Subject: Motherboards | December 20, 2015 - 04:09 AM | Sebastian Peak
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.
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).
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.
Subject: Motherboards | December 1, 2015 - 04:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
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).
"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.
No specifics on pricing/availability just yet.
Subject: Motherboards | November 3, 2015 - 09:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170A SLI PLUS, X99 SLI PLUS, sli, msi, motherboard, crossfire, black PCB
MSI has announced their third PRO Series motherboard, the all-black Z170A SLI PLUS.
"MSI, leading in motherboard design, completes the PRO Series motherboard line-up with the launch of the all black Z170A SLI PLUS motherboard. Inheriting DNA from the critically acclaimed X99A SLI PLUS motherboard, the Z170A SLI PLUS is powerful, packed with features and styled with class."
While not lacking in stealthy looks from the black PCB to the matching RAM slots and heatsinks, the specifications of this new SLI PLUS board place it firmly into the premium category.
Features include Intel Gigabit LAN, MSI’s DDR4 Boost technology (which isolates memory traces on the board), Turbo M.2 (and U.2) with speeds up to 32 Gb/s with NVMe SSDs, and the Steel Armor PCI Express slots. And while SLI is right there in the title, there is also support for AMD Crossfire with those super-strong PCIe slots.
The board is fabricated with MSI’s Military Class 4 components including super ferrite chokes and all solid capacitors, and also offer a “EZ Debug” LED and overvoltage protection. In addition to support for the fastest internal storage standards (M.2, U.2, and SATA Express), the Z170A SLI PLUS offers full USB 3.1 Gen2 support for transfers up to 10 Gb/s for compatible devices.
- Supports 6th Gen Intel Core / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
- Supports DDR4-3600 Memory (OC)
- DDR4 Boost
- USB 3.1 Gen2
- Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C + SATA 6Gb/s
- Steel Armor PCI-E slots; Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire
- OC Genie 4
- Click BIOS 5
- Audio Boost
- Military Class 4
- EZ Debug LED
- Overvoltage Protection
- 4K UHD Support
- Windows 10 Ready
Pricing and availability were not specified with this morning’s announcement.
Subject: Motherboards | October 29, 2015 - 03:01 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170X-Gaming GT, Z170X-Gaming 7, Z170X-Gaming G1, thunderbolt 3, motherboard, gigabyte, firmware
GIGABYTE has announced support for Intel Thunderbolt 3 for three existing Z170 motherboards after receiving certification from Intel.
The motherboards include the GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming G1, GA-Z170X-Gaming GT, and GA-Z170X-Gaming 7. How do you get Thunderbolt 3 if you own one of these boards? Simply update to the latest firmware.
“Users that wish to upgrade their motherboard can download an updated version of the firmware from GIGABYTE’s website. Once the user installs the updated firmware, Thunderbolt™ 3 support will be enabled on the motherboard.”
GIGABYTE has provided quick links to access the firmware update page for each motherboard:
Thunderbolt 3 on the motherboards is powered by Intel’s controller, and is available via USB Type-C connector on the motherboards to provide bandwidth of up to 40 Gb/s, double that of Thunderbolt 2.
Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 10:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, SFF, ROG, motherboard, mini-itx, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, asus
ASUS has announced their latest mini-ITX offering in the Republic of Gamers series, and the Maximus VIII Impact motherboard packs an outrageous number of features into one formidable little 6.7-inch square. In fact, short of the second PCIe slot afforded the larger mATX form-factor, the newest Impact board looks to be every bit as powerful as the recently released Maximus VIII Gene motherboard.
"To push performance even further, Maximus VIII Impact has a full-scale voltage-regulator module (VRM) dubbed Impact Power III vertically-mounted onto the tiny board, allowing you full access to digital power management for ultra-precise and stable overclocks with your processor and memory. ROG has also managed to squeeze in 5-Way Optimization auto-tuning and Pro Clock technology so you can get the most out of your 6th Gen. Intel processor and overclocked DDR4 memory which goes up to 4133MHz or higher."
