MSI Announces the X99A TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2016 - 09:11 PM |
Tagged: X99A TOMAHAWK, msi, motherboard, Intel X99, gaming, atx, armor

MSI has announced their newest X99 motherboard, the X99A TOMAHAWK, a premium design with a stealthy black and gray color scheme, and boasting several new features according to MSI.

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"The X99A TOMAHAWK has been designed from the ground up as completely new X99 GAMING model. It comes packed with several new and unique MSI features and a fully armored IO and audio cover, harnessing optimized gaming audio and industries’ highest quality components, providing gamers with best-in-class features and protection.

Besides its stunning looks, the cover labeled with TOMAHAWK also protects against Electro Magnetic Interference and ensures pure performance and the best audio signal for your gaming rig. Heavy plated heatsinks with MSI’s unique styling, make sure your system can handle anything when and runs cool when racking up frags and climbing the leaderboards when gaming for longer periods of time."

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Here's the rundown of features for the X99A TOMAHAWK, which include dual Intel NICs and USB 3.1 Gen2 support (full specs and more info available on the product page):

  • Supports New Intel® Core™ i7 processors Extreme Edition in LGA 2011-3 socket
  • Supports Quad Channel DDR4-3333+(OC) Memory
  • DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • Support lntel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0.
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 2X FASTER: USB 3.1 Gen2 offers performance twice as fast as a regular USB 3.0 connection
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 32Gb/s + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A+C + SATA 6Gb/s
  • TWIN GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Intel®: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency
  • Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
  • GAMING Hotkey: Assign macros, launch your favorite games or do real-time overclocking using a single button
  • XSplit Gamecaster v2.5: 1 year free premium license to show off your skills and achievements to the world
  • SteelSeries Certified: Optimized for SteelSeries gaming gear
  • Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
  • MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI™ & AMD Crossfire™
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high resolution scalable font
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience
  • USB Speed Up: for up to 30% performance improvement on USB devices

Pricing and availablity for the X99A TOMAHAWK has not been announced.

Source: MSI

ASRock Releases H110M-STX Mini-STX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 28, 2016 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, mini-stx, mini-pc, H110M-STX, asrock

The motherboard within ASRock's DeskMini mini-PC kit has been released as a standalone product, and this H110M-STX motherboard offers Intel processor support up to 65W in its 5" x 5" Mini-STX form-factor.

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Image credit: ASRock

Specifications from ASRock:

  • Supports LGA 1151 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors up to 65W TDP
  • Supports Dual-Channel DDR4 SO-DIMM 2133
  • Graphics output: D-Sub, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • ALC283 Audio Codec
  • 2x SATA3, 1 M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4)
  • 3x USB 3.0 (Type-A & Type-C from front I/O; 1 from rear I/O)
  • 3x USB 2.0 (2 from onboard header; 1 from rear I/O)
  • Intel Gigabit LAN
  • 1x M.2 (Key E for WiFi + BT module)

Like thin-Mini-ITX motherboards the H110M-STX requires an external 19v power adapter. ASRock recommends a 120W adapter for 65W CPUs, while 35W Intel CPU builds can manage with a 90W adapter.

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Image credit: ASRock

As to availability/price, this has yet to appear in the usual e-tail channels in the U.S., with no results currently on Amazon or Newegg. ASRock's larger H110-ITX board sells for $69.99, so this may give us an indication of where pricing might be - though the smaller STX form-factor could increase cost.

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Image credit: ASRock

A sub-mITX form-factor might seem a bit unnecessary, but the smaller board does provide builders with a way to create their own mini-PC boxes with upgradable processors. Naturally, one would need an enclosure for this tiny motherboard, and the only one I have seen thus far came from SilverStone's booth at CES - though ready availability for all products in this newest form-factor is still an issue.

