Revisting Asus's ROG Crosshair VII Hero WiFi motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 18, 2018 - 04:39 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, crosshair vii hero wifi, ryzen 2, amd, x470

Upon first meeting the Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero Kitguru were impressed with the features and design of the board but underwhelmed by the performance.  After contacting ASUS they received a new BIOS and resumed testing, publishing their results here.   The board now performs admirably on the default settings, at the cost of an extra ~40W of power being consumed, while when manually clocked you can replicate the performance but without that extra power draw.

Kitguru explains how Synchronous and Asynchronous mode differ and how this relates to the extra power draw.  In Synchronous mode the CPU memory and PCIe all share the same clock signal while in Asynchronous mode the CPU clock can be adjusted without any effect on the memory or PCIe clocks.  Check out what they think this means for Ryzen users here.

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"As we expected, the Crosshair VII Hero is a high end motherboard that is loaded with overclocking features and while it looks and feels really solid, our initial testing suggested that performance was nothing special."

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Source: Kitguru

Meet the Intel Z390 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | May 14, 2018 - 05:56 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Z390, coffee lake

Intel published a paper giving an overview of the features to expect on motherboards using Z390 chipset.  Most of the features will be familiar so why not start with the fancy layout diagram?

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One of the features you might not consider, but perhaps should, is the combination of the quality of the onboard graphics chip on Coffee Lake with the outputs of a Z390 motherboard.  The motherboard can support up to three HDMI or DP outputs, which can provide 10bit colour, High Dynamic Range and Rec. 2020 at up to 4k resolutions.

Storage options are as you would expect, with Intel Rapid Storage Technology supported for both SATA and PCIe, with support for Optane if you so choose to use it.  Intel have updated their HD Audio in this generation and their Smart Sound Technology branding indicates the presence of a DAC on your motherboard. 

Networking is also worth a mention, with gigabit transfers available on the integrated NIC as well as through the Wireless-AC 9560 NIC, with integrated Bluetooth 5 support as well.  

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Yes, it will support overclocking unlocked processors.  The PR is below.

CREATE YOUR NEXT GREAT PERFORMANCE WITH THE 8TH GENERATION INTEL CORE PROCESSOR
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors give you the edge you need to successfully defeat your rivals. Quickly upload and access your favorite streams and get the gaming boost you need with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. With the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors, you can conquer your quests with confidence.

GREAT PERFORMANCE - UNLEASHED
Release your inner gaming beast with the Intel Z390 chipset and unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Unlock your core, graphics, and memory frequencies to new levels as you defeat your gaming foes. Gaming and productivity is redefined with the Intel Z390 chipset paired with new unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Crush your competition with 8th Generation Intel Core desktop processors and the Intel Z390 chipset.

FAST PC RESPONSIVENESS AT YOUR COMMAND
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors enable support for Intel Optane memory which speeds up access to your favorite programs and files. With the fast application response times enabled by Intel Optane memory, you can quickly access your digital life. Experience immersive sound quality via Intel High Definition Audio and enable your PC to respond to your voice commands with Intel Smart Sound Technology.

UNLEASH YOUR NETWORK PERFORMANCE
Achieve Gigabit wireless connections with 1st generation integrated Intel Wireless-AC support. The Intel Z390 chipset integrates an Intel wireless 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5 solution allowing you to connect up to Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds with Intel Wireless-AC 9560. With no Ethernet cable required, your desktop will be ready for all current and future wireless use cases and has the flexibility to be located in more places within your home or office.

IMMERSIVE VISUALS WITH INTEL UHD GRAPHICS
Intel UHD Graphics on 8th Generation Intel Core processors provide eye-popping 4K UHD resolutions. Experience more immersive gaming with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Rec. 2020 (Wide Color Gamut) support. Playback your favorite videos with color precision via native true 10-bit graphics output. Watch the latest 4K UHD premium content on your PC from leading online providers. With up to three independent, DisplayPort* and/or HDMI* displays supported with the Intel Z390 chipset, you can immerse yourself into your gaming experience.

MASSIVE STORAGE CAPABILITIES
Expand your storage capabilities with the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Boost your media transfer speeds with the integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 support of the Intel Z390 chipset. Create fast storage volumes and back-up your media and critical information via RAID support with Intel processor and chipset-connected PCI Express* SSDs. Expand your storage with up to 6 SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Enable blazingly fast data transfers to your favorite devices with PCI Express* 3.0.

Source: Intel

Round up, Round up; X470 time has come!

