ASUS' new X299, second Prime's the charm?

Subject: Motherboards | December 20, 2018 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: x299, prime x299-deluxe II, Intel, i9-9980XE, asus

ASUS have refined their Prime X299-Deluxe with a second version, which includes a redesign of the VRMs and power phases that lead to much discussion about the original board.  The Tech Report noticed that the change is not as simple as the marketing material would lead you to believe and they go into great detail about that in the beginning of their review.  In the end, the changes did result in decent thermals on the VRMs when overclocking and no discernible stability issues.  That's not all that is new about the board, mostly good with the exception of the default enabling of Windows Platform Binary Tables to load ASUS' software hub in the UEFI

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"Motherboard manufacturers are introducing refined X299 boards in the wake of Intel's Basin Falls platform refresh, and Asus' Prime X299-Deluxe II promises to fix some of the teething pains of its predecessor. We paired this board up with the Core i9-9980XE to see whether it's up to the job of hosting Intel's highest-end desktop chip yet."

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Source: The Register

Gigabyte Launches Z390 AORUS Xtreme Waterforce Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | December 14, 2018 - 07:04 PM |
Tagged: Z390, water cooling, gigabyte, aorus

Gigabyte’s Aorus brand is planning to make its flagship Z390 Aorus Xtreme motherboard even more extreme by pairing it with a RGB LED-lit perspex monoblock that covers the processor and PCH areas. The aptly named Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce is an E-ATX form factor motherboard for 8th and 9th Generation Intel Core processors (LGA 1151) that comes packed with overclocking features and a plethora of I/O and expansion options.

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The Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce is powered by two 8-pin CPU power connectors, a right angle 24-pin ATX, and a six pin PCI-E input for extra PCI-E slot power delivery. The LGA 1151 socket sits front and center up top with four DDR4 memory slots off to the right of it. Power delivery is handled by a 16 phase PowIRStage digital VRM. Below the CPU sit three PCI-E x16 slots (which run at x16/x8/x4), two PCI-E x1 slots, and three M.2 slots with heatspreaders. There is also a mini PCI-E slot but it comes with an Intel wireless card pre-installed. Additional expansion options include six SATA 3 ports. The Gigabyte motherboard includes 10 sensor points and eight hybrid fan headers. It also supports Smart Fan 5 and RGB Fan Commander software tools as well as support for external RGB LED strips and addressable LEDs via headers (RGB Fusion). The Aorus board also supports OC Touch which offers physical buttons and switches for adjusting overclocks without needing to go into the UEFI BIOS.

Audio duties are handled by the Realtek ALC1220-VB codec along with ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC, LME 49720 dedicated analog power delivery, Ti OPA1622 Op amp, and several WIMA and Nichicon audio capacitors. The reported 127 dB SNR audio also supports “Amp Up” which can automatically adjust to various headphones. Networking on the Z390 Xtreme Waterforce is handled by Intel (CNV1) for 802.11ac Wave 2 2x2 wireless and Gigabit Ethernet and by Aquantia for the 10 GbE.

Rear I/O on the flagship motherboard shouldn’t disappoint with:

  • 2 x SMA antenna connectors (Wi-Fi)
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 3 40 Gbps
  • 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x 1 Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 5 x Analog audio
  • 1 x S/PDIF audio

The Aorus All In One Monoblock is the star of the show though as it is what differentiates it from the normal Z390 Aorus Xtreme board. The monoblock uses standard G1/4” threads and uses dense copper fins to help heat transfer to the water loop. Water flows over the CPU, VRM, and PCH areas to keep everything nice and cool even when overclocking. According to Gigabyte there is a leak detection circuit that will shut down the PC if a leak in the waterblock/loop is detected to protect your components. The downside to the monoblock is, of course, the added complexity to the build process, it certainly looks nice though so some enthusiasts may well find it worth it.

Gigabyte has not yet released pricing or availability information, but it’s going to come at a premium price. The Z390 Aorus Xtreme (sans waterblock) has a MSRP of $549.99, for example, and the addition of the Aorus RGB monoblock could add another $50 to $100 to that price.