Source: ASRock

This ASUS ROG X99 board comes with no reSTRIXions on GAMING

Subject: Motherboards | July 7, 2016 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: asus, rog x99 strix gaming, X99

The relatively recent refresh of X99 motherboards have seen several features become standard including an RGB lightshow, USB 3.1 and U.2 ports, though the chipset itself remains unchanged.  [H]ard|OCP tried out ASUS' new ROG X99 Strix Gaming motherboard recently, even suffering for their fans while doing so.  That minor fingernail related incident aside the board proved quite capable, though perhaps not to the extreme level they were hoping to see.  In part that lies in the fact that this is a Gaming board as opposed to one of the extreme overclocking boards, which is also reflected in the pricing.  For those looking for a board that runs out of the box, with some overclocking potential it is worth looking at the full review; those hoping to play with LN2 may wish to shop around more.

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"ASUS’ ROG X99 STRIX GAMING motherboard adds a bit of bling to the ROG line and much needed fresh blood that comes with some cool features and a much lower price point than other ROG X99 chipset offerings. And it has all the pretty lights in any color you want, if that is your thing."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 for the middle of the road enthusiast

Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2016 - 10:17 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z170X-UD3, Intel Z170

At $150 Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 is within the budget of many system builders but the question remains as to the value you get for that money.  The Tech Report delved into this topic in their recent review and the prognosis is good, especially if you can find it on sale for $120 like they did.  They did find the firmware somewhat limiting, though some of us do like the Classic Mode UEFI the fan speed control is quite limited.  Gigabyte did address that with their System Information Viewer utility for Windows which does allow for fine control and when asked Gigabyte did suggest they may address this in a new UEFI update.  With three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, USB 3.1 and a pair of M.2 ports you do not suffer for connectivity and the overclocking potential is certainly acceptable for this price point.  Check out their full review here.

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"Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 is a mid-range motherboard that gives builders everything the Z170 chipset has to offer and more. We take an in-depth look at this board to see whether it lives up to the promise of its impressive spec sheet."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Motherboard by Colorful Includes GTX 1070 Graphics

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | June 6, 2016 - 09:14 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, motherboard, gtx 1070, GP104, colorful

So here's an interesting bit of news from Colorful, via Videocardz and LG Nilsson. Remember when on-board graphics was a pejorative? Since the GPUs that are attached to many CPUs tend to sufficiently cover everything below a discrete graphics add-in board, there is not a whole lot of mind-share for discrete, on-board GPUs. You get the occasional desktop-style device with a mobile add-in module, but that's about it.

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Image Credit: LG Nilsson (via Videocardz)

In this case, it looks like Colorful, the Chinese PC hardware manufacturer, integrated the required components from a GTX 1070 directly onto a motherboard's PCB. We've heard rumors that GP104 would be available in mobile form-factors in a few months, so it's possible that this draws from some laptop initiatives, but it's interesting to see others consider it too. As Videocardz pointed out, this is not an ATX-standard board, so it's possible that Colorful is planning on getting into (or supporting someone getting into) small form factor desktops or is building hardware for all-in-one PCs.

So what's next? A vendor like ASUS making a VRWorks Audio sound card with integrated Pascal?

Source: VideoCardz

You want to see MSI's new motherboards? Well, here's the mother lode

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2016 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: msi, computex 2016

MSI sent along a number of pictures of their upcoming motherboards and there are more than a few of them.  All the pictures are quite large, make sure to click on the ones that interest you as you will be able to make out quite a bit of detail.

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First is the B150M Mortar Arctic with clean traces, Steel Armor and Crossfire support.

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Next up is the workstation class C236M with 10GbE ethernet and the Intel C236 chipset.

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Next is another motherboard designed to pull its weight, the X99A Workstation has dual Gigabit LAN and support for 8 ECC DIMMs

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We now return to the enthusiast class motherboards with the Z170 MPower Gaming Titanium with U.2, M.2 and USB 3.1 Type-C ports.

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You can also chose an X99 flavoured MPower Gaming Titanium, sharing the same features as the Z170.

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The X99A Gaming Pro Carbon sports a different colour scheme and includes the Mystic Light feature to let you program your own light show.

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Moving away from Intel for a moment, check out the 970A Gaming Pro Carbon for AMD AM3+ processors.

