ASUS hits the Apex of their Rampage

Subject: Motherboards | January 2, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: ROG Rampage VI APEX, asus, LGA2066, Intel, x299

The new ASUS ROG Rampage VI APEX has a very recognizable shape, there are two bites out of the PCB.  As the name implies, this is a high end board with a high end cost; expect to pay north of $400 to pick this board up.  You do get some impressive abilities with this board, for instance you can run all four PCIe 3.0 slots at their full 16x bandwidth if you happen to have four GPUs.  There are four M.2 slots for your storage in addition to a half dozen SATA ports, with support for Optane and even VROC.  If you are looking for a big motherboard which can handle almost any task you need then pop by [H]ard|OCP for their full review.

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"ASUS’ purpose built overclocking motherboard stands out as one of the most interesting and provocative motherboards the Republic of Gamers brand has probably ever seen. However, we’ve seen motherboards that opt to specialize in one area lose out in others. We put the Rampage VI APEX to the test and see if its a predator."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #480 - NVIDIA TITAN V Compute, Crucial MX500, and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: podcast, x299, v-sync, titan v, sapphire, rx vega, optimus, nvidia, nitro+, MX500, msi, Intel, evga, crucial, CB-C55, AUKEY, ataribox, AT&T, apple, video

PC Perspective Podcast #480 - 12/21/17

Join us for discussion on NVIDIA TITAN V Compute, Crucial MX500, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Sebastion Peak, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:32:27

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 1:04:35 SAPPHIRE Releases NITRO+ Radeon RX Vega (64 & 56)
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:19:10 Ryan: HP Envy x360 Ryzen 5
    2. 1:24:35 Sebastian: Cooperstand Ecco-G
    3. 1:26:15 Allyn: IOT all of the tings! (16-relay Arduino)
  4. Closing/outro

Source:

Introducing the EVGA X299 DARK Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | December 18, 2017 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: evga, x299, X299 DARK, LGA2066, Intel Skylake-X, kaby lake x, e-atx

EVGA have released a new X299 board, called simply DARK, which offers a vast array of useful features while remaining light on the fluff.  It fully supports Intel Optane as well as sporting two M.2 Key-M slots, a single M.2 Key-E, a pair of U.2, USB 3.1 in both Type-A and Type-C as well as eight SATA ports for even more storage support; you will need a Skylake X to pull that off all at once however.

X299_E299_Dark_component_section_EN.png

The 16 phase voltage regulator modules are actively cooled at the top of the board, useful for those who watercool and install a minimum of case fans, the fan toward the bottom ensures your M.2 drives also stay cooled.   The quad channel memory can support up to 64GB of DDR4-3600 with a Skylake X processor, or 32GB of DDR4-4133 with a Kaby Lake X chip. 

In order to fit everything on this board EVGA opted for an E-ATX design, make sure you remember that when purchasing a case to install this in.  It may not have RGBitis, but as they say "you can't see pretty in the Dark."   You can see the full PR below the handy lane chart.

Capture.PNG

December 18th, 2017 – EVGA introduces you to the ultimate in raw performance for the next-gen Intel® Extreme lineup, the EVGA X299 Dark. The Dark is crafted from the ground up to be the performance apex with everything you need to make a record-breaking benching run or a 24/7 number cruncher, and nothing you don't – a board that is as reliable as it is fast. The EVGA X299 Dark has all of the current gen top-tier component support, including:

  • 2x M.2 Key-M slots / 1x M.2 Key-E slot
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • 2x U.2 Ports
  • USB 3.1 Type-A / Type-C
  • Up to 64GB of 4000MHz+ (OC) Quad-Channel RAM on Skylake-X CPUs
  • Up to 32GB of 4133MHz+ (OC) Dual-Channel RAM on Kaby Lake-X CPUs 
  • 2x Intel GbE LAN with teaming support
  • EVGA’s Full Featured GUI UEFI/ BIOS
  • Legacy LGA20XX Socket Backplate for custom CPU cooling solutions (optional)

There is much to be said about a beautifully-engineered motherboard designed to handle the highest loads or the most extreme conditions, let alone the rigors and abuse constantly demanded by the best overclockers in the world and still look good doing it. This was achieved, in part, by using:

  • 12-Layer PCB
  • Highly-Efficient 16-Phase PWM
  • 100% Solid State Capacitors
  • 300% Higher Gold Content in CPU Socket
  • External BCLK / Clock Generators
  • 8 SATA Ports – 6 from Intel PCH / 2 from ASMedia ASM1061
  • Triple BIOS Select Switch
  • PCIe Disable Switches
  • ProbeIT Connector
  • PS/2 Port
  • Creative Core3D Audio
  • Intel VROC Header

Although the X299 Dark does not feature RGB LED support, it politely reminds you that you can't see pretty in the Dark. This board is engineered for the ultra-enthusiast, including these features:

  • Active PCH & M.2 cooling
  • 4-Way SLI Support
  • Multi-Function POST Indicator
  • Visual Guide / Bench table
  • PCIe / DIMM Status LEDs
  • Right Angle Power / Fan / and USB3.0 Headers

The X299 Dark proves once again that until you have used it, you don’t know the power of the Dark side of the EVGA motherboard lineup.

