GIGABYTE Announces Gemini Lake Motherboards with Intel Pentium Silver Processors

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | January 19, 2018 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, pentium, motherboard, mini ITX, Intel Pentium Silver, Intel, integrated CPU, gigabyte, gemini lake, fanless, embedded, celeron

GIGABYTE has announced motherboards for the new Gemini Lake platform featuring built-in Intel Pentium Silver and Intel Celeron processors. These fanless J/N series motherboards also offer the company's trademark "Ultra Durable" components and customizable performance settings.

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As to the Gemini Lake platform, here are some of the details as reported by CNXSoft at last month's CPU launch:

"The models include two Pentium Silver quad core processor with N5000 for mobile, J5005 for desktop, and four Celeron dual/quad core processors with N4000 & N4100 for mobile, and Celeron J4005 & J4105 for desktop.

All processors share the same 4MB cache which will help with performance improvement, and dual channel DDR4-2400, LPDDR4-2400 memory. Pentium processors come with Intel UHD Graphics 605 clocked up to 750/800 MHz, and Celeron processors are instead equipped with UHD Graphics 600 up to 650/750 MHz which the exactly frequency depending on model."

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Image credit: CNXSoft

From GIGABYTE:

"[our] newest J/N series motherboards utilize a fanless cooling solution and the built-in Intel Gemini Lake processors make them perfect for compact, mainstream builds. The motherboards support HDMI 2.0 4K at 21:9 resolution for high definition video quality. Integrated PCIe Gen2 x2 M.2 slots supporting high speed NVMe SSD allows for fast data transfer speeds. The board's native Intel WIFI via the M.2 Connector along with an independently sold Intel CNVi wireless networking solution can make way for impressive wireless connectivity exceeding 1 gigabit per second, traditionally found in wired connections. Additionally, its support for M.2 SATA SSD, UDIMM DDR4 modules rated for 2400MHz, and noise free configurations makes it a perfect option for school, business, and home usage."

Pricing and availability were not specified in the press release (full PR after the break).

Source: GIGABYTE

MSI motherboards BIOS versions with updated security microcode

Subject: Motherboards | January 17, 2018 - 09:56 PM |
Tagged: msi, spectre, meltdown, bios, update, security

MSI have released updated BIOS versions for their Z370 motherboards to protect against Meltdown and Spectre which you can grab here.

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These patches are live now, with new BIOS versions in the works for the renaming series, including all X299, 200, 100-series and X99 series including the various X, H and B sub-series motherboards.  The list is quite impressive, follow that link to see if your board will be getting an update in the near future.  The page lists the version number of the upcoming BIOS you will need, so keep an eye on this page and MSI for the official release.

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Source: MSI

CES 2018: Gigabyte Shows Off AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi

Subject: Motherboards | January 11, 2018 - 01:18 AM |
Tagged: Zen+, x470, ryzen, gigabyte, CES 2018, CES, aorus gaming 7, aorus, amd, AM4

Gigabyte had several motherboards on display at CES including an AMD AM4 motherboard with an unreleased AMD 400-series Promontory chipset! The stealthily displayed AORUS branded motherboard was spotted by Steven Burke over at Gamer’s Nexus who then jumped at the opportunity and started taking it apart! The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi appears to check all the boxes for a high-end gaming focused motherboard and should allow enthusiasts eyeing a Ryzen or Zen+ (Ryzen 2000 series) processor to push it as far as possible.

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We went hands-on with the AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi

The X470-based motherboard features a six layer PCB and improved CPU power delivery in the form of a 10+2 power phase (doubled 5-phase for CPU plus 2 phases for memory) with VRMs that are cooled by a hefty copper heat-pipe and aluminum fin stack. Gamer’s Nexus reports that Gigabyte is using hardware from International Rectifier in the form of IR 3599 drivers, IR 3553 MOSFETs, and a IR 35201 PWM controller. For those interested in how motherboard VRMs and power phases works, Buildzoid has several great introductory videos on Youtube that are worth watching.

Other overclocking friendly features include an external clock generator, diagnostic LED readout, power and clear CMOS buttons on the rear IO panel, dual BIOSes, and various hybrid fan headers for air and water cooling. Gigabyte reportedly rates the motherboard at 4,000+ MHz memory overclocking which is good news for Ryzen and Ryzen 2 users since memory speeds have a big impact on performance.

