Computex 2017: ASRock Shows Mini-ITX Intel X299 with the X299E-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2017 - 09:34 AM |
Tagged: x299, small form factor, SFF, motherboard, mini-itx, computex 2017, computex, asrock

ASRock was the only player in the mini-ITX Intel X99 motherboard space, and they are at it again with their X299E-ITX motherboard. This time around memory is not limited to a pair of desktop DIMMs as with the existing X99E-ITX/ac, as the new X299 board features quad-channel memory support thanks to a switch to SODIMMs.

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The ASRock X299E-ITX Motherboard (Image credit: ComputerBase)

Among the specifications are support for 3200+ MHz DDR4, a PCIe Gen 3 x16 slot for graphics cards, networking via Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and dual Intel NICs, a pair of USB 3.1 ports (Type-A and Type-C), six SATA 3 ports and a PCIe Gen 3 x4 compatible M.2 slot, and premium 7.1-channel audio with Nichicon capacitors. The X299E-ITX board also offers ASRock's 'Super Alloy' design and offers a 7-phase 'Digi Power' array for the LGA2066 CPU.

No word on pricing or availablity just yet, but if it follows the X99E-ITX/ac launch it should be somewhere near the $300 range. If you need mini-ITX and fancy the latest Intel enthusiast platform, this might be your best - and only - option.

Source: ComputerBase

New X299 Gaming Motherboards from MSI

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2017 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: msi, computex, GAMING M7 ACK, GAMING PRO CARBON AC, TOMAHAWK, x299

MSI is launching their X299 motherboard series with a trio of options, the X299 GAMING M7 ACK, GAMING PRO CARBON AC and a new TOMAHAWK motherboard.

MSI X299 GAMING M7 ACK.png

The X299 GAMING M7 ACK above is their current flagship model, designed with 10+1+1 phase DigitALL power, Loadline Calibration and MSI’s Turbo Socket which should give you some impressive overclocking ability.  The M.2 slots are covered by MSI's Shield FROZR which will keep the drives well within their temperature thresholds ensuring there is no performance hits because of excessive heat.  The board also features Killer Double Shot PRO technology, which allows you to combine the two Killer E2500 Ethernet NICs and the Killer 1535 Wi-Fi connections which will be interesting to see in action when we eventually get a chance to test it out.

MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC.png

The GAMING PRO CARBON AC is the pretty boy of the trio, it sports removable heatsinks and is compatible with any of their new X-Mounting accessories; fire up your 3D printer and create your own for a custom look.  Along with the interchangeable heatsink covers are MYSTIC LIGHT RGB LEDs spaced around the motherboard to highlight your system in the colours you choose.  The board features MSI's Game boost function, a one click overclocking solution to get you gaming as quickly as possible, though you can always disable it and manually tweak your settings.  With Turbo U.2 and M.2 slots you can run the latest NVMe drives at full speed, the M.2 sticks will be cooled by the M.2 Shield to ensure you don't see throttling.

MSI X299 TOMAHAWK.png

The newest incarnation of the TOMAHAWK series is designed to be sturdy, it features stainless steel heatsinks and MSI Steel Armor design; we still wouldn't recommend tossing it around but for a LAN machine you should be confident in transporting your system.  This motherboard also features the new M.2 Shield FROZR cooling for your M.2 SSDs the Turbo U.2 slot uses the Steel Armor design in a similar fashion.  The front USB Type-C port will make it easy to connect a VR headset to this motherboard to take advantage of MSI's VR Boost feature.

 

Source: MSI

Computex 2017: ASUS Announces Republic of Gamers, STRIX X299-based Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 30, 2017 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: x299, VROC, Strix X299-E, ROG, Rampage VI Extreme, Rampage VI Apex, raid, NVMe, LiveDash, Intel, computex 2017, asus, 802.11ad, 10G

Hot on the heels of Intel's Core i9 Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X announcements today, ASUS has released details on its X299 offerings. While you can find details on the more Prime and TUF ASUS Motherboards here, we're taking a look at the flagship Republic of Gamers products in this post.

