Tuesday, May 31st 2016

ADATA Launches Maxiotek Controller-based SU700 Value SSD

ADATA is a launch partner for Maxiotek MK8115 processor, a new entrant to the consumer SSD scene, with the new SU700 series. These drives will be ADATA's most affordable, and targeted at buyers upgrading from hard drives. The MK8115 is mated to synchronous Micron-made DRAM-less 3D TLC NAND flash memory, in capacities ranging up to 1 TB. ADATA put out CDM performance numbers for the drive, which clocks in at 554 MB/s sequential reads, and 529 MB/s sequential writes.

ADATA SX8000NP M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD Pictured

ADATA showed off its flagship M.2 PCIe SSD lineup, the SX8000NP. These drives will target a price-performance sweetspot between the fastest SATA drives, and the enthusiast M.2 ones. They're driven by a Silicon Motion SMI2260H processor, wired to 3D (stacked) MLC NAND flash memory. This drive takes advantage of PCI-Express 3.0 x4, and the new NVMe protocol, to serve up sequential transfer rates of up to 2,000 MB/s reads, with up to 800 MB/s writes. ADATA put up its own CDM performance numbers for a 480 GB variant of this drive.
Monday, May 30th 2016

Today's Reviews

Desktop PC
Graphics Cards

Supermicro Also Unveils the C7X99-OCE Motherboard

In addition to the CZ170-OCE, Supermicro also unveiled the C7X99-OCE. This socket LGA2011v3 motherboard appears to be derived from one of its workstation boards. You can tell from the blank traces over where a remote management chip would normally rest. All that's changed is the PCB color (to black), the slots (blue+black), and more sporty looking heatsinks over the CPU VRM and the X99 PCH. The board covers all the basics of this platform, but gives you a pair of Intel-driven gigabit Ethernet connections, onboard OC fine-tuning buttons, and ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Missing in action is M.2 slots. We have no way of telling if Supermicro tucked away M.2 slots at the reverse side of the PCB.

Supermicro Unveils First LGA1151 Motherboard with PCIe Bridge Chip

Supermicro launched the first socket LGA1151 motherboard featuring a PCIe bridge chip that expands the board's lane budget, something that not even the $600 ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme features. The new CZ170-OCE from the traditionally server/workstation motherboard maker is based on Intel Z170 Express chipset, and features a PCI-Express gen 3.0 x48 bridge chip (likely the PLX PEX-8747), which takes the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 PEG port from the CPU, and puts out 32 lanes, which are wired to the board's three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots.

The topmost slot runs at x16 full-time, while the middle and bottom slots are x8/x8 when both are populated (x16/NC/x16 or x16/x8/x8). The designers lavishly spent its remaining lane budget on two PCI-Express 3.0 x4 slots, and a 32 Gb/s M.2-22110 slot. Besides the 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Other modern connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (one each of type-A and type-C), two gigabit Ethernet connections (one driven by Intel I219V and another by Intel I210-AT), HD audio, and four other USB 3.0 ports.

Inno3D Unveils GeForce GTX 1070 iChill X3

Inno3D also unveiled its fastest GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, the GTX 1070 iChill X3. This card is based on a custom-design PCB by Inno3D, which draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors, featuring a strong VRM to support the card's high factory overclock. It features the same triple-fan >2-slot cooling solution as the one featured on the GTX 1080 iChill X3. It features an easy to open cooler shroud, which lets you clean the fans and heatsink from time to time. The card's clock speeds are unknown at this point. The card could go on sale later in June.

