MSI's mini-ITX Z170I GAMING PRO AC is versatile but perhaps not for the dedicated overclocker

Subject: Motherboards | February 16, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: Z170i Gaming Pro AC, msi, Intel Z170, lga1151, mini ITX

At $172 the price of the MSI Z170I GAMING PRO AC may be bigger than the actual board, as it is a mini-ITX motherboard.  As with many modern mini-ITX boards, the amount of features included is nothing short of amazing, apart from the single PCIe 16x slot which all boards of this size are limited to.  It does have a pair of DDR4 slots supporting up to 32GB, four SATA 6Gbps ports, a single SEx port and M.2 slot, five USB 3.0 and a half dozen USB 3.1 ports; connectivity includes wired, WiFi and even Bluetooth.  The overall design is quite attractive though the reviewers at [H]ard|OCP were not a fan of the overclocking ability nor the positioning of the M.2 slot on the rear of the board, see if those negatives outweigh the positives in their full review.

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"The Z170I GAMING PRO AC motherboard is poised to be a tiny powerhouse for SFF builds or for those of you looking to focus on "less is more." If you are looking to make the jump to an Small Form Factor build, or you want to update an existing build you won’t want to miss this feature rich Mini-ITX motherboard. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASRock Launches New Mini ITX Motherboard For AMD APUs

Subject: Motherboards | February 14, 2016 - 05:02 AM |
Tagged: mini ITX, FM2+, ddr3, asrock, A88X

ASRock's new A88M-ITX/ac is a tiny new motherboard sporting the FM2+ socket and A88X chipset for AMD APUs. This new board has an interesting design with two DDR3 memory slots set along the top of the board. The FM2+ socket and 5-phase VRM is placed in the center with the chipset and dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi module sitting between the socket and a single PCI-E x16 slot along the bottom edge. Six SATA 6Gbps ports are nestled in the lower right corner. Power input includes a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin CPU which should help any overclocking should this be for a SFF gaming box.

ASRock A88M-ITXac.jpg

Rear I/O on the A88M-ITX/ac includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x Video outputs
    • 1 x DVI
    • 1 x HDMI 1.4a
    • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x GbE (Realtek 8111GR)
  • 3 x Analog Audio (Realtek ALC887 and ELNA audio caps)

This board is clad in black and silver except for the FCH which is copper. While the absence of HDMI 2.0 will be a turn off for those looking for a HTPC to drive a 4K big screen, it could still make for a small budget gaming build. It is nice to see more small form factor options for AMD builds!

Unfortunately, ASRock is not yet talking pricing or availability.

What would you use this Mini ITX AMD motherboard for?

Source: ASRock

EVGA Winter 2016 Prize Pack and Giveaway!!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling | February 2, 2016 - 02:07 PM |
Tagged: Z170, PSU, power supply, motherboard, GTX 970, giveaway, ftw, evga, contest

For many of you reading this, the temperature outside has fallen to its deepest levels, making it hard to even bare the thought of going outdoors. What would help out a PC enthusiast and gamer in this situation? Some new hardware, delivered straight to your door, to install and assist in warming up your room, that's what!

PC Perspective has partnered up with EVGA to offer up three amazing prizes for our fans. They include a 750 G2 power supply (obviously with a 750 watt rating), a Z170 FTW motherboard and a GTX 970 SSC Gaming ACX 2.0+ graphics card. The total prize value is over $650 based on MSRPs!

All you have to do to enter is follow the easy steps in the form below. 

We want to thank EVGA for its support of PC Perspective in this contest and over the years. Here's to a great 2016 for everyone!

EVGA Winter 2016 Giveaway!!

 

Gigabyte adds full GIMPS and Prime95 compatibility to Skylake processors

Subject: Motherboards | January 28, 2016 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: update, Skylake, gigabyte, bug

Gigabyte has released UEFI updates today which will resolve the freezing issues on Skylake seen in certain circumstances of Prime95 and GIMPS processing.  Just head over to their download site and enter in your motherboards model and download the new UEFI, or BIOS if you prefer the old terminology.

