Subject: Motherboards | December 5, 2016 - 08:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel X99, designare EX
Gigabyte's Designare EX is even more full of extras and add-ins than the non-EX model, featuring everything but an easily accessible CMOS battery. Ten SATA ports, although only six are RAID capable, one U.2 and a pair of M.2 ports are available and there is an Avago PEX8747 assuming to help your CPU provide enough PCIe lanes for everything. The USB Type-C port on the back is Thunderbolt 3 rated and there is a DisplayPort input on the back panel so you can use your graphics card to provide output for that Thunderbolt connection. The Tech Report loved the look of the board but ran into some hurdles when using and tweaking it, check out the full review for details.
"Broadwell-E CPUs brought a new wave of X99 motherboards to go with them at price points both high and low. The GA-X99-Designare EX shows what's possible when Gigabyte's motherboard designers get to pull out all the stops. We put this board to the test to see what it's like to live the high life."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Professional Gaming i7 @ techPowerUp
- GIGABYTE X99-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- MSI X99A XPower Gaming Titanium @ Kitguru
Subject: Motherboards | December 2, 2016 - 01:19 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Intel, z270, h270, intel z270, kaby lake, Optane, PCI-E 3.0
Details on Intel’s upcoming Z270 and H270 chipsets surfaced last month that fleshed out the new platform and its capabilities including the inclusion of additional PCI-E 3.0 lanes and out-of-the-box support for 7th Generation Intel Kaby Lake processors versus the current generation Z170 and H170 chipsets.
An alleged Z270 motherboard from ASUS (STRIX Z270G GAMING) per Wccftech.
TechPowerUp reported that Intel’s 200-series chipsets – which would be used on motherboards with the LGA 1151 socket – would feature incremental improvements over their current generation equivalents including the upgrade to Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) version 15, support for Intel Optane Technology, and additional downstream PCI-E 3.0 lanes. The Z270 and H270 chipsets each have four extra lanes compared to their 100-series predecessors. These “downstream lanes” allow for additional high bandwidth connections that hang off the chipset (which does appear to still be ultimately limited by the physical four PCI-E 3.0 lanes that make up the DMI 3.0 link between the CPU and PCH). Examples include extra Thunderbolt, USB 3.1, and PCI-E slots for NICs, capture cards, storage controllers, or even graphics cards.
Intel Z270 Express will feature 14 general purpose PCI-E lanes versus 10 on Z170 Express along with a total lane budget of 30 versus 26 (16 of those lanes are reserved for CPU to one or two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (electrically 1x16 or 2x8) and the others come from the chipset but really connect back to the CPU over a DMI 3.0 link that is equivalent to four lanes of PCI-E 3.0. H270 also features 14 general purpose lanes versus what appears to be six on H170. H270 and H170 have 16 PCI-E 3.0 lanes coming from the CPU for graphics so it is a total lane budget of 30 versus 22 respectively.
|High Speed IO (HSIO)||30||26||30||22|
|PCI-E 3.0 Lanes||24||20||20||16|
|Maximum M.2 slots||3||3||2||2|
H270 will see the biggest benefit from the additional PCI-E lanes which could mean systems like HTPCs and budget desktops where overclocking and multi-GPU setups are not a concern using H270 chipset motherboards could still support a full range of external IO and fast storage.
One interesting thing I noticed from the table is that Z270 and H270 do not support additional M.2 slots. The maximum number of M.2 slots remains the same as their 100-series counterparts at three and two respectively. After talking with Allyn, this makes sense because of that limiting factor that is the four lane DMI 3.0 link to the CPU and memory. Specifically, he explained:
“Think of the chipset as a means of fanout to individual things that won't simultaneously consumer more than x4. You can use the extra lanes for other stuff, like additional USB 3.1 controllers, Ethernet, audio, etc. Heck, you can route them to the last PCIe slot if you wanted.”
Further, Intel will continue to differentiate the Z270 Express and H270 Express by supporting multiplier overclocking and multi-GPU setups solely on Z270-based motherboards. H270 will be single x16 slot boards that do not allow multiplier-based overclocking at best and more than likely any CPU overclocking. The tradeoff being that H270-based boards should be much cheaper.
