News Posts matching "PCI-Express 3.0"

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First Intel Core M "Broadwell" Benchmarks Surface

Here are some of the first benchmarks of Intel's ambitious Core M processor, a performance-segment dual-core processor with a thermal envelope of just 4.5W, making it ideal for tablets, ultra-portables, and mainstream desktops. At IDF 2014, Intel showed off a 12.5-inch tablet running a Core M 5Y70 chip. An MCM of the CPU and PCH dies, the CPU die features two "Broadwell" 64-bit x86 cores, a large new graphics processor with 24 execution units and 192 stream engines, 4 MB of shared L3 cache, a dual-channel LPDDR3 memory controller, and a PCI-Express 3.0 root complex. The PCH die wires out the platform's various connectivity options.

The 12.5-inch Core M tablet was put through three tests, Cinebench R11.5, SunSpider 1.0.2, and 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. With the multi-threaded CPU-intensive Cinebench R11.5, the Core M scores a respectable 17 FPS in the GL bench, with 2.48 pts CPU. That's about 60 percent the performance of a Core i7-870. Significantly higher than anything Atom, Pentium, or AMD E-Series. With SunSpider, the Core M put out a score of 142.8, under Internet Explorer 12 running under Windows 8.1. With 3DMark IceStorm Unlimited, the Core M sprung up a surprise - 50,985 points. That over double that of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, and faster than the IGPs AMD E-Series APUs ship with. Color us interested.

Source: HotHardware

ASUS' Entry Level X99-A LGA2011v3 Motherboard Starts Selling

ASUS' entry-level socket LGA2011-v3 motherboard, the X99-A, began selling. Although announced along with ASUS' mainline flagship, the X99-Deluxe, the X99-A, along with mid-range X99-Pro, weren't available immediately, as the company decided to go in with three flagship LGA2011-v3 products, the ROG Rampage V Extreme and X99-WS being the other two. The X99-A appears to be based on a slightly watered down version of a PCB it shares with the X99-Pro; different from that of the X99-Deluxe. It's targeted at high-end gaming PC and mid-range content-creation builds.

To begin with, the X99-A is built in the standard ATX form-factor. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors. An 8-phase VRM conditions power for the CPU, with a 2+2 phase VRM for the eight DDR4 DIMM slots flanking the CPU socket on either sides. The CPU socket is wired to three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/NC or x16/x8/x8 on i7-5960X and i7-5930K; and x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4 on i7-5820K), and a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, which features a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 physical layer. Other expansion slots include one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), and two PCI-Express 2.0 x1. The board supports 3-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX.

ELSA Announces Single-slot GeForce GTX 750 Ti Graphics Card

ELSA announced the GeForce GTX 750 Ti SP, a single slot, air-cooled graphics card based on NVIDIA's first "Maxwell" based GPU. Sticking to single-slot dimensions, the card is 18.4 cm long, featuring a full-length metal shroud covering a nickel-plated copper channel heatsink, which is ventilated by a 70 mm spinner. The card draws all its power from the PCI-Express 3.0 bus interface. Display outputs include two dual-link DVI, and one mini-HDMI. That's not all, it also comes with a tiny factory-overclock. The core runs at 1045 MHz (vs. 1020 MHz reference), and memory at 4.40 GHz (vs. 4.34 GHz reference). The card will release in the Japanese market first, on the 23rd of September

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

ASUS X99-Deluxe Leads Company's Mainline

ASUS will address the socket LGA2011-3 motherboard market with three of its brands, the gamer and overclocker-centric ROG (Republic of Gamers), the durable TUF (The Ultimate Force) brand, and its mainline brand, which features a balanced feature-set between the two. Its flagship motherboard will be the X99-Deluxe. Pictured below, this ATX motherboard is one of the most feature-rich ever built by ASUS. It draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. The CPU is powered by an 8-phase VRM, and the memory by a 4-phase one. The socket is flanked by eight DDR4 DIMM slots. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16, one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), and an additional PCI-Express 2.0 x4.