Inno3D Liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 1080 iChill Black Pictured, Too

Here's the first picture of Inno3D's flagship GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, the GTX 1080 iChill Black. Based on the reference NVIDIA PCB, the card features a liquid+air hybrid cooling solution by Arctic, the Arctic Accelero Hybrid S. It relies on a factory-fitted, closed-loop AIO block with a 120 mm x 120 mm radiator, to cool the 180W TDP GPU, while using heatsinks and a single 70 mm blower to cool the VRM and memory chips. In all likelihood, this product could be positioned above the GTX 1080 iChill X4.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming OC Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of Inno3D GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming OC. The card appears to be based on NVIDIA reference PCB, combining it with a simple yet elegant 2-slot, dual-fan cooling solution. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector, and ships with factory overclocked speeds. We expect it to be priced between the $379 baseline for the SKU and the $449 Founders Edition price, making for a smarter purchase.

AZiO Also Announces the MGK L80 RGB Keyboard

In addition to the MGK Alpha, AZiO also unveiled its flagship keyboard, the MGK L80 RGB. This mechanical keyboard features RGB LED multi-color lighting for its keys and aesthetic bits, with six lighting modes that can be set directly on the keyboard, without needing software. You also get four macro keys that are directly programmable on the keyboard. Also featured is a magnetic detachable palm-rest, and a volume control knob. The MGK L80 RGB goes on sale later this month.

AZiO Also Announces the EXO Alpha Gaming Mouse

AZiO Also announced the EXO Alpha line of gaming mice featuring a metal-frame design, with a brushed aluminium floating palm-rest that comes in three colors - red, blue, and gunmetal, and light from an RGB LED coming out from the edges of the floating rest. Under the hood is a 9,800 dpi optical sensor with 5 adjustable settings, six programmable buttons, and a management software that stores your settings on the cloud.

AZiO Unveils the MGK Alpha Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

AZiO unveiled the MGK Alpha, a high-end backlit mechanical keyboard. Away from the RGB madness, the MGK Alpha features elegant white LED back-lighting, a magnetic detachable palm-rest, a volume-control scrollwheel, an anodized-aluminium faceplate with brushed finish; and an anodized side-mesh. You get five programmable macro keys, and you can use the Function key to set even more macros using the included software. The keyboard allows hot-switching between three profiles programmed directly into it.

Klevv Announces the Fit 4 DDR4 Module

Klevv announced its new entry-level DDR4 memory module, the Fit 4. The module features an identical heatspreader design to the original Fit (DDR3) series, and features a black full-height PCB. The Fit 4 series is likely to include various sub-3000 MHz DDR speeds, densities of 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB; making up dual-channel kits of 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB, respectively. These could also be among the most affordable DDR4 memory you can get from this brand.

Phanteks Also Launches Tempered Glass Editions of Enthoo Evolv ATX and Pro M

Phanteks also launched Tempered Glass Edition variants of two of its most popular cases, the Enthoo Evolv ATX, and the Enthoo Pro M. Both cases feature slightly tinted tempered glass side-panels, which cover almost the entire area of the sides. The Enthoo Evolv ATX Tempered Glass Edition, in addition, features RGB LED strips that line the edges of these panels. These LED strips comply with ASUS Aura RGB specification, letting you control them with ASUS Aura software. The rest of their feature-sets are consistent with their original cases.

Phanteks Unveils Enthoo Elite Flagship Chassis

Phanteks unveiled its new flagship chassis, the Enthoo Elite. This garrgantuan full-tower is made of 4 mm-thick sandblasted aluminium sheet-metal, and slightly tinted tempered glass. It has room for large motherboard form-factors, such as HPTX, SSI-EEB, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX. If you use a micro-ATX motherboard, a portion of the motherboard tray and rear I/O can be tilted parallel to the plane of the base (perpendicular to the plane of the side panel, to make it a dual-system chassis, with the remaining slots and tray portion holding a mini-ITX system.

The Enthoo Elite serves up vast amounts of room for liquid cooling gear, including a 560 mm x 140 mm front radiator slot (which also holds a 480 mm x 120 mm radiator); and 420 mm x 140 mm / 480 mm x 120 mm radiator baysalong the top, mid-section, and the bottom panels (four radiators in all!). The case offers a total of 10+2 expansion slots; 13x 3.5-inch drive bays, and 7x 2.5-inch bays. To top it all off, you get an RGB LED lighting system that meets ASUS Aura specifications.