The reviews on this board and the monoblock should be interesting. While it may be expensive, I'm sure that some watercooling enthusiasts will find uses for it in all-out "cool all the  things" builds!

Source: Gigabyte

MSI's new Z390; Ace in the hole or jumping the shark?

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2018 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z390, Intel, MEG Z390 ACE

MSI's MEG was the cream of the crop for Threadripper, even though it carried a significant price.   Now we have a chance to see how this design works on Intel, as MSI have the MEG Z390 ACE for under $300, to pair with a processor such as the i7-9900K.   MEG sports an enhanced backplate, as you can see from the picture below, for those who like to insert a lot of extras into their motherboard. 

As for general performance, stability and overclocking?  Check out [H]ard|OCP's review to see why the board was sporting Gold once it was unstrapped from the bench.

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"The MSI Enthusiast Gaming lineup expands once again with two Z390 offerings for Intel’s latest 9000 series CPUs. The MEG boards offer a blend of quality, features, with power delivery, and overclocking in mind. MSI has certainly raised the bar for its products over the last few years. So our expectations for the ACE motherboard are high."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

AORUS offers a smokin' hot Z390 at a decent price

Subject: Motherboards | November 20, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z390 AORUS Pro WiFi, Z390, Intel

If you were lucky enough to score a new 9th generation i9 chip from Intel you are probably looking for a Z390 board to stick it in.  For those that do not want to take the opportunity to spend $500-600 on a motherboard, Gigabyte's Z390 AORUS Pro WiFi is worth consideration as it usually costs less than $200.  Bjorn3D took a look at the board to see what was removed to lower the price by such an amount and to check out those sexy VRMs.

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"The board we are testing today carries the AORUS branding which has been earmarked as the Gigabyte gaming brand. But now the Aorus Master and Extreme boards which are targeted at Extreme users muddies the waters a bit as normally you will see an extreme OC board with the LN2/Force moniker."

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Source: Bjorn3D

Gigabyte Launches Flagship AORUS Z390 XTREME Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | November 7, 2018 - 09:53 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, Z390, Intel Z390

Gigabyte is launching a new flagship Z390 chipset-based motherboard under its AORUS brand. The aptly-named Z390 AORUS Xtreme ratchets up the aesthetics, power delivery, connectivity, and the RGB Fusion to prepare for Intel’s newest 9th Generation Core processors including the eight core Core i9 9900K.

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The AORUS Xtreme uses a 16-phase Digital IR power phase design that can self-balance to reduce clocks of VRM controller and heat generated by the various phases especially under heavy overclocking scenarios. Gigabyte continues to include its Fins-Array heatsinks though they have been upgraded to four direct touch heatpipes to help cool the VRM areas. There is also a massive backplate and coating on the underside of the PCB to help dissipate heat though in practice it’s likely more for aesthetics than anything. The LGA 1151 socket is paired with four DDR4 DIMM slots. Sitting below the processor are three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, and three PCI-E 3.0 x4 M.2 (or SATA) slots with Thermal Guard heatsinks. Further, there are six SATA 6 Gpbs ports in the bottom right corner. As far as power delivery, the board has two 8-pin CPU power connectors, a right-angle solid pin 24-pin ATX connector, and a 6-pin PCI-E connector to provide auxiliary slot power for graphics cards.

The flagship motherboard includes Aquantia 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Intel Gigabit Ethernet, Intel CNVi 802.11ac 160 MHz 2x2 Wi-Fi, ALC1220-VB codec for audio (along with ESS SABRE DAC, Ti Burr-Brown OP Amps, and “studio grade” capacitors), and AORUS’ RGB Fusion LED controller which along with Smart Fan 5 can handle eight fans, eight digital LED strips, and eight RGB LEDs. Overclocking can be done via BIOS, Windows app, or OC Touch.

Rear I/O includes two Wi-Fi antenna connectors (Gigabyte includes a 4 dBi dual antenna with magnetic base), four USB 3.1, two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gbps), one 10 GbE, one 1 GbE, one HDMI video output, and six audio outputs (five gold plated analog jacks and one S/PDIF optical out).

This extreme motherboard comes packed with just about everything an enthusiast could ask for, but be prepared for an extreme price of $549.99 MSRP.

