Revisting Asus's ROG Crosshair VII Hero WiFi motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 18, 2018 - 04:39 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, crosshair vii hero wifi, ryzen 2, amd, x470

Upon first meeting the Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero Kitguru were impressed with the features and design of the board but underwhelmed by the performance.  After contacting ASUS they received a new BIOS and resumed testing, publishing their results here.   The board now performs admirably on the default settings, at the cost of an extra ~40W of power being consumed, while when manually clocked you can replicate the performance but without that extra power draw.

Kitguru explains how Synchronous and Asynchronous mode differ and how this relates to the extra power draw.  In Synchronous mode the CPU memory and PCIe all share the same clock signal while in Asynchronous mode the CPU clock can be adjusted without any effect on the memory or PCIe clocks.  Check out what they think this means for Ryzen users here.

Asus-ROG-Crosshair-VII-Hero-Wi-Fi-Motherboard-Review-on-KitGuru-End-Two-Elevation.jpg

"As we expected, the Crosshair VII Hero is a high end motherboard that is loaded with overclocking features and while it looks and feels really solid, our initial testing suggested that performance was nothing special."

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Source: Kitguru

Meet the Intel Z390 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | May 14, 2018 - 05:56 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Z390, coffee lake

Intel published a paper giving an overview of the features to expect on motherboards using Z390 chipset.  Most of the features will be familiar so why not start with the fancy layout diagram?

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One of the features you might not consider, but perhaps should, is the combination of the quality of the onboard graphics chip on Coffee Lake with the outputs of a Z390 motherboard.  The motherboard can support up to three HDMI or DP outputs, which can provide 10bit colour, High Dynamic Range and Rec. 2020 at up to 4k resolutions.

Storage options are as you would expect, with Intel Rapid Storage Technology supported for both SATA and PCIe, with support for Optane if you so choose to use it.  Intel have updated their HD Audio in this generation and their Smart Sound Technology branding indicates the presence of a DAC on your motherboard. 

Networking is also worth a mention, with gigabit transfers available on the integrated NIC as well as through the Wireless-AC 9560 NIC, with integrated Bluetooth 5 support as well.  

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Yes, it will support overclocking unlocked processors.  The PR is below.

CREATE YOUR NEXT GREAT PERFORMANCE WITH THE 8TH GENERATION INTEL CORE PROCESSOR
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors give you the edge you need to successfully defeat your rivals. Quickly upload and access your favorite streams and get the gaming boost you need with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. With the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors, you can conquer your quests with confidence.

GREAT PERFORMANCE - UNLEASHED
Release your inner gaming beast with the Intel Z390 chipset and unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Unlock your core, graphics, and memory frequencies to new levels as you defeat your gaming foes. Gaming and productivity is redefined with the Intel Z390 chipset paired with new unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Crush your competition with 8th Generation Intel Core desktop processors and the Intel Z390 chipset.

FAST PC RESPONSIVENESS AT YOUR COMMAND
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors enable support for Intel Optane memory which speeds up access to your favorite programs and files. With the fast application response times enabled by Intel Optane memory, you can quickly access your digital life. Experience immersive sound quality via Intel High Definition Audio and enable your PC to respond to your voice commands with Intel Smart Sound Technology.

UNLEASH YOUR NETWORK PERFORMANCE
Achieve Gigabit wireless connections with 1st generation integrated Intel Wireless-AC support. The Intel Z390 chipset integrates an Intel wireless 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5 solution allowing you to connect up to Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds with Intel Wireless-AC 9560. With no Ethernet cable required, your desktop will be ready for all current and future wireless use cases and has the flexibility to be located in more places within your home or office.

IMMERSIVE VISUALS WITH INTEL UHD GRAPHICS
Intel UHD Graphics on 8th Generation Intel Core processors provide eye-popping 4K UHD resolutions. Experience more immersive gaming with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Rec. 2020 (Wide Color Gamut) support. Playback your favorite videos with color precision via native true 10-bit graphics output. Watch the latest 4K UHD premium content on your PC from leading online providers. With up to three independent, DisplayPort* and/or HDMI* displays supported with the Intel Z390 chipset, you can immerse yourself into your gaming experience.

