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Manufacturer: ASUS

Overview

It feels like forever that we've been hearing about 802.11ad. For years it's been an up-and-coming technology, seeing some releases in devices like Dell's WiGig-powered wireless docking stations for Latitude notebooks.

However, with the release of the first wave of 802.11ad routers earlier this year from Netgear and TP-Link there has been new attention drawn to more traditional networking applications for it. This was compounded with the announcement of a plethora of X299-chipset based motherboards at Computex, with some integrating 802.11ad radios.

That brings us to today, where we have the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe motherboard, which we used in our Skylake-X review. This almost $500 motherboard is the first device we've had our hands on which features both 802.11ac and 802.11ad networking, which presented a great opportunity to get experience with WiGig. With promises of wireless transfer speeds up to 4.6Gbps how could we not?

For our router, we decided to go with the Netgear Nighthawk X10. While the TP-Link and Netgear options appear to share the same model radio for 802.11ad usage, the Netgear has a port for 10 Gigabit networking, something necessary to test the full bandwidth promises of 802.11ad from a wired connection to a wireless client.

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The Nighthawk X10 is a beast of a router (with a $500 price tag to match) in its own right, but today we are solely focusing on it for 802.11ad testing.

Making things a bit complicated, the Nighthawk X10's 10GbE port utilizes an SFP+ connector, and the 10GbE NIC on our test server, with the ASUS X99‑E‑10G WS motherboard, uses an RJ45 connection for its 10 Gigabit port. In order to remedy this in a manner where we could still move the router away from the test client to test the range, we used a Netgear ProSAFE XS716E 10GigE switch as the go-between.

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Essentially, it works like this. We are connecting the Nighthawk X10 to the ProSAFE switch through a SFP+ cable, and then to the test server through 10GBase-T. The 802.11ad client is of course connected wirelessly to the Nighthawk X10.

On the software side, we are using the tried and true iPerf3. You run this software in server mode on the host machine and connect to that machine through the same piece of software in client mode. In this case, we are running iPerf with 10 parallel clients, over a 30-second period which is then averaged to get the resulting bandwidth of the connection.

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There are two main takeaways from this chart - the maximum bandwidth comparison to 802.11ac, and the scaling of 802.11ad with distance.

First, it's impressive to see such high bandwidth over a wireless connection. In a world where the vast majority of the Ethernet connections are still limited to 1Gbps, seeing up to 2.2Gbps over a wireless connection is very promising.

However, when you take a look at the bandwidth drops as we move the router and client further and further away, we start to see some of the main issues with 802.11ad.

Instead of using more traditional frequency ranges like 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz like we've seen from Wi-Fi for so many years, 802.11ad uses frequency in the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum. Without getting too technical about RF technology, essentially this means that 802.11ad is capable of extremely high bandwidth rates, but cannot penetrate walls with line of sight between devices being ideal. In our testing, we even found that the given orientation of the router made a big difference. Rotating the router 180 degrees allowed us to connect or not in some scenarios.

As you can see, the drop off in bandwidth for the 802.11ad connection between our test locations 15 feet away from the client and 35 feet away from the client was quite stark. 

That being said, taking another look at our results you can see that in all cases the 802.11ad connection is faster than the 802.11ac results, which is good. For the promised applications of 802.11ad where the device and router are in the same room of reasonable size, WiGig seems to be delivering most of what is promised.

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It is likely we won't see high adoption rates of 802.11ad for networking computers. The range limitations are just too stark to be a solution that works for most homes. However, I do think WiGig has a lot of promise to replace cables in other situations. We've seen notebook docks utilizing WiGig and there has been a lot of buzz about VR headsets utilizing WiGig for wireless connectivity to gaming PCs.

802.11ad networking is in its infancy, so this is all subject to change. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for continuing news on 802.11ad and other wireless technologies!