Source: Aorus

MSI announces two new motherboard families, the ACE and GAMING EDGE

Subject: Motherboards | October 26, 2018 - 04:33 PM |
Tagged: msi, gaming edge, ace, Z390, lga1151

MSI have added two new families of motherboards to their product lines, with the first two models using the Z390 chipset.

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The ACE sports a 12+1 power phase layout and supports DDR4-4500 if you can get your hands on it. The motherboard will have a familiar array of features including Shield Frozr M.2 heatsinks, Mystic Lighting and one touch overclocking with Gaming Boost.

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The Gaming Edge series sports many of the same features, adding impressively sized VRM heatsinks and 8+4 pin CPU power for enhanced stability for overclockers.  The onboard Intel WiFi uses CNVi wave 2 technology to offer wireless transfer speeds up to 1.73GHz.  It also introduces MSI's Dragon Center which offers a unified interface to contol applications like GAME MODE, VOICE BOOST and LIVE UPDATE.

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MEG Z390 ACE - ACE YOUR ENEMY
MEG Z390 ACE is built to win. Outplay any opponent, crush entire teams, and come out on top of every match with a motherboard designed for the world’s best players. MEG Z390 ACE introduces the ACE name to the MEG series, a segment of enthusiast grade motherboards that includes the renowned GODLIKE motherboards from MSI. MEG series motherboards are designed for PC hardware enthusiasts keen on extreme performance and advanced technology features.

MEG Z390 ACE is designed to empower users with incredible potential and dazzle onlookers with its striking appearance. Mystic Light Infinity, an innovative infinity mirror lighting zone, shows millions of colors across 29 dynamic effects. An aggressive 12+1 power phase layout guarantees reliable operation with compatible Intel processors even when overclocked. Up to three high performance NVMe solid state drives can be added with the Triple Turbo M.2 arrangement for blazing fast storage transfer speeds. With a host of other features – Pre-Installed I/O Shielding, Audio Boost HD, Core Boost, DDR4 Boost with Steel Armor, Game Boost dial, Dual Front USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C – make your every play GODLIKE and ACE your enemies.

MEG Z390 ACE - ACE YOUR ENEMY
The MPG GAMING EDGE family clears a path with cutting-edge designs, stylized with sharp lines and a holographic heatsink surface that can split and refract light. The first generation of the MPG Z390 GAMING EDGE family includes products in ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX form factors. MPG Z390 GAMING EDGE AC and MPG Z390M GAMING EDGE AC are forged for mainstream gaming performance while the MPG Z390I GAMING EDGE AC is designed for powerful small form factor systems. A Core Boost optimized VRM layout with an Extended Heatsink drive high-end Intel processors even under the harshest conditions. The fastest storage devices are supported by the inclusion of Twin Turbo M.2 and Intel Turbo USB 3.1 Gen2.
Integration of the CNVi wave 2 Wireless solution from Intel introduces Wi-Fi transfer speeds up to 1.73GHz. Pristine 7.1 surround sound audio is achieved through the use of premium audio components mounted onto an isolated circuit.

Stay sharp with the MPG Z390 GAMING EDGE family.

 

Source: MSI

ASUS ROG STRIX B360-I Gaming, a small motherboard at a small price

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2018 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG Strix, B360-I Gaming, lga1151, RGB, mini-itx

For someone looking to build a small system for a reasonable price and doesn't want or need to put effort into tweaking it, this ASUS ROG Strix motherboard is a decent choice.  The chipset simply doesn't support overclocking which also means less to break when investigating the UEFI.  With the small size, single PCIe 16x slot and two DIMM slots it will not satisfy a power user, but a build for a friend or family member who has fairly basic needs it might be perfect. 

[H]ard|OCP provides a full review here.