Intel Optane support is compelling, but will not be a reason to upgrade quite yet as drives are still a ways off and when they do arrive are sure to be very expensive. Rumors do suggest that Intel may introduce a small 3D XPoint-based Optane SSD up to 32GB alongside the rollout of Kaby Lake and new motherboards but as that is not large enough for an OS drive it will remain more of a niche thing at first. As larger drives come out at lower price points, the support for them on Z270 and H270 would help make the case for enthusiasts running Z170 and H170 boards to make the jump.
Of course, that brings me to my main thought surrounding Z270 and H270 based motherboards which is that while someone looking to build a new PC could justify going straight to the newer chipset-based motherboards, users running existing Z170 and H170 motherboards – many of which will support Kaby Lake processors with a BIOS update – have little reason to jump at an upgrade. Budget builds might even justify going to the older and cheaper boards if they don’t need the new features and putting the saved money towards something like more memory or a better CPU cooler.
For the highest end (save HEDT) builds, Z270-based boards should offer more connectivity options for Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 ports and the ability to dive into XPoint storage when it fully rolls out is nice. There are arguments to be main on both sides.
What are your plans for Kaby Lake? Will you be upgrading to the new processor, and if so will be using a Z170/H170 or a new Z270/H270 board?
- Intel 7th Generation Core Processor: Kaby Lake Revealed
- IDF 2016: Intel To Demo Optane XPoint, Announces Optane Testbed for Enterprise Customers
- Kaby Lake support is official, ASUS releases UEFI updates their LGA 1151 boards
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard is among the latest offerings from GIGABYTE in their G1 Gaming product line, introducing Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, and LED enhancements to thier Z170 boards. The board features a base black aesthetic with integrated red LEDs spread throughout its surface for a sleek look. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset gives the board support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. The Z170X-Ultra Gaming has a base sellng price of $160, a more than reasonable price for the integrated features and the board's performance.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the Z170X-Ultra Gaming mortherboard: two SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 2x2 802.11ac WiFI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; Realtek 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated mini-DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.
Subject: Motherboards | November 17, 2016 - 06:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170, ECS, LEE7 Z170-Lightsaber, Intel, LGA 1151
ECS have upgraded their lineup of Z170 motherboards with the LEE7 Z170-Lightsaber, using improved capacitors and offering some new features. The back panel offers a pair of USB 3 ports which receive a steady 5V, perfect for a USB DAC as well as a pair marked in yellow with a polling rate of 1000Hz for your mouse and keyboard, unless you prefer the PS/2 port. There are an additional four USB 3.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports as well; the LAN is powered by a Killer E2400 NIC. Drop by Modders Inc for a full review and yes, before you ask, it does have RGB disease.
"The ECS Z170-Lightsaber is a significantly upgraded version of the Z170-Claymore, bringing more competitive features on-board, literally. Buttons directly on the Z170-Claymore motherboard PCB are designed to give users once click access to automatic overclocking, BIOS update, BIOS backup, clear CMOS, UEFI shortcut and more."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI X99A Workstation @ Kitguru
- ASRock X99 Taichi (with Broadwell-E) @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming LGA2011-3 @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | November 1, 2016 - 09:23 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: msi, giveaway, giveaways, pc gaming
To celebrate their 30th anniversary, MSI is having a massive giveaway. Each day, from today (November 1st) to November 30th, you are able to answer a trivia question to be entered in that day's drawing. Being that it's MSI, they are also requiring that you capitalize every letter of your answer. I'm not joking; that really is in their How to Enter process. You also need to follow MSI and HyperX on Twitter to enter but, although the form is through Facebook, it looks like you do not need a Facebook account. I could be wrong about that last part, though.
Also, winning a prize does not exclude you from winning future prizes. Don't bother trying to game the system, like waiting to enter until the “good prizes” but not the “great prizes” that will get too many entries, etc. Try every day if you can, even if you already won previously.