Today ASUS is taking the wraps off of 3 X299 ROG Motherboards, the Rampage VI Extreme, Rampage VI Apex, and Strix X299-E.

One of the interesting features ASUS is talking about with these X299 boards is Intel VROC technology. While we'll have a post with some more details about VROC soon, essentially it allows for a bootable M.2 NVMe RAID to exist from the CPU PCIe lanes.

While NVMe RAID is supported on the Z170 and Z270 platforms, it depends on all data going through the chipset to function which creates a bottleneck. Using an add-in card in the PCIe slot of your motherboard, VROC claims to allow NVME SSDs to operate in a RAID away from the chipset, while still being bootable.

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Rampage VI Extreme

As we've historically seen with ASUS ROG Motherboards, the "Extreme" model tends to be where we see innovative new features that will later find their way into the rest of ASUS's motherboard lineup, and the Rampage VI Extreme seems to be no different.

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Networking seems to be a big focus for the Rampage VI Extreme, with the addition of 802.11ad wireless networking. While 802.11ad devices are just starting to come out, it's use of 60GHz wireless in order to hit speeds of up to 4.6GBps is very compelling. However, by using such high-frequency wireless technology, 802.11ad signals will not penetrate surfaces like walls and mostly depend on line of sight. This is more for fast file transfers within one room, with the rest of your house still utilizing 802.11ac.

Wired networking sees an upgrade too on the Rampage VI Extreme, with the addition of a 10 Gigabit NIC. We saw ASUS integrate 10G networking on the X99-E WS 10G late last year, and it's great to see continued commitment to bringing 10G to consumers.

In addition to the VROC add-in card for NVMe SSDs that we mentioned previously, the Rampage VI Extreme features 3 onboard M.2 slots (2 slots come from the use of the DIMM.2 module in one of the memory slots). ASUS says this will help clean up your chassis while still giving you maximum storage options. It's unclear if these SSDs are being routed through the chipset, or are going directly to the CPU using Intel's VROC technology which would provide more throughput.

For users looking for a bit of flair on their motherboard, in addition to built-in RGB lighting, the Rampage VI Extreme features a new LiveDash OLED display for displaying real-time system information on your motherboard. You can also customize this display to offer custom messages and graphics to complement your case mod.

Rampage VI Apex

A newer addition to the ROG family, the Apex motherboards are meant for maximum overclocking and performance. This means that you'll actually sacrifice some features from other X299 boards in order to get a lean product you can push to the edge.

For instance, the Rampage VI Apex only provide 1 DIMM slot per memory channel, which ASUS claims allows the optimal trace routing to improve performance and stability with the fastest memory kits. In addition, you'll also find 2 DIMM.2 slots to add a total of 4 PCIe M.2 SSDs to your system.

While it may not be meant for gamers, the Rampage VI Apex is sure to set some records in the high-end overclocking realm.

Strix X299-E

Unlike the uncompromising motherboards we've talked about so far, the Strix X299-E aims to bring a more entry-level motherboard to the ROG line. 

ROG Strix X299-E Gaming_2D.png

Keeping the same design cues as the other ROG motherboards, the Strix X299-E also keeps a lot of the same features. Users can expect the same PCIe slots and headers as other ROG boards. Additionally, features like onboard RGB lighting with Aura Sync Software, USB 3.1 Gen2, SupremeFX audio, and Intel Gigabit networking make the Strix X299-E a compelling product that should suit the needs of most users.

ROG Rampage VI Extreme, Rampage VI Apex and ROG Strix X299-E motherboards will be available at leading resellers in North America starting in late June with the STRIX series arriving first.

Source: ASUS

Computex 2017: ASUS Announces Prime and TUF Intel X299 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 30, 2017 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: x299, VROC, skylake-x, raid, NVMe, LiveDash, kaby lake-x, Intel, HEDT, computex 2017, asus, 802.11ad

Alongside the announcement of Intel's Core i9 Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs, ASUS has unveiled details of their X299 motherboards. While we've already taken a look updates to the Republic of Gamers line of products, ASUS also released details about their "Prime" and "TUF" X299 products.

