GIGABYTE Announces Gemini Lake Motherboards with Intel Pentium Silver Processors

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | January 19, 2018 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, pentium, motherboard, mini ITX, Intel Pentium Silver, Intel, integrated CPU, gigabyte, gemini lake, fanless, embedded, celeron

GIGABYTE has announced motherboards for the new Gemini Lake platform featuring built-in Intel Pentium Silver and Intel Celeron processors. These fanless J/N series motherboards also offer the company's trademark "Ultra Durable" components and customizable performance settings.

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As to the Gemini Lake platform, here are some of the details as reported by CNXSoft at last month's CPU launch:

"The models include two Pentium Silver quad core processor with N5000 for mobile, J5005 for desktop, and four Celeron dual/quad core processors with N4000 & N4100 for mobile, and Celeron J4005 & J4105 for desktop.

All processors share the same 4MB cache which will help with performance improvement, and dual channel DDR4-2400, LPDDR4-2400 memory. Pentium processors come with Intel UHD Graphics 605 clocked up to 750/800 MHz, and Celeron processors are instead equipped with UHD Graphics 600 up to 650/750 MHz which the exactly frequency depending on model."

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Image credit: CNXSoft

From GIGABYTE:

"[our] newest J/N series motherboards utilize a fanless cooling solution and the built-in Intel Gemini Lake processors make them perfect for compact, mainstream builds. The motherboards support HDMI 2.0 4K at 21:9 resolution for high definition video quality. Integrated PCIe Gen2 x2 M.2 slots supporting high speed NVMe SSD allows for fast data transfer speeds. The board's native Intel WIFI via the M.2 Connector along with an independently sold Intel CNVi wireless networking solution can make way for impressive wireless connectivity exceeding 1 gigabit per second, traditionally found in wired connections. Additionally, its support for M.2 SATA SSD, UDIMM DDR4 modules rated for 2400MHz, and noise free configurations makes it a perfect option for school, business, and home usage."

Pricing and availability were not specified in the press release (full PR after the break).

Source: GIGABYTE

MSI motherboards BIOS versions with updated security microcode

Subject: Motherboards | January 17, 2018 - 09:56 PM |
Tagged: msi, spectre, meltdown, bios, update, security

MSI have released updated BIOS versions for their Z370 motherboards to protect against Meltdown and Spectre which you can grab here.

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These patches are live now, with new BIOS versions in the works for the renaming series, including all X299, 200, 100-series and X99 series including the various X, H and B sub-series motherboards.  The list is quite impressive, follow that link to see if your board will be getting an update in the near future.  The page lists the version number of the upcoming BIOS you will need, so keep an eye on this page and MSI for the official release.

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Source: MSI

CES 2018: Gigabyte Shows Off AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi

Subject: Motherboards | January 11, 2018 - 01:18 AM |
Tagged: Zen+, x470, ryzen, gigabyte, CES 2018, CES, aorus gaming 7, aorus, amd, AM4

Gigabyte had several motherboards on display at CES including an AMD AM4 motherboard with an unreleased AMD 400-series Promontory chipset! The stealthily displayed AORUS branded motherboard was spotted by Steven Burke over at Gamer’s Nexus who then jumped at the opportunity and started taking it apart! The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi appears to check all the boxes for a high-end gaming focused motherboard and should allow enthusiasts eyeing a Ryzen or Zen+ (Ryzen 2000 series) processor to push it as far as possible.

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We went hands-on with the AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi

The X470-based motherboard features a six layer PCB and improved CPU power delivery in the form of a 10+2 power phase (doubled 5-phase for CPU plus 2 phases for memory) with VRMs that are cooled by a hefty copper heat-pipe and aluminum fin stack. Gamer’s Nexus reports that Gigabyte is using hardware from International Rectifier in the form of IR 3599 drivers, IR 3553 MOSFETs, and a IR 35201 PWM controller. For those interested in how motherboard VRMs and power phases works, Buildzoid has several great introductory videos on Youtube that are worth watching.

Other overclocking friendly features include an external clock generator, diagnostic LED readout, power and clear CMOS buttons on the rear IO panel, dual BIOSes, and various hybrid fan headers for air and water cooling. Gigabyte reportedly rates the motherboard at 4,000+ MHz memory overclocking which is good news for Ryzen and Ryzen 2 users since memory speeds have a big impact on performance.