MASSIVE STORAGE CAPABILITIES
Expand your storage capabilities with the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Boost your media transfer speeds with the integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 support of the Intel Z390 chipset. Create fast storage volumes and back-up your media and critical information via RAID support with Intel processor and chipset-connected PCI Express* SSDs. Expand your storage with up to 6 SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Enable blazingly fast data transfers to your favorite devices with PCI Express* 3.0.

Source: Intel

Round up, Round up; X470 time has come!

Subject: Motherboards | May 9, 2018 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: x470, amd, ryzen, Pinnacle Ridge

Techspot have revealed what their favourite X470 motherboards are and a brief overview of why they chose it over other available models, except for Micro-ATX seeing as how they are as rare as hen's teeth. The prices range fom $130 to $300 and do include Mini-ITX as there are several models available.  Take a look at their reasoning and follow up by reading fll reviews to see if the board is really for you.

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"There's already loads of great AMD X470 motherboards to choose from starting as low as $130. Asus, Asrock, MSI and Gigabyte have all done a great job with their boards and to be completely honest, for the most part you can't go wrong."

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Source: TechSpot

Hello X470, how do you do ... at benchmarks

Subject: Motherboards | April 23, 2018 - 07:58 PM |
Tagged: x470, amd, ryzen 2, msi, x470 Gaming M7 AC, Pinnacle Ridge

The reviews for AMD's new chipset are starting to appear, for instance the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC over at Guru of 3D. The new chipset brings support for DDR4-2933 and 3200 which is worth the investment for Ryzen chips.  The board supports two full speed M.2 4x PCIe slots, with SATA trimmed down to a half dozen.  Of the eight USB ports only one is Type-C but all support 3.1 transfer speeds according to Guru of 3D.  The single LAN connection is backed up by dual WiFi antenna and there is even optical audio out for those special people who make use of it. 

Check out the overclocking results and the fine details right here.

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"We review the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC. With the release of Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X AMD decided to add a new chipset as well, X470 offers a more fine-tuned experience for your Ryzen processor. And this MSI board, well it is just loaded with features."

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Source: Guru of 3D

Gigabyte's New X470 Aorus Motherboards Are Available For Pre-Order

Subject: Motherboards | April 16, 2018 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, x470, AM4, amd, aorus gaming 7 wifi, aorus ultra gaming

Gigabyte is gearing up for AMD’s second-generation Ryzen processors with three new Aorus motherboards based on the X470 chipset. The new boards include the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming, X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI. These motherboards represent a refreshed and improved design over their X370 predecessors particularly when it comes to VRM cooling as the heatsinks have been vastly improved. Gigabyte has also refreshed the audio with an updated Realtek ALC1220-VB audio codec and ESS SABRE DAC. Other features Gigabyte notes are upgraded 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi, dual PCI-E x4 M.2 slots with heat spreaders, USB Type-C support, four RGB LED headers including support for digital LEDs, and Smart Fan 5 technology for managing system cooling and fans attached to the board. The new motherboards feature a up to a 10+2 power phase design using digital VRMs from IR and a 8+4-pin power connector. The power phases are cooled by two heatsinks that use a “stacked fins array” and direct touch heatpipes.

Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI.gif

The new X470 motherboards all have four DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6 Gbps ports, three PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, two PCI-E x4 M.2 slots, and Realtek-based audio with high end capacitors and op amps. Around back the boards offer USB 2.0, 3.1 Gen 1, and 3.1 Gen 2 ports including a USB Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, six audio jacks, and two WI-Fi antenna connectors on the Wi-Fi boards.

Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming.png

In most respects the three motherboards are the same, but as you move up Gigabyte adds a bit more power delivery hardware, more built-in RGB, a bit more slot armor, and a bit more shielded audio. The Ultra Gaming board is the lowest end offering with RGB only on the chipset and audio path, and there is no second M.2 shield or PCI-E and RAM slot armor. This board also has the least amount of shielding and extra caps on the integrated audio and the smallest VRM heatsinks. Moving up the Gaming 5 Wi-Fi gets you RAM slot armor, a shielded audio path, and RGB around the PCI-E slots and above the rear I/O. Of course, it also give you built-in Wi-Fi. Further, moving to the X470 Gaming 7 Wi-Fi cranks up the RGB to include the third PCI-E slot, the customizable RGB plate on the right edge, RGB around the RAM slots, and more RGB over the VRM heatsinks. The motherboard also adds an integrated baseplate behind the motherboard, additional Nichicon capacitors for the audio, and the rear I/O panel includes additional USB ports as well as built-in power and reset buttons. The rear I/O backplate is also built-into the motherboard.

Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI.png

As for power delivery, the Ultra Gaming and Gaming 5 WIFI have a single 8 pin CPU power connector feeding an 8+3 "Hybrid Digital PWM" design with Intersil Digital PWM and Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs which Gigabyte claims run cooler than standard MOSFETs. The Gaming 7 WIFI board steps things up to 8-pin plus 4-pin CPU power connectors and a 10+2 all digital power phase from IR including digital PWM and Power Stage controllers. The phases are broken up into ten for the vCore and two for the SoC.

As far as pricing goes, all three of the AMD motherboards are currently available to pre-order and will ship on April 18th (according to Newegg). The X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming is listed at $139.99, the X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI is listed at $179.99, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI is listed for $239.99. I am interested to see how these motherboards perform especially when it comes to overclocking!

Source: Gigabyte

Asus Planning ROG Strix X470-I Mini ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | April 12, 2018 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, ROG Strix, AM4, mini ITX, amd, x470

Asus appears to be planning a Republic of Gamers branded updated motherboard for AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series processors. The ROG STRIX X470-I is a mini ITX form factor board that is loaded with RGB, higher end power phases and onboard sound, and built-in Wi-Fi.

ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard.jpg

Videocardz obtained several images of the new X470 chipset based Mini ITX motherboard.

Asus is using a unique design with this board where it has moved the rear IO down a bit to make room for a larger 8-pin CPU power connector to be tucked into the upper left corner. The AM4 socket is surrounded by the VRMs, two full size DDR4 DIMM slots, and a heat shield that hides the M.2 slot. For storage, there are four SATA 6 Gbps ports (two next to the M.2 slot and two along the right edge) and for graphics cards there is a single PCI-E x16 slot. The board further has a USB 3.0 header, USB 2.0 header, audio header, three fan 4-pin connectors (one AIO pump header), and two RGB headers.

Around back, ASUS has provided a single HDMI output for those wishing to use an APU, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) ports, Gigabit Ethernet, two 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna ports, and three LED-backlit audio jacks.

Because this motherboard is a refresh of the X370-I, I think it’s safe to say that it is very likely that Asus is using Intel for the Gigabit Ethernet and the same SupremeFX S1220A codec (with high end Japanese capacitors and dual TI op amps) on the shielded M.2 Audio combo card.

As for the RGB, the board supports Asus Aura Sync and has a 3-pin addressable LED header and a 4-pin RGB header as well as built-in RGB LEDs along the right edge and on the M.2 heatsink.

Not much else is known about this small form factor motherboard, but with the launch of Zen+ coming any week now (allegedly), we should know more soon! You can find more photos of the motherboard over at Videocardz.

With the previous generation X370-I going for $230+ online though, I would not expect the X470-I to be cheap, however. It is interesting that it will continue to carry the ROG and STRIX branding though in light of ASUS moving its Radeon graphics card offerings to a new AREZ brand to get around the whole GeForce Partner Program situation. I am glad to see the SFF boards getting updates this quickly from many manufacturers in time for the launch of the 400 series chipsets and Ryzen 2000 series processors.

In other Mini ITX X470 news:

Source: Videocardz

Hot Coffee! The Gigabyte H370N WiFi

Subject: Motherboards | April 6, 2018 - 05:10 PM |
Tagged: Intel, H370, B360, H310, H370N Wifi, gigabyte, coffee lake

The Tech Report published an overview of Intel's new entry level boards and chips which were introduced to compete with AMD's Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G.  Along with the look at the new silicon comes a review of a new Gigabyte board which is wee bit different from the one Morry reviewed.  Even with the small stature of the H370N WiFi, Gigabyte still included a pair of M.2 ports, two HDMI ports of which one is HDMI 2.0, DP 1.2, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A and a single Type-C.  If you are looking to build a fully functional and yet affordable SFF system you should check this out.