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"It seems there is a new mini-ITX motherboard model every time you turn around. We’ve often looked at the higher end of the spectrum on these little power houses. This time we switch gears and look at a more budget oriented option than we are used to, how does this $128 motherboard hold up to its more expensive brethren? "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MEG in the centerfold! A peek at MSI's new Z390 Godlike motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2018 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: msi, meg Z390 godlike, Z390, Intel

We are currently limited to unboxing and showing off Z390 motherboards; no performance reviews yet.  MSI's MEG was the queen of X399 motherboards so it will be interesting to see if they can replicate their success on the Z390 chipset. As you can see below there are a large amount of features; those metal shields cover the three M.2 ports with a U.2 hidden away as well, with the option to add another pair of M.2 with an adapter.  For PCIe you have four 16x slots as well as a 1x, so you know you are going to have a fair number of PCIe lanes available on the chip and motherboard. 

TechPowerUp has more in their preview here.

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"MSI pulled out all the stops for their massive, EATX-sized MEG Z390 Godlike motherboard, which comes with three M.2 slots, full RGB support, and an adapter to add two more M.2 NVMe slots. You also get an OLED screen that can display pre-programmed stats and messages."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Feast your eyes on ASRock's complete Z390 lineup

Subject: Motherboards | October 5, 2018 - 04:31 PM |
Tagged: Z390, socket 1151, Intel

Here's a fresh leak for Friday, grabbed before they are inevitably taken down.  Pop over quickly for a closer look.  Click on the pictures to be able read them.

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Click through for the rest!

Source: ASRock

Shut up! MEG is the best of the X399s?!

Subject: Motherboards | September 25, 2018 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: X399, Threadripper, msi, MEG X399 Creation, amd

The joke might be getting old but Threadripper motherboard reviews certainly are not.  MSI's MEG Creation has been the base of [H]ard|OCP's Threadripper testing from the start and they have gotten to know the board completely.  It is expensive, with a price around $500, however if you can afford it there are an immense amount of features on this board and the performance is top notch.  Drop by for a closer look at one of the most impressive consumer motherboards currently on the market.

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"MSI’s MEG X399 CREATION motherboard gets put to the test like no motherboard we’ve ever reviewed to date. We beat the hell out of this motherboard on all of our test benches over the last month. We used the MEG for most all our Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X testing so we have a good handle on just how good it is."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Shut up! MEG did good at Threadripping

Subject: Motherboards | September 7, 2018 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: msi, eatx, B350I PRO AC, b350, amd

Threadripper boards are expensive and the MSI MEG X399 Creation is no exception and Guru 3D takes a look to see if it is a good value.  This eATX board sports four PCIe 16x slots and a pair of PCIe 1x slots, support for up to eight DIMMs of DDR4-3600 and three M.2 ports, not counting the M.2 Xpander-Aero PCIe add-in card looks like a GPU but instead adds an additional four M.2 ports.  That barely scratches the surface of what the MEG has to offer; more will be revealed to you if you visit Guru 3D.

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"For Ryzen Threadripper 2000 MSI released a new motherboard which we review, their MEG X399 Creation. The board is stylish, loaded with features has subtle LED effects, terrific WIFI and obviously off..."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI's B350I PRO AC, gone but not forgotten

Subject: Motherboards | August 24, 2018 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: mini-itx, msi, b350, B350I PRO AC, amd, ryzen

The MSI B350I Pro AC is not a new motherboard but it is worth remembering for anyone looking to build a small system.  However [H]ard|OCP is teasing you a bit; the board was in stock when they started the review but has been discontinued very recently with the B450I Gaming Plus AC replacing it.  Why is it worth looking at, you may ask?  The board is a solid base to build a SFF system off of and will be selling at a discount if you can find it; so keep your eyes open and you might get it for a song.

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"While we might be late to the party with a B350 review, we were running tests with it and were so impressed we thought we would put it through the full review process. MSI’s B350I PRO AC might just have been worth the wait. How does this inexpensive powerhouse fair against more expensive offerings?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Launches X399 Aorus Xtreme Motherboard for Threadripper 2

Subject: Motherboards | August 8, 2018 - 11:41 PM |
Tagged: X399, tr4, threadripper 2, Threadripper, gigabyte, aorus, amd

Gigabyte is gearing up for AMD’s Threadripper 2 processors with the launch of the X399 Aorus Xtreme motherboard which represents the company’s new flagship model for the TR4 socket. The new high end motherboard has been souped-up a bit to support the higher TDP Threadripper 2 processors with a beefed up 10+3 digital power phase and active cooling for the VRMs while also featuring RGB Fusion and modern I/O connectivity options for internal and external components. Gigabyte’s new flagship will be available soon with MSRP pricing of $449.