The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi feeds the AM4 socket with both an 8-pin and 4-pin ATX power connectors. To the right of the processor socket sits four DDR4 DIMM slots and the accent LED along the right edge. Expansion is handled by three PCI-E x16 slots (two are wired to the CPU for graphics), two PCI-E x1 slots, and two M.2 slots that sit under black head spreaders. There are six SATA ports in the right corner. While the heatsink is covering the audio chipset, whichever solution they are using (likely Realtek as it does not appear this is a Killer-equipped board) has high end WIMA and Nichicon caps and also supports USB DAC-UP technology.

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Rear I/O includes two antenna connectors for the built in Wi-Fi chipset, power and clear CMOS buttons, four USB 3.0 ports plus two more USB 3.0 ports that support USB DAC-UP, two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-C and one Type-A), a RJ45 connector (likely Gigabit Ethernet), and six audio outputs (one S/PDIF and five 3.5mm analog outputs).

It is interesting to finally see a 400-series motherboard and for Gigabyte to give AMD its Gaming 7 treatment. Also comforting is that while the new 400-series boards will offer slight connectivity benefits, users that bought into Summit Ridge and X370/B350/A320 boards aren’t missing out on too much and may actually get multiple CPUs out of one motherboard for a change. The 400-series chipsets allegedly enable a bit more bandwidth for devices hanging off of the chipset thanks to the upgrade from PCI-E 2.0 (5GT/s) to PCI-E 3.0. With this upgrade, a M.2 drive connected through the chipset would be able to hit its full speeds. While the chipset’s eight PCI-E 3.0 lanes could in theory support two nearly full speed M.2 NVMe drives, the PCI-E 3.0 x4 link between the chipset and processor would ultimately bottleneck things. At least a single drive can hit its full speeds though and bring Ryzen systems up to three total PCI-E M.2 drives running at full speed.

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Oh, and did I mention there is RGB? Yep, Gigabyte has hooked the X470 Gaming 7 WIFI up with RGB LEDs around the PCI-E x16 slots, DIMM slots, over the chipset, and under the accent overlay in the top right corner. All things considered, the RGB is pretty tame in this model, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on Gigabyte’s upcoming motherboard and on the 400-series motherboards in general? Are you ready for Pinnacle Ridge? 

CES 2018: NZXT Announces the N7 Z370, Its First Ever Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 9, 2018 - 10:00 AM |
Tagged: Z370, nzxt, motherboard, CES 2018, CES

Case and accessory maker NZXT is entering the PC components market with the announcement this week of its first ever motherboard. The NZXT N7 Z370 is based on Intel's Z370 chipset and is designed for both simplicity and clean looks.

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The board features a built-in digital fan controller, integrated RGB lighting channels, an all-metal cover available in either black or white, and an on-board noise sensor that can help calibrate fan speeds and cooling pumps for a quieter PC.

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CPU LGA socket 1151 for Intel 8th Generation Core i7/i5/i3
Chipset Intel Z370
Memory 4 x DIMM with 64GB Max
DDR4 up to 3866MHz (O.C.)
Video Out DisplayPort
HDMI
Multi-GPU NVIDIA 2-Way SLI
AMD 2-Way CrossFireX
Storage 1 x M.2 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe x4 & SATA modes)
1 x M.2 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe x4 mode only)
4 x SATA 6Gbs
Support for RAID 0/1/5/10
Intel Smart Response Technology
Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15
Intel Optane Memory Ready
Networking 1 x Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Realtek ALC1220 Codec with Nichicon Gold Capacitors
7.1 Channel High Definition Audio, 32-bit / 192KHz DAC
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
2 x PCIe 3.0 x4
2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Rear I/O 5 x USB 2.0
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
1 x HDMI 1.4b
1 x Clear CMOS Button
1 x RJ45
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
7.1 Channel Audio Ports (3.5mm)
Internal I/O 1 x 24-pin EATX
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V
1 x 4-pin CPU Fan
1 x 4-pin AIO Pump
1 x 4-pin Water Pump
6 x 4-pin System Fans (up to 5W per channel)
3 x USB 2.0 header
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 header
4 x SATA 6Gbps
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key (PCIe & SATA modes)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key (PCIe mode only)
2 x RGB LED connectors
1 x noise detection module
1 x font panel audio connector
1 x power button
1 x reset button
1 x ROM backup button
1 x dual BIOS switch
Accessories User's Manual
I/O Shield
4 x SATA data cables
1 x NZXT SLI Bridge
2 x LED light strips
2 x 500mm LED connection cable
2 x 300mm LED extension cable
Form Factor ATX (305mm x 244mm)

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The NZXT N7 Z370 motherboard will launch later this month in the US and Europe for $299.99.

