Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming 5 board features a matte black PCB with with a white armor overlay protecting the rear panel and audio components. In line with their AORUS Intel boards, GIGABYTE spread RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, configurable via the UEFI or the windows app. The board supports the AMD Ryzen processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory via the AMD X370 chipset. The AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard can be found at most retailers with an MRSP of $194.99

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The following features have been integrated into the board: four SATA III 6Gbps ports; two SATA-Express ports; an M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable port; a U.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable port; dual RJ-45 ports featuring an Intel I211-AT Gigabit NIC and a Rivet Networks Killer E2500 NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; dual Realtek audio CODECs; an integrated HDMI video port; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

To power the board, GIGABYTE integrated integrated a 10-phase (6+4) digital power delivery system into the AX370-Gaming 5 board's design. The digital power system was designed with IR digital power controllers and PowIRstage ICs, Server Level Chokes, and Durable Black capacitors. The power components used are the same as those used to great effect on their AORUS Intel boards.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE integrated a variety of fan headers and temperature sensors into the board They integrated temperature sensors into the CPU socket, VRMs, and chipset. Additionally, there are monitored fan headers spread throughout the board's surface, all supporting high current devices (fans or water pumps), rated for up to 24W (2A at 12V).

Continue reading our preview of the GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard!

The Intel version of the GAMING PRO CARBON AC

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

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

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

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GIGABYTE's X399 DESIGNARE EX

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

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

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

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

Source: Gigabyte

The GIGABYTE Aorus Gaming 7; function over form

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

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

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

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: ASUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Source: ASRock
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS Crosshair VI Hero board features a black PCB with a plastic armor overlay covering the board's rear panel and audio subsystem components. ASUS added RGB LED backlighting to the rear panel cover and chipset heat sink to illuminate the board and ASUS ROG logos, as well as under board lighting along the sound PCB separator line. ASUS designed the board around the AMD X370 chipset, offering support for AMD's Ryzen processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at a 2400MHz speed. The Crosshair VI Hero motherboard can be found in the wild at an MRSP of $254.99

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Courtesy of ASUS

To power the Ryzen CPU, ASUS integrated a 12 phase digital power delivery system into the Crosshair VI Hero, providing enough juice to push your CPU to its limits. The following features have been integrated into the board: eight SATA III 6Gbps ports; an M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable port; an RJ-45 port featuring the Intel I211-AT Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; the ASUS SupremeFX S1220 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DVI-D and HDMI video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

For superior audio performance, ASUS built the Crosshair VI Hero's audio subsystem around the SupremeFX CODEC, featuring Nichicon audio capacitors, switching MOSFETs, a high-precision clock source, an ESS ESS9023P DAC, and an RC4580 audio buffer.

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Courtesy of ASUS

To appease their AMD user population, ASUS designed the CPU cooler mount for compatibility with both the AM3 and AM4 style coolers. This gives users a wider selection of cooling solutions available to use with the board.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero motherboard!

Gourmet Coffee, Gigabyte's Z370 Aorus Gaming 7

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

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

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

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MSI Announces X399 SLI PLUS Motherboard for AMD Threadripper

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

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

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

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MSI's feature list includes:

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

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

Source: MSI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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