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"Intel's H370, B360, and H310 chipsets promise to power the kinds of affordable boards that have been sorely missed alongside locked Coffee Lake CPUs. We explore what kinds of load-outs builders can expect from this new silicon and check out Gigabyte's H370N Wifi to see how motherboard makers might implement H370's fresh features."

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Biostar's Refreshed Mini ITX Racing X470GTN AM4 Motherboard Revealed

Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: x470, mini ITX, ddr4, biostar, amd, AM4

Biostar is planning to release an updated Mini ITX AMD motherboard according to leaked images sourced by Videocardz. According to the image, the new board will be called the Biostar Racing X470GTN and will feature the AMD X470 chipset which is a refreshed enthusiast chipset that is supposed to be more power efficient and contain tweaks and optimizations for AMD’s upcoming “Zen+” Ryzen 2000 series of desktop processors and APUs.

Biostar X470 Racing GTN Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard.jpg

The Racing X470GTN looks very similar to the Racing X370GTN that Biostar released last year down to the same black PCB and board component layout though the VRM heatsink has been spruced up a bit and is now in red and white rather than black and white. Further, the X470 chipset heatsink lacks the carbon fiber aesthetic and the PCI-E slot is white instead of black. Lastly, the PCB audio isolation for the onboard audio may have been slightly tweaked. The LED-equipped Mini ITX motherboard is powered by a 24-pin ATX and a 4-pin EPS CPU power connector that feeds the seven phase (4+3) power phases. Unfortunately, the heatsink on the VRMs does not look any larger which may hamper any heavy overclocking attempts on the processor as Hardware Canucks saw rather high temperatures (though not magic smoke bad) at stock clocks on the X370GTN they reviewed. In any event, the AM4 socket sits up top and is surrounded by two DDR4 memory slots, four SATA 6 Gbps ports, and one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. There is also a PCI-E M.2 slot hidden behind the board for enthusiasts. The onboard audio codec is a Realtek ALC892 chip (per Videocardz) and while the leaked image does not confirm anything I am guessing the Gigabit Ethernet NIC is also of Realtek origin and is likely the same RTL8118AS used in the previous generation motherboard.

As far as rear I/O is concerned, there is not much to speak of but Biostar does include a decent amount of high speed USB ports with at least two being USB 3.1 Gen 2 and the remaining four being USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen 1 (the X370GTN had USB 3.0 but the X470 update may have bumped these up to USB 3.1 Gen 1 not that it matters in practical terms of speed). In addition to USB, the Racing X470GTN’s rear panel hosts a combo PS/2 port, DVI and HDMI video outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, and six audio outputs (one optical, five analog).

Naturally, being a leak, there is no word on official pricing or availability on this motherboard, but I would guess it will be priced around $120 following the launch of AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series CPUs and 400 series chipsets.

In other Mini ITX X470 news:

Source: Videocardz

ASRock Shows Off Mini ITX X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 01:33 AM |
Tagged: asrock, x470, AM4, mini ITX, 802.11ac, usb 3.1

Videocardz managed to snag several photos of an upcoming AMD X470-based motherboard from ASRock. Specifically, the ASRock X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac is a Mini ITX board ready for AMD's Ryzen 2000 and other AM4 processors. Powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, the Mini ITX board uses an eight phase (6+2) power phase cooled by a black heatsink that is a bit larger than the red affair on the previous generation X370 Fatal1ty motherboard.

Asrock X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITXac.jpg

The AM4 socket sits at the center of the board and is paired with two DDR4 DIMM slots, one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. There is also a single PCI-E x4 M.2 slot on the back of the motherboard for your NVMe solid state drives. The motherboard further features built-in 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and (likely Realtek) Gigabit Ethernet for networking and 8-channel Realtek codec audio enhanced with Nichicon capacitors.

Rear I/O is difficult to ascertain by the photos, but it appears that the X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac includes a Fatal1ty mouse port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.1 ports (including one Type-C), one HDMI, one DisplayPort, one Gigabit Ethernet, six audio outputs (one optical, five analog), and two Wi-Fi antenna connectors.

AMD's "Zen+" Ryzen 2000 series CPUs are not quite out yet, but will be soon enough along with the new 400-series chipsets. No word on how much this Mini ITX motherboard will cost, but I am glad that SFF options are coming at launch with the updated chipsets that are said to be lower power and optimized for Zen+. We will have to wait a bit for reviews to see how well it overclocks and what the pricing works out to.