Source: NZXT

Meet MSI's new Mini-ITX B350I PRO AC for tiny Ryzen

Subject: Motherboards | January 5, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: amd, mini-itx, msi, ryzen, B350I PRO AC, AM4

While it is not as impressive as it would be if this were a mini-ITX Threadripper board, building a motherboard that is over 50% socket may be asking a bit too much.  Instead the B350I PRO AC is designed for Socket AM4 Ryzen chips.

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The board is designed with 9-phase PWM design (6+2+1), which will ensure great stability along with an electrically isolated Realtek ALC887 codec and Steel Armour protecting that lone PCIe 16x slot.  Memory of up to 32GB of DDR4-3200+ is supported, important to get the most out of your Ryzen processor.  There are two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports on the back as well as HDMI out, so you could use this as an unobtrusive VR box with the right GPU installed; WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity will also come in hand for that.

Check out the full specifications here, while we await availability.

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Source: MSI

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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

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.

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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.

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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

Now that the 8700K is in stock occasionally, check out Gigabyte's Z370 offering

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2017 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming, Z370, Intel, gigabyte, coffee lake

The Z370 for Coffee Lake may look the same as a Z270 for Kaby Lake but unfortunately that is not the case and your Kaby CPU is not going to work.  For those who did not upgrade during the previous generation and have been patiently awaiting the availability of Coffee Lake CPUs, [H]ard|OCP's review of the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming is worth checking out.  The board can be had for around $170 and currently includes a free PCIe WiFi card, for that price there are a lot of extras to be had.  The board is also able to offer the possibility of a decent overclock as well!

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"Intel’s launched yet another chipset, so for better or worse that means new motherboards for Intel’s mainstream market. We look at GIGABYTE’s Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming to see if it’s worthy of a Coffee Lake CPU. And now that you can actually find the 8700K in stock, it is worth talking about."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Existing AM4 Motherboards Will Support Upcoming Raven Ridge Desktop APUs With BIOS Update

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 30, 2017 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: asus, AM4, ryzen, Vega, ryzen mobile, APU, raven ridge

ASUS recently made new BIOS updates available for several of its motherboards that suggest desktop Raven Ridge APUs are coming soon. The BIOS updates contain AGESA! V9 RavenPi-FPS-AM4 1.0.7.1 along with Raven Generic VBIOS to add support for the Zen-based Raven Ridge CPU cores and Vega-based graphics.

Desktop Raven Ridge APUs have been promised in AMD roadmaps for awhile now, but details are still scarce. These desktop parts have the same four CPU cores as Ryzen Mobile Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U, but will run with higher TDPs (up to 65W) and higher clockspeeds along with a much larger GPU with up to 11 CUs (704 Vega cores). As of this writing the rumors of a HBM-equipped APU is still just that, a rumor. The first desktop Raven Ridge parts are sure to use standard DDR4, however.

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Speculation over at [H] suggests that ASUS may have jumped the gun a bit on making the BIOS updates available by a few days which suggests that AMD is planning a December launch for the desktop parts (likely a soft launch though hopefully not as terribly long as Bristol Ridge!) and BIOS updates coming from other manufacturers at that time.

Guru3D has a list of links to the BIOS updates currently available from ASUS covering 13 of their motherboards including X370, B350, and A320 PRIME series motherboards and X370 and B350 ROG STRIX motherboards. Missing from the AMD AM4 lineup are the EX-A320M-GAMING, PRIME A320M-C and -C R2.0, and ROG CROSSHAIR VI Hero and Extreme boards.

