Subject: Motherboards | April 4, 2018 - 06:03 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
- GIGABYTE H370 AORUS Gaming 3 WIFI Motherboard Review
- Intel Adds New Processors and Chipsets to 8th Generation Desktop Lineup
- The Coffee Lake Story: Intel Core i7-8700K and Core i5-8400 Review
Introduction and Motherboard Layout
For the launch of the Intel H370 chipset motherboards, GIGABYTE chose their AORUS brand to lead the charge. The AORUS branding differentiates the enthusiast and gamer friendly products from other GIGABYTE product lines, similar to how ASUS uses the ROG branding to differentiate their high performance product line. The H370 AORUS Gaming 3 WIFI is among GIGABYTE's intial release boards offering support for the latest Intel consumer chipset and processor lines. Built around the Intel H370 chlipset, the board supports the Intel LGA1151 Coffee Lake processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at up to 2667MHz speeds. The H370 AORUS Gaming 3 WIFI can be found in retail with an MRSP of $139.99.
The HS370 AORUS Gaming 3 WIFI motherboard features a black PCB with black and chrome colored heat sinks covering all the necessary board components. The AORUS series logos are emblazoned on the chipset heat sink and the rear panel cover. Further, a large rendering of the logo is silk-screened in the upper left quadrant of the board. The ATX form factor provides more than enough surface area to house the integrated features, as well as giving the board compatibility with most available consumer enclosures.
The board's back is completely free of components, posing no problems with case mounting or mounting the CPU backplate.
GIGABYTE designed the H370 AORUS Gaming 3 WIFI motherboard with a 10-phase digital power system in an 8+2 configuration. The CPU VRMs are passively cooled by dual aluminum heat sinks above and to the upper right of the CPU socket.
Subject: Motherboards | March 29, 2018 - 02:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI B350M Gaming Pro with Ryzen 5 2400G @ Guru of 3D
- MSI Z370I Gaming Pro Carbon AC mITX @ [H]ard|OCP
- ASUS ROG Maximus X Formula @ Kitguru
- ECS Z370-Lightsaber Motherboard Review @ Neoseeker
- Gigabyte Z370N WiFi @ Kitguru
- ASRock X299 Extreme4 @ TechPowerUp
Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | March 8, 2018 - 02:55 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
Subject: Motherboards | February 28, 2018 - 06:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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? "
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 7 PRO @ Guru of 3D
- MSI X299M Gaming Pro Carbon AC @ KitGuru
- ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-I Gaming @ [H]ard|OCP
- ECS Z370-Lightsaber @ TechPowerUp
- Gigabyte Aorus Z370 Gaming K3 @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS MAXIMUS IX CODE @ TechPowerUp
- Asus Maximus IX Extreme – with Bitspower monoblock @ Kitguru
- Don't Bother with A320 Motherboards, Go for AMD's B350 Instead for Raven Ridge @ TechSpot
Subject: Motherboards | February 9, 2018 - 03:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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!
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 126.96.36.199 microcode update so head over to MSI for an update if you have one of the motherboards below.
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 188.8.131.52 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 184.108.40.206 microcode to optimize CPU performance together with MSI AM4 motherboards.
Subject: Motherboards | January 22, 2018 - 11:24 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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:
|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.
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?
- GIGABYTE Announces Gemini Lake Motherboards with Intel Pentium Silver Processors
- Details on Intel's Gemini Lake SoC Leak: A Refined Apollo Lake Coming Soon
Subject: Motherboards | January 22, 2018 - 04:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- ASUS ROG Maximus X Formula @ Guru of 3D
- AORUS Z370 Gaming 7 @ Modders-Inc
- Gigabyte Z370N WIFI Mini-ITX @ Guru of 3D
- Biostar Racing Z370GT6 @ TechPowerUp
Subject: Motherboards, Processors | January 19, 2018 - 01:39 PM | Sebastian Peak
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.
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."
Image credit: CNXSoft
"[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).
Subject: Motherboards | January 17, 2018 - 09:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
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.