The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi feeds the AM4 socket with both an 8-pin and 4-pin ATX power connectors. To the right of the processor socket sits four DDR4 DIMM slots and the accent LED along the right edge. Expansion is handled by three PCI-E x16 slots (two are wired to the CPU for graphics), two PCI-E x1 slots, and two M.2 slots that sit under black head spreaders. There are six SATA ports in the right corner. While the heatsink is covering the audio chipset, whichever solution they are using (likely Realtek as it does not appear this is a Killer-equipped board) has high end WIMA and Nichicon caps and also supports USB DAC-UP technology.

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Rear I/O includes two antenna connectors for the built in Wi-Fi chipset, power and clear CMOS buttons, four USB 3.0 ports plus two more USB 3.0 ports that support USB DAC-UP, two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-C and one Type-A), a RJ45 connector (likely Gigabit Ethernet), and six audio outputs (one S/PDIF and five 3.5mm analog outputs).

It is interesting to finally see a 400-series motherboard and for Gigabyte to give AMD its Gaming 7 treatment. Also comforting is that while the new 400-series boards will offer slight connectivity benefits, users that bought into Summit Ridge and X370/B350/A320 boards aren’t missing out on too much and may actually get multiple CPUs out of one motherboard for a change. The 400-series chipsets allegedly enable a bit more bandwidth for devices hanging off of the chipset thanks to the upgrade from PCI-E 2.0 (5GT/s) to PCI-E 3.0. With this upgrade, a M.2 drive connected through the chipset would be able to hit its full speeds. While the chipset’s eight PCI-E 3.0 lanes could in theory support two nearly full speed M.2 NVMe drives, the PCI-E 3.0 x4 link between the chipset and processor would ultimately bottleneck things. At least a single drive can hit its full speeds though and bring Ryzen systems up to three total PCI-E M.2 drives running at full speed.

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Oh, and did I mention there is RGB? Yep, Gigabyte has hooked the X470 Gaming 7 WIFI up with RGB LEDs around the PCI-E x16 slots, DIMM slots, over the chipset, and under the accent overlay in the top right corner. All things considered, the RGB is pretty tame in this model, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on Gigabyte’s upcoming motherboard and on the 400-series motherboards in general? Are you ready for Pinnacle Ridge? 

CES 2018: NZXT Announces the N7 Z370, Its First Ever Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 9, 2018 - 10:00 AM |
Tagged: Z370, nzxt, motherboard, CES 2018, CES

Case and accessory maker NZXT is entering the PC components market with the announcement this week of its first ever motherboard. The NZXT N7 Z370 is based on Intel's Z370 chipset and is designed for both simplicity and clean looks.

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The board features a built-in digital fan controller, integrated RGB lighting channels, an all-metal cover available in either black or white, and an on-board noise sensor that can help calibrate fan speeds and cooling pumps for a quieter PC.

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CPU LGA socket 1151 for Intel 8th Generation Core i7/i5/i3
Chipset Intel Z370
Memory 4 x DIMM with 64GB Max
DDR4 up to 3866MHz (O.C.)
Video Out DisplayPort
HDMI
Multi-GPU NVIDIA 2-Way SLI
AMD 2-Way CrossFireX
Storage 1 x M.2 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe x4 & SATA modes)
1 x M.2 2242/2260/2280 (PCIe x4 mode only)
4 x SATA 6Gbs
Support for RAID 0/1/5/10
Intel Smart Response Technology
Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15
Intel Optane Memory Ready
Networking 1 x Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Realtek ALC1220 Codec with Nichicon Gold Capacitors
7.1 Channel High Definition Audio, 32-bit / 192KHz DAC
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
2 x PCIe 3.0 x4
2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Rear I/O 5 x USB 2.0
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
1 x HDMI 1.4b
1 x Clear CMOS Button
1 x RJ45
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
7.1 Channel Audio Ports (3.5mm)
Internal I/O 1 x 24-pin EATX
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V
1 x 4-pin CPU Fan
1 x 4-pin AIO Pump
1 x 4-pin Water Pump
6 x 4-pin System Fans (up to 5W per channel)
3 x USB 2.0 header
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 header
4 x SATA 6Gbps
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key (PCIe & SATA modes)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key (PCIe mode only)
2 x RGB LED connectors
1 x noise detection module
1 x font panel audio connector
1 x power button
1 x reset button
1 x ROM backup button
1 x dual BIOS switch
Accessories User's Manual
I/O Shield
4 x SATA data cables
1 x NZXT SLI Bridge
2 x LED light strips
2 x 500mm LED connection cable
2 x 300mm LED extension cable
Form Factor ATX (305mm x 244mm)

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The NZXT N7 Z370 motherboard will launch later this month in the US and Europe for $299.99.