Subject: Motherboards | May 9, 2018 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: x470, amd, ryzen, Pinnacle Ridge

Techspot have revealed what their favourite X470 motherboards are and a brief overview of why they chose it over other available models, except for Micro-ATX seeing as how they are as rare as hen's teeth. The prices range fom $130 to $300 and do include Mini-ITX as there are several models available.  Take a look at their reasoning and follow up by reading fll reviews to see if the board is really for you.

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"There's already loads of great AMD X470 motherboards to choose from starting as low as $130. Asus, Asrock, MSI and Gigabyte have all done a great job with their boards and to be completely honest, for the most part you can't go wrong."

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Source: TechSpot

Hello X470, how do you do ... at benchmarks

Subject: Motherboards | April 23, 2018 - 07:58 PM |
Tagged: x470, amd, ryzen 2, msi, x470 Gaming M7 AC, Pinnacle Ridge

The reviews for AMD's new chipset are starting to appear, for instance the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC over at Guru of 3D. The new chipset brings support for DDR4-2933 and 3200 which is worth the investment for Ryzen chips.  The board supports two full speed M.2 4x PCIe slots, with SATA trimmed down to a half dozen.  Of the eight USB ports only one is Type-C but all support 3.1 transfer speeds according to Guru of 3D.  The single LAN connection is backed up by dual WiFi antenna and there is even optical audio out for those special people who make use of it. 

Check out the overclocking results and the fine details right here.

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"We review the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC. With the release of Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X AMD decided to add a new chipset as well, X470 offers a more fine-tuned experience for your Ryzen processor. And this MSI board, well it is just loaded with features."

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Source: Guru of 3D

Gigabyte's New X470 Aorus Motherboards Are Available For Pre-Order

Subject: Motherboards | April 16, 2018 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, x470, AM4, amd, aorus gaming 7 wifi, aorus ultra gaming

Gigabyte is gearing up for AMD’s second-generation Ryzen processors with three new Aorus motherboards based on the X470 chipset. The new boards include the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming, X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI. These motherboards represent a refreshed and improved design over their X370 predecessors particularly when it comes to VRM cooling as the heatsinks have been vastly improved. Gigabyte has also refreshed the audio with an updated Realtek ALC1220-VB audio codec and ESS SABRE DAC. Other features Gigabyte notes are upgraded 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi, dual PCI-E x4 M.2 slots with heat spreaders, USB Type-C support, four RGB LED headers including support for digital LEDs, and Smart Fan 5 technology for managing system cooling and fans attached to the board. The new motherboards feature a up to a 10+2 power phase design using digital VRMs from IR and a 8+4-pin power connector. The power phases are cooled by two heatsinks that use a “stacked fins array” and direct touch heatpipes.

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The new X470 motherboards all have four DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6 Gbps ports, three PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, two PCI-E x4 M.2 slots, and Realtek-based audio with high end capacitors and op amps. Around back the boards offer USB 2.0, 3.1 Gen 1, and 3.1 Gen 2 ports including a USB Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, six audio jacks, and two WI-Fi antenna connectors on the Wi-Fi boards.

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In most respects the three motherboards are the same, but as you move up Gigabyte adds a bit more power delivery hardware, more built-in RGB, a bit more slot armor, and a bit more shielded audio. The Ultra Gaming board is the lowest end offering with RGB only on the chipset and audio path, and there is no second M.2 shield or PCI-E and RAM slot armor. This board also has the least amount of shielding and extra caps on the integrated audio and the smallest VRM heatsinks. Moving up the Gaming 5 Wi-Fi gets you RAM slot armor, a shielded audio path, and RGB around the PCI-E slots and above the rear I/O. Of course, it also give you built-in Wi-Fi. Further, moving to the X470 Gaming 7 Wi-Fi cranks up the RGB to include the third PCI-E slot, the customizable RGB plate on the right edge, RGB around the RAM slots, and more RGB over the VRM heatsinks. The motherboard also adds an integrated baseplate behind the motherboard, additional Nichicon capacitors for the audio, and the rear I/O panel includes additional USB ports as well as built-in power and reset buttons. The rear I/O backplate is also built-into the motherboard.

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As for power delivery, the Ultra Gaming and Gaming 5 WIFI have a single 8 pin CPU power connector feeding an 8+3 "Hybrid Digital PWM" design with Intersil Digital PWM and Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs which Gigabyte claims run cooler than standard MOSFETs. The Gaming 7 WIFI board steps things up to 8-pin plus 4-pin CPU power connectors and a 10+2 all digital power phase from IR including digital PWM and Power Stage controllers. The phases are broken up into ten for the vCore and two for the SoC.