Phanteks Intros the Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Edition

Phanteks unveiled the Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Edition. The premium ATX mid-tower case is rooted firmly in the RGB LED generation, with multi-color LED strips lining the inner- and outer-edges of its panels. It gets its name from the tempered glass side panels, which cover nearly the entire area of the sides. The rest of its feature-set appears to be consistent with the original Enthoo Luxe.

MSI Grades its Gaming Series Graphics Card Lineup

With the GeForce 10 Series, MSI is beginning to sub-brand its Gaming series graphics cards, so it could offer them at multiple price-points. The company launched its GTX 1080 lineup with the GTX 1080 Gaming X. The "X" here denotes a middle-grade (for features and clock speeds). A notch above this, is the GTX 1080 Gaming Z (yet to be launched, comes with the most features and highest clock speeds). There will be a third brand-extension, which will succeed the "LE" extension from previous generations. It could very well just be "Gaming" (no letters next to it). These cards look custom-design, but feature reference or close to reference clock speeds. Below are the pictures of the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming Z (not yet launched), and the GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X.

MSI Makes a Big Push into Gaming Peripherals

MSI is making a big push into the gaming peripherals market, under its MSI Gaming banner. The company dabbled with gaming peripherals for a couple of years now, but didn't manage to make a mark. That's until now. The company appears to have big marketing plans for its new lines of gaming headsets, keyboards, and mice. Below are some of the first pictures of a pair of new gaming mice, an aluminium mousepad, a mechanical keyboard, and two new headsets.

Phanteks Makes its Foray into DIY Liquid Cooling

Phanteks made its major foray into DIY liquid cooling, with the launch of two new CPU blocks, a new full-coverage VGA block for the GeForce GTX 1080, and a variety of fittings. To begin with, the company showed off two new untitled CPU water blocks, one features a bulged out frosty acrylic top, and the other a flat top with POM acetal inserts near the fittings area. Speaking of which, the company launched a boat-load of plugs, extenders, and compression fittings to go with these blocks. Lastly, the company launched its first full-coverage VGA block, with one designed for the GTX 1080.

Klevv Urbane U610 SSD Pictured

Here's the first picture of an Urbane 610 SSD by Klevv, in the flesh. The performance-segment SSD is built in the 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and serves up 560 MB/s of sequential reads, with up to 530 MB/s sequential writes (480 GB and 960 GB variants) or up to 360 MB/s writes (240 GB variant). It combines Toshiba 15 nm MLC NAND flash memory, with Phison PS3110-S10 controllers.

AeroCool Dreambox Chassis Pictured

Here's the first look at Dreambox, AeroCool's Computex Design Award winning chassis. The case is a bunch of pipes and rods that you use to put together a cubical or tower-type case of your own design, and then add from the various pieces of included tempered glass panels. It should be particularly useful for case-modders who wish their case was shaped in a certain way. Here's an example build of the Dreambox.

Lian Li PC-J60WRX Case Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of the PC-J60WRX, the company's new ATX mid-tower case for the season. The case is characterized by black brushed-aluminium panels with red accents. This case too is firmly rooted in the post-5.25" era, with the forward portion having room for a radiator, and the top having a radiator bay that stretches all the way to the front. This gives you room for a 240 mm x 120 mm radiator up front, a 360 mm x 120 mm radiator on the top, and the usual 120 mm rear exhaust. The case's storage areas are lined along the bottom, with five 3.5-inch bays, and one 2.5-incher. The case measures 210 mm x 507 mm x 489 mm (WxHxD).