The prize for today is the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GAMING 4G from MSI, but they vary wildly from day to day. Even though NVIDIA is a partner in this giveaway, along with HyperX and Intel, there are even some AMD cards scattered throughout the month. I mean, it makes sense: MSI sells AMD cards. Their contest page claims that the total prize pool is up to $14,000 USD.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | October 28, 2016 - 04:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170, LGA 1151, kaby lake, Intel H170, Intel B150, H110, bios
If you are running an LGA 1151 Gigabyte motherboard then you should stop at this post over at the Guru of 3D some time in the near future and grab an updated BIOS. They were kind enough to provide links for the updates of 47 different motherboards ranging from Z170's down to H110's. Q-Flash means you can update from within the BIOS with USB drive and with Q-Flash Plus you don't even need memory or a CPU installed; we've come a long way from the customized 3.5" boot disks involved in flashing. On the other hand that special thrill of terror has gone away.
"Following MSI and ASUS, Gigabyte now as well offers Kaby Lake compatible BIOS updates for their Z170, H170, B150 and H110 series motherboards. "
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung's free-falling financial flameout @ The Register
- Samsung teases Galaxy S8 with 'slick' new design and AI smarts @ The Inquirer
- Chapeau Is Exactly What the Linux Desktop Needs @ Linux.com
- Divide the internet into compartments to save us from the IoT fail whale @ The Register
- AMD will sell server CPUs at Happy Meal prices so you can supersize servers @ The Register
- Google's AI machines are sending encrypted messages to each other and it's creepy @ The Inquirer
Subject: Motherboards, Systems | October 25, 2016 - 10:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, A68N-5200, biostar
Something awful happened and you can no longer wait for Zen to arrive; you need a low cost motherboard and chip ASAP. Your memory, storage and PSU are all good, you just need something to plug them into and you really don't want to spend a lot upgrading with new silicon just around the corner. Alternatively, perhaps you have some components lying around and need a system capable of basic tasks and again, you don't want to spend a lot to get it up and running.
The BioStar A68N-5200 eTeknix just tested might just be what you need, up to 16GB DDR3, a single PCIe 16x slot, a pair of SATA 6.0Gb/s slots, two USB 3.0 slots and four USB 2.0 along with other connectors and an quad-core A6-5200 with HD8400 graphics onboard. You won't win any benchmarking contests but it is a decent start for $60.
"Despite a lot of the media focus being on Kaby Lake and AMD’s fabled Zen architecture, it’s important to remember that some users require a new motherboard as a matter of urgency and cannot wait for upcoming solutions. Not only that, in low-end scenarios such as a home office system or HTPC, modern processors provide more than enough performance."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASRock X99 Taichi @ Kitguru
- MSI X99A Tomahawk @ Kitguru
- GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
Subject: Motherboards | October 7, 2016 - 02:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z170, msi, kaby lake, Intel B150, Intel, H110
MSI has announced that it will be supporting Intel's next generation "Kaby Lake" LGA 1151 processors via a BIOS update. The company has updated its website with the new UEFI/BIOS updates that add support for Kaby Lake on all of its 100-series motherboards.
According to MSI, in addition to Kaby Lake support, the updates improve stability and overclocking potential. Currently, the following Z170, B150, and H110 chipset based motherboards have a BIOS update available.
- Z170 Motherboards
- Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM EDITION
- Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM
- Z170A GAMING M9 ACK
- Z170A GAMING M7
- Z170A GAMING M6
- Z170A GAMING M5
- Z170A-G45 GAMING
- Z170A GAMING M3
- Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON
- Z170A GAMING PRO
- Z170A KRAIT GAMING 3X
- Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE
- Z170A KRAIT GAMING
- Z170 KRAIT GAMING
- Z170I GAMING PRO AC
- Z170A TOMAHAWK AC
- Z170A TOMAHAWK
- Z170M MORTAR
- B150 Motherboards
- B150 GAMING M3
- B150M NIGHT ELF
- B150M GAMING PRO
- B150I GAMING PRO AC
- B150I GAMING PRO
- B150M MORTAR ARCTIC
- B150M MORTAR
- B150M BAZOOKA PLUS
- B150M BAZOOKA
- B150M BAZOOKA D3
- B150M GRENADE
- H110 Motherboards
- H110M GAMING
- H110M GRENADE
To grab the latest bios, head over to https://www.msi.com/support#support_download and use the drop down menus to search for your motherboard model. The BIOS download will be available towards the top of the list of available downloads.