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The X399 Aorus Xtreme motherboard nestles the TR4 socket in the middle of eight DDR4 DIMM slots (quad channel up to 3466 MHz or 3600+ when overclocking). Along the top edge of the motherboard are 10 50A IR3578 digital power phases with high current mosfets for vCore and there are 3 more phases in the left corner of the board (between the DIMM slot and rear IO) for SOC power. The digital IR power phases are cooled by a direct touch heat pipe where the mosfets make contact using new 5W/mK thermal pads on the top side and also reportedly a bit more cooling from a “nano carbon” baseplate on the underside of the motherboard PCB. The heatpipe runs through one passive and one actively cooled fins array heatsink that uses two 30mm fans hidden under the rear IO armor. The board is powered by two 8-pin CPU power, one 24-pin ATX, and one six pin PCI-E power connectors.

The motherboard further features four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, three M.2 (PCI-E 3.0 NVMe) slots (two 22110 and one 2280), and six SATA ports. The motherboard supports 4-way graphics card setups with the cards running at x16/x8/x16/x8.

Onboard controllers include audio from Realtek, three Ethernet NICs, and a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth radios. The Aorus AMP UP audio uses a Realtek ALC1220-VB audio codec paired with an ESS 9118EQ SABRE DAC and Nichicon capacitors and gold-plated audio jacks. As for the networking, the board has a single 10 Gigabit Ethernet NIC from Aquantia, two Intel i220AT Gigabit Ethernet NICs, and Intel wireless controller for dual band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2.

Rear I/O on the X399 Aorus Xtreme includes:

  • Two physical buttons for power/reset and clear CMOS
  • 8x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 2x USB 3.1 (1x Type-A, 1x Type-C)
  • 6x Audio (5x 3.5mm analog, 1x optical S/PDIF)

Of course, no high-end enthusiast motherboard would be complete without RGB, and the X399 Aorus Xtreme has that in spades with built in RGB on the heatsinks and multiple headers for adding even more RGB. The RGB Fusion includes two addressable RGB LED headers and two standard RGBW LED headers. The board also has multiple fan and hybrid cooling headers scattered throughout as part of Gigabyte’s Smart Fan 5 suite.

I am looking forward to the reviews of this and other Threadripper 2 motherboards and in seeing how the beefed up cooling and power might help both second and first generation Threadripper processors especially if overclocking!

Source: Gigabyte

AMD Releases B450 Chipset for Ryzen

Subject: Chipsets | July 31, 2018 - 11:50 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, b450, x470, x370, b350, a320, Intel, motherboards

Today AMD is launching their latest chipset product supporting Ryzen CPUs and APUs. When Ryzen was launched we had a pretty robust selection of boards based on the A320, B350, and X370 chipsets. These products brought AMD to the present in terms of capabilities and modern features across the board. AMD no longer bifurcated their sockets and chipsets in regards to AM3+ and FM2+, but instead focused all products on the new AM4 socket. AMD plans to support this socket til at least 2020, and most AM4 boards should be able to handle upcoming CPUs with a BIOS update.

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The release of the new Ryzen 2000 parts brought in the new X470 chipset which provided some extra features as compared to the X370. Most of the I/O was the same but it brought in support for Precision Boost 2 as well as the free StoreMI storage functionality. For the enthusiast looking on the AMD side, the X470 is the no-brainer especially if they want to run multiple graphics cards. This is not the best overall option if the enthusiast is looking for single GPU usage as well as a much lower price.

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AMD is presenting the new B450 chipset that looks to fill the gap that the new X470 leaves. It is a partial redesign of the B350 and it provides a couple of extra features. Most interesting is that the chip actually runs about 2 watts lower in power than the B350 did at idle. The B450 joins the X470/370 in having StoreMI support as well, which the B350 does not offer. Unlike the X470, the B450 parts do not allow the bifurcation of the CPU’s PCI-Ex16. Without utilizing the 6 PCI-E lanes off the southbridge the B450 will not support multi-GPU off of the CPU PCI-E controller. Motherboard manufacturers may in fact use a x4 electrical connection in a x16 slot to utilize CrossFire, but AMD did not necessarily intend that to be a standard feature.