As far as pricing goes, all three of the AMD motherboards are currently available to pre-order and will ship on April 18th (according to Newegg). The X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming is listed at $139.99, the X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI is listed at $179.99, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI is listed for $239.99. I am interested to see how these motherboards perform especially when it comes to overclocking!

Source: Gigabyte
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ECS

The ECS Z370 Lightsaber motherboard is the latest offering in ECS' L337 product line, offering support for the Intel Z370 chipset. Similar to previous iterations of the Lightsaber board, the Z370-Lightsaber builds on the those board by adding dual-m.2 slot support, enhanced power support, as well as support for the latest Intel Coffee Lake-based processors. With an MSRP of $199, ECS priced the Z370 Lightsaber to be price-competitive with other mid-tier Z370-based offerings.

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS designed the Z370 Lightsaber with a 14-phase digital power delivery system, using high efficiency chokes and MOSFETs, as well as solid core capacitors for optimal board performance. The following features into the Z370 Lightsaber board: six SATA 3 ports; two PCIe X2 M.2 ports; a Rivet Networks Killer E2500 GigE NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a 3-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, Quick overclock, BIOS set, BIOS update, BIOS backup, and Clear CMOS buttons; a dual BIOS switch; Realtek audio solution; integrated DVI and HDMI video port support; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Gen2 port support.

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Courtesy of ECS

For the integrated audio solution, ECS used a Realtek chipset on a separate PCB to minimize audio crosstalk and interference. The also include a removable audio amplifier chipset and high-end Nichicon audio capacitors for a superior audio experience.

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z370 Lightsaber motherboard!

Asus Planning ROG Strix X470-I Mini ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | April 12, 2018 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, ROG Strix, AM4, mini ITX, amd, x470

Asus appears to be planning a Republic of Gamers branded updated motherboard for AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series processors. The ROG STRIX X470-I is a mini ITX form factor board that is loaded with RGB, higher end power phases and onboard sound, and built-in Wi-Fi.

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Videocardz obtained several images of the new X470 chipset based Mini ITX motherboard.

Asus is using a unique design with this board where it has moved the rear IO down a bit to make room for a larger 8-pin CPU power connector to be tucked into the upper left corner. The AM4 socket is surrounded by the VRMs, two full size DDR4 DIMM slots, and a heat shield that hides the M.2 slot. For storage, there are four SATA 6 Gbps ports (two next to the M.2 slot and two along the right edge) and for graphics cards there is a single PCI-E x16 slot. The board further has a USB 3.0 header, USB 2.0 header, audio header, three fan 4-pin connectors (one AIO pump header), and two RGB headers.

Around back, ASUS has provided a single HDMI output for those wishing to use an APU, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) ports, Gigabit Ethernet, two 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna ports, and three LED-backlit audio jacks.

Because this motherboard is a refresh of the X370-I, I think it’s safe to say that it is very likely that Asus is using Intel for the Gigabit Ethernet and the same SupremeFX S1220A codec (with high end Japanese capacitors and dual TI op amps) on the shielded M.2 Audio combo card.

As for the RGB, the board supports Asus Aura Sync and has a 3-pin addressable LED header and a 4-pin RGB header as well as built-in RGB LEDs along the right edge and on the M.2 heatsink.

Not much else is known about this small form factor motherboard, but with the launch of Zen+ coming any week now (allegedly), we should know more soon! You can find more photos of the motherboard over at Videocardz.

With the previous generation X370-I going for $230+ online though, I would not expect the X470-I to be cheap, however. It is interesting that it will continue to carry the ROG and STRIX branding though in light of ASUS moving its Radeon graphics card offerings to a new AREZ brand to get around the whole GeForce Partner Program situation. I am glad to see the SFF boards getting updates this quickly from many manufacturers in time for the launch of the 400 series chipsets and Ryzen 2000 series processors.

In other Mini ITX X470 news:

Source: Videocardz

Hot Coffee! The Gigabyte H370N WiFi

Subject: Motherboards | April 6, 2018 - 05:10 PM |
Tagged: Intel, H370, B360, H310, H370N Wifi, gigabyte, coffee lake

The Tech Report published an overview of Intel's new entry level boards and chips which were introduced to compete with AMD's Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G.  Along with the look at the new silicon comes a review of a new Gigabyte board which is wee bit different from the one Morry reviewed.  Even with the small stature of the H370N WiFi, Gigabyte still included a pair of M.2 ports, two HDMI ports of which one is HDMI 2.0, DP 1.2, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A and a single Type-C.  If you are looking to build a fully functional and yet affordable SFF system you should check this out.