Source: NZXT

Meet MSI's new Mini-ITX B350I PRO AC for tiny Ryzen

Subject: Motherboards | January 5, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: amd, mini-itx, msi, ryzen, B350I PRO AC, AM4

While it is not as impressive as it would be if this were a mini-ITX Threadripper board, building a motherboard that is over 50% socket may be asking a bit too much.  Instead the B350I PRO AC is designed for Socket AM4 Ryzen chips.

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The board is designed with 9-phase PWM design (6+2+1), which will ensure great stability along with an electrically isolated Realtek ALC887 codec and Steel Armour protecting that lone PCIe 16x slot.  Memory of up to 32GB of DDR4-3200+ is supported, important to get the most out of your Ryzen processor.  There are two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports on the back as well as HDMI out, so you could use this as an unobtrusive VR box with the right GPU installed; WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity will also come in hand for that.

Check out the full specifications here, while we await availability.

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Source: MSI
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

The MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard features a black PCB with carbon fibre overlay accenting it's chipset heat sinks and rear panel cover. MSI also placed 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 Z370 chipset with in-built support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Coffee Lake processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at a 2667MHz speed. The Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon can be found in retail with an MRSP of $209.99.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI integrated the following features into the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC 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; an Intel 8265 802.11ac WI-FI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a Realtek ALC1220 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort 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 Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, MSI integrated a 10 phase (8+2) digital power delivery system dubbed Military Class V. The Military Class V components include Titanium chokes, 10 year-rated Dark capacitors, and Dark chokes.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard!

ASUS hits the Apex of their Rampage

Subject: Motherboards | January 2, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: ROG Rampage VI APEX, asus, LGA2066, Intel, x299

The new ASUS ROG Rampage VI APEX has a very recognizable shape, there are two bites out of the PCB.  As the name implies, this is a high end board with a high end cost; expect to pay north of $400 to pick this board up.  You do get some impressive abilities with this board, for instance you can run all four PCIe 3.0 slots at their full 16x bandwidth if you happen to have four GPUs.  There are four M.2 slots for your storage in addition to a half dozen SATA ports, with support for Optane and even VROC.  If you are looking for a big motherboard which can handle almost any task you need then pop by [H]ard|OCP for their full review.

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"ASUS’ purpose built overclocking motherboard stands out as one of the most interesting and provocative motherboards the Republic of Gamers brand has probably ever seen. However, we’ve seen motherboards that opt to specialize in one area lose out in others. We put the Rampage VI APEX to the test and see if its a predator."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Introducing the EVGA X299 DARK Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | December 18, 2017 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: evga, x299, X299 DARK, LGA2066, Intel Skylake-X, kaby lake x, e-atx

EVGA have released a new X299 board, called simply DARK, which offers a vast array of useful features while remaining light on the fluff.  It fully supports Intel Optane as well as sporting two M.2 Key-M slots, a single M.2 Key-E, a pair of U.2, USB 3.1 in both Type-A and Type-C as well as eight SATA ports for even more storage support; you will need a Skylake X to pull that off all at once however.

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The 16 phase voltage regulator modules are actively cooled at the top of the board, useful for those who watercool and install a minimum of case fans, the fan toward the bottom ensures your M.2 drives also stay cooled.   The quad channel memory can support up to 64GB of DDR4-3600 with a Skylake X processor, or 32GB of DDR4-4133 with a Kaby Lake X chip. 

In order to fit everything on this board EVGA opted for an E-ATX design, make sure you remember that when purchasing a case to install this in.  It may not have RGBitis, but as they say "you can't see pretty in the Dark."   You can see the full PR below the handy lane chart.

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December 18th, 2017 – EVGA introduces you to the ultimate in raw performance for the next-gen Intel® Extreme lineup, the EVGA X299 Dark. The Dark is crafted from the ground up to be the performance apex with everything you need to make a record-breaking benching run or a 24/7 number cruncher, and nothing you don't – a board that is as reliable as it is fast. The EVGA X299 Dark has all of the current gen top-tier component support, including:

  • 2x M.2 Key-M slots / 1x M.2 Key-E slot
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • 2x U.2 Ports
  • USB 3.1 Type-A / Type-C
  • Up to 64GB of 4000MHz+ (OC) Quad-Channel RAM on Skylake-X CPUs
  • Up to 32GB of 4133MHz+ (OC) Dual-Channel RAM on Kaby Lake-X CPUs 
  • 2x Intel GbE LAN with teaming support
  • EVGA’s Full Featured GUI UEFI/ BIOS
  • Legacy LGA20XX Socket Backplate for custom CPU cooling solutions (optional)

There is much to be said about a beautifully-engineered motherboard designed to handle the highest loads or the most extreme conditions, let alone the rigors and abuse constantly demanded by the best overclockers in the world and still look good doing it. This was achieved, in part, by using:

  • 12-Layer PCB
  • Highly-Efficient 16-Phase PWM
  • 100% Solid State Capacitors
  • 300% Higher Gold Content in CPU Socket
  • External BCLK / Clock Generators
  • 8 SATA Ports – 6 from Intel PCH / 2 from ASMedia ASM1061
  • Triple BIOS Select Switch
  • PCIe Disable Switches
  • ProbeIT Connector
  • PS/2 Port
  • Creative Core3D Audio
  • Intel VROC Header

Although the X299 Dark does not feature RGB LED support, it politely reminds you that you can't see pretty in the Dark. This board is engineered for the ultra-enthusiast, including these features:

  • Active PCH & M.2 cooling
  • 4-Way SLI Support
  • Multi-Function POST Indicator
  • Visual Guide / Bench table
  • PCIe / DIMM Status LEDs
  • Right Angle Power / Fan / and USB3.0 Headers

The X299 Dark proves once again that until you have used it, you don’t know the power of the Dark side of the EVGA motherboard lineup.

For more details, please see here: https://www.evga.com/articles/01168/evga-x299-dark/

Source: EVGA

Now that the 8700K is in stock occasionally, check out Gigabyte's Z370 offering

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2017 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming, Z370, Intel, gigabyte, coffee lake

The Z370 for Coffee Lake may look the same as a Z270 for Kaby Lake but unfortunately that is not the case and your Kaby CPU is not going to work.  For those who did not upgrade during the previous generation and have been patiently awaiting the availability of Coffee Lake CPUs, [H]ard|OCP's review of the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming is worth checking out.  The board can be had for around $170 and currently includes a free PCIe WiFi card, for that price there are a lot of extras to be had.  The board is also able to offer the possibility of a decent overclock as well!

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"Intel’s launched yet another chipset, so for better or worse that means new motherboards for Intel’s mainstream market. We look at GIGABYTE’s Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming to see if it’s worthy of a Coffee Lake CPU. And now that you can actually find the 8700K in stock, it is worth talking about."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Existing AM4 Motherboards Will Support Upcoming Raven Ridge Desktop APUs With BIOS Update

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 30, 2017 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: asus, AM4, ryzen, Vega, ryzen mobile, APU, raven ridge

ASUS recently made new BIOS updates available for several of its motherboards that suggest desktop Raven Ridge APUs are coming soon. The BIOS updates contain AGESA! V9 RavenPi-FPS-AM4 1.0.7.1 along with Raven Generic VBIOS to add support for the Zen-based Raven Ridge CPU cores and Vega-based graphics.

Desktop Raven Ridge APUs have been promised in AMD roadmaps for awhile now, but details are still scarce. These desktop parts have the same four CPU cores as Ryzen Mobile Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U, but will run with higher TDPs (up to 65W) and higher clockspeeds along with a much larger GPU with up to 11 CUs (704 Vega cores). As of this writing the rumors of a HBM-equipped APU is still just that, a rumor. The first desktop Raven Ridge parts are sure to use standard DDR4, however.

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Speculation over at [H] suggests that ASUS may have jumped the gun a bit on making the BIOS updates available by a few days which suggests that AMD is planning a December launch for the desktop parts (likely a soft launch though hopefully not as terribly long as Bristol Ridge!) and BIOS updates coming from other manufacturers at that time.

Guru3D has a list of links to the BIOS updates currently available from ASUS covering 13 of their motherboards including X370, B350, and A320 PRIME series motherboards and X370 and B350 ROG STRIX motherboards. Missing from the AMD AM4 lineup are the EX-A320M-GAMING, PRIME A320M-C and -C R2.0, and ROG CROSSHAIR VI Hero and Extreme boards.

Interestingly, desktop Raven Ridge is the second APU generation to work with the AM4 socket, and is is allegedly not the last. AMD has stated previously that it intends to support the AM4 socket for quite a while and their own roadmaps list support for at least two more Ryzen CPU generations and one more generation of APUs. Specifically, AMD plans to support Bristol Ridge, Raven Ridge, and Picasso (which is essentially the Zen+ APU generation) APUs along with Summit Ridge (Zen), Pinnacle Ridge (“12nm” Zen+), and Matisse (“7nm” Zen 2) CPUs on the same AM4 socket which is refreshing to see. Of course, AMD is introducing new chipsets (e.g. X400 series with Pinnacle Ridge) with each new generation, but it is nice to know that at least there is an upgrade path if you want it and don’t need whatever new I/O the new motherboards offer.

Source: Guru3d