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ASUS PRIME

The Prime line of motherboards from ASUS are their entry-level options for any given platform. However just because they are the lowest cost boards doesn't mean that they are lacking in features.

All X299 Prime motherboards feature 3-way SLI thanks to the additional PCIe lanes available in the X299 platform (supported 44 lane CPUs are required). These available x16 slots are all reinforced with ASUS SafeSlot technology to help prevent heavy GPUs from damaging your motherboard.

The new Prime motherboards also feature the Realtek S1220A which we first saw on ASUS's Z270 products. ASUS claims that the S1220A paired with high-quality audio components on board help produce an onboard sound that rivals some dedicated sound cards.

Additionally, all X299 boards feature RGB LED headers with Aura Sync compatibility for maximum customizability. 

For the storage-focused, Intel VROC technology found on ASUS's X299 boards will allow for high-speed M.2 NVMe SSD RAIDs without being bottlenecked by chipset bandwidth, unlike on the Z270 platform.

Though the use of an add-in card users will be able to RAID multiple M.2 SSDs into a bootable array, utilizing full bandwidth from the available CPU PCIe lanes. ASUS even says that you can link multiple of these VROC cards together! 

In addition to these features, the Prime X299-Deluxe adds some very exciting features

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Wireless networking has seen an enhancement with the adoption of integrated 802.11ad Wi-Fi. This brand new wireless technology capable of 4.6Gbps transfer speeds uses spectrum in the 60Ghz range. While these high-speed radio waves cannot penetrate surfaces like walls, for applications like super fast file transfer between PCs in one room, or high-quality video streaming to wireless displays this should be ideal.

Along with Intel VROC support, the Prime X299-Deluxe has dual onboard M.2 Slots and a single U.2 Slot for high-speed storage options.

The new LiveDash display is a small OLED panel on the motherboard that allows you to display system statistics as well as custom animations and text for additional customization.

Prime_x299_Deluxe_TBEX3.jpg

In addition to the features on the motherboard, ASUS is including their ThunderboltEX 3 expansion card with the Prime X299-Deluxe so that owners can utilize Thunderbolt 3 technology with up to 40Gbps of bandwidth.

ASUS TUF X299

The TUF line has always been focused on ultimate reliability and durability. This is accomplished with high-quality components and more stringent testing standards than other products. 

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The ASUS TUF X299 Mark 1 is the all-new flagship motherboard for the TUF line. Redesigned Thermal Armor design helps to streamline airflow across the motherboard while also providing cooling to the onboard M.2 slot.

The Fortifier backplate uses a carefully shaped metal plate to stiffen the board to prevent warping. A removable GPU holder is also supplied to help support the weight of heavy graphics cards.

The new version of ASUS TUF Detective software allows users to perform diagnostics wirelessly over an included USB Bluetooth adapter rather than depending on a wired connection like the previous implementation.

TUF X299 MARK2_2D_AURA.png

The TUF X299 Mark 2 removes the Thermal Armor and Fortifier, but retains all of the great reliability and durability aspects of the TUF Mark 2,

ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe, Prime X299-A and TUF X299 Mark 1 motherboards will be available at leading resellers in North America starting in late June

Source: ASUS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

02-board.jpg

Courtesy of MSI

The MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon board features a black PCB with carbon fiber overlay covering the board's heat sinks and rear panel cover. MSI also liberally sprinkled 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 Z270 chipset with in-built support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Kaby Lake processor line (as well as support for Skylake processors) and Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at a 2400MHz speed. The Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon can be found in retail with an MRSP of $174.99.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI integrated the following features into the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon 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; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a Realtek ALC1220 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 MSI

To power the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, MSI integrated a 10 phase (8+2) digital power delivery system dubbed Military Class V. The Military Class V integrated components included Titanium chokes, 10 year-rated Dark capacitors, and Dark chokes.

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Courtesy of MSI

Continue reading our preview of the MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard!