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One area that AMD does focus on is giving users the ability to overclock any CPU they have. While AMD has the “x” designation after certain SKUs, they are not the only ones that can be overclocked (unlike Intel and their non-K variants). Even though AMD may specify that a CPU can only go up to a max of 2933 speeds, it is easy to get those memory targets well above that. 3200 is very common for these parts and should almost be the specification for the Ryzen 2000 series.

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The aforementioned StoreMI gets included with the B450 support, as compared to it not supported on the previous B350. I doubt there is anything hardware related not allowing StoreMI to run on the older SB350, but AMD is working on the whole product segmentation thing.  Throwing in some free software now and then can be seen as a solid value added feature. StoreMI has significant performance benefits for users who rely on smaller SSDs for the OS. Applications are intelligently managed so that they act like they are installed on the SSD only.

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Most of the boards will be under $120 with a sweet spot around $70. Features of course will vary from board to board and that will affect the price. The overall functionality of the boards should be about the same though. Plenty of SATA ports, one NVME, USB 3.0/3.1/Gen1/Gen2, and the six PCI-E lanes which can have multiple uses. At launch there are around 25 boards already available from the major manufacturers.

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The B450 is aimed to be a cost effective, yet feature rich motherboard that further accentuates the price advantage that AMD holds over Intel in terms of performance and core counts. When combined with lower priced yet comparable boards from Intel, AMD feels their value proposition is further accentuated. This product helps flesh out the chipset and motherboard offerings for the AM4 ecosystem. AMD continues to be aggressive in grabbing more marketshare and selling competitive products across the board.

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Source: AMD

GIGABYTE Announces Aorus B450 Motherboard Series

Subject: Motherboards | July 31, 2018 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, gigabyte, b450, aorus, amd

Aorus have listed their new B450 motherboards which include three ATX boards, two mATX and a single mini-ITX to chose from.

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Aorus have added new audio in the form of the ALC1220 SNR HD Audio with Smart
Headphone Amp which will detect the impedance on your headphones and adjust the power automatically.  Smart Fan 5 with FAN STOP along with the M.2 thermal guards should keep your temperatures under control as well as the sound levels.  As you would expect there are an impressive array of coloured LEDs as well as software to control them. 

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Bucking the trend lately to make determining what a product is by reading the name, Aorus included this slide in their deck to help you translate the various models quickly.  As the B450 series is intended to be a less expensive choice, prices matter and as you can see below, just before the PR, they are quite attractive.

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GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced the release of the new B450 AORUS Motherboard series. These new models support the full spectrum of AMD Ryzen processors and boast innovative technologies, including AMD StoreMI as a way to accelerate traditional HDDs to speed levels only found in SSDs. Premium details such as the integrated I/O shield, next-gen Wi-Fi and USB Type-C connectivity enhance the user experience. A new armor design highlights the contours of the AORUS falcon while providing an advanced cooling solution for one of the most critical areas of the motherboard.

With this launch, GIGABYTE is also introducing a new naming scheme for the AORUS models. It better represents model hierarchy using terminology more familiar to gamers with B450 AORUS PRO and B450 AORUS ELITE as the top options based on the B450 chipset from AMD.

With dual M.2 design and two M.2 thermal guards, the arsenal of connectivity options extends to the realm of what is typically reserved for high-end enthusiast platforms. This feature is quintessential for reaching and maintaining the highest storage performance possible without worrying about thermal throttling.

B450 AORUS PRO WIFI and B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI feature blazing fast Intel Dual Band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Despite its compact form factor, the Mini-ITX model steps it up even further with the added benefits of Intel Dual Band 802.11ac Wave 2 technology.