Interestingly, desktop Raven Ridge is the second APU generation to work with the AM4 socket, and is is allegedly not the last. AMD has stated previously that it intends to support the AM4 socket for quite a while and their own roadmaps list support for at least two more Ryzen CPU generations and one more generation of APUs. Specifically, AMD plans to support Bristol Ridge, Raven Ridge, and Picasso (which is essentially the Zen+ APU generation) APUs along with Summit Ridge (Zen), Pinnacle Ridge (“12nm” Zen+), and Matisse (“7nm” Zen 2) CPUs on the same AM4 socket which is refreshing to see. Of course, AMD is introducing new chipsets (e.g. X400 series with Pinnacle Ridge) with each new generation, but it is nice to know that at least there is an upgrade path if you want it and don’t need whatever new I/O the new motherboards offer.

Source: Guru3d

The Intel version of the GAMING PRO CARBON AC

Subject: Motherboards | November 21, 2017 - 02:53 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z370, Intel, GAMING PRO CARBON AC

MSI have also released a Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC in addition to the AMD compatible X399 model we have seen reviewed recently.  The look is very similar but as there are not quite as many lanes available on the Z370 there are some differences.  There are only a pair of M.2 ports, however lane sharing is well thought out and if you install an NVMe drive you will not interfere with your SATA ports; The Tech Report offers more detail in their review.  There are also less USB ports, though MSI makes sure to include the important USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, in both Type-A and Type-C.  Drop by for all the details and performance results.

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"MSI's Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC offers fresh looks and plenty of RGB LEDs to go with Intel's latest CPUs. We poked and prodded this board under both stock and overclocked testing conditions to see how it handles a piping-hot Core i7-8700K in its socket."

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GIGABYTE's X399 DESIGNARE EX

Subject: Motherboards | October 30, 2017 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: X399, Threadripper, gigabyte, designare EX, amd

Gigabyte have updated their lineup of X399 Threadripper boards with the new Designare EX.  It sports a long list of features including dual Intel GbE LAN, Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, three M.2 slots, ALC1220 audio with 120dB SNR and a USB 3.1 Type-C port on the back as well as support for a second front port once cases start including them.

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Two of the M.2 slots lie between PCIe slots, with the third under the lit heatshield on the lower right of the board so do make sure to install them before the GPU.  The board is great for miners and gamers alike, the four top PCIe 3.0 slots can provide x16/x16/x8/x8 simultaneously thanks to Threadrippers huge count of PCIe lanes; the bottom most slot offers x4 speeds for an SSD. 

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You can read more about their Smart Fan 5 cooling, M.2 heatsinks, advanced power features and RGBs in the full press release.

Source: Gigabyte

The GIGABYTE Aorus Gaming 7; function over form

Subject: Motherboards | October 26, 2017 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, gigabyte, X399, aorus gaming 7

[H]ard|OCP took exception to some of the design choices on the Gaming 7, specifically the placement of an M.2 slot directly underneath the first PCIe slot and some of the data and power connectors are inconveniently placed.  On the other hand the performance of the board is top notch, the 1950X ran perfectly stable at 4GHz and as there are two headers for watercooling on separate sides of the motherboard you should be able to hit that yourself.  They have learned some interesting facts about the X399 chipset so even if you are not picking up this board it is worth reading through the whole article.

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"We review GIGABYTE’s X399 Aorus Gaming 7 and see how it stacks up in the world of HEDT motherboards. This motherboard is not priced all that high considering the amount of features it touts and certainly it is not priced high for the stability we were afforded while overclocking the Threadripper to 4GHz."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Announces ROG Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming Mini-ITX Motherboards for AMD Ryzen

Subject: Motherboards | October 20, 2017 - 12:25 AM |
Tagged: X370-I Gaming, strix, small form factor, SFF, ryzen, motherboard, mITX, mini-itx, gaming, B350-I Gaming, amd, AM4

While Intel users have long enjoyed the option of a premium ASUS ROG mini-ITX experience, AMD Ryzen owners are now on equal footing with the annoucement of a pair of mITX gaming boards with premium features. ASUS has apparently been working on these for a while now, and they think they will be worth the wait.

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"Mini-ITX boards are among the most difficult to produce. Their diminutive 6.7” x 6.7” dimensions leave little real estate for slots and ports, let alone the extra features that make ROG unique. We’re not willing to compromise your experience for a compact footprint, so it takes some time and creativity to make everything fit. But it’s worth the effort, because our new Strix X370-I Gaming and Strix B350-I Gaming motherboards for Socket AM4 raise the bar for small-form-factor Ryzen builds. They match the cutting-edge features of their full-sized siblings, including liquid-ready cooling and addressable RGB lighting, and they combine an M.2 SSD heatsink and amped-up audio on an innovative riser card."

