perspective in this contest and over the years. Here's to a great 2016 for everyone!

EVGA Winter 2016 Giveaway!!

 

MSI Releases Intel C236 Workstation Motherboards for Xeon E3-1200 v5

Subject: Motherboards | December 22, 2015 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: Xeon E3-1200 V5, workstation, msi, motherboard, Intel C236, C236M Workstation, C236A Workstation

MSI has launched a pair of workstation motherboards based on Intel's C236 chipset, with support for the new 6th-gen "Skylake" Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors.

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With the C236A Workstation (ATX) and C236M Workstation (Micro-ATX) boards potential system builders will have a lot of flexibility with enclosure size, and both motherboards support ECC DDR4.

"MSI C236 WORKSTATION motherboards are optimized for professional and industrial use. Advanced PCB design, engineered using industry leading standards and the use of the highest quality components passing the most extreme quality validation, the C236A WORKSTATION and C236M WORKSTATION motherboards guarantee the best in performance and reliability. Designed and optimized for NVIDIA® Quadro® and AMD® FirePro graphics cards multi-GPU setups, equipped with unique Steel Armor and optimal PCI Express slot placement ensure great efficiency and perfect stability for heavy duty computing."

c236a.jpg

The MSI C236A Workstation Motherboard

The specifications of the two motherboards differ in more ways than form-factor, with the biggest feature set coming from the ATX model (C236A):

  • Supports Intel Xeon E3 v5 series / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports ECC DDR4 Memory
  • Supports Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro professional graphics cards
  • DDR4 Boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C port, ASMedia ASM1142 Chipset)
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s
  • Multi-GPU with Steel Armor PCI-E slots (Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire)
  • Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
  • Click BIOS 5
  • Military Class 4
  • Overvoltage Protection
  • Windows 10 Ready

c236m.jpg

The C236M Workstation Motherboard

The Micro-ATX model (C236M) looks to be more of a budget option, with differences including lack of M.2 support, no USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, and Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit LAN instead of the larger board's Intel NIC. As this is mATX there are only two PCIe slots, which are configured x16/x4.

Pricing and availability were not immediately available.

Source: MSI

ASUS Introduces E3 Pro Gaming V5 Motherboard for Intel Xeon E3-1200 CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | December 19, 2015 - 11:09 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, Intel Xeon E3-1200, Intel C232, E3 Pro Gaming V5, ATX motherboard, asus

ASUS has introduced a new ATX gaming motherboard for Intel's 6th-generation Xeon E3-1200 server processors, offering premium desktop gaming features on a board built with Intel's C232 chipset.

e3_pro_gaming_v5_asus.jpg

The board is built with Intel's C232 chipset, needed to support the Xeon E3-1200 processors (not compatible with desktop chipsets). Intel's C232 product page lists a maximum of only 8 PCI Express lanes, so (as pointed out in the comments) the E3-1200 and desktop Skylake processors will provide 16 lanes to the first PCIe slot, with the C232 providing up to 8 more for the other slots. (Intel's C236 chipset, the other chipset supporting these new Skylake Xeon CPUs, supports 20 PCIe lanes.)

The E3 Pro Gaming V5 supports not only E3-1200 series Xeon processors, but 6th-generation Intel Core and Pentium/Celeron CPUs as well with its LGA1151 socket. Why exactly would a server CPU be an attractive option for a gaming rig anyway? For one thing the 4 core/8 thread Skylake desktop CPU (the i7-6700K) is difficult to find and currently $419.99 on Newegg (and out of stock). A Skylake Xeon E3-1230 v5 on the other hand (all models above E3-1220/1225 are 4 core/8 thread) starts at $274.99 (Newegg).

E3PGV5.jpg

Here are some of the specifications from ASUS:

  • CPU: Intel Socket 1151 for Xeon E3-1200 v5 and 6th genereation Core, Pentium and Celeron Processors 
  • Chipset: Intel C232
  • Memory: 4x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory, Dual-Channel Memory Architecture 
  • Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
  • Expansion Slots:
    • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 mode) 
    • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
    • 2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 
    • 2x PCI
  • Multi-GPU Support: Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
  • Storage: (Intel C232 chipset) 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Supports both SATA & PCIE SSD), 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports, support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise support
  • LAN: Intel I219LM, 1x Gigabit LAN Controller, GameFirst technology, Anti-surge LANGuard
  • Audio: SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio
  • USB Ports:
    • (ASMedia USB 3.1 controller) 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
    • (Intel C232 chipset) 6x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • Form Factor: ATX (12 inch x 9.6 inch)

Availability for the U.S.A. was not specified, but according to the press release (accessed via Vortez here) it will be offered in the UK with an MSRP of £118.10, or approximately $175 US.

Source: ASUS

MSI Announces KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE Motherboard with Free Game

Subject: Motherboards | December 1, 2015 - 11:02 AM |
Tagged: Z170, Rainbow Six Siege, msi, motherboard, KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, krait gaming, krait

MSI has announced a partnership with Ubisoft and introduced a specially designed motherboard, the Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, which includes a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Standard Edition).

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"With this new model you will receive a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege [Standard Edition]. But that’s not all, during this exclusive promotion MSI is also giving away a free copy of the game with the Z170A GAMING M5 motherboard. The promotion starts on Tuesday 1st of December, 2015."

The motherboard is based on the current Z170A KRAIT EDITION, and this new R6 SIEGE design offers the same gaming-oriented featues such as DDR4 Boost, Intel LAN, and high-end audio components, and both feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 support with Type-C and Type-A ports.

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No specifics on pricing/availability just yet.

Source: MSI