Let’s check out the specs on this new Impact board:
- CPU: LGA1151 socket for 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors
- Chipset: Intel Z170 Express
- Memory: Dual-channel memory architecture
- 2x DIMM, max. 32GB DDR4-4133(OC) non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- PCIe Slot: 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (supports x16 mode)
- Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics Processor
- HDMI 1.4b
- Intel InTru 3D/Quick Sync Video/Clear Video HD Technology/Insider
- Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac supports dual frequency band 2.4/5GHz; MU-MIMO
- Bluetooth: V4.1, 4.0LE
- USB: 2x USB 3.1 ports (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C) powered by Intel USB 3.1 controller; 6x USB 3.0 ports (2 at mid-board)
- Storage: 1x U.2 port (PCIe x4, 32Gb/s), 4x SATA 6Gb/s ports. Supports Intel Smart Response Technology
- LAN: Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN with Anti-surge LANGuard, ROG GameFirst Technology
- HD Audio: SupremeFX Impact III
- ROG SupremeFX 2015 High Definition Audio Codec
- ESS® ES9023P DAC with Hyperstream™ Architecture
- 2Vrms Headphone Amp into 32-600 Ohms
- SupremeFX Shielding Technology
- Optical S/PDIF output at back panel
- Sonic Studio II; Sonic Radar II; Sonic SenseAmp; DTS Connect
- Fan headers: 2x 4-pin onboard; 3x 4-pin on daughter card
- Form Factor: Mini-ITX, 6.7" x 6.7" (17 cm x 17 cm)
Update, 10/11/15: The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact motherboard is now available at Newegg.com for $248.99.
Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 10:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, ROG, overclocking, motherboard, Maximus VIII Extreme, lga1151, asus
While a little less flashy looking than some of the performance motherboards we’ve seen lately, opting for an understated gray/red color scheme over a black PCB, there is nothing subtle about the new Maximus VIII Extreme. From the specs it looks to be the most overbuilt gaming/overclocking motherboard possible for the Intel Z170 chipset, and that’s exactly what the ROG Extreme motherboards are made for.
Here are the (very lengthy) specifications:
- CPU: LGA1151 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron®
- CPU Cache Ratio Tuning
- Turbo Ratio OC
- BCLK OC (Pro-Clock)
- iGPU OC
- DRAM: Spec supported 4x DIMM, max. 64GB
- DDR4 3866(O.C.) non-ECC, un-buffered memory, XMP 2.0
- Extreme Overclocking
- OC Zone: Retry button, Safe Boot button, LN2 mode, Slow Mode switch, Probelt, PCIe x16 lane switch, DRAM channel jumper
- OC Gadget: OC Panel II
- OC Design: ASUS PRO Clock Technology
- Optimize System
- Power Design: Extreme Engine Digi+
- DRAM Layout: 2nd Generation T-Topology
- Performance Optimization
- Intel® Quick Sync Video
- Intel® Smart Response Technology
- USB 3.1 Boost
- HW Fast Boot support
- Network: Intel® I219-V NIC with LANGuard Anti-surge
- Network bandwidth management: GameFirst III + GameFirst IV (Beta)
- Intel® Rapid Start Technology
- Intel® Smart Connect Technology
- Expansion Slots:
- PCIex16 @ x16 - 1x Max. @Gen3
- PCIex16 @ x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3
- PCIex16 @ x8/x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3
- PCIex16 @ x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3 via PCH
- PCIex1 @ x1 - 2x Max. @Gen3
The included OC Panel II fits in an open 5.25” bay
- BIOS: CPU-Free Update/USB BIOS Flashback/UEFI Level Update/EZ Flash 3/BIOS Flash Protection/CrashFree BIOS 3
- BIOS feature:
- All fans including pump header are DC and PWM mode compatible
- Wizard for simple OC and RAID
- SSD Secure Erase
- My Favorite & Shortcut
- Boot Logo Size Adjustment
- F12 BIOS Print
- Power Solution:
- Full Digital 8 Phase CPU Power Design
- 4 Phase for iGPU
- 2 Phase Digital DRAM Power Design with ASUS DRAM Power Utility
- System Agent Power: 1 Phase for VCCSA
- Extreme Engine Digi+
- Dual PWM Controllers, 1 for Vcore, 1 for VGT
- 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
- MicroFine Alloy Chokes
- OptiMOS™ MOSFET
- Real-time adjustment: ASUS DIGI+ Power Control Utility
- Anti-Surge Protection
- Mass Storage:
- 1x M.2 socket 3 with M Key; Supporting form factor 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110, PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA mode, PCIe RAID
- 1x U.2 connector (sharing PCIe with M.2)
- 2x SATA Express via PCH (SATA-E 1 share SATA with M.2)
- 8x SATA 6Gbps (2 via PCH native; 4 via SATA-E; 2 via ASM1061)
- RAID: RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 via iRST 14
- USB Support:
- 4x 3.1 (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C via Intel Alpine Ridge; 2 Type-A via Asmedia USB 3.1 controller)
- 4x USB 3.0 (4 rear, 4 mid) via PCH
- 6x USB 2.0 - 6 mid via PCH, two shared with ROG extension (ROG_EXT) port
- Bundled Software
- AI Suite 3 (Real-Time OC); ROG GameFirst III + GameFirst IV (Beta); ROG Keybot II; RAMCache; ROG RAMDisk; USB 3.1 Boost; ROG CPU-Z; ROG MemTweakIt; Lighting Control
Pricing and availability were not immediately available.
Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2015 - 04:16 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170X-UD5 TH, USB 3 Type-C, thunderbolt 3, motherboard, gigabyte
Intel announced Thunderbolt 3 at Computex back in June, and now the technology comes to the desktop enthusiast market with the first Thunderbolt 3 certified motherboard, Gigabyte's Z170X-UD5 TH.
"Powered by Intel’s own Thunderbolt controller the new Thunderbolt 3 protocol, which is available over two USB Type-C connectors on the back I/O of the GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH, brings an unprecedented single-wire bandwidth of up to 40 Gb/s -- twice more than the previous generation of Thunderbolt! This incredible increase in bandwidth is also accompanied with support for different protocols such as DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.1, which is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, opening up a world of new possibilities."
Supporting dual 4K/60Hz displays (or one 5K display), the Thunderbolt 3 over USB Type-C offers Power Delivery 2.0 for up to 36W, and you will be able to daisy-chain up to 12 devices given the dual USB Type-C ports.
The Z170X-UD5 TH also features HDMI 2.0 output for the Intel processor graphics, support for PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 and SATA Express storage, and 2-Way SLI or 3-Way CrossFire multi-GPU support.
Some more of the featured specs from Gigabyte include:
- Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB Type-C at speeds up to 40 Gbps
- Intel USB 3.1 with USB Type-C support Power Delivery 2.0 for up to 36W
- 3-Way Graphics Support with Exclusive Ultra Durable Metal Shielding over the PCIe Slots
- PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 Connector with up to 32Gb/s Data Transfer (PCIe & SATA SSD support)
- 3 SATA Express Connectors for up to 16Gb/s Data Transfer
- HDMI 2.0 for 4K@60Hz and 21:9 aspect ratio provide the finest viewing experience
- 115dB SNR HD Audio with Built-in Rear Audio Amplifier
- High Quality Audio Capacitors and Audio Noise Guard with LED Trace Path Lighting
- Intel GbE LAN with cFosSpeed Internet Accelerator Software
- Gold Plating for CPU Socket, Memory DIMMs with 2X Copper PCB
Pricing and availability for the Z170X-UD5 TH are not yet available.
Subject: Motherboards | September 2, 2015 - 01:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
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.
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
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.
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”.
Subject: Motherboards | August 27, 2015 - 07:41 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170i Gaming Pro AC, Z170, msi, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel Skylake
MSI has announced a new mini-ITX motherboard for Intel's latest chipset, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC.
Mini-ITX boards have been hard to come by for Skylake thus far, with very few models and limited availability in the first month (though not quite as elusive as the i7-6700K). With this new gaming-oriented board MSI offers another option, and it looks pretty impressive with 5-phase power delivery, 802.11ac wireless, an Intel onboard NIC, and M.2 support from a slot on the back of the PCB.
Pricing isn't immediately available, but the existing Mini-ITX Z170 motherboards (EVGA and ASRock each have one) have been selling for $199 so I'd expect something in that vicinity.
Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2015 - 01:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: X99A GODLIKE GAMING, RGB, msi, motherboard, Intel X99, gaming, computex 2015, computex
In the spirit of being un-subtle (and writing things in all-caps) MSI has introduced its new ultra high-end X99 platform motherboard, the X99A GODLIKE GAMING.
MSI says the X99A GODLIKE GAMING is the “world’s first RGB LED motherboard, supporting more than 2000 colors and many style presets such as breathing, flashing and waving”. Flashing and waving? Two things my motherboard has always needed. And breathing? Well, we all have to do that.
In all seriousness however (that name notwithstanding) the X99A GODLIKE GAMING looks like a really interesting product for a gaming market permeated by RGB-adorned peripherals and enclosures.
“The X99A GODLIKE GAMING employs the latest Audio Boost 3 PRO technology to deliver crystal clear sound quality and lossless audio compression. For efficient data transfer, Turbo M.2, SATA Express and USB 3.1 are supported. The X99A GODLIKE GAMING also adopts the latest Killer DoubleShot-X3 PRO. Smart teaming with two Killer Ethernet chips and Killer 1535 Wi-Fi module, X99A GODLIKE GAMING can provide up to 2.867Gbps of network bandwidth for hardcore gamers. The Mystic Light, another special feature, lets users easily control the LED light effects with the MSI Gaming APP on OS and the Mystic Light APP on Android mobile devices.”
No details yet on pricing or availability for this “god-like” motherboard just yet.