ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha X399 includes everything, even the kitchen sink

Subject: Motherboards | April 10, 2019 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: X399, Threadripper, ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha, asus, amd

If you push your Threadripper to the limit of its capabilities you are going to need a serious X399 motherboard.  MSI's MEG Creation has been the go to board for quite a while now, but ASUS is looking to change that with the ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha, which offers you a lot of features if you slap down $620.  As you can see below, everything has a heatsink and there is also integrated watercooling, which is great news for Bjorn3D who had a bit of trouble when they paired a 2990WX with a Gigabyte Gaming 7 board. 

It makes the most sense to pair this with that top end ThreadRipper as other models won't require such extreme measures, if you can afford the bill you will end up with one of the best X399 boards on the market today.

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"Well long story, kinda short, the VRM when under render loads would escalate to over 110C in a matter of a minute or less and was simply not feasible for running this new chip. Enter ASUS as I reached out to them to see if they had a solution. Enter the Zenith Extreme [Alpha]."

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Source: Bjorn3D

BIOSTAR Announces Windows 7 Support for AMD and Intel Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | April 9, 2019 - 11:27 AM |
Tagged: Windows 7, SHA-2 Security Update, motherboard, Intel, biostar, amd

There are still those of us who prefer to avoid Microsoft's latest OS, and for them today's annoucement from BIOSTAR may be of interest. The motherboard maker has announced Windows 7 support for its latest motherboards for both Intel and AMD platforms, an interesting move in a market where Windows 10 is a requirement for many new products. The company is aware of the end of support for Windows 7, and they encourage users to take advantage of the SHA-2 Security Update, which enables Windows Update beyond July 16, 2019.

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"Whilst Microsoft may be ending support for the older Window 7 operating system, users can still secure their machine with the upcoming SHA-2 Security Update. It is vital for legacy OS users to install the security update, machines without the security patch will be vulnerable. For advanced data security, the BIOSTAR H310MHG motherboard also comes with a TPM header for TPM modules making it perfect for government organizations that require the highest level of data security. TPM modules are used in conjunction with other security technologies such as biometric verification, antivirus software, firewalls, smart cards, and others."

A full list of motherboards with Windows 7 support from BIOSTAR (with links to the download page for each) after the break.

Source: BIOSTAR

ASUS WS C246M Pro Motherboard Reviewed at Serve the Home

Subject: Motherboards | March 29, 2019 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: Xeon E-Series, WS C246M Pro, workstation, STH, server, motherboard, micro-atx, asus

The ASUS WS C246M Pro is a micro-ATX option in the company's server/workstation lineup which supports 8th-gen LGA1151 Intel Core and Intel Xeon E-Series CPUs, as well as offering simultaneous triple display output (with DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA outputs onboard), dual Intel Gigabit NICs, and support for ECC memory and Intel Optane.

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"At the time of writing the ASUS WS C246M Pro motherboard is going for around $210 which is an affordable price point for small workstations. At the same time, it is significantly more costly than mITX consumer motherboards. One may argue that getting a consumer motherboard at a lower cost is worthwhile, but at the same time, we think that there is a segment of the market who may want the front to rear airflow design and ECC memory support. For VARs, the ability to support the Xeon E-2100 series helps to clearly segment their offerings and position them against corporate offerings from Dell, HP, and others."

You can read the full review from Serve the Home (STH) here.

Source: STH

Going out on a Prime note, their last Z390 review

Subject: Motherboards | March 21, 2019 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: PRIME Z390-A, asus

Here it is, the last motherboard review you will see from [H]ard|OCP as the sun sets on another review site for Kyle has chosen to join the dark side.  The ASUS PRIME Z390-A has a rather unique looking silkscreen pattern but RGB lovers will find the placement of the glowy bits unfortunate.  At $183 currently on Amazon it sits in the middle of the Z390 family as far as pricing, and that does mean it lacks some of the fancier features offered by flagship class motherboards.  If stability, decent overclocking and a bargain price matter more to you than wireless connectivity and a well developed case of RGB-itis then this last review from [H] is well worth a look.