For more details, please see here: https://www.evga.com/articles/01168/evga-x299-dark/

Source: EVGA

Podcast #472 - MAMR Tech, Office network upgrade, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2017 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: x299, Windows 10 VR, video, toshiba, raven ridge, qualcomm, podcast, MSI GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO, Mate 10, MAMR, krack, Huawei, BiCS, Asus ROG Strix XG27VQ, ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero, ASRock X299E-ITX/ac, amd, 5G

PC Perspective Podcast #472 - 10/19/17

Join us for discussion on Western Digital MAMR Tech, Office Network upgrade, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:20:07

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:10:15 Ryan: Tiki torch kits
  4. Closing/outro

 

Source:

Making HEDT great again

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2017 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: X399, x299, Threadripper, skylake-x, ryzen, Intel, amd

Over at [H]ard|OCP is a look at the current market and the resurgence of competition which we are currently enjoying.  As opposed to several pages of detailed benchmarks, the article focuses on the various feature sets that AMD and Intel currently offer and the effect it has on your current system choices.  They consider a wide variety of aspects, from the quality and quantity of PCIe lanes offered on X399 and X299 platforms through to the very different choices the companies have made when it comes to PCIe storage and RAID.  It has been quite a while since we have seen the competition between AMD and Intel heat up to these levels and it is wonderful to see. 

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"I’ve spent quite a bit of time with AMD’s Threadripper and X399 chipset and I thought I’d give our readers my impression of it and talk about the platform as well as giving interested consumers a general overview of the platform and what it has to offer. We compare it to Intel’s HEDT platform and give our take on this match up."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Intel Quad RAID-0 Optane Memory 32GB Bootable Without VROC Key!

Subject: Storage | October 4, 2017 - 09:24 PM |
Tagged: x299, VROC, skylake-x, RAID-0, Optane, Intel, bootable, boot

We've been playing around a bit with Intel VROC lately. This new tech lets you create a RAID of NVMe SSDs connected directly to newer Intel Skylake-X CPUs, without the assistance of any additional chipset or other RAID controlling hardware on the X299 platform. While the technology is not fully rolled out, we did manage to get it working and test a few different array types as a secondary volume. One of the pieces of conflicting info we had been trying to clear up was can you boot from a VROC array without the currently unobtanium VROC key...

VROC-booted-3.jpeg

Well, it seems that question has been answered with our own tinkering. While there was absolutely no indication in the BIOS that our Optane Memory quad RAID-0 was bootable (the array is configurable but does not appear in the bootable devices list), I'm sitting here looking at Windows installed directly to a VROC array!

Important relevant screenshots below:

VROC-booted-1-.png

VROC-booted-2.png

For the moment this will only work with Intel SSDs, but Intel's VROC FAQ states that 'selected third-party SSDs' will be supported, but is unclear if that includes bootability (future support changes would come as BIOS updates since they must be applied at the CPU level). We're still digging into VROC as well as AMD's RAID implementation. Much more to follow, so stay tuned!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Introduction

Introduction

We've been hearing about Intel's VROC (NVMe RAID) technology for a few months now. ASUS started slipping clues in with their X299 motherboard releases starting back in May. The idea was very exciting, as prior NVMe RAID implementations on Z170 and Z270 platforms were bottlenecked by the chipset's PCIe 3.0 x4 DMI link to the CPU, and they also had to trade away SATA ports for M.2 PCIe lanes in order to accomplish the feat. X99 motherboards supported SATA RAID and even sported four additional ports, but they were left out of NVMe bootable RAID altogether. It would be foolish of Intel to launch a successor to their higher end workstation-class platform without a feature available in two (soon to be three) generations of their consumer platform.

To get a grip on what VROC is all about, lets set up some context with a few slides:

slide-1.png

First, we have a slide laying out what the acronyms mean:

  • VROC = Virtual RAID on CPU
  • VMD = Volume Management Device

What's a VMD you say?

slide-2.png

...so the VMD is extra logic present on Intel Skylake-SP CPUs, which enables the processor to group up to 16 lanes of storage (4x4) into a single PCIe storage domain. There are three VMD controllers per CPU.

slide-3.png

VROC is the next logical step, and takes things a bit further. While boot support is restricted to within a single VMD, PCIe switches can be added downstream to create a bootable RAID possibly exceeding 4 SSDs. So long as the array need not be bootable, VROC enables spanning across multiple VMDs and even across CPUs!