MSI Gaming Custom-design SLI HB Bridge Pictured

Here some of the first pictures of an NVIDIA add-in card (AIC) partner branded SLI-HB (high-bandwidth) bridge. This kind of bridge is recommended for use with GeForce "Pascal" graphics cards, at high resolutions, such as 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR, 4K @ 120 Hz, 5K, and above. Pictured here is a 2-way SLI HB bridge with 2U spacing (1-slot gap between the two cards). The bridge appears to have a red LED of its own, lighting up the MSI Gaming dragon logo. At this point it's not clear whether the bridge comes included with the cards, or if it needs to be purchased separately. The cards being bridged in these pictures are the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming Z, a notch above the GTX 1080 Gaming X the company debuted its custom GTX 1080 lineup with.

Be Quiet! Silent Loop AIO Liquid CPU Coolers Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of the upcoming Be Quiet! Silent Loop series all-in-one liquid CPU coolers. These coolers come in sizes of 280 mm x 140 mm, 240 mm x 120 mm and 120 mm x 120 mm; and are characterized by pump+block fittings that don't move around a pivot, and come out from the top of the block. This approach clears up a lot of space around the CPU socket. This may also hint at the cooler's possible non-Asetek origins. You also get fill-ports along the pump-block and the reservoir attached to the radiator. Be Quiet! is bundling PureWings 2 PWM fans. The coolers will be backed by 3-year warranties.

ID-Cooling Enthusiast Case with Monitor Stand Spied

ID-Cooling is ready with a new enthusiast grade rail-type case, which doubles up as a VESA-mount monitor stand, so you could pack a real wallop behind your >27-inch display. The rail-type case features a 3-dimensional T-shaped frame, with an L-shaped frame tapering to the back. The cage has room for a mini-ITX motherboard, but with enough clearance for a long, 2-slot high-end graphics card. You also get room for a fairly big high-Wattage PSU, and enough clearance for a DIY liquid-cooling loop (including a reservoir, a 240 mm x 120 mm radiator), and the works. A tinted tempered-glass panel tops off the case from the rear. A small cutout lets you manage your cable spaghetti and route cables to your monitor.

OCZ Shows Off VT180 and TR150 2.5-inch SATA SSDs

OCZ is refining its popular consumer SSD brands to reach out to more buyers. As part of the integration with Toshiba, they rebranded their consumer SSD lines, to VT180, and the TR150, which more closely aligns with Toshiba's SSD model naming. Besides the naming, both drives are identical to the Vector 180 and Trion 150. The VT180 comes in capacities ranging from 120 GB to 960 GB, and is powered by Toshiba-made MLC NAND flash. These drives offer sequential transfer rates of up to 550 MB/s reads, with up to 530 MB/s writes, and 96,000 IOPS 4K random reads, with 90,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The TR150, on the other hand, runs TLC NAND flash memory, and although its maximum sequential speeds are rated the same as the VT180 series, their 4K random access numbers are different - 87,000 IOPS reads, and 83,000 IOPS writes.

MSI Shows Off Gaming Carbon Themed CPU Air Cooler

Want to take your MSI Gaming purism to the next level? Check out this MSI Gaming-branded CPU air cooler we found at Computex. This unnamed cooler features an aluminium fin-stack tower-type heatsink, ventilated by a pair of 120 mm spinners in push-pull configuration. The fans are 4-pin PWM ready, and the cooler itself embeds an RGB multi-color LED illuminating the MSI Gaming "dragon" logo with a faux carbon fiber background sticker. MSI is demoing this cooler on a socket LGA2011v3 motherboard, so that should tell you that this cooler has the chops to tame 140W Core i7 HEDT CPUs.