MSI's Z270 Krait Gaming shows off its stripes

Subject: Motherboards | May 24, 2017 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z270 Krait Gaming, intel z270, Intel

For around $150 the MSI Krait Gaming motherboard is a decent deal for anyone building a computer around an LGA 1151 Intel processor.  With three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and an additional three PCIe 3.0 1x slots you have a lot of space to install additional cards.  The storage is equally expansive with six SATA 6Gbps ports as well as two M.2 slots for newer generation SSDs and there are a total of 16 USB ports split between 3.0 and 2.0 including a Type-C port.  The overclocking potential is also impressive, [H]ard|OCP easily configured  their i7-7600K to run at 5.1GHz with memory at 3600MHz.  Overall the board is a great mix of price and features and well worth considering.

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"While it is generally the flagship motherboards that grab the most attention, it's the midrange offerings that see the most sales. MSI's Z270 Krait Gaming motherboard is one of those bread and butter type offerings. It has everything the gamer needs without the unnecessary and expensive fluff."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Prime Z270-A motherboard is one of ASUS' initial offering integrating the Intel Z270 chipset. The board features ASUS' Channel line aesthetics with a black PCB and white plastic accents. The board's integrated Intel Z270 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Kaby Lake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. Offered at a price-competitive MSRP of $164, the Prime Z270-A offers a compelling price point with respect to its integrated features and performance potential.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS does not cut corners on any of their boards with the Prime Z270 sharing similar power component circuitry as its higher tiered siblings, featuring a 10-phase digital power delivery system. ASUS integrated the following features into the Prime Z270-A board: six SATA 3 ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; four PCI-Express x1 slots; on-board power and MemOK! buttons; an EZ XMP switch; Crystal Sound 3 audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS enhanced several design aspects with the Prime Z270-A including integrated RGB support, mount points for custom 3D printed panels along the top right of the board, and metal reinforced PCIe x16 slots for the primary and secondary slots.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Prime Z270-A motherboard!

Gigabyte AX370-Gaming 5, a $200 base for a solid Ryzen system

Subject: Motherboards | May 5, 2017 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: amd, ax370-gaming 5, gigabyte, x370, ryzen, aorus, RGB

Gigabyte's AX-370 Gaming 5 has a nice mix of high end features, though not as extensive as on some of the higher priced X370 models we have seen.  While you do get your lighting effects which can be controlled via the RGB Fusion app and a U.2 port in addition to the standard M.2 the VRM components are not as impressive as on some other flagship boards.  Hardware Canucks tested out the features as well as the performance in this review, it was easy to overclock and the Amp-Up onboard audio received a special commendation.

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"Our search to find the best Ryzen motherboard has landed on Gigabyte's AX370-Gaming 5. Not only does this board offer a ton of features but its price of under $199 is pretty appealing too."

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Not white nor silver, it's Titanium! The new MSI X370 XPower Gaming motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | April 25, 2017 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: x370 XPower Gaming Titanium, x370, msi

If you are searching for a unique looking motherboard to build a system with, the X370 XPower Gaming Titanium will certainly stand out in a lit system.  As for the technical details, the board will handle up to DDR-3200 and supports CrossfireX and SLI on its pair of 16x PCIe 3.0 slots, with an additional four PCIe 2.0 slots for other peripherals, a single 4x and three 1x.  You can install two M.2 SSDs, either SATA or NVMe and there is a U.2 slot as well in addition to a half dozen bog standard SATA ports. 

The Guru of 3D delves deep into this new motherboard in their full review.

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"For our next X370 review we move on-wards to MSI with their grand X370 XPower Gaming Titanium. This top of the line Ryzen motherboard is stylish alright, wrapped in that Titanium look and feel the motherboard has a feature set that impresses, this motherboard might be a very nice match for your Ryzen series 5 or 7 processor."

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Source: Guru of 3D

BIOSTAR Launches First Mini-ITX AM4 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | April 24, 2017 - 07:31 PM |
Tagged: X370GTN, small form factor, SFF, ryzen, racing, motherboard, mITX, mini-itx, biostar, B350GTN, amd, AM4

We covered news of BIOSTAR's upcoming mini-ITX motherboards for AMD Ryzen processors at the beginning of March, and now the company has made them official. The RACING X370GTN and B350GTN are "the world’s first mini-ITX motherboards for AMD AM4 platform", and both support up to 95W AM4 processors and DDR4 speeds up to 3200 MHz - though officially only up to 2667 MHz for Ryzen CPUs.