Also read:

Source: Videocardz

Asus Launches Mini ITX H370-I Gaming Motherboard To RGB Illuminate Coffee Lake

Subject: Motherboards | April 4, 2018 - 06:03 PM |
Tagged: asus, mini ITX, ASUS ROG, ROG Strix, H370, Intel H370, 8th generation core

Asus has launched a new Mini ITX motherboard using Intel’s new H370 chipset and LGA 1151 socket for 8th Generation Core Coffee Lake processors. The H370-I Gaming motherboard is part of Asus’ ROG (republic of gamers) Strix lineup and supports Aura Sync addressable RGB LEDs along with other enthusiast features like SupremeFX audio and dual Gigabit Ethernet.

ASUS H370I Gaming Mini ITX Motherboard.png

The ROG Strix H370-I Gaming pairs the LGA 1151 socket with two DDR4 memory slots (up to 32GB 2666 MHz before overclocking), four SATA 6 Gbps ports, a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, and two M.2 PCI-E (one also supports SATA mode) 2280 slots with one under the heatsink above the PCI-E x16 slot and one on the back of the motherboard. Power delivery is handled by the Digi+ VRM and fed by an eight pin CPU power connector (I'm not sure how the power phases are split.) Asus offers overcurrent and ESD protection as well as the various Q-DIMM, Q-LED, and Q-Slot convenience features along with a front panel connector breakout cable. 

The motherboard Is fairly barren of chips as it uses the Intel H370 chipset for Wi-Fi and USB. There is a Realtek RTL8111H chipset and Intel I219-V chipset for Gigabit Ethernet as well as SupremeFX S1220A audio with dual op amps. Wireless is handled by the intel 9650 and features 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. The board features “Fan Xpert 4” technology which amounts to three 4-pin fan headers (one geared towards AIO water pumps) and multiple temperature sensors across the board.

Rear I/O on the Strix H370-I Gaming includes:

  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-C)
  • 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • 1 x Optical Audio Out
  • 5 x Analog Audio Out
  • 2 x Wi-Fi Antenna connectors

Surprisingly, it appears the Mini ITX motherboard is already available for purchase with a going price of around $140 USD. If you are looking for a motherboard for a SFF system using Coffee Lake (and love RGB), the H370-I Gaming may be worth a look.

Also read:

Source: Asus

Wiith GIGABYTE's Aorus X399 Designare EX you get what you pay for

Subject: Motherboards | March 29, 2018 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, designare EX, X399, aorus

Speaking of the X399 Designare EX, [H]ard|OCP recently reviewed this high end Threadripper motherboard.  The features of this motherboard are as impressive as the price, you get eight DDR4 slots, three M.2 ports, 13 USB 3.1 slots with a mix of Gen 1 and 2 though only a single Type-C, dual wired NICs plus WiFi and Bluetooth, not to mention four PCIe 3.0 16x slots.  All of these features do add to the complexity of setting up a system, especially when overclocking so read through the full review for hints on how best to set up your system.

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"GIGABYTE’s X399 Designare EX is a rich, full featured solution for AMD’s Threadripper CPUs. At $370, this isn’t a budget-oriented offering. The thing people usually want to know when looking at motherboards in this price bracket is if such products are worth the extra cost. Read on to find out if this gaming and workstation offering is worthwhile."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Asus Introduces Gemini Lake-Powered J4005I-C Mini ITX Motheboard

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | March 8, 2018 - 02:55 AM |
Tagged: passive cooling, mini ITX, j4005i-c, Intel, gemini lake, fanless, asus

Asus is launching a new Mini ITX motherboard packing a passively-cooled Intel Celeron J4005 "Gemini Lake" SoC. The aptly-named Asus Prime J4005I-C is aimed at embedded systems such as point of sale machines, low end networked storage, kiosks, and industrial control and monitoring systems and features "5x Protection II" technology which includes extended validation and compatibility/QVL testing, overcurrent and overvoltage protection, network port surge protection, and ESD resistance. The board also features a EUFI BIOS with AI Suite.