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The motherboards both feature a 6-phase VRM design, which ASUS says is the same as their full-sized AM4 motherboards, with memory support of up to DDR4-3600. One-click overclocking is provided via the ASUS "5-Way Optimization technology", which can calibrate fan curves in addition to tuning CPU speeds. Speaking of fans, there are three PWM fan headers, one of which is configured by default for a liquid cooling pump.

An interesting design choice was made in the interest of space, as the sound card (S1220A codec) and an M.2 slot (PCIe Gen 3 x4) are part of a shared riser card:

M2_Audio.jpg

"The Republic of Gamers has a history of working around Mini-ITX limitations by building up with additional circuit boards. Our Maximus Impact series made room for upgraded audio with a dedicated riser, and the Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming go one step further with an M.2 Audio Combo card that contains both SupremeFX sound and M.2 storage. This small PCB is sandwiched between isolated heatsinks for an M.2 drive and the platform chipset, ensuring effective cooling without taking up too much space."

ASUS Aura Sync RGB lighting effects are on board, as is an 802.11ac Wi-Fi solution with 2x2 antenna and integrated Bluetooth. Connectivity includes a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, Gigabit LAN, and multi-channel audio on the rear panel, with 4x SATA ports, dual M.2 slots (one on the rear as well as the riser card), and headers for both USB 3.0 and 2.0 onboard.

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The ASUS ROG Strix X370-I and B350-I Gaming motherboards will "be available starting late-October in the United States with pricing to be released in the coming weeks" according to ASUS.

Source: ASUS

The World's Only X299 Mini-ITX Motherboard: ASRock X299E-ITX/ac

Subject: Motherboards | October 17, 2017 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged: X299E-ITX ac, m-ITX, Intel, cute, asrock

ASRock have done something very impressive, created a mini-ITX X299 motherboard.

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The tight confines of this board have not stopped them from including numerous features.  There are dual Intel NICs in addition to dual band 2.4/5GHz 802.11ac WiFi connectivity on this board.  USB3.1 Gen2 Type A and C connectors are found on the back along with four USB 3.1 Gen 1; the audio outputs include optical, the Realtek ALC1220 behind them supports 7.1 audio. 

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ASRock fit three M.2 slots on this board, one on the front running along the back panel that supports both PCIe and SATA and another two PCIe 3.0 4x hidden on the back.  There are an additional six SATA 6Gb/s ports for more traditional storage. The motherboard supports quad-channel memory of up to 64GB of DDR4-4000, with DIMM slots above and below the CPU socket.  The single PCIe 3.0 16x slot is at the very bottom, with strong reinforcement to hold up a GPU that will outweigh the rest of the system.

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You could choose to try to cool this with a standard cooler, but that is not your only choice.  ASRock worked with Bitspower to create a custom waterblock as you can see above.  That will ensure a perfect fit as well as proper cooling. 

Drop by for the full specs here and keep your eye out for availability and pricing on NewEgg.

 

Source: ASRock

Gourmet Coffee, Gigabyte's Z370 Aorus Gaming 7

Subject: Motherboards | October 13, 2017 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: gigabye, Z370, aorus gaming 7, coffee lake, Intel

Gigabyte's Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 is the most feature filled example of this chipset that The Tech Report have yet reviewed and at $250 it costs significantly less than the flagship models of previous generations.  There are three each of PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, PCIe 3.0 x1 slots and M.2 ports as well as six SATA ports; a beautiful array of options which utilize more PCIe lanes than are available on this platform so you will need to do some planning before purchasing your storage devices.  Audio is handled by Realtec's S1220 with help from an ESS Sabre 9018Q2C DAC installed in way which isolates it from interference from other components.  The back panel features HDMI 1.4, DP 1.2 and a USB 3.1 Type C port as well as numerous other earlier generation USB ports and even an old PS/2 for those that need it.  The list of features and high end components present on this board is much longer than this, check out the full review to reveal them all.

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"Gigabyte's Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard offers the highest-end power-delivery circuitry, the fanciest onboard audio, and the blingiest RGB LED lighting available in the company's Z370 lineup so far. We put this board to the test to see how high it lets our Core i7-8700K fly."