MSI X99A XPower Gaming Titanium Motherboard Pictured

Here's the first picture of MSI's next premium socket LGA2011v3 motherboard targeted at overclockers, the X99A XPower Gaming Titanium. Likely positioned a notch below the X99A GODLIKE Gaming Carbon, and a successor to the X99A XPower AC, this board features MSI's signature metallic silver PCB, mated with silvery heatsinks denoting "Titanium." This scheme caught up with the company's recent Z170A XPower and Z170A MPower Gaming Titanium boards. The board is packed to the brim with the company's latest motherboard innovations, such as reinforcement braces along the eight DDR4 DIMM slots, five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (which are ready for 4-way multi-GPU solutions), and a host of modern connectivity options, such as 32 Gb/s U.2, USB 3.1 (including type-A and type-C ports), and a 32 Gb/s M.2-22110 slot with NVMe boot support. The board comes with out-of-the-box support for Core i7 "Broadwell-E" processors.

MSI 970A Gaming Pro Carbon Motherboard Pictured

MSI's drive to "carbonate" its Gaming Pro motherboard lineup is extending to the AMD platform, with the 970A Gaming Pro Carbon. Designed with the latest features available to this platform, this board resembles the 970A Gaming Pro, with the notable exception of faux carbon fiber patterns on the metal stickers heading the chipset and VRM heatsinks. You get quite a few modern features on this AMD 970+SB950 chipset based motherboard, such as dual-channel DDR3-2133 support out of the box, 20 Gb/s M.2 with NVMe support, two USB 3.1 ports (one each of type-A and type-C), and Intel gigabit Ethernet.

MSI Teases its First Intel 200-series Chipset Motherboard

This could very well be the first picture of a socket LGA1151 motherboard based on Intel's upcoming 200-series chipset, which succeeds the 100-series. Named the Z2T0-Anniversary (is that a typo for Z270-Anniversary?), the board is likely based on the chipset that succeeds the Z170-Express (Z270-Express?), and will be timed with Intel's launch of the 7th generation Core "Kaby Lake" processors. MSI did not finalize the board's aesthetics (heatsink design, PCB markings), but the development board seems pretty loaded with features, that rival the current Z170A-Gaming M7 (we know this from the 6-layer PCB markings). MSI says that the board will be launched in November, 2016.

GALAX GeForce GTX 1080 Hall of Fame Pictured

Here's the first picture of GALAX' flagship graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1080 Hall of Fame (HOF). The card features the company's strongest VRM solution for this chip, with a 12-phase setup that draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, 2 GHz-scraping factory OC, and the groovy styling of a white PCB, with a mostly white colored cooling solution. One way to take advantage of the white scheme is to embed it with RGB multi-color LEDs. Enthusiasts also get features such as dual-BIOS, letting them tinker with their expensive card's BIOS. The card shown to us features a triple-slot, triple-fan cooling solution, however, it wouldn't surprise us if GALAX also launched a liquid cooling-ready variant with a factory-fitted full-coverage water block.

GALAX GeForce GTX 1070 Lineup Detailed, Readies HOF Model

It looks like GALAX has a pretty comprehensive lineup of GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards, addressing key performance-thru-enthusiast price-points. The lineup begins with the blower-type base model. This card is built to a cost, and GALAX could look to sell it close to the $379 baseline NVIDIA set for the GTX 1070. Higher up the ladder, is the company's custom-design EXOC graphics card.

Expected to be priced close to the $450 price NVIDIA is asking for the GTX 1070 Founders Edition card, the EXOC gives you more, with a large triple-fan cooling solution, a custom-design PCB with a stronger VRM, and factory-overclocked speeds. Then there's the GTX 1070 Hall of Fame, which GALAX is still working on. The company only has its PCB (minus the ASIC) to show us. Likely priced above $500, this card will feature the company's highest factory-OC which should get its performance in the same ballpark as some of the affordable custom-design GTX 1080 cards (while looking a lot cooler).