Assembling the Missing Pieces

Unlike prior Intel storage technology launches, the VROC launch has been piecemeal at best and contradictory at worst. We initially heard that VROC would only support Intel SSDs, but Intel later published a FAQ that stated 'selected third-party SSDs' would also be supported. One thing they have remained steadfast on is the requirement for a hardware key to unlock RAID-1 and RAID-5 modes - a seemingly silly requirement given their consumer chipset supports bootable RAID-0,1,5 without any key requirement (and VROC only supports one additional SSD over Z170/Z270/Z370, which can boot from 3-drive arrays).

On the 'piecemeal' topic, we need three things for VROC to work:

  • BIOS support for enabling VMD Domains for select groups of PCIe lanes.
  • Hardware for connecting a group of NVMe SSDs to that group of PCIe lanes.
  • A driver for OS mounting and managing of the array.

Let's run down this list and see what is currently available:

BIOS support?

170927121509.png

Check. Hardware for connecting multiple drives to the configured set of lanes?

170927-165526.jpg

Check (960 PRO pic here). Note that the ASUS Hyper M.2 X16 Card will only work on motherboards supporting PCIe bifurcation, which allows the CPU to split PCIe lanes into subgroups without the need of a PLX chip. You can see two bifurcated modes in the above screenshot - one intended for VMD/VROC, while the other (data) selection enables bifurcation without enabling the VMD controller. This option presents the four SSDs to the OS without the need of any special driver.

With the above installed, and the slot configured for VROC in the BIOS, we are greeted by the expected disappointing result:

VROC-2.png

Now for that pesky driver. After a bit of digging around the dark corners of the internet:

VROC-11.png

Check! (well, that's what it looked like after I rapidly clicked my way through the array creation)

Don't even pretend like you won't read the rest of this review! (click here now!)

Podcast #462 - AMD Threadripper, Intel Rumors, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 10, 2017 - 10:45 AM |
Tagged: x299, X-Series, wraith max, video, Threadripper, Shogun, ryzen, podcast, msi, LaCie, Intel, corsair, coffee lake, bitfenix, amd, 850W

PC Perspective Podcast #462 - 08/10/17

Join us for AMD Threadripper, Intel Rumors, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison, Sebastian Peak

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:29:38

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:16:00 Ryan: Lenovo X1 Carbon
    2. 1:28:00 Allyn: Fire Extinguisher
  4. Closing/outro
 

Source:

Podcast #458 - Intel Xeons, ThunderBolt 3 GPU chassis, Affordable 10GbE, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2017 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: xeon, x299, video, thunderbolt 3, sapphire, RX470, rift, radeon, podcast, nand, Intel, HDK2, gigabyte, external gpu, asus, 10GbE

PC Perspective Podcast #458 - 07/13/17

Join us for Intel Xeon launch, external ThunderBolt3 GPUs, 10Gb Ethernet, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:38:08
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: ASUS XG-C100C lol
    2. Jeremy: Um, well I keep meaning to play Deserts of Kharak
  4. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Source:

G.Skill Readies DDR4-4400 Kits for Intel's X299 HEDT Platform

Subject: Memory | June 29, 2017 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: x299, trident z, samsung 8Gb, overclocking, G.Skill, ddr4

G.Skill recently announced new DDR4 memory kits for the Intel X299 HEDT platform. The new kits include a dual channel DDR4 4400 MHz kit for Kaby Lake X and a quad channel DDR4 4200 MHz kit for Skylake X. The dual channel kit is available under the company’s Trident Z RGB and Trident Z Black brands depending on whether you want RGB lighting or simple black heatspreaders. The quad channel DDR4-4200 kit is only available in non-RGB Trident Z modules.

Trident Z.png

According to G.Skill, all of the new memory kits use Samsung 8Gb dies and feature CAS latencies of 19-19-19-39. The quad channel 4200 MHz DDR4 modules need 1.40V to hit those specifications, and while it is not yet known what the higher clocked dual channel DDR4 4400 MHz kits need to hit CL19 timings I would presume they need a bit more.

GSkill Memory Kits.jpg

The new kits will be available in an 8GB x 2 (16GB) 4400 MHz kit and up to 64 GB (8GB x 8) 4200 MHz kits. Pricing has not yet been announced, but the new RAM kits should be available soon. While Intel processors do not get as much of a boost from increased memory speeds as AMD’s APUs and Ryzen CPUs do, there are still noticeable gains to be had with faster memory though gamers should still prioritize graphics cards and processors over memory when picking parts for a budget build.

Note that since these kits are using Samsung 8Gb ICs, they also have a good chance of working with Ryzen, but check with your motherboard manufacturer and reviews before ponying up the cash. 

 

Source: G.Skill