The updated ALC1220-VB audio codec paired with WIMA and Chemicon audio capacitors guarantee a superb onboard audio experience able to provide a whole new universe of immersion while playing games, watching movies or enjoying music. The clarity of voice communication is has also been upgraded, particularly when using the front microphone jack where the SNR is now improved to 110dB(A).

The feature-rich back panel of B450 AORUS motherboards offers all the latest connectivity options, including USB 3.1 Gen2 with both Type-C and Type-A connectors. The I/O shield is now integrated on the motherboard to preserve the premium AORUS look at all times and taking users' convenience in consideration.

Smart Fan 5 with Fan Stop is the highly acclaimed cooling technology found on these motherboards and, it plays a crucial role in cooling the motherboard along with all other components during intensive loading scenarios. Multiple hybrid fan headers and temperature sensors placed along the motherboard are the core of this technology and work in tandem with a powerful software suite to give users full control over their thermal solutions.

B450 AORUS Motherboards offer an unbelievable level of customization. Powered by the advanced RGB Fusion lighting system which offers multiple programmable LED illuminated zones, stunning effects, and 16.8 million colors. Added support for 12V and 5V digital LED strips via 4-pin headers provide endless possiblities to make each computer look unique.

Signature GIGABYTE Ultra Durable components such as PCIe armor, where proprietary metal shielding enhances the strength of the slots to support heavy graphics cards and DualBIOS, the leading protection against common BIOS failures, reinforces the ability of these motherboards to withstand the test of time.

The initial lineup of B450 AORUS Motherboards consists of the B450 AORUS PRO WIFI, the B450 AORUS PRO and the B450 AORUS ELITE using the ATX form factor, B450 AORUS M as the mATX solution, and B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI for Mini-ITX.

Source: Gigabyte

Meet AMD's new B450 chipset, starting with the MSI GAMING PRO CARBON AC

Subject: Motherboards | July 31, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: amd, b450, msi, GAMING PRO CARBON AC, B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC

Today marks the launch of AMD's new B450 series motherboards which bring StorMI as well as Precision Boost Overdrive and Ryzen Master software to lower costs systems, as long as your Ryzen supports that feature.  This is more than just an announcement as several reviews also appeared, including this one from TechPowerUp.  The newest MSI GAMING PRO CARBON AC uses the B450 chipset, along with a variety of of software from MSI to control your RGBs as well as tweaking your clocks.  The board showed excellent potential, a Ryzen 5 2600+ easily hit 4.3 GHz at 1.35V with DDR4 stable at 3466MHz.  Check the full review for all the details.

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"The AMD B450 series chipset is here, with the full-size ATX MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC. MSI is walking the tightrope of a budget board that still offers a premium experience, for example it has two M.2 slots, full RGB support and WiFi."

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Source: TechPowerUp

ASRock's X470 Taichi Ultimate power up and test

Subject: Motherboards | July 4, 2018 - 05:22 PM |
Tagged: asrock, X470 Taichi Ultimate, x470, amd, ryzen 2

The new generation of AMD boards feature some interesting aesthetic choices, such you can see on ASRock's X470 Taichi Ultimate.  The black and grey theme is contrasted by the RGBs you already knew were present, but it is worth noting that TechPowerUp considered the implementation of the blinken lighten as exceptional.  Sadly the same could not be said of the audio chipset on the board, which they found lacklustre for a flagship model.  Their overclocking tests showed no deficiencies, the boards ability was met or exceeded the other X470 boards they have tried.

As it is a flagship motherboard, there are quite a few features to cover in the review, which you can find here.

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"In addition to the new features brought to the X470 chipset, the Taichi Ultimate offers additional SATA ports, 10 gigabit Ethernet, and superior control in overclocking using the Hyper BCLK Engine II, just to name a few. ASRock's Taichi line of motherboards have traditionally been top performers. Can the ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate and X470 chipset match up?"

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Source: TechPowerUp

Gigabyte bakes Optane right into their latest Z370 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | June 13, 2018 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: Z370, gigabyte, aorus, GAMING 7-OP, ULTRA GAMING WIFI-OP, ULTRA GAMING 2.0-OP, HD3-OP

A limited number of Gigabyte's new Z370 motherboards will come with 32GB of Optane built  in the board, or at least that is how the PR describes it.