GALAX Unveils Gamer Series DDR4 Memory

The Hall of Fame DDR4-4000 is just the tip of the iceberg, with the company giving finishing touches to a broader line of performance-segment memory kits addressing various price-points, under the colorful Gamer series. The module consists of a black PCB with a single-color crown, and its matching color LEDs glowing with a "breathing" effect. The modules come in speeds of DDR4-2133, DDR4-2400, DDR4-2666, DDR4-2800, and DDR4-3000; and in densities of 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB (16 GB not available on some of the higher clocked models); making up 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB dual-channel kits, respectively. The DDR4-2133, DDR4-2400, and DDR4-2666 modules are timed at 15-15-15-35 @1.2V; the DDR4-2800 module at 16-16-16-36 @1.2V; and the DDR4-3000 module at 16-16-16-36 @1.35V.

GALAX Hall of Fame DDR4-4000 Memory Pictured, Too

It looks like GALAX is also kicking the door in with enthusiast memory. The company showed off its top of the line Hall of Fame (HOF) DDR4-4000 memory, which features the company's signature white PCB, and design language along the white+chrome heatspreaders. The module comes in densities of 4 GB and 8 GB (making up 8 GB and 16 GB dual-channel kits, respectively). It achieves its marketed speed of DDR4-4000 with timings of 19-25-25-45, and module voltage of 1.4 Volts. The heatspreaders feature white LEDs with "breathing" effect.

GALAX Hall of Fame U.2, M.2, and PCIe SSDs Spied

GALAX is preparing an onslaught for the enthusiast consumer SSD space, with the new Hall of Fame (HOF) NVMe Series. Spanning three key enthusiast form-factors, namely 2.5-inch with 32 Gb/s U.2 interface; 32 Gb/s M.2, and PCI-Express 3.0 x4 add-on card; the lineup sees the company use a very powerful custom controller to churn up sequential transfer rates of 2.5 TB/s. To begin with, the 2.5-inch with U.2 form-factor drive comes in 512 GB and 1 TB sizes, offering speeds of up to 2500 MB/s reads, with 1200 MB/s writes, 300,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and 250,000 IOPS 4K random writes.

The M.2 lineup comes in two module lengths - the more common M.2-2280, and the longer M.2-22110. The M.2-2280 drive comes in capacities of up to 512 GB, and offers slightly higher write-performance of up to 1350 MB/s, while the M.2-22110 drive comes in capacities of up to 1 TB, offering the same transfer rates as the U.2 drives. Then there's the PCIe add-on card form-factor drive for those without either M.2 or U.2, which comes in sizes of up to 1 TB, and has the same performance as the U.2 drives. There's also a 2.5-inch SATA 6 Gb/s drive in this series, but its specs don't hold our attention for too long.

Palit GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 JetStream and G-Panel Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of Palit's enthusiast-grade, JetStream-branded GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards. The two cards look similar, with an identical JetStream cooling solution, with slightly different PCBs on account of different memory types between the two SKUs. These cards are not to be confused with the GTX 1080 Super JetStream, which features the company's highest possible factory OC for the GTX 1080.

Much like the GTX 1070/GTX 1080 GamerRock, the JetStream features a touch of RGB LED lighting along its cooler's top. The company also showed off the G-Panel accessory. We're not sure if this comes bundled with the JetStream cards, or is meant to be purchased separately. The module plugs into one of the USB 3.0 headers on your motherboard, or a type-A port if used externally, and puts out two front-panel USB 3.0 ports of its own (one each of type-A and type-C). The biggest feature, however, is the 2-color LCD display, which can put out five lines of text in the system font, with useful realtime temperature/clocks monitoring, general information, or simply a cool alarm clock.

Palit GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 GameRock Graphics Cards Up-close

Here's Palit's NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080/GTX 1070 GameRock graphics card, pictured up-close. Palit is using a common board design for both its GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 SKUs (with SKU-specific changes on the PCB). The GameRock graphics card is characterized by a minor factory-overclock, and a design-focus on RGB LED lighting that lines the card's cooling solution. The card features a reasonably meaty triple-slot, dual-fan cooling solution, lined with LEDs along the fans, top and sides. You can configure the LED lighting with the included software.