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As a bonus you may receive the ability to use higher clocked RAM, see any stability issues fixed or better performance from integrated components such as LAN or SATA.  Their update process is easy with none of the stress that once accompanied updates via floppy disjs or masks and UV light.  We can neither confirm nor deny these updates will also resolve unwanted ear hair growth.

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Source: Gigabyte

Gigabyte's talented entry level LGA 1151, the Z170X-UD5

Subject: Motherboards | January 28, 2016 - 03:41 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z170X-UD5, LGA 1151

What is special about the Z170X-UD5 that would make you pick it over other boards?  A $190 price tag is impressive for a Z170, the design is very clean and would look great in a windowed case, USB 3.1 including a Type-C connection, a pair of M.2 slots along with eight SATA and three SEx ports and it even supports three way GPU setups.  Not a bad list of features, though it is missing the Thunderbolt support of its more expensive sibling.  [H]ard|OCP found it easy to overclock using either EZ-Tune or doing it manually and the watchdog system was great when things did not work out so well.  Check out the full review to learn more about this board that matches up affordability with a nice list of features.

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"GIGABYTE’s mid-range Z170X-UD5 has some impressive specifications, a lengthy feature set, and comes in with a sub-$200 street price. This motherboard has all the ingredients for a spectacular enthusiast option on paper. But how does it do in the real world when you put it to the test? It actually does very well."

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

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

02-board.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS X99-M WS is an mATX version of their workstation line board for the Intel X99 chipset with enhanced support for USB 3.1-based devices. The board features full support for all Intel LGA2011-v3 processors paired with DDR4 memory operating in up to quad channel configuration. Priced at a reasonable $279.99, the X99-M WS/USB 3.1 board is priced competitively considering the feature set and performance designed into the board.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

The X99-M WS motherboard features an 8-phase digital power system with high efficiency Beat Thermal chokes, Dr. MOS MOSFETs, and 12k rated solid capacitors. Additionally, ASUS integrated their CPU OC Socket into the board's design, ensuring board's overclocking potential. ASUS chose to integrate the following features into the X99-M WS/USB 3.1 board: eight SATA 3 ports; one M.2 PCIe x2 capable port; Intel I218LM and I210-AT Gigabit NICs; tri-port 802.11ac WiFi adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; a PCI-Express x1 slot; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, MemOK!, and BIOS Flashback buttons; TPU, EPU, Dr. Power, and EZ_XMP switches; Crystal Sound 2 audio subsystem; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard!

Take a break from Z170 with the BIOSTAR A68N-5200

Subject: Motherboards | January 19, 2016 - 07:27 PM |
Tagged: Kabini, biostar, amd, A68N-5200

We don't often think of Kabini based systems lately, focusing on systems of significantly more power but it is worth remembering that the low powered AMD processor and motherboard combo still exists.  The motherboard comes with an integrated A6-5200 with HD 8400 Graphics for a grand total of $68 leaving you short only a DIMM and storage device from having a fully functional system.  You will not be playing Crysis on this system but if you pick up a low cost GPU you would certainly be able to play online games and older titles, if you wanted to go that direction.  You could instead look at building a low powered, low cost system for Internet browsing and emailing for a friend or relative for very little cost, especially if you have an old disk lying around somewhere unused to install in the system.  It can also manage decent encoding performance for its price, check out the review at MadShrimps to see more.

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"The A68N-5200 board, by incorporating one A6-5200 Kabini-based APU, is bringing to the table even more raw performance when compared to its A4-5000, while the GPU component gets a 100Mhz boost. While the increased 3D performance is minimal versus the A4, other tasks which require CPU performance will get up to 25% performance boost."

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Source: MadShrimps

GIGABYTE launches one new X170 and four X150 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | January 15, 2016 - 05:24 PM |
Tagged: X170-Extreme ECC, X170, X150M-PRO ECC, X150M-PLUS WS, X150-PRO ECC, X150, gigabyte, GA-X150-PLUS WS

These five motherboards will be more at home powering a server than a high end gaming machine as they fully support Intel's Xeon E3-1200 v5 and other LGA 1151 processors, all but two offer ECC memory compatibility using Intel's C236 and C232 chipset.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider them for your next build as they should offer rock solid stability and hey, they're camouflaged!