Biostar's ITX Ryzen motherboard in action; the X370GTN

Subject: Motherboards | June 19, 2017 - 01:41 PM |
Tagged: itx, ryzen, biostar, Racing X370GTN, SFF

Barely the size of a Threadripper CPU, the Racing X370GTN ITX motherboard is a decent platform to build a Ryzen powered SFF system on.  Biostar kept the design fairly simple, to keep the costs down on this motherboard but don't worry, they did include RGB headers for 5050 RGB LED light strips and you can set up your personalized light show using the Racing GT utility.  Even with the compact design, Hardware Canucks were able to fully populate the two DIMM slots even with a Prolimatech Mega Shadow cooler installed, they did discover that users of AiO watercoolers will have to ensure to rotate the cooler to ensure the tubing does not block the closer DIMM however.  The M.2 slot has been relocated to the back of the motherboard due to the size constraints of the board which did not impact performance.  Pop by to take a look at this ~$110 motherboard if you are in the market for an ITX Ryzen system.

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"ITX motherboards have finally arrived for AMD's Ryzen and in this first review we look at Biostar's brand new Racing X370GTN. Can its diminutive size belie its true performance?"

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Computex 2017: ASRock Shows Off Two X399 Threadripper Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | June 5, 2017 - 05:08 PM |
Tagged: tr4, Threadripper, computex, asrock, amd

In case you need just a bit more Computex news, ASRock is jumping into the high-end AMD desktop platform with two new X399 motherboards using the massive TR4 socket for AMD Threadripper. The new premium motherboards are part of the company’s Professional Gaming and Taichi series and are packed with workstation friendly features.

ASRock-X399-Motherboards.jpg

HardwareCanucks spotted the new boards on the show floor.

Both motherboards arare clad in black and silver colors with the professional gaming having some red accents and the Taichi having a stylized gear shaped chipset heatsink. The ASRock X399 Professional Gaming and X399 Taichi both feature eight DDR4 DIMM slots supporting quad channel memory, four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, one PCI-E x1 slot, three Ultra M.2 (x4 PCI-E or SATA drives), one U.2 port, and eight SATA 6Gbps ports. The boards are powered by a 24-pin ATX, 8-pin and 4-pin EPS12V and a 6-pin PCI-E power connector to provide stable slot power to PCI-E devices like graphics cards. The Professional Gaming reportedly has a 10+2 power phase feeing the CPU and memory, and while there is no confirmation that the Taichi also has this it should be close if not the same power phase design.

In addition to aesthetic design choices, the boards differ in networking and audio with the ASRock X399 Professional Gaming sporting Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 and the X399 Taichi have Purity Sound 4. The Threadripper motherboards both support Wi-Fi and two Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports. The X399 Professional Gaming adds a 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface that is not present on the Taichi, however.

Rear I/O on the TR4 X399 motherboards include eight USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, three USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (including one Type-C), dual (Intel) Gigabit Ethernet, six audio connections (5 analog, one digital), two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, and a single PS/2 port. The X399 Professional Gaming also has 10GbE port.

Unfortunately, no word on pricing or availability.

We will have to wait for reviews to know for sure, but it appears that while ASRock did not go quite as crazy with the power input as Asus and it’s ROG Zenith Extreme, the company has some nice-looking motherboards. Hopefully they perform as well as they look and enable enthusiasts to push the envelope in terms of hardware and clockspeeds when overclocking. If you are interested in these motherboards, Computerbase.de has several more photos of them on their site.

If you are looking for something a "bit" smaller, ASRock also unveiled the Mini ITX X370 Gaming-ITX/ac that uses the X370 chipset on the AM4 (Ryzen) platform.

Source: Videocardz

A Hero has Ryzen; the new ASUS ROG Crosshair VI

Subject: Motherboards | June 5, 2017 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero, asus, x370

[H]ard|OCP have posted a review of ASUS new Ryzen board, the X370 ROG Crosshair VI Hero.  The board offers AMD users a lot of choices, three PCIe 3.0 16x slots and three PCIe 2.0 1x slots for daughter cards, eight SATA 6Gbps port as well as an M.2 slot for those who have embraced the new storage form factor.  On the back are an impressive dozen USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, one Type-A and one Type-C.  For testing they ran the DDR4 at 2133MHz during regular testing and at 2800MHz for overclocked testing, unfortunately it seems that we are returning to the days when you need to research RAM compatibility before you buy.  That is nothing we haven't seen before, it simply means you should do a little research before you set up your system.