Asus Prime J4005I-C Mini ITX Gemini Lake Motherboard.jpg

The motherboard features an Intel Celeron J4005 processor with two cores (2.0 GHz base and 2.7 GHz boost), 4MB cache, Intel UHD 600 graphics, and a 10W TDP. The SoC is passively cooled by a copper colored aluminum heatsink. The processor supports up to 8GB of 2400 MHz RAM and the motherboard has two DDR4 DIMM slots. Storage is handled by two SATA 6 Gbps ports and one M.2 slot (PCI-E x2) for SSDs. Further, the Prime J4005I-C has an E-key M.2 slot for WLAN and Bluetooth modules (PCI-E x2 or USB mode) along with headers for USB 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1, LVDS, and legacy LPT and COM ports.

Rear I/O includes two PS/2, two USB 2.0, one Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8111H), two USB 3.1 Gen 1, one HDMI, one D-SUB, one RS232, and three audio ports (Realtek ALC887-UD2).

The motherboard does not appear to be for sale yet in the US, but Fanless Tech notes that is is listed for around 80 euros overseas (~$100 USD). More Gemini Lake options are always good, and Asus now has one with PCI-E M.2 support though I see this board being more popular with commercial/industrial sectors than enthusiasts unless it goes on sale.

Source: Asus

ASUS' ROG STRIX X399-E Gaming, Threadripping on a budget

Subject: Motherboards | February 28, 2018 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: X399, Threadripper, ROG STRIX X399-E GAMING, asus, amd

ASUS' ROG STRIX X399-E Gaming motherboard for Threadripper offers a less expensive alternative to some of their higher end boards; however the $350 price tag is still a little steep.  You still get a wide variety of internal and external connections, but there is no DIMM.2 adapter for an additional M.2 drive and [H]ard|OCP found the PCB to be flimsy enough that they popped out a standoff on one of the installed heatsinks due to that flexibility.  The layout of the board was lauded as was the overall performance, so if you are looking to build a Threadripper system for a little less then this is a board worth investigating. 

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"The ROG STRIX X399-E Gaming promises to be a lower cost options for AMD’s Threadripper processors. This is a "less is more" approach to motherboard design than the exquisite and expensive ROG Zenith Extreme. The ROG brand has always been a premium brand. With these lower cost STRIX boards, does this remain true? "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI AM4 Motherboards now suport AMD's 2nd Generation Ryzen APUs

Subject: Motherboards | February 9, 2018 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: msi, ryzen, amd

Get ready to update your BIOS as MSI is now pushing out updated versions which will support the second generation of Ryzen processors.  That's right ladies and germs, unlike the competitors brand, with Ryzen you can upgrade your processor without buying a new motherboard!

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You won't be able to pick up the new chips until April, but there is no reason not to be ahead of the game.  The updates also include the AMD AGESA 1.1.0.1 microcode update so head over to MSI for an update if you have one of the motherboards below.

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MSI, the world leading gaming motherboard manufacturer, has pushed out BIOS updates for X370/B350/A320 motherboards to support new AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors.

In order to support AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors, MSI has released supportable BIOS version with AMD AGESA 1.1.0.1 for the current MSI AMD motherboards, including X370, B350, and A320 motherboards.

Updated BIOS version as below for each model could support AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors and implements AMD AGESA 1.1.0.1 microcode to optimize CPU performance together with MSI AM4 motherboards.

 

Source: MSI

ASRock Launches Mini ITX Motherboards With Fanless Gemini Lake CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | January 22, 2018 - 11:24 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, gemini lake, fanless, asrock

Not ready to let Gigabyte have all the fun, ASRock has announced two new Mini ITX motherboards of its own that come pre-loaded with quad core Intel Gemini Lake processors cooled using fanless heatsinks. The ASRock J4105-ITX and J4105B-ITX measure 6.7" x 6.7" and sport a "sapphire black" PCB constructed of a high-density glass fabric that is allegedly more resistant to humidity and helps to prevent electrical shorts. The boards use all solid capacitors and have voltage spike protections for board components. The J4105-ITX may be of more interest to home users while the J4105B-ITX variant is aimed at industrial and commercial setups since it downgrades the audio outputs but adds more USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and adds legacy connections for serial (COM), parallel (Printer port), and D-Sub outputs to the rear I/O.