Source: MSI

GIGABYTE Showcases New Motherboards and BRIX at Computex 2016

Subject: Motherboards, Systems | June 1, 2016 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: Z170, X99, Ultra Gaming, Intel H170, gigabyte, designare, brix

Gigabyte is showing off new X99, B150 and Z170 motherboards, the Ultra Gaming series and the Designare series which they describe as being optimized for content creators, designers, and artists.  The Ultra Gaming series will add Ambient Surround LEDs, found on the motherboard and Pinstripe Headers so that you can have a lightshow while you game. 

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Also new is Hybrid Fan Control which will allows the motherboard headers to support Voltage Calibration and Pulse Width Modulation fans and pumps.  M.2 and U.2 support is of course also added to the new boards.  The new boards include the GA-X99-Ultra Gaming, GA-X99-Phoenix SLI, GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming, GA-Z170-UD3 Ultra and GA-B150-Gaming TH.

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The Designare series is a bit different, with a focus on storage speed.  USB 3.1 ports offer quick transfer speeds for your external storage and support for three NVMe drives in RAID-0 ensure that the speed of your internal storage does not slow your creative flow down.  This series features the GA-X99-Designare EX, GA-Z170X-Designare and GA-H170-Designare.

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They also offered a teaser as to their new BRIX lineup.  The BRIX Gaming UHD will be tiny, less than 2.6L and less than 2kg but will support Core i5 and i7 processors.  As we well there will be a new GIGABYTE PC which will be slightly larger at about 10L and will support full sized graphics cards.

Click for the full press release.

Source: Gigabyte

ECS launches brand new LEET GAMING motherboard & LIVA mini PC

Subject: Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 04:31 PM |
Tagged: ECS, leet gaming, liva pro, Z170-LIGHTSABER, computex 2016

It must have been quite a fight for ECS to be able to call their new motherboard the Z170-LIGHTSABER but that is exactly what they have done.  The motherboard features the usual lineup of Z170 features, three 16x PCIe 3.0 slots with an additional 1x, 7.1 sound from an onboard ALC1150 codec and an OPAMP, a pair of USB 3.1 ports along with over a dozen legacy USB ports and support for an M.2 drive.  In addtion higher end Nichicon caps were used, there is an E2400 Killer NIC onboard and seven colour LEDs to make it shine.  They also discuss a brand new USB power supply for use with devices that draw a lot of power, it will be interesting to see if this has the impact on VR devices they imply.

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They have also announced the new LIVA Pro based on the new SFX motherboard standard.  The brochure has a good example of what this new form factor is and how it compares to others.

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The LIVA Pro will support any 6th generation Skylake Intel processor with a TDP of 65W or less and a pair DDR4 SO-DIMMs of up to 32GB.  Internal storage is handled by an M.2 drive and the 1.3L case has an external 2.5" drive dock built into it for additional storage.  For external interfaces you have a USB 3.0 Type C port, three USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0, HDMI and DisplayPort.  There is a second M.2 port which is populated by a WiFi/Bluetooth combo card.

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Click on through to read the PR.

Source: ECS

ASUS Avalon concept PC merges desktops and DIY with cable-free mindset

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 12:04 PM |
Tagged: crazy people, concept, computex 2016, computex, avalon, asus

If you expected Computex to be bland and stale this year, ASUS has something that is going to change your mind. During the company's Republic of Gamers press conference, it revealed a concept PC design it has been working on dubbed Avalon. The goal of this project was to improve on the fundamental design of the PC; something that hasn't changed for decades. ASUS wanted to show that you could build a platform that would allow DIY machines to be "more modular, easier to build, and more tightly integrated."

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The result is a proof of concept design that looks more like a high end turntable than a PC. In reality, you are looking at a machine that has been totally redesigned, from the power supply to motherboard and case integration to cooling considerations and more. ASUS has posted a great story that goes into a lot of detail on Avalon, and it's clear this is a project the team has been working on for some time.

