CES 2018: NZXT Announces the N7 Z370, Its First Ever Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 9, 2018 - 10:00 AM |
Tagged: Z370, nzxt, motherboard, CES 2018, CES

Case and accessory maker NZXT is entering the PC components market with the announcement this week of its first ever motherboard. The NZXT N7 Z370 is based on Intel's Z370 chipset and is designed for both simplicity and clean looks.

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The board features a built-in digital fan controller, integrated RGB lighting channels, an all-metal cover available in either black or white, and an on-board noise sensor that can help calibrate fan speeds and cooling pumps for a quieter PC.

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CPU LGA socket 1151 for Intel 8th Generation Core i7/i5/i3
Chipset Intel Z370
Memory 4 x DIMM with 64GB Max
DDR4 up to 3866MHz (O.C.)
Video Out DisplayPort
HDMI
Multi-GPU NVIDIA 2-Way SLI
AMD 2-Way CrossFireX
Storage 1 x M.2 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe x4 & SATA modes)
1 x M.2 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe x4 mode only)
4 x SATA 6Gbs
Support for RAID 0/1/5/10
Intel Smart Response Technology
Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15
Intel Optane Memory Ready
Networking 1 x Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Realtek ALC1220 Codec with Nichicon Gold Capacitors
7.1 Channel High Definition Audio, 32-bit / 192KHz DAC
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
2 x PCIe 3.0 x4
2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Rear I/O 5 x USB 2.0
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
1 x HDMI 1.4b
1 x Clear CMOS Button
1 x RJ45
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
7.1 Channel Audio Ports (3.5mm)
Internal I/O 1 x 24-pin EATX
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V
1 x 4-pin CPU Fan
1 x 4-pin AIO Pump
1 x 4-pin Water Pump
6 x 4-pin System Fans (up to 5W per channel)
3 x USB 2.0 header
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 header
4 x SATA 6Gbps
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key (PCIe & SATA modes)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key (PCIe mode only)
2 x RGB LED connectors
1 x noise detection module
1 x font panel audio connector
1 x power button
1 x reset button
1 x ROM backup button
1 x dual BIOS switch
Accessories User's Manual
I/O Shield
4 x SATA data cables
1 x NZXT SLI Bridge
2 x LED light strips
2 x 500mm LED connection cable
2 x 300mm LED extension cable
Form Factor ATX (305mm x 244mm)

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The NZXT N7 Z370 motherboard will launch later this month in the US and Europe for $299.99.

Source: NZXT

Meet MSI's new Mini-ITX B350I PRO AC for tiny Ryzen

Subject: Motherboards | January 5, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: amd, mini-itx, msi, ryzen, B350I PRO AC, AM4

While it is not as impressive as it would be if this were a mini-ITX Threadripper board, building a motherboard that is over 50% socket may be asking a bit too much.  Instead the B350I PRO AC is designed for Socket AM4 Ryzen chips.

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The board is designed with 9-phase PWM design (6+2+1), which will ensure great stability along with an electrically isolated Realtek ALC887 codec and Steel Armour protecting that lone PCIe 16x slot.  Memory of up to 32GB of DDR4-3200+ is supported, important to get the most out of your Ryzen processor.  There are two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports on the back as well as HDMI out, so you could use this as an unobtrusive VR box with the right GPU installed; WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity will also come in hand for that.

Check out the full specifications here, while we await availability.

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Source: MSI
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

The MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard features a black PCB with carbon fibre overlay accenting it's chipset heat sinks and rear panel cover. MSI also placed RGB LED-enabled components across the board's surface and under the board for an interesting ground effects type look. The board is designed around the Intel Z370 chipset with in-built support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Coffee Lake processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at a 2667MHz speed. The Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon can be found in retail with an MRSP of $209.99.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI integrated the following features into the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard: six SATA III 6Gbps ports; two M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable ports with Intel Optane support built-in; an RJ-45 Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; an Intel 8265 802.11ac WI-FI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a Realtek ALC1220 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort 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 MSI

To power the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, MSI integrated a 10 phase (8+2) digital power delivery system dubbed Military Class V. The Military Class V components include Titanium chokes, 10 year-rated Dark capacitors, and Dark chokes.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard!