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"Sometimes less is more. We typically work with a lot of motherboards that fall into the more is more category and some that have a high price that can’t easily be justified by most people. The ASUS PRIME Z390-A seems to lean towards less is more. On paper the Z390-A seems to have a lot going for it and is light on fluff. How does it stack up? "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Twin phase VRM's are ready for Prime time on ASUS's newly refreshed X299 board

Subject: Motherboards | February 25, 2019 - 05:09 PM |
Tagged: x299, asus, prime x299 deluxe II, Intel, LGA 2066

ASUS have regenerated their Prime X299 Deluxe motherboard to be able to support new Intel chips such as the i9-9980XE by completely redesigning the PWMs and adding a few new features.  This is the third board which [H]ard|OCP reviewed that uses the new "Twin phase" design as opposed to the previous phase doubling used on the vast majority of boards.  Their results so far suggest the new design is at least as stable as the old standard, as you can see yourself in their full review.

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"The ASUS Prime X299 Deluxe II is an ultra-feature rich solution for today’s discerning computing enthusiast. It does not wear ROG branding, and is clad in white shrouding, letting you know that this is a PRIME motherboard. Is it a bargain priced motherboard? Nope. This one comes in at $500. Let's see if it is worth it."

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

Introduction, Technical Specs, and Motherboard Overview

Introduction

Part of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) product line from ASUS, the Maximus XI Formula is a high-end Intel Z390 motherboard option that combines support for the latest Intel processors with a host of premium features.

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS used the Intel Z390 chipset launch to enhance the existing design of their Maximus Formula board, reconfiguring the board layout with dual NICs, a GigE NIC and a 5G NIC, and moved the location of the integrated M.2 slots for better access and cooling. Further, they enhanced the design of the armor overlay to integrate RGB LED effects into its surface.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus Formula board line is considered a premium product by ASUS and comes with a premium price with an MSRP of $449.99. The premium price point is more than justified by its EK custom designed VRM cooler, integrated 5G NIC, and premium board design enhancements.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ROG Maximus XI Formula motherboard was designed to ensure you of the optimal gaming experience. Its 10-phase digital power delivery system helps to stabilize the board under any overclocking conditions. The board contains the following integrated features: six SATA 3 ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; an Aquantia AQC111C 5G NIC; Intel 9560 802.11 AC controller; three PCI-Express x16 slots; one PCI-Express x1 slots; an 8-channel audio subsystem with S/PDIF port support; integrated LiveDash OLED display panel; integrated HDMI port; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Motherboard Overview

Introduction

With their latest revision in the TUF line, ASUS decided to rebrand the line as TUF Gaming, opening the brand to the rapidly growing gaming enthusiast market. The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming motherboard is the flagship board in ASUS' TUF (The Ultimate Force) product line designed with the Intel Z390 chipset.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming offers support for the latest Intel Coffee Lake processor line as well as dual-channel DDR4 memory running at up to 2666MHz speeds in stock configuration. ASUS priced the board competitively with a $169.99 MSRP, making it a good deal in light of the board's build quality and integrated features.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming motherboard is built with the same quality and attention to detail that you've come to expect from TUF-branded motherboards. The board contains the following integrated features: eight SATA 3 ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; an 8-channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A port support.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS TUF Z390 Pro Gaming motherboard!

ASRock Preparing Budget Intel B365M-ITX/ac Mini ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | February 2, 2019 - 10:12 AM |
Tagged: mini ITX, LGA 1151, Intel, coffee lake, asrock

ASRock is preparing to launch a new Mini ITX motherboard based on Intel’s B365 chipset. The aptly-named ASRock B365M-ITX/ac pairs the new (but based on older 22nm fabrication processes) chipset with the LGA 1151 socket and support for the latest 8th and 9th Generation Intel Core processors along with support for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory in two DIMM slots (specifications aren’t clear if the new 32GB DC-DIMMs are supported or if this is just for future reference). The B365M-ITX/ac takes advantage of ASRock’s “Super Alloy” suite of technologies which includes five phase digital power delivery, 60-amp chokes and dual stacked MOSFETs along with the black glass PCB.