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MSI Announces X399 SLI PLUS Motherboard for AMD Threadripper

Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2017 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: msi, amd, Threadripper, X399, X399 SLI Plus, motherboard, workstation

MSI has announced a new X399 workstation motherboard for AMD Threadripper processors with the X399 SLI PLUS, a performance-oriented option with a full compliment of the company's premium motherboard features.

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"Perfect for content creators who are looking for a great performer with plenty of connectivity options, MSI’s new X399 SLI PLUS is an optimized workstation motherboard, built for designers. Featuring heavy plated heatsinks, Military Class V components and numerous unique and patented performance enhancing features, this motherboard is the best choice for professionals looking for speed and stability."

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MSI's feature list includes:

  • Supports AMD RYZEN THREADRIPPER Series Processors
  • Support 8 DIMMs, Quad Channel DDR4 3600+ (OC)
  • DDR4 Boost: Advanced technology provided by MSI OC lab to ensure maximum compatibility for overclocking performance.
  • AUDIO BOOST 4: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive audio experience
  • Mystic Light and Mystic Light Sync: Personalize your PC with 16.8 million colors / 17 effects controlled in one click with the Mystic Light APP or a mobile device.
  • Professional IO cover & heatsink: Stunning looks, protecting the I/O ports
  • EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • Lightning Fast Game experience: 3 x Turbo M.2 , 1 x M.2 Shield, and Lightning USB 3.1 Gen2
  • Lightning USB: Double bandwidth, supports USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A + Type C
  • PCI-E Steel Armor: Protecting VGA cards against bending and EMI
  • X-Boost: Great tool to boost your USB & Storage performance
  • Double ESD Protection: Double layer grounding motherboard mounting holes
  • Military Class 6, Guard-Pro: Latest evolution in high quality components for best protection and efficiency
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning BIOS with high resolution scalable font, favorites and search function
  • VR Ready: Best virtual reality game experience without latency, reduces motion sickness

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The cost and actual release date were not provided by MSI, but it should be listed for sale soon at the usual places.

Source: MSI

Leaked Update Shows Intel Launching New 300-Series Chipsets In 2018

Subject: Motherboards | October 5, 2017 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: Z390, Z370, Q370, Q360, leaks, Intel, H370, H310, coffee lake, chipsets, B360

Thanks to a leaked Intel Launch Update document we now know that Intel is planning to launch a slew of new 300-series chipsets early next year. Reportedly vetted by Gamer's Nexus, the leaked roadmap mentions H310, H370, and B360 on the consumer side, Q370 and Q360 for the business market. There is also a tease of a Z390 chipset that is set to replace Z370 as the high-end motherboard platform of choice.

Intel B360 H310 H370 chipsets in Q1 2018.jpg

As if things were not already confusing enough in the _370 chipset space (with Intel's Z370 and AMD's X370), Intel plans to add a H370 chipset to the mix which should be a bit cheaper and have less overclocking, PCI-E slots, and M.2 ports. Intel has also had to tweak the name for its B series chipset to B360 as well so as to not confuse itself with AMD's B350 chipset offering. Finally, there will be a H310 chipset for budget options. These three consumer chipsets are slated for launch in Q1 2018.

For its business customers, Intel plans to launch Q370 and Q360 chipsets in Q2 2018.

Finally, Intel is rumored to launch a Z390 chipset sometime in the second half of next year (2H 2018). According to Gamer's Nexus, industry sources have indicated that Z370 is more of a "stop gap" solution that Intel used to quickly roll out its Coffee Lake processors. Z370 is intended to only support Coffee Lake and while engineering boards were able to support Kaby Lake-R and Coffee Lake CPUs, this functionality has been disabled in firmware. Z370 based motherboards reportedly have tweaked PCB trace optimizations and power delivery needed to support the new processors. Z390 meanwhile will be the successor to Z370 in 2018 and will offically support the entire range of consumer level Coffee Lake processors as well as rumored 8 core (16 thread) processors of undetermined architecture (maybe 14nm++ Coffee Lake but would be a rather big but not unheard of die at ~176mm^2 so rumors also speculate that these 8 core parts could be based on 10nm Ice Lake instead).