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"It’s been years since we’ve reviewed an ASUS ROG offering that was designed for AMD CPUs. That’s not to say that those haven’t existed, those just weren’t worth a look as the AMD side of things has not been compelling for the better part of the last decade. Thanks to AMD Ryzen, we have a reason to take the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero for a test drive and tell you how it fared in the tumultuous sea of AM4 motherboards."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Shows Off Flagship ROG Zenith Extreme X399 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | June 3, 2017 - 08:09 PM |
Tagged: X399, tr4, Threadripper, computex, ASUS ROG, asus, amd

Asus is showing off its flagship motherboard for the AMD X399 Threadripper platform at Computex this week, and it is quite the RGB laden beast. The Asus Republic of Gamers Zenith Extreme measures 12” x 10.9” and is powered by a 24-pin ATX, two 8-pin EPS12V, and a molex connector for extra PCI-E power. The power is conditioned by an 8+2 power phase for the CPU and both banks of DDR4 memory. Overclocking should not be an issue, and even appears to be encouraged with the inclusion of usual array of various ROG overclocking features (LN2 and overclocking buttons, an OLED readout, on board start and reset buttons, ect)

Asus X399 ROG Zenith Extreme.jpg

The top half of the board is dominated by the massive TR4 socket and the eight DIMM slots that surround it (128GB maximum). Above the CPU sits the power phases under a small aluminum heat spreader that has a heat pipe to connect it to the heasink above the rear IO connectors. The bottom half of the board holds four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x8/x16/x8), one PCI-E 3.0 x1 slot, one PCI-E 3.0 x4 slot, one M.2 slot under the X399 chipset heatsink, one U.2 connector, and six SATA 6Gbps ports. There is also a riser board by the rightmost DIMM slot that reportedly holds two M.2 22110 connectors.

Networking support includes Intel I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet, ROG 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11AD Wi-Fi. Further, the Zenith Extreme features SupremeFX audio (S1220 codec and ESS901BQ2C DAQ). Fans of RGB will be happy to see Asus is using RGB LEDs on the I/O and chipset heatsinks as well as a configurable OLED display on the I/O heatsink.

Rear I/O includes two USB 2.0, 12 USB 3.1 Gen 1, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps, one Type-A and one Type-C), and six audio ports. There are also external antenna connectors for the built-in Wi-Fi.

This is one monster of a motherboard, and it should allow users to take full advantage of AMD’s Threadripper processor. Unfortunately, there is no word on exact pricing or availability beyond that it is expected sometime in August following the estimated launch date of Threadripper.

ASRock's Fatal1ty X370 Gaming-ITX/ac Mini ITX Motherboard for Ryzen Coming Soon

Subject: Motherboards | June 3, 2017 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: SFF, ryzen, mini ITX, computex, asrock, amd, AM4

ASRock officially announced the Fatal1ty X370 Gaming-ITX/ac Mini ITXmotherboard at Computex. With the AMD AM4 socket and X370 chipset, the motherboard is ready for a Ryzen processor or Bristol Ridge APU (though at this point, it might be prudent to wait for Raven Ridge).

ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Gaming ITXac.jpg

The new motherboard is powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connector that drives a digital eight phase VRM setup. The AM4 CPU socket is surrounded by two DDR4 DIMM slots, a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, and four SATA 6Gbps ports. There is also one Ultra M.2 (PCI-E 3.0 x4) slot for solid state drives. ASRock includes 7.1 channel (Realtek ALC 1220) audio along with Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet. There is also support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.3 with two external antenna connectors on the back panel.

Speaking of rear I/O, the Fatal1ty X370 Gaming-ITX/ac includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 3 x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C
  • 5 x Analog audio
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 2 x Wi-Fi antennas

Small form factor enthusiasts have been waiting for this board for awhile since it was first teased. Fortunately, they will not have long to wait with several websites reporting from Computex that the new Mini ITX motherboard will be available within the month for around $160 MSRP. (There is reportedly also going to be a B350-based variant which may come in a bit cheaper.)

I am looking forward to the reviews on this one! Are you planning a SFF Ryzen build?

