Wednesday, June 4th 2014

ASRock Celebrates Intel Pentium Anniversary with Special Motherboards

The Pentium brand is so important for Intel, that it continues to exist, and the company celebrated its 20th anniversary by launching a special edition dual-core socket LGA1150 Pentium chip that comes with unlocked multipliers. Trouble is, people who buy it would have to opt for expensive motherboards just to overclock it, and would rather balance their expenses with Core i3 and cheaper motherboards, instead. To address that, and bring a bottle to Intel's celebrations, ASRock launched the Anniversary series, with the ATX Z97 Anniversary, and the micro-ATX Z97M Anniversary. As their names suggest, the two are based on Intel's overclocking-ready Z97 Express chipset. The idea behind the two could be to combine the Z97 chipset with a basic VRM that's just about enough to push the Pentium Anniversary Edition chip to its limits.

The Z97 Anniversary is a highly space-optimized ATX motherboard. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin Molex power connectors. It uses a 5-phase VRM to condition power to the CPU, cooled by a heatsink. The CPU is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and the lone PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and two legacy PCI make for the rest of its expansion. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Networking is care of an Intel-made gigabit Ethernet controller. The onboard 6-channel HD audio is handled by an ALC887 CODEC, but backed by electrolytic capacitors. HDMI is its only display output.

The Z97M Anniversary, on the other hand, features a simpler 3-phase CPU VRM, with a 4-pin ATX CPU power connector, apart from the 24-pin ATX. For a narrow mATX motherboard it still provides an impressive four DDR3 DIMM slots. A PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 make for its expansion slots. Storage is care of six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. It features the same audio as its ATX sibling but lacks Intel-made GbE. ASRock is instead bundling its HomeCloud service subscription to make up for the cheaper Realtek-made Ethernet controller. The two should be priced around or under (mostly under) the $100 mark, making them some of the cheapest motherboards based on the Z97 Express chipset.
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1 Comment on ASRock Celebrates Intel Pentium Anniversary with Special Motherboards

#1
natr0n
That's pretty awesome from Asrock.

I'm sure a few other vendors will be doing similar boards.
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