MSI and ASUS have both announced support for Kaby Lake on their existing motherboards which is nice to see. If leaks are true, Intel is readying Z270 Express chipset for release in late 2016 or early 2017, but it is nice to know that you will not have to upgrade the motherboard if you do not want to just to get the latest Intel CPU.
Subject: Motherboards | October 5, 2016 - 10:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: LGA 1151, kaby lake, asus
ASUS is releasing UEFI updates for 87 LGA 1151 motherboard models which will add support for Intel's Kaby Lake processors. They have a table listing all models and UEFI versions which you should update to in order to get full support for the new processors. If you are wondering about picking up one of these motherboards during the inital release of Kaby Lake, ASUS has tested and verified that their USB BIOS flashback tool will enable you to update your UEFI even if it does not want to immediately boot with a Kaby Lake processor installed.
They have spent the last few months with samples of Kaby Lake chips and have tested them for compatibility as well as enhancing the features the motherboard can take advantage of to ensure you get the most out of your shiny new CPU. Regardless if you use a Z170, H110 or even a C232 chipset your motherboard will be compatible. Get out your USB drives and download the new versions to flash to or use EZ Flash 3's Internet option to get the latest version right from ASUS.
Subject: Motherboards | October 2, 2016 - 03:20 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen, micro ATX, Excavator, Bristol Ridge, b350, amd, AM4
Thanks to a recent leak over at Bodnara.co.kr (which has since been taken down), pictures emerged online that give a first look at an AMD socket AM4 motherboard using the mid-range B350 chipset. The Gigabyte B350M-DS3H is a Micro ATX motherboard supporting Bristol Ridge processors at launch and Zen-based processors next year.
The mid-range AM4 board has a very simple layout that leaves little mystery. There are no large heatsinks and no northbridge thanks to AMD moving most of the connectivity to the SoC itself. In fact there is only a small passively cooled chip in the bottom right corner (the B350 chipset) that between the SoC and it can offer up PCI-E 3.0, SATA 6.0, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, NVMe SSD, and DDR4 memory support. This post outlines how the duties are split between the processor and southbridge.
The B350M-DS3H is powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS and Gigabyte is using a seven phase VRM to power the processor and memory. The board hosts a 1331 pin AM4 socket up top with four DDR4 slots to the right. The CMOS battery is placed just above the PCI-E slots in a position that Morry would be proud of (so long as your CPU cooler is not too massive). Below that are two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (electrically x16/x4 or x8/x8), a single PCI-E 3.0 x1 slot, and a NVMe M.2 (PCI-E) slot. The bottom right corner of the board hosts six SATA 6 Gbps ports.
Rear I/O on the AMD motherboard includes:
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x PS/2
- 3 x Video Outputs
- 1 x VGA
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x HDMI
- 4 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 3.1
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 3 x Audio Jacks
Several websites are reporting that AMD will be unleashing the floodgates of socket AM4 motherboards using the A320 and B350 chipsets in October (it is saving the launch of the enthusiast X370 chipset for next year alongside Summit Ridge). I have to say that it is nice to see an AMD motherboard with updated I/O which is a nice change from the ancient 990X AM3+ platform and even the FM2+ motherboards which were newer but still .ot as full featured as the competition.
- AMD Officially Launches Bristol Ridge Processors And Zen-Ready AM4 Platform
- Report: AMD Socket AM4 Compatible with Existing AM2/AM3 Coolers
- AMD Zen Architecture and Performance Preview
- AMD Introduces 7th Generation APUs: Bristol Ridge Takes Center Stage