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The Mini ITX motherboard supports Intel processors up to 95W. Connectivity includes a single PCI-E x16 slot, one M.2 Key E for Wi-Fi modules in line with the rear I/O (with an included Intel 802.11ac + BT 4.2 module), one M.2 22110 slot for solid state drives (B365 does support Optane), and four SATA 3 ports. ASRock uses an Intel I219V NIC for Gigabit Ethernet and while the B365 chipset does not have built-in Wi-Fi there is an Intel wireless module for 802.11ac 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi bundled with the board. Audio is handled by a 7.1 channel Realtek ALC887 codec that has been spruced up slightly with ELNA capacitors.

Rear I/O on the B365M-ITX/ac includes HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort video outputs up top followed by one PS/2 port, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 (10Gbps), one RJ45 jack for Gigabit Ethernet, two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, and three 3.5mm audio outputs.

Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced yet. With that said, looking around online, I would guess that the B365-based board will launch somewhere around $100 at retail (MSRP may be a bit higher) with the B360M-ITX/ac board sitting at around $90 right now and the higher end Fatality boards using the higher end Z chipsets sitting around $120+. 

The B365M-ITX/ac appears to be an interesting board that will hopefully fall on the budget side of pricing. I am looking forward to the reviews on this as the spacing seems better than average (Morry will appreciate the CMOS battery placement), and I/O is decent. The audio doesn’t seem to be as beefed up as some of the competition, however, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt would have been nice-to-have along with right angled power connectors but all that would add to the cost. In any event, the more small form factor options, the merrier (so long as the quality is there)!

What are your thoughts on ASRock’s latest SFF offering?

Related reading:

Source: ASRock

ASUS shows off their aesthetic Formula for success

Subject: Motherboards | January 18, 2019 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG, maximus XI formula, Z390, Intel

The ROG Maximus XI Formula is a rather nice looking board, for those who prefer their guts hidden beneath a nice RGB encrusted, waterblock enhanced covering.  Beneath the covering are some interesting design choices, for instance you will find a pair of M.2 mounts between the first and second PCIe slots which fit into that small space by being installed in opposite directions.  There are numerous features on this high end board which are covered in [H]ard|OCP's review, and at the end you will also find an official statement from ASUS about their "Twin 8-Phase" VRM claims and the removal of phase doublers.

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"ASUS brings us the one of it most aesthetically pleasing and expensive Z390 motherboards this generation. Even if you have no interest in spending a ton of money on an LGA 1151 motherboard, you will want to give this Formula a look as it certainly shows us that ASUS is not sitting around on its thumbs on the high end"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS' new X299, second Prime's the charm?

Subject: Motherboards | December 20, 2018 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: x299, prime x299-deluxe II, Intel, i9-9980XE, asus

ASUS have refined their Prime X299-Deluxe with a second version, which includes a redesign of the VRMs and power phases that lead to much discussion about the original board.  The Tech Report noticed that the change is not as simple as the marketing material would lead you to believe and they go into great detail about that in the beginning of their review.  In the end, the changes did result in decent thermals on the VRMs when overclocking and no discernible stability issues.  That's not all that is new about the board, mostly good with the exception of the default enabling of Windows Platform Binary Tables to load ASUS' software hub in the UEFI

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"Motherboard manufacturers are introducing refined X299 boards in the wake of Intel's Basin Falls platform refresh, and Asus' Prime X299-Deluxe II promises to fix some of the teething pains of its predecessor. We paired this board up with the Core i9-9980XE to see whether it's up to the job of hosting Intel's highest-end desktop chip yet."

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Source: The Register