The brainchild of Jonathan Chu, the Avalon concept takes a notebook-like approach to desktop design. The motherboard is designed in conjunction with the chassis to enable more seamless cooperation between the two.

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The first example of changes to Avalon is something as simple as the front panel connectors on a case. Connecting them to your motherboard is the same today, basically, as it has ever been. But if you are the manufacturer or designer of both the chassis and the motherboard itself, it is trivial to have the buttons, lights and even additional capabilities built into a specific location on the PCB that matches with access points on the case. 

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Re-thinking the rear IO panel was another target: making it modular and connected to the system via PCI Express means you can swap connectivity options based on the user's needs. Multiple Gigabit NICs a requirement? Done. Maximum USB capability? Sure. Even better, by making the back panel IO a connected device, it can host storage and sound controllers on its own, allowing for improved audio solutions and flexible data configurations. 

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ASUS even worked in a prototype power supply that is based on the SFX form factor but that uses a server-style edge connector, removing wires from the equation. It then becomes the motherboard's responsibility to distribute power through the other components; which again is easy to work through if you are designing these things in tandem. Installing or swapping a power supply becomes as simple as pulling out a drive tray.

This is all made possible by an internal structure that looks like this:

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Rethinking how a motherboard is built, how it connects to the outside world and to other components, means that ASUS was able to adjust and change just about everything. The only area that remains the same is for the discrete graphics card. These tend to draw too much power to use any kind of edge connector (though the ASUS story linked above says they are working on a solution) and thus you see short run cables from a break out on the motherboard to the standard ROG graphics card.

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The ASUS EdgeUp story has some more images and details and I would encourage you to check it out if you find this topic compelling; I know I do. There are no prices, no release dates, no plans for sampling yet. ASUS has built a prototype that is "right on the edge of what’s possible" and they are looking for feedback from the community to see what direction they should go next.

Will the DIY PC in 2020 be a completely different thing than we build today? It seems ASUS is asking the same question.

Source: ASUS EdgeUp

Computex 2016: ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10: Extreme-performance gaming motherboard

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 11:18 AM |
Tagged: ROG, rampage v edition 10, computex 2016, computex, asus

In celebration of 10 years of ASUS ROG motherboards, the company today revealed the new Rampage V Edition 10, an X99 motherboard targeting the release of the Intel Broadwell-E processors that are also set to be announced this week at Computex. This new board has basically every feature and capability an ROG product and buyer could ask for, including more LED and LED control than I know what to do with.

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Some more detail from the ASUS press release:

The Rampage V Edition 10 is a celebratory refresh of ROG’s flagship extreme-performance motherboard designed to let gamers and overclockers break every limit.

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Based on the Intel® X99 chipset, the new motherboard sets new industry standards. It features the ultimate RGB lighting scheme with five independently-controlled onboard LED areas plus one 4-pin 5050 RGB header, and all can be synchronized by the all-new Aura software for stunning aesthetics. ROG has also teamed up with well-known RGB strip-makers and case manufacturers, including CableMod, IN WIN, Deepcool, BitFenix, and Phanteks — helping simplify RGB lighting compatibility and control.

The new motherboard is equipped with multiple ASUS exclusive features to aid extreme overclockers. These include Extreme Engine Digi+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) for the cleanest, smoothest power, ASUS-exclusive T-topology technology for maxed-out DDR4 performance, and 5-Way Optimization for easy overclocking and fan tuning with one click.

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The Rampage V Edition 10 also includes multiple technologies to deliver the best gaming experience. The included SupremeFX Hi-Fi audio amplifier ensures flawless audio, dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet and GameFirst combine forces for low-latency networking, and ASUS Safe Slot reinforcement for PCIe connectors to prevent damage from heavy graphics cards. The new board introduces a patent-pending integrated I/O shield for style, easier construction, and enhanced durability.  There’s also a slew of onboard storage and connectivity options, including U.2, M.2, USB 3.1, and 3x3 Wi-Fi.

According to a post on an ASUS sub-site, the board will retail for $599 and should be on the market very soon!