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"Intel's H370, B360, and H310 chipsets promise to power the kinds of affordable boards that have been sorely missed alongside locked Coffee Lake CPUs. We explore what kinds of load-outs builders can expect from this new silicon and check out Gigabyte's H370N Wifi to see how motherboard makers might implement H370's fresh features."

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Biostar's Refreshed Mini ITX Racing X470GTN AM4 Motherboard Revealed

Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: x470, mini ITX, ddr4, biostar, amd, AM4

Biostar is planning to release an updated Mini ITX AMD motherboard according to leaked images sourced by Videocardz. According to the image, the new board will be called the Biostar Racing X470GTN and will feature the AMD X470 chipset which is a refreshed enthusiast chipset that is supposed to be more power efficient and contain tweaks and optimizations for AMD’s upcoming “Zen+” Ryzen 2000 series of desktop processors and APUs.

Biostar X470 Racing GTN Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard.jpg

The Racing X470GTN looks very similar to the Racing X370GTN that Biostar released last year down to the same black PCB and board component layout though the VRM heatsink has been spruced up a bit and is now in red and white rather than black and white. Further, the X470 chipset heatsink lacks the carbon fiber aesthetic and the PCI-E slot is white instead of black. Lastly, the PCB audio isolation for the onboard audio may have been slightly tweaked. The LED-equipped Mini ITX motherboard is powered by a 24-pin ATX and a 4-pin EPS CPU power connector that feeds the seven phase (4+3) power phases. Unfortunately, the heatsink on the VRMs does not look any larger which may hamper any heavy overclocking attempts on the processor as Hardware Canucks saw rather high temperatures (though not magic smoke bad) at stock clocks on the X370GTN they reviewed. In any event, the AM4 socket sits up top and is surrounded by two DDR4 memory slots, four SATA 6 Gbps ports, and one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. There is also a PCI-E M.2 slot hidden behind the board for enthusiasts. The onboard audio codec is a Realtek ALC892 chip (per Videocardz) and while the leaked image does not confirm anything I am guessing the Gigabit Ethernet NIC is also of Realtek origin and is likely the same RTL8118AS used in the previous generation motherboard.

As far as rear I/O is concerned, there is not much to speak of but Biostar does include a decent amount of high speed USB ports with at least two being USB 3.1 Gen 2 and the remaining four being USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen 1 (the X370GTN had USB 3.0 but the X470 update may have bumped these up to USB 3.1 Gen 1 not that it matters in practical terms of speed). In addition to USB, the Racing X470GTN’s rear panel hosts a combo PS/2 port, DVI and HDMI video outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, and six audio outputs (one optical, five analog).

Naturally, being a leak, there is no word on official pricing or availability on this motherboard, but I would guess it will be priced around $120 following the launch of AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series CPUs and 400 series chipsets.

In other Mini ITX X470 news:

Source: Videocardz

ASRock Shows Off Mini ITX X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 01:33 AM |
Tagged: asrock, x470, AM4, mini ITX, 802.11ac, usb 3.1

Videocardz managed to snag several photos of an upcoming AMD X470-based motherboard from ASRock. Specifically, the ASRock X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac is a Mini ITX board ready for AMD's Ryzen 2000 and other AM4 processors. Powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, the Mini ITX board uses an eight phase (6+2) power phase cooled by a black heatsink that is a bit larger than the red affair on the previous generation X370 Fatal1ty motherboard.

Asrock X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITXac.jpg

The AM4 socket sits at the center of the board and is paired with two DDR4 DIMM slots, one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. There is also a single PCI-E x4 M.2 slot on the back of the motherboard for your NVMe solid state drives. The motherboard further features built-in 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and (likely Realtek) Gigabit Ethernet for networking and 8-channel Realtek codec audio enhanced with Nichicon capacitors.

Rear I/O is difficult to ascertain by the photos, but it appears that the X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac includes a Fatal1ty mouse port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.1 ports (including one Type-C), one HDMI, one DisplayPort, one Gigabit Ethernet, six audio outputs (one optical, five analog), and two Wi-Fi antenna connectors.

AMD's "Zen+" Ryzen 2000 series CPUs are not quite out yet, but will be soon enough along with the new 400-series chipsets. No word on how much this Mini ITX motherboard will cost, but I am glad that SFF options are coming at launch with the updated chipsets that are said to be lower power and optimized for Zen+. We will have to wait a bit for reviews to see how well it overclocks and what the pricing works out to.

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Source: Videocardz