ASUS hits the Apex of their Rampage

Subject: Motherboards | January 2, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: ROG Rampage VI APEX, asus, LGA2066, Intel, x299

The new ASUS ROG Rampage VI APEX has a very recognizable shape, there are two bites out of the PCB.  As the name implies, this is a high end board with a high end cost; expect to pay north of $400 to pick this board up.  You do get some impressive abilities with this board, for instance you can run all four PCIe 3.0 slots at their full 16x bandwidth if you happen to have four GPUs.  There are four M.2 slots for your storage in addition to a half dozen SATA ports, with support for Optane and even VROC.  If you are looking for a big motherboard which can handle almost any task you need then pop by [H]ard|OCP for their full review.

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"ASUS’ purpose built overclocking motherboard stands out as one of the most interesting and provocative motherboards the Republic of Gamers brand has probably ever seen. However, we’ve seen motherboards that opt to specialize in one area lose out in others. We put the Rampage VI APEX to the test and see if its a predator."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Introducing the EVGA X299 DARK Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | December 18, 2017 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: evga, x299, X299 DARK, LGA2066, Intel Skylake-X, kaby lake x, e-atx

EVGA have released a new X299 board, called simply DARK, which offers a vast array of useful features while remaining light on the fluff.  It fully supports Intel Optane as well as sporting two M.2 Key-M slots, a single M.2 Key-E, a pair of U.2, USB 3.1 in both Type-A and Type-C as well as eight SATA ports for even more storage support; you will need a Skylake X to pull that off all at once however.

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The 16 phase voltage regulator modules are actively cooled at the top of the board, useful for those who watercool and install a minimum of case fans, the fan toward the bottom ensures your M.2 drives also stay cooled.   The quad channel memory can support up to 64GB of DDR4-3600 with a Skylake X processor, or 32GB of DDR4-4133 with a Kaby Lake X chip. 

In order to fit everything on this board EVGA opted for an E-ATX design, make sure you remember that when purchasing a case to install this in.  It may not have RGBitis, but as they say "you can't see pretty in the Dark."   You can see the full PR below the handy lane chart.

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December 18th, 2017 – EVGA introduces you to the ultimate in raw performance for the next-gen Intel® Extreme lineup, the EVGA X299 Dark. The Dark is crafted from the ground up to be the performance apex with everything you need to make a record-breaking benching run or a 24/7 number cruncher, and nothing you don't – a board that is as reliable as it is fast. The EVGA X299 Dark has all of the current gen top-tier component support, including:

  • 2x M.2 Key-M slots / 1x M.2 Key-E slot
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • 2x U.2 Ports
  • USB 3.1 Type-A / Type-C
  • Up to 64GB of 4000MHz+ (OC) Quad-Channel RAM on Skylake-X CPUs
  • Up to 32GB of 4133MHz+ (OC) Dual-Channel RAM on Kaby Lake-X CPUs 
  • 2x Intel GbE LAN with teaming support
  • EVGA’s Full Featured GUI UEFI/ BIOS
  • Legacy LGA20XX Socket Backplate for custom CPU cooling solutions (optional)

There is much to be said about a beautifully-engineered motherboard designed to handle the highest loads or the most extreme conditions, let alone the rigors and abuse constantly demanded by the best overclockers in the world and still look good doing it. This was achieved, in part, by using:

  • 12-Layer PCB
  • Highly-Efficient 16-Phase PWM
  • 100% Solid State Capacitors
  • 300% Higher Gold Content in CPU Socket
  • External BCLK / Clock Generators
  • 8 SATA Ports – 6 from Intel PCH / 2 from ASMedia ASM1061
  • Triple BIOS Select Switch
  • PCIe Disable Switches
  • ProbeIT Connector
  • PS/2 Port
  • Creative Core3D Audio
  • Intel VROC Header

Although the X299 Dark does not feature RGB LED support, it politely reminds you that you can't see pretty in the Dark. This board is engineered for the ultra-enthusiast, including these features:

  • Active PCH & M.2 cooling
  • 4-Way SLI Support
  • Multi-Function POST Indicator
  • Visual Guide / Bench table
  • PCIe / DIMM Status LEDs
  • Right Angle Power / Fan / and USB3.0 Headers

The X299 Dark proves once again that until you have used it, you don’t know the power of the Dark side of the EVGA motherboard lineup.