Also read:

Source: ASRock

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2017 - 06:20 PM |
Tagged: x370, Strix X370-F Gaming, Strix B350-F Gaming, ryzen, b350, asus, amd

ASUS just announced two new members of their Strix motherboard series for AMD's Ryzen, the Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming.

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The boards offer similar features, they support up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 in their four DIMM slots and offer ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A with two headphone jacks.  You will find four USB 3.1 ports on the back panels along with HDMI 1.4b and DP 1.2 out and an Intel I211-AT powered gigabit NIC.  Storage options do vary, both have an M.2 slot however the X370 has twice as many SATA ports, eight to the B350's four. 

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The Strix X370-F Gaming

Depending on which model you choose you could have up to three PCIe 3.0 16x slots, one capped at 8x along with support for Crossfire and SLI.  The slots are branded as SafeSlots which are made using an injection molding process that integrates metal framing to support todays monstrous GPUs. 

Those who want their system to stand out can take advantage of the AURA Sync RGB lighting and 3D printer friendly heat shields to make their build unique.  You can compare the boards directly at ASUS and check out the PR just below.

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The Strix B350-F Gaming

Fremont, CA (June 2, 2017) -- — Since its release back in April, AMD’s Ryzen platform has quickly established itself as a viable option, delivering exemplary performance for daily computing and gaming. ASUS was ready for the early unveil, releasing an array of motherboards for value-packed PCs to models geared for high-end rigs. However, pressing demand for Ryzen-based systems shows a need for more options in the middle of the ASUS product stack. So today, we’re bolstering our portfolio with two new AM4 motherboards aimed squarely at gamers who wish to utilize Ryzen performance in their next PC build.

Based on the latest AMD X370 and B350 chipsets, the ATX-sized Strix X370-F and Strix B350-F include all the core ROG enhancements that make system setup a breeze, while offering performance that stands out from the crowd. To read more about these motherboards, please visit ASUS ROG. ROG B350-F Motherboard

AVAILABILITY
ASUS ROG Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming Motherboards will be available in early June at leading resellers in North America.

 

Source: ASUS

Computex 2017: GIGABYTE Announces X299 AORUS Motherboard Lineup

Subject: Motherboards | June 1, 2017 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: x299, motherboard, LGA 2066, Intel, computex 2017, computex, aorus

GIGABYTE has announced their premium X299 AORUS motherboards at Computex with some impressively high-end features (more so the higher you go up the list). The X299 AORUS Gaming 9 sits atop a lineup that includes the X299 AORUS Gaming 7, X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming, and X299 AORUS Gaming 3, giving buyers plenty of options for their new Intel Core X-series CPU build.

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The X299 AORUS Gaming 9 motherboard at the GIGABYTE booth

The X299 AORUS Gaming 9 (pictured above), along with the Gaming 7, feature GIGABYTE's Dual Armor design (these motherboards have their own backplate!), triple M.2 slots, dual Gigabit LAN and Killer 1535 Wi-Fi onboard, RGB lighting effects, and some seriously high-end sound for a motherboard.

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An audio enthusiast won't be disappointed with specs like a 32-bit/384kHz ESS SABRE DAC (ES9018), TI Burr-Brown OP-Amp, audiophile-grade capacitors, and gold-plated audio jacks (among other hi-fi goodies).

A full comparison of the X299 AORUS Gaming motherboards is available below in this 'easy to read' image of a spec table (sorry!):

AORUS X299 MOTHERBOARDS.png

The lighting effects from the high-end Gaming models include digital LEDs, PCIe LED lighting, and a 'PCH Accent Overlay' for a very well-illuminated motherboard (if you like that sort of thing). GIGABYTE lists multiple programmable lighting zones, 8 different lighting effects, a pair of RGBW light strip headers, and support for digital LED strips among the many software-controlled lighting features with these boards. The durability features include the AORUS Base Plate (pictured below) and M.2 Thermal Guard, which provides your high performance M.2 SSDs with some measure of cooling.

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The AORUS Base Plate is like a GPU backplate for your motherboard

As with other X299 motherboard launches, pricing and release dates were not available at Computex so we will have to wait a little longer for that information.