Storage connectivity on the ASUS X99-Deluxe includes twelve SATA 6 Gb/s ports, one SATA-Express 10 Gb/s port, and a "standing" M.2 slot with PCI-Express 2.0 x4 physical layer. There are 14 USB 3.0 ports in all (ten on the rear panel, four by headers). Network connectivity includes two gigabit Ethernet interfaces (both driven by Intel-made controllers), 802.11 ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.0. The 8-channel onboard audio, dubbed Crystal Sound 2, features a high SNR DAC, audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, a headphones amp circuit, and ground-layer isolation.

ASRock X99 OC Formula Pictured

Here are the first pictures of ASRock X99 OC Formula, the Nick Shih-designed socket LGA2011-3 motherboard for professional overclockers. Designed for CPU and memory overclocking, apart from running up to four graphics cards in multi-GPU configs, the board can supply a claimed "1300W" of maximum CPU power, using its 12-phase CPU VRM. Memory is care of a 4-phase VRM. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, 4-pin ATX, and 4-pin Molex power connectors, to stabilize the various power domains.

The LGA2011-3 socket is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, which can support up to 64 GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory. The board features BIOS options that can let you crank DRAM frequencies over 4000 MHz. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16/x8/x16/x8), an mPCIe 2.0 x1 (for WLAN cards), and one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (physical x4). Storage connectivity includes two M.2 slots, from which one is an "Ultra M.2" slot, which is wired to the CPU, and features physical-layer PCI-Express 3.0 x4; and ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The board offers ten USB 3.0 ports (six on the rear panel, four by headers). 8-channel HD audio with audio-grade capacitors and ground-layer isolation; two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, at least one of which is Intel-made, make for the rest of it.

Intel Core i7-5820K Features Fewer PCI-Express Lanes After All

It turns out that our older report suggesting that the most affordable of Intel's new Core i7 "Haswell-E" HEDT processors will feature a slimmer PCI-Express root complex, even if it gives you 6 cores at a [hopefully] sub-$400 price-point, holds true, after all. Intel's wacky approach to its latest HEDT processor lineup was confirmed by leaked manuals of Gigabyte's socket LGA2011-3 motherboards, based on the Intel X99 Express chipset. The manual confirms that while Intel's $500-$750 Core i7-5930K and >$1,000 Core i7-4960X offer bigger 40-lane PCI-Express Gen 3.0 root complexes; the Core i7-5820K features a narrower 28-lane one. This means that multi-GPU configurations on systems running the chip won't be too different from those on LGA1150 "Haswell" platforms.

On motherboards with, say, three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, the i7-5930K and i7-5960X will let you run two slots at full x16 bandwidth, and a third slot at x8. On systems with the i7-5820K, the second slot won't go beyond x8, and the third one will cap out at x4. On boards with four slots, one of them will run out of bandwidth. The trade-off for this narrower PCI-Express interface is the fact that you're getting six "Haswell" cores, twelve logical CPUs enabled with HyperThreading, about 12 MB of L3 cache, and a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface, at a price-point not too far off from the Core i7-4790K. So for enthusiasts with no more than two high-end graphics cards, the i7-5820K could provide an attractive gateway option to Intel's new HEDT platform. You can find the leaked manuals in this thread.

Gigabyte X99-SOC Force Motherboard Detailed

Ahead of its late-August launch, a picture of Gigabyte's flagship socket LGA2011-3 motherboard targeted at overclockers, the X99-SOC Force, leaked to the web. It reveals a monstrosity. In addition to overclocker-friendly VRM brawn, the board introduces a few segment-first features. To begin with, it's built in the ATX form-factor, and draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and SATA power connectors. It uses an 8+2+2 phase VRM to power the CPU and memory. The CPU socket is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots.

Overclocker features include onboard clock and voltage tuning buttons, voltage measurement points, redundant UEFI Dual-BIOS, and more. Storage connectivity includes a 20 Gb/s (PCI-Express 2.0 x4 physical layer) M.2 slot, a SATA-Express 10 Gb/s port, and ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Other features include Gigabyte's AmpUP audio solution that features audiophile-grade capacitors, ground-layer isolation, and user-replaceable OPAMP chips, Intel-made gigabit Ethernet, and a number of USB 3.0 ports.

Source: Expreview

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.