Beyond the existence of these chipsets, the ILU did not go into details on the features they would offer or things like price points for motherboards based on them, naturally. As usual you should take these types of leaks with a teaspoon of salt, but it is interesting that Intel may be stepping up their game in rolling out new products faster and moving more cores to the mainstream chips--finally!

Also read:

Meet EVGA's Z370 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | October 5, 2017 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: Z370, Intel, evga, coffee lake

EVGA offers a trio of boards to pour your Coffee into, the EVGA Z370 Classified K, Z370 FTW and an mATX Z370 Micro.  You can take a peek at the differences between the boards below, however there are quite a few things they all have in common.  The motherboard power connectors have been positioned to make it easier to work in confined spaces, on the mATX model they opted for a 90 degree angle with a cut out that should fit in even the tiniest of cases.  All will have at least a pair of Optane compatible M.2 ports, support for memory frequencies up to DDR4-4133MHz and perhaps even higher and reinforced PCIe and memory slots.

Take a look at the specifications below (click to zoom and enhance) as well as the highlighted features in the PR.

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October 5th, 2017 - Introducing the EVGA Z370 motherboards, based on Intel's Z370 Express Chipset and 8th Gen. CPUs. These motherboards are built to take mainstream performance to the next level...and beyond. This lineup includes not only the most commonly used ports, slots, and components, but also many surprises. All EVGA Z370 boards include cable cutouts to make tight fits and cabling a concern of the past. These boards also feature metal-reinforced PCIe and DIMM slots, 2-Way SLI Support, multiple RGB headers*, M.2 slots, Intel or Killer Gigabit NICs, and switchable dual-BIOS. Your ears will appreciate Realtek's upgraded 7.1 Channel audio or Creative's Sound Core 3D Audio for superior listening and gaming performance. No EVGA motherboard series would be complete without overclocking support: the Z370 Classified K and Micro are both designed with an 8-Phase VCore design and an external clock gen. to provide more power and stability to your everyday life. Make an EVGA Z370 motherboard part of your next PC and find out just how powerful your system can be - starting from the core.

Features
Intel 8th Generation Core i7/i5/i3 Coffee Lake-S Processors - Discover the power of a 6 Core/12 Thread processor for the first time on an Intel Z-Series motherboard!

Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready - Accelerate your PC with Intel’s latest solutions for blistering fast boot times and increased performance for gaming and everyday tasks.

Reinforced PCIe and DIMM slots - Use today's latest, greatest...and heaviest graphics cards and memory and still have Peace of Mind Gaming.

Dual BIOS chips on all EVGA Z370 motherboards - Easily switch between BIOS configurations to use a custom BIOS, troubleshoot a problem, or fix a failed BIOS update!
Optimized power connector layout for cable management - All EVGA Z370 motherboards feature a new layout for some power connectors to avoid compatibility issues with cases and tight spaces.

Killer DoubleShot™ Pro* - Killer DoubleShot™ Pro helps you maintain your network performance while gaming or streaming, so you won't miss any part of the action.

Integrated HDMI 2.0* - The EVGA Z370 Classified K features an HDMI 2.0 port to allow 4K gaming or streaming at 60fps with supported Intel HD Graphics.

External Clock Generator** - The EVGA Z370 Classified K and Micro feature an external clock generator to improve overclocking stability and increase your overall performance.

 

Source: EVGA

ASUS ROG Launches Maximus X and Strix Z370 Series

Subject: Motherboards | October 5, 2017 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: coffee lake, Z370, ASUS ROG, maximus x, strix z370

We don't have any Z370 reviews for you just yet but we do have announcements about the boards from the manufacturers.  ASUS will be releasing two main families initially, the first comprised of the Maximus X Apex, Maximus X Hero, Maximus X Code and Maximus X Formula.  The second family will feature the full sized Strix Z370-E, Z370-F Gaming and Z370-H Gaming along with the mATX Strix Z370-G Gaming and Mini-ITX Strix Z370-I Gaming.

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All the boards, including the SFF models will have at least two NVMe SSD slots compatible with SSDs as well as Optane, Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers and some will even offer MU-MIMO support.  You can get a breakdown of the features specific to each motherboard over at ASUS, as well as take a peek at the PR below.