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Make an X299 AORUS Gaming motherboard the heart of your next wall-mounted PC build!

Source: GIGABYTE

Computex 2017: EVGA Announces Intel X299 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2017 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: x299, motherboard, micro ATX, mATX, LGA 2066, Intel, evga, computex 2017, computex, atx

EVGA has announced their new X299 Series motherboard lineup, with two EATX models and a compact solution for Micro-ATX.

"Introducing the EVGA X299 motherboard lineup - built for the Next Generation Intel® X299 platform. The EVGA X299 motherboard lineup combines incredible features, overclocking and the latest SSD standards, including M.2, U.2 and Intel® Optane™ support. EVGA's GUI BIOS focuses on functionality and overclocking support to give you power and ease of use. With these features and more, it is easy to see how the EVGA X299 Motherboards are Built to Perfection."

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The first of these is the X299 DARK, an EATX motherboard that EVGA says is "designed from the ground up to be the best overclocking motherboard on the planet". The motherboard has an unusual PCB design as it is meant for serious overclocking, whittling memory support down to just 4 DIMM slots (overclocking of 4133MHz+ is supported) and EVGA includes a 'bench stand plate' for open test bench setups. The X299 DARK also features an integrated M.2 cooling solution that looks a little bit like a small GPU blower fan of old.

Features from EVGA:

  • Supports x16 PCIe Graphics with all CPUs
  • Audio – Creative Sound Core3D Quad-Core Audio Processor + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 14 Phase Digital VRM
  • 12 Layer PCB Design
  • Bundled Bench Stand Plate
  • Dedicated M.2 Cooling
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Triple BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • 10-zone Temperature Monitor
  • Onboard Voltage Display

Next up is the X299 FTW K, another EATX design that is a little more conventional as it offers 8 DIMM slots for up to 128GB of DDR4 memory, and less of the OC-specific design of the X299 DARK.

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Features for the X299 FTW K include:

  • RGB LED I/O and Heatsink
  • RGB Fan Header Support
  • Audio – High Definition 8 Channel Audio + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 14 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Dual BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor

Last but not least (unless you're talking about size) is the X299 MICRO, which is EVGA's Micro-ATX X299 offering.

evga-x299-micro.jpg

Certain changes are necessitated by the mATX size contstraints such as 4 DIMM slots (though EVGA's X299 DARK shares this limitation) and fewer PCIe slots, but this is still a full-fledged enthusiast platform with many high-end features including an impressive 12-phase Digital VRM design.

Features for the X299 MICRO include:

  • RGB Fan Header Support
  • Audio – High Definition 8 Channel Audio + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 12 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor

Release dates and MSRPs for these motherboards have not been announced.

Source: EVGA

Computex 2017: ASRock Shows Mini-ITX Intel X299 with the X299E-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2017 - 09:34 AM |
Tagged: x299, small form factor, SFF, motherboard, mini-itx, computex 2017, computex, asrock

ASRock was the only player in the mini-ITX Intel X99 motherboard space, and they are at it again with their X299E-ITX motherboard. This time around memory is not limited to a pair of desktop DIMMs as with the existing X99E-ITX/ac, as the new X299 board features quad-channel memory support thanks to a switch to SODIMMs.

ASRock X299E-ITX.jpg

The ASRock X299E-ITX Motherboard (Image credit: ComputerBase)

Among the specifications are support for 3200+ MHz DDR4, a PCIe Gen 3 x16 slot for graphics cards, networking via Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and dual Intel NICs, a pair of USB 3.1 ports (Type-A and Type-C), six SATA 3 ports and a PCIe Gen 3 x4 compatible M.2 slot, and premium 7.1-channel audio with Nichicon capacitors. The X299E-ITX board also offers ASRock's 'Super Alloy' design and offers a 7-phase 'Digi Power' array for the LGA2066 CPU.

No word on pricing or availablity just yet, but if it follows the X99E-ITX/ac launch it should be somewhere near the $300 range. If you need mini-ITX and fancy the latest Intel enthusiast platform, this might be your best - and only - option.

Source: ComputerBase