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The boards will ship with Gigabyte's M.2 Thermal Guard installed which leads one to surmise that these are not permanently connected to the motherboard similar to how a BGA processor is installed but are instead already installed in an M.2 slot.  Regardless of how they attached it, you get the benefits of Optane memory right from the beginning, which is not a bad thing in any way.

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This is not their first bundle, you can still grab an Ultra Gaming + 32GB Optane on Amazon, which gives us an idea of the price.  Lets hope we don't see branding which describes the board as coming with 32GB of RAM already installed as this could lead to a lot of disappointment for someone who didn't pick up any DDR4. 

You can see the effect of using Optane memory on your computer in Ken's review.

 

 

Source: Gigabyte

He's a VII time Crosshair Hero!

Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2018 - 04:36 PM |
Tagged: asus, x470, amd, ryzen, crosshair vii hero, AM4

Even after years of suggestions and beratement, CMOS battery placement remains a sore spot for a variety of reveiwers.  The Crosshair VII Hero is no exception, where the battery will be buried under you GPU; what is exceptional is that this is the sole shortcoming to this AM4 board.  [H]ard|OCP were duly impressed by the features and performance of this board, as well as the price tag, which is nicely under $300.   Whether you plan on taking advantage of Precision Boost 2 or manually overclocking, this is a board worth checking out.

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"Along with the second generation AMD Ryzen CPUs, we are getting the new and somewhat improved X470 chipset motherboards. We have been beating on the Crosshair VII Hero for about a month now and have figured out what we like about, outside of it being an excellent overclocker for the Ryzen 7 CPUs."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Computex 2018: MSI Unleashes X399 MEG Creation Motherboard for Threadripper 2

Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2018 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: X399, tr4, threadripper 2, Threadripper, msi, computex 2018, computex, amd

Following AMD’s reveal of a 32 core Threadripper 2 (12nm Zen+ not Zen 2) processor using all four dies coming in Q3, it is only natural that new TR4 socket motherboards would emerge. MSI was well prepared for the reveal with its upcoming X399 MEG Creation motherboard on display at Computex. The massive E-ATX motherboard features a black PCB with silver accents and two huge heatsinks covering the VRMs in the top left and the chipset and three M.2 slots in the bottom right. The TR4 socket sits between eight DDR4 DIMM slots and is topped by a ludicrous 16+3 power phase (doubled eight for vCore, the remaining phases for vSoC) cooled by a large heatsink. The board takes power from two 8-pin and one 24-pin power connector.

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TechPowerUp got hands on with the new board at Computex.

Below the processor sits four PCI-E x16 slots (wired x16/x8/x16/x8) and a single PCI-E x1 slot. There are eight SATA 6 Gbps ports along the right edge of the board and below the L shaped heatsink users can install three M.2 solid state drives. MSI claims that enthusiasts can install up to seven M.2 drives using the 3 M.2 slots on the motherboard as well as four slots provided by a PCI-E add-on card (e.g. MSI Xpander AERO PCIe).

Around back the X399 MEG Creation offers up 10 USB 3.1 ports (one Type-C), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two Wi-Fi antenna connectors for the 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi and BT 5.0 radios, and six audio outputs (5 analog, one optical).

The massive Threadripper motherboard reportedly has 10 PWM fan connectors and three temperature sensors to aid in cooling and overclocking. The board also has handy BIOS flashing and overclocking features galore.

The X399 MEG Creation supports Threadripper as well as the upcoming Threadripper 2000 series processors and should make for an interesting setup for enthusiasts! The lack of 10 Gigabit Ethernet is dissapointing, but at least the two gigabit NICs are Intel based (MSI is using Intel for the Wi-Fi as well). If you are curious about the new X399 board, Tom's Hardware and TechPowerUp managed to snap several photos of the high-end motherboard at the MSI booth. If you prefer video, Gamer's Nexus has a short clip of it here.

KitGuru is reporting that the massive motherboard will cost upwards of $500. MSI has not yet revealed a launch date. Presumably we can expect the X399 MEG Creation to be available sometime in Q3 just in time for the Threadripper 2000 series availability.

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