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Fremont, CA (October 5, 2017) — The new Intel® 8th Generation Core™ processors are the best desktop CPUs for gaming on the market. With up to six cores and 12 threads, these Coffee Lake chips also have huge potential for enthusiasts and power users who do more with their PCs. Their exceptional performance, unmatched versatility, and considerable overclocking potential are a natural fit for Republic of Gamers (ROG), so we’ve developed a diverse collection of Z370 gaming motherboards for a range of priorities and budgets.

Our latest lineup reinforces ROG’s role as both a breeding ground for innovative features and a proving ground where we test the absolute limits of performance. It includes standouts like the Maximus X Apex, a hardcore gaming and overclocking board designed to break performance records; the Maximus X Hero, which blends leading performance with premium extras; the Maximus X Code that redefines the performance essentials for gamers and enthusiasts; and the Maximus X Formula, which is brimming with cutting-edge features fit for showcase PCs.

While the Maximus series covers the higher end of the spectrum, the Strix family opens the Republic of Gamers to a wider audience. It provides everything you need in a gaming motherboard but excludes some of our more indulgent extras to hit affordable price points. Full-sized ATX options include closely matched contenders for the sweet spot, the Strix Z370-E and Z370-F Gaming, and an unexpected retro revival, the Strix Z370-H Gaming. Smaller form factors are served by the mATX Strix Z370-G Gaming and Mini-ITX Strix Z370-I Gaming.

Defined by gamers, powered by innovation, discover the all-new ROG Z370 lineup at ASUS ROG.

Setting the Benchmark for Records
Lots of motherboard makers claim the best performance, but we’ve got the results to prove it. Much of the credit goes to the Apex, an overclocking savant purpose-built for taking new CPUs to the ragged edge at sub-zero temperatures. Apex boards were introduced earlier this year with the Maximus IX series, and they’ve already claimed multiple world records and top scores with Intel’s Z270 and X299 platforms. Now, our internal overclocking team has continued that streak with the new Maximus X Apex, setting the highest 8th Generation Core i7-8700K frequency record by reaching 7.3GHz on all 6-cores and 12-threads. In addition, the highest DDR4 memory frequency record with a top speed of 5529.2MHz. For the complete story on Z370 overclocking please visit our article at ASUS ROG.

 

Source: ASUS

Gigabyte Designs New X399 Designare EX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 5, 2017 - 12:35 AM |
Tagged: X399, tr4, Threadripper, gigabyte, designare EX

Gigabyte has introduced the X399 Designare EX, a decked out ATX motherboard with silver colored armor (including a large backplate) and a blue LED overlay over the PCH. The X399 motherboard is based on the same platform as the already launched Aorus X399 Gaming 7, but with a silver-metallic aesthetic and toned-down LEDs (though you can add RGB LED strips via headers.

The X399 Designare EX surrounds the Threadripper TR4 socket with eight DIMM slots and an eight phase VRM setup with server grade chokes that pulls power from a set of 8-pin and 4-pin 12V EPS connectors. The power phases are covered by heatsinks connected by a heatpipe with the heatsink sitting behind the rear I/O including a small fan for active cooling (which should help ensure some airflow for the VRMs if you are watercooling). Interestingly the IO plate for the rear IO is part of the motherboard rather than being a separate piece that comes in the box. A large backplate ensures the board will not warp over time even with large and heavy CPU coolers and graphics cards installed.

Gigabyte X399 Designare EX.jpg

The motherboard has five PCI-E x16 slots (x16/x8/x16/x8 for 4-way GPU configurations) and three M.2 slots with heatspreaders (two in between the PCI-E slots and one below the PCH heatsink). Storage also includes 8 SATA 6 Gbps ports (four from CPU, and four from chipset). USB includes two USB 3.1 Gen 2, 10 USB 3.1 Gen 1, and USB 2.0 ports via headers. On board chipsets include Intel-based 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and two Gigabyte Ethernet (Intel i211AT) NICs. As for audio, the X399 Designare EX uses the Realtek ALC 1220 (120 dBA SNR) chipset paired with high end WIMA and Nichicon caps, Op Amps, and ground layer isolation. There are 9 temperature sensor headers and 8 fan headers for air or water gear.

Gigabyte has not yet released pricing or availability but I would expect it to be at least $430. Personally, I am a fan of the design of this board and it should at least look good in builds! As for stock performance, overclocking support, and CMOS battery placement we will have to wait for the reviews!

Source: Gigabyte