GIGABYTE unveiled its latest BRIX mini-PC, which it feels is capable of gaming and the Ultra HD resolution (but not necessarily the two). The new BRIX Gaming UHD (model: BNi7HG4-950) combines a Core i7 "Skylake-U" processor with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950. This duo should be enough for gaming at 1080p with fairly high eye-candy. The GTX 950 also enables you to plug-in 4K Ultra HD displays for smooth non-gaming 3D applications. Being a barebones desktop, you're expected to drop in your own 2.5-inch drive or M.2 SSD, and one or two DDR4 DIMMs. The unit measures 220 mm x 110 mm x 110 mm (HxWxL), and is just 2.6L in volume.

GIGABYTE XK-700 Xtreme Gaming Keyboard Pictured

GIGABYTE showed off its latest Xtreme Gaming keyboard, the XK-700, nearly completing its brand purism. This board features a minimalist design with an frosty aluminium front panel, a simple 104-key layout with a handful of macros and multimedia function keys, but underneath is a mechanical switch-set (brand currently unknown), with RGB LED lighting that not just lights up the key characters in different colors, but also puts up up a groovy light show as light from the elevated keys fall onto the aluminium panel.

GIGABYTE Also Unveils H170-Designare

In addition to the Z170-Designare and the X99-Designare, GIGABYTE unveiled the more value-oriented H170-Designare, establishing a common feature-set that constitutes the "Designare" branding. To begin with, the H170-Designare covers all the basics, with a 6-phase CPU VRM, reinforced DDR4 DIMM slots, reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (one runs at full-time x16, and one runs at x4), with four additional PCIe 3.0 x1 slots.

Things get interesting with the connectivity that's on offer. The board features two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports driven by an Intel-made controller (one each of type-A and type-C), with 100W power delivery. The board also features an Intel I219-V gigabit Ethernet controller with cFosSpeed support. The most striking features are with its storage connectivity. You get a 32 Gb/s U.2 port, a 32 Gb/s M.2 port, and a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 slot, all of which feature NVMe booting support; with BIOS-level support for 3-drive RAID 0 arrays using three Intel SSD 750 drives.

GIGABYTE GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming Detailed Some More

GIGABYTE launched its GeForce GTX 1080 lineup with just two cards, the reference Founders Edition card, and the GTX 1080 G.1 Gaming, targeted at people who use their graphics cards for gaming. The GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming, which was teased in older articles, however, was missing in action. It turns out that GIGABYTE wants to give this card some Computex fame before it hits the shelves as the company's flagship GTX 1080 offering (for now).

The GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming is every bit as high-end and 'muscular' as described in our older article, but it turns out that GIGABYTE has made some major value additions. To begin with, the card will feature two front-facing HDMI ports, in addition to the one present on the rear bracket. An extended VR-link bracket lets you wire these ports out for additional HDMI ports, for your VR gear. The idea here is to let you plug in multiple HMDs to your machine, if it has enough compute power for multiple players in your game. The card also includes a more convenient 5.25-inch front-panel (if your case has them), with two HDMI ports, and two USB 3.0 ports that wire out from the motherboard's USB 3.0 front-panel header. Sadly, HMDs aren't plug-and-play, and you need to reboot your machine for your graphics card to detect and auto-configure them. The retail version of this card ships with a back-plate.

GIGABYTE Unveils Z170X-Designare Motherboard

GIGABYTE showed off the Z170X-Designare motherboard. The company's second Designare series motherboard after the X99-Designare, this board brings some of GIGABYTE's latest board design and component elements to the LGA1151 platform, such as reinforced memory and PCIe slots; and the latest storage connectivity options. Its notable features include USB 3.1 with 100W power delivery over type-A and type-C ports; a 32 Gb/s U.2 port, an extra-long M.2 22110 slot with 32 Gb/s bandwidth and NVMe support; and the company's latest UltraDurable tech, including anti-sulphur resistors, anti-rust rear I/O.
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