Galaxy GTX 750 Ti Darbee Edition Graphics Card Pictured

Here's the fruition of Galaxy's collaboration with DarbeeVision, the GTX 750 Ti Darbee Edition graphics card. DarbeeVision video enhancement technology requires specialized hardware to post-process display output from the GPU, and so Galaxy designed a daughterboard to sit on top of the PCB, wired to the GPU's TMDS links. Output form this board has to be wired to your monitor. It's surprising to note that even with the extra hardware, the card doesn't need additional power inputs, and relies on the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 bus interface. Aside from the DarbeeVision hardware, the card features a GeForce GTX 750 Ti GPU with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. Galaxy also showed us their GTX 750 Ti Razor single-slot card.

ASRock Unveils X99 Extreme4 and X99 Extreme6

ASRock unveiled prototypes of its first LGA2011-2 motherboards based on Intel X99 Express chipset, ready for the company's upcoming Core i7 "Haswell-E" HEDT processors. The color-scheme and heatsink designs are not finalized. Both boards are built in the ATX form-factor, and draw power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin Molex power connectors; and use 12-phase VRM to condition power to the CPU. Both further feature eight DDR4 DIMM slots. They differ in their expansion slot areas. The Extreme4 features a total of four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, while the Extreme6 features three, which uses the space saved to drop in two storage slots, an Ultra-M.2 (x4 link layer) and an mSATA. The Extreme6 offers two Intel-made GbE connections, while the Extreme4 offers just one.

Sapphire Also Shows off Atomic Z97 Motherboard

In addition to the Atomic 990FX, which features a full-coverage water block, Sapphire also showed off its cousin from the Intel platform, the Atomic Z97 (SIZ97). The motherboard in the picture below may look barren without its heatsinks, but that's because it has none, its water-block is standing right next to it, and needs to be installed after you drop in a CPU. Among its features are a 6-phase high-current CPU VRM, two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, five SATA 6 Gb/s, one mSATA 6 Gb/s, and mainstream connectivity.

ECS Shows off the Z97I-DRONE and H97I-DRONE

ECS showed off its newest mini-ITX socket LGA1150 motherboards based on Intel's 9-series chipset, and branded in its 1337 series, the Z97I-DRONE and H97I-DRONE. Based on a common PCB, the two differ with just the Z97-based one supporting CPU overclocking. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it with a 6-phase CPU VRM. Expansion includes one PCI-Express 3.0 x16. Storage connectivity includes five SATA 6 Gb/s, and one M.2 (up to 60 mm). 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, and display outputs including dual-link DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort, make for the rest of it.

ASUS Shows off its First Socket FM2+ ROG Motherboard

ASUS showed off its first socket FM2+ motherboard in its Republic of Gamers family, the ROG Crossblade Ranger. Based on the AMD A88X FCH chipset, the Crossblade Ranger offers an 8-phase CPU VRM, four DDR3 DIMM slots, two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (gen 3.0 x8/x8 when both are populated), a third PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4) slot, eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, Intel-made gigabit Ethernet with ASUS LANGuard, and SupremeFX audio. The board supports both SLI and CrossFire. We expect this board to be priced under $150.

Gigabyte Z97X-SLI Offers Supreme Bang-for-buck

Gigabyte may have struck a superb price-features sweet-spot with the Z97X-SLI, which the company unveiled at its Computex wall. This board, we're hearing, will be priced around $125, and has a feature-set to rival boards much pricier. To begin with, the socket LGA1150 board is based on Intel's Z97 Express chipset. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it using a simple 4-phase VRM, that uses 60A chokes. The VRM area is clad with heatsinks all around. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory, and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, which run at x8/x8, when both are populated. This is also among the few motherboards in its price bracket to support NVIDIA SLI, apart from AMD CrossFire.

Apart from the two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and a couple of legacy PCI slots make up the expansion area. Its storage area is where the package gains tons of value. You get six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, from which two can convert into a SATA-Express 10 Gb/s port; and an M.2 slot. The board features high-grade audio, including a Realtek ALC1150 HD audio CODEC, which offers SNR as high as 115 dBA; with ground-layer isolation, and a headphones amp. Networking is care of an Intel-made GbE controller. Display outputs include dual-link DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. Legacy connectivity includes LPT and COM (by headers), and PS/2. AMI Aptio UEFI BIOS, backed by dual-UEFI redundancy, is at this board's helm. For around $125, you can't get this board's feature-set wrong.