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"BIOSTAR is thrilled to announce the latest addition to the growing mini-ITX family of BIOSTAR motherboards with the introduction of the world’s first mini-ITX motherboards for AMD AM4 platform and the first mini-ITX RGB LED-capable motherboards with AMD X370 and AMD B350 chipsets. BIOSTAR is pleased to welcome the new BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN mini-ITX motherboards into the RACING Series family.

Both motherboards aim to deliver the best balance of form and function, delivering the full potential that the AMD AM4 platform offers especially with AMD RYZEN CPUs, all in a small package.  The BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN comes equipped with BIOSTAR 2nd-gen RACING features like 5050 LED Fun Zone with dual 5050 LED header for DIY customization, the BIOSTAR exclusive VIVID LED DJ with full RGB LED control that lets enthusiasts design their own system lighting with precise control. Together with that, BIOSTAR also adds performance and quality features for maximum system performance and stability."

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Both motherboard models are identical (other than the chipset, of course)

The full specs from BIOSTAR for both motherboards are reproduced below:

BIOSTAR Mini-ITX AM4 Motherboard Specifications
Model X370GTN B350GTN
Form Factor Mini-ITX (170 mm x 170 mm)
Chipset AMD X370 AMD B350
CPU Support AMD A-series APU / Ryzen CPU / NPU for Socket AM4
Maximum CPU TDP (Thermal Design Power) : 95Watt
Memory Support Dual Channel DDR4 3200(OC)/ 2933(OC)/ 2667/ 2400/ 2133/ 1866 MHz
Support Non-ECC & ECC Un-buffered DIMM Memory modules
2 x DDR4 DIMM Memory Slot
Max. Supports up to 32GB Memory
* DDR4 2667 for AMD Ryzen CPU
Storage 4 x SATA3 Connector
Support SATA RAID: 0,1,10
1 x M.2 Key M 32Gb/s Connector, support M.2 type 2260/ 2280 SATA 6Gb/s & PCI-E Storage(on the back of the motherboard)
* M.2 (32Gb/s) : The bandwidth is depended on CPU, Ryzen is 32Gb/s ; APU & NPU is 16Gb/s
LAN Realtek RTL8118AS - 10/100/1000 Controller
Support Super LAN Surge Protection
Audio Realtek ALC892 8-Channel Blu-ray Audio
Support BIOSTAR Hi-Fi
USB 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gb/s) Type-C port (1 on rear I/Os)
1x USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gb/s) Type-A port (1 on rear I/Os)
6x USB 3.1 Gen1 (5Gb/s) port (4 on rear I/Os and 2 via internal header)
2x USB 2.0 port (2 via internal header)
Expansion Slots 1 x PCI-E x16 3.0 Slot (x16 for Ryzen CPU only, NPU/APU run at x8 speed)
Rear I/O 1 x PS/2
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C Port
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Port
4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Port
1 x HDMI Connector, resolution up to 4096 x 2160 @24Hz or 3840 x 2160 @30Hz
1 x DVI-D Connector, resolution up to 1920 x 1200 @60Hz
1 x RJ-45 Port
5 x Audio Connector
1 x S/PDIF Out Port
Internal I/O 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Header
1 x USB 2.0 Header
4 x SATA3 6Gb/s Connector
1 x M.2 Key M 32Gb/s Connector, support M.2 type 2260/ 2280 SATA 6Gb/s & PCI-E Storage(on the back of the motherboard)
1 x Front Audio Header
1 x Front Panel Header
1 x CPU Fan Header
1 x System Fan Header
2 x 5050 LED Header
OS Support Windows 7 (x64), Windows 10 (x64)

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The rear I/O for both the X370 and B350 versions

As to pricing, BIOSTAR has set the MSRP for the RACING X370GTN at $129, with the RACING B350GTN at $109. A search of Amazon and Newegg does not show results for either board at time of press, but we should expect these in the retail pipeline soon.

Source: BIOSTAR