ASRock J4105-ITX.png
 

The new Gemini Lake motherboards have a soldered-on Gemini Lake processor cooled by a black heatsink in the top left corner. Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots sit to the right and beneath the processor (up to 8GB 2400 MHz). The J4105-ITX has a Key E M.2 slot for 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth modules, a single PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports for storage, and headers for a CPU fan, one chassis fan, one USB 3.1 Gen 1, and two USB 2.0 headers (3 ports max). The four SATA ports are comprised of two from the Intel chip and two from an ASMedia ASM1061 chip. On the other hand, the J4105B-ITX does not have a M.2 slot, has a physical PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot (electrically x2), and only two SATA 6.0 Gbps ports. Both boards appear to use the same networking chipset for Gigabit Ethernet with the Realtek RTL8111H. Audio chipsets are a bit different with the J4105-ITX using the Realtek ALC892 and the J4105B-ITX using a slightly cut down Realtek ALC887 chipset.

Rear I/O is as follows:

J4105-ITX J4105B-ITX
2 x PS/2 1 x PS/2
1 x D-Sub (VGA) 1 x D-Sub
1 x DVI-D 1 x COM
1 x HDMI 1 x Printer Port
2 x USB 3.1 (5Gbps) 3 x USB 3.1 (5Gbps)
2 x USB 2.0 1 x USB 2.0
1 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet) 1 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
6 x Audio (5 x 3.5mm + 1 x S/PDIF 3 x Audio (3 x 3.5mm)

The Gemini Lake processor used is the Intel Celeron J4105 which is a quad core part (no Hyperthreading) with Intel UHD 600 graphics, 4MB cache, and clockspeeds from a base of 1.5 GHz to a maximum turbo of 2.5 GHz. The UHD 600 GPU reportedly has 12 EUs (execution units) and a max frequency of 750 MHz and supports 4K60 video output, multiple displays, and hardware acceleration of HVEC H.265 10-bit (and 8-bit), H.264 AVC, VP8, VP9 8 and 10-bit video codecs.

ASRock J4105B-ITX.png

This new processor is based on the Goldmont+ architecture which is a bit more efficient and features higher clocks than Apollo Lake along with more L2 cache. You won't be gaming on these things (at least not locally; you should look for APUs or the Intel+Vega Kaby Lake-G CPU for that in this SFF space), but if you need small and silent low power PC for a streaming box, or office work this might fit the bill. I think the biggest market for these particular boards will be small businesses, kiosks, signage, and industrial control and monitoring systems though as they may be a bit too bare bones for enthusiasts to tinker with or home users to get the most out of them (e.g. only one GbE port, 8GB of RAM max, and somewhat limited USB 3.1 ports).

ASRock has not yet announced pricing or availability.

What are your thoughts on these low power SFF boards?

Also read:

Source: ASRock

ASRock's X299-ITX/ac, tiny and flexible

Subject: Motherboards | January 22, 2018 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: itx, asrock, x299-itx/ac, Intel, SFF

ASRock's X299-ITX/ac is a decent choice to build a tiny system with, offering a wide variety of features as well as the ability to trim some of them off if you do not need them.  There are two removable PCBs, one which holds the SATA ports as well as a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 header while the second carries the LAN chips, a USB hub and your M.2 slots.  There may be cases in which removing one or the other makes room for other equipment in your enclosure, with the option to add them back later on.  You can see how the ~$400 board performs at TechPowerUp

board_front.jpg

"ASRock's X299-ITX/ac is that mini motherboard for Intel's X299 platform that takes all that is good and shoves it into a board smaller than a shoebox. With a triplet of M.2 ports and dual LAN chips, plus Wi-Fi, there's almost nothing missed, other than some PCIe slots, making this board an engineering feat only ASRock could accomplish."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: TechPowerUp

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.

J4005N.jpg

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."

Gemini-Lake-Desktop-Processors.jpg

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.

z370-20180110-1.jpg

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.

DSC_0644.jpg

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.

DSC_0647.jpg

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.

DSC_0648.jpg

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.

nzxt-n7-z370-angle.jpg

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.

nzxt-n7-z370-ports.jpg

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)

nzxt-n7-z370-side.jpg

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

Source: NZXT