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Up first are the X170-EXTREME ECC and X150-PRO ECC, with the first PCIe 3.0 16x slot connected directly to the CPU socket, no detours for that data.  The boards support PCIe Gen.3 x4 NVMe M.2 natively and you can pick up a U.2 converter if that is what you need for your drives and Intel's USB 3.1 controller will give you performance on both the original flavour and Type-C USB ports.  The X170 Extreme comes with a Killer E2400 Gigabit NIC, along with all of the benefits provided by that chip.

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Up next are the X150M-PRO ECC, X150M-PLUS WS and X150-PLUS WS motherboards which are listed on Gigabyte's site.  The X150M-Pro is mATX but Gigabyte still managed two PCIe 16x slots, with one limited to 4x speeds and a pair of PCI slots along with an M.2, 6 SATA 6Gbps and a SEx connector.  The X150M Plus is very similar but sports a single PCIe 16x and a 4x no legacy connectors nor a SEx port.  Finally the full ATX GA-X150-PLUS WS which adds a pair of PCIe x1 slots in addition to two PCIe 16x slots, with one limited to 4x speeds and a pair of PCI slots.

Source: Gigabyte

EVGA Z170 Motherboards to Support BCLK Overclocking Non-K CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | January 14, 2016 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: unlocked, overclocking, oc, LGA 1151, Intel K series, Intel, evga, bios, BCLK

An upcoming BIOS update for EVGA Z170 motherboards to allow BCLK overclocking on non-K Intel processors.

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The news came from EVGA Product Manager Jacob Freeman via Twitter this afternoon:

Update: The new BIOS 1.07 enabling non-K BLCK OC is now available from EVGA.

We have been following the story of BCLK overclocking of locked Skylake CPUs since early last month, when Techspot published benchmarks from an Intel Core i3-6100 clocked at 4.70 GHz - thanks to a pre-release ASRock BIOS. The BIOS has since been released, and other vendors are updating their Z170 motherboards to support these locked processors as well, the latest being EVGA.

It remains to be seen if Intel will have anything to say about their cheaper "locked" processors becoming more attractive to potential overclockers, as the unlocked K parts have provided a nice profit margin for the company. So far, board partners are moving forward seemingly unimpeded with the updates to remove the overclocking limitations, and that's great news for enthusiasts.

Source: Twitter

Mini-STX Has Arrived: Meet the ECS H110SU-02 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 13, 2016 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-stx, LGA 1151, Intel H110, ECS, CES 2016, CES

ECS has entered the brand new Mini-STX market with their H110SU-02 motherboard, one of our first looks at a motherboard based on Intel's 5x5 concept for a sub-mITX form-factor.

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The ECS H110SU-02 (Image credit: Maximum PC)

As you can see this tiny motherboard offers a standard LGA 1151 socket for Intel processors up to 65W, and uses SoDIMM memory (DDR4). The board only offers one SATA port, with a pair of M.2 slots in a stacked configuration for both full-length (2280) SSDs and the shorter (2230) cards such as wireless network adapters.

Specifications:

  • Platform: Intel H110/B150 chipset
  • CPU: LGA1151 socket for Intel i3/i5/i7/Pentium/Celeron Processors (65W)
  • Memory: 2x SO-DIMM DDR4 slots
  • Storage: 1x M.2 Slot (2280); 1x SATA
  • Networking: RJ45; 1x M.2 Slot (2230) for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 card
  • USB: 1x USB 3.1 Type-C; 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Audio: 3.5 mm combo jack
  • Power Supply: DC-in 19V, 90W
  • Dimensions (W x D) 140 x 147 mm

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Mini-SFX vs. Mini-ITX comparison (Image credit: Maximum PC)

Maximum PC posted this video with their overview of the motherboard:

With no PCI Express slot and the limitation of a 65W processor (which eliminates current high-end models such as the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, both at 91W) this is targeting a different audience than those choosing mini-ITX for a small gaming rig, for example. Still, there will undoubtedly be a number of applications for a system of just over 5 inches square; though Intel's existing NUC platform provides essentially the same experience in a smaller package, minus the socketed desktop CPU support, of course.

No details were given on pricing or availability.

Source: Maximum PC