For more details, please see here: https://www.evga.com/articles/01168/evga-x299-dark/

Source: EVGA

Now that the 8700K is in stock occasionally, check out Gigabyte's Z370 offering

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2017 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming, Z370, Intel, gigabyte, coffee lake

The Z370 for Coffee Lake may look the same as a Z270 for Kaby Lake but unfortunately that is not the case and your Kaby CPU is not going to work.  For those who did not upgrade during the previous generation and have been patiently awaiting the availability of Coffee Lake CPUs, [H]ard|OCP's review of the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming is worth checking out.  The board can be had for around $170 and currently includes a free PCIe WiFi card, for that price there are a lot of extras to be had.  The board is also able to offer the possibility of a decent overclock as well!

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"Intel’s launched yet another chipset, so for better or worse that means new motherboards for Intel’s mainstream market. We look at GIGABYTE’s Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming to see if it’s worthy of a Coffee Lake CPU. And now that you can actually find the 8700K in stock, it is worth talking about."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Existing AM4 Motherboards Will Support Upcoming Raven Ridge Desktop APUs With BIOS Update

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 30, 2017 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: asus, AM4, ryzen, Vega, ryzen mobile, APU, raven ridge

ASUS recently made new BIOS updates available for several of its motherboards that suggest desktop Raven Ridge APUs are coming soon. The BIOS updates contain AGESA! V9 RavenPi-FPS-AM4 1.0.7.1 along with Raven Generic VBIOS to add support for the Zen-based Raven Ridge CPU cores and Vega-based graphics.

Desktop Raven Ridge APUs have been promised in AMD roadmaps for awhile now, but details are still scarce. These desktop parts have the same four CPU cores as Ryzen Mobile Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U, but will run with higher TDPs (up to 65W) and higher clockspeeds along with a much larger GPU with up to 11 CUs (704 Vega cores). As of this writing the rumors of a HBM-equipped APU is still just that, a rumor. The first desktop Raven Ridge parts are sure to use standard DDR4, however.

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Speculation over at [H] suggests that ASUS may have jumped the gun a bit on making the BIOS updates available by a few days which suggests that AMD is planning a December launch for the desktop parts (likely a soft launch though hopefully not as terribly long as Bristol Ridge!) and BIOS updates coming from other manufacturers at that time.

Guru3D has a list of links to the BIOS updates currently available from ASUS covering 13 of their motherboards including X370, B350, and A320 PRIME series motherboards and X370 and B350 ROG STRIX motherboards. Missing from the AMD AM4 lineup are the EX-A320M-GAMING, PRIME A320M-C and -C R2.0, and ROG CROSSHAIR VI Hero and Extreme boards.

Interestingly, desktop Raven Ridge is the second APU generation to work with the AM4 socket, and is is allegedly not the last. AMD has stated previously that it intends to support the AM4 socket for quite a while and their own roadmaps list support for at least two more Ryzen CPU generations and one more generation of APUs. Specifically, AMD plans to support Bristol Ridge, Raven Ridge, and Picasso (which is essentially the Zen+ APU generation) APUs along with Summit Ridge (Zen), Pinnacle Ridge (“12nm” Zen+), and Matisse (“7nm” Zen 2) CPUs on the same AM4 socket which is refreshing to see. Of course, AMD is introducing new chipsets (e.g. X400 series with Pinnacle Ridge) with each new generation, but it is nice to know that at least there is an upgrade path if you want it and don’t need whatever new I/O the new motherboards offer.

Source: Guru3d
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