GeForce GT 740 Pictured, Arrives Later This Week

NVIDIA is planning to drag its entry-level GPU lineup through 2014 with the 'new' GeForce GT 740. Reports suggest that the card is a re-branding of the 28 nm GK107-based GeForce GT 640, with higher clock speeds. The chip will feature 384 CUDA cores, 32 TMUs, 16 ROPs, and a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 1 GB of memory. Variants with 2 GB of memory will also be available. The card draws all its power from its PCI-Express 3.0 x16 bus interface, however some custom-designs could feature single 6-pin power connectors. NVIDIA AIC partners will have their custom-design cards out on day-one. Expreview revealed pictures of two such cards, by Galaxy and Gainward.


Source: Expreview

MSI Announces Z97 Gaming 9 AC Flagship LGA1150 Motherboard

MSI launched its Intel Z97 chipset-based Gaming series lineup with three ATX motherboards, the Z97 Gaming 3, the Z97 Gaming 5, and the Z97 Gaming 7. The company now made a high-end addition, with the Z97 Gaming 9 AC. Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board is filled to the brim with features targeted more toward high-end gaming PC builds, than professional CPU/memory overclocking. It still offers a decent overclocking feature-set. To begin with, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS connectors, and uses a 16-phase VRM to condition power for the CPU, which is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x4/x4 when all three are populated, x8/x8/x0 when two are, and x16/x0/x0 when one is. 3-way SLI and CrossFire are supported.

An EMI shield covers the rear-panel I/O, while another shields the entire onboard audio circuitry, and the NICs. Audio is care of a 100+ dBA SNR DAC, which an external headphone amp circuit, ground-layer isolation, audio-grade capacitors, and EMI shielding. Wired connectivity is handled by Broadcom's newer Killer E2205 gigabit NIC. Wireless connectivity is handled by an Intel-made chipset that offers 802.11 ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Storage connectivity is devoid of SATA-Express, but features eight SATA 6 Gb/s, and an M.2 slot. Overclocking features include voltage measurement points, and POST LED display. Expect this one to go for over US $200.

MSI Launches its Z97 OC Series Motherboards

MSI's motherboard lineup based on the Z97 Express chipset is branched primarily into two lines, Gaming Series, and OC Series. The Gaming Series covers price points all the way from $100 to $220, offering a feature-set that's tuned for gaming PC builds with moderate CPU/memory overclocks. The OC Series, on the other hand, is ranged between $200 and $400, offering products tuned toward serious to professional (competitive) overclockers. The OC Series consists of three models, beginning with the Z97 MPower, the Z97 MPower MAX AC, and the Z97 XPower AC.

BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z97WE Motherboard Unveiled

BIOSTAR launched its flagship LGA1150 motherboard built with a design-focus on better onboard audio, the Hi-Fi Z97WE. Based on Intel Z97 Express chipset, and featuring out of the box support for Intel's Core "Haswell" Refresh processors, the board features everything you'd expect from a mid-range ($150-ish) overclockable LGA1150 motherboard. To begin with, it draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and using a 10-phase VRM to condition power to the CPU socket. The socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 when both are populated). Other add-on slots include two each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and legacy PCI.

The Z97 Express PCH wires out all six SATA 6 Gb/s ports internally. The board offers a 10 Gb/s M.2 slot, with enough clearance for long (~12 cm) modules. Display outputs include dual-link DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. There are two gigabit Ethernet interfaces on offer. A total of six USB 3.0 ports are on offer, four on the rear panel, and two by header. The star attraction here is its onboard audio, which features a high SNR DAC, audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation on the PCB. The board isn't heavy on overclocker-friendly features. You still get debug LEDs, onboard power/reset buttons, and a replaceable BIOS EEPROM chip. AMI UEFI BIOS is at the helm of this board.

ASUS Z97 WS Socket LGA1150 Workstation Motherboard Detailed

Here are some of the first pictures of the Z97 WS from ASUS, its first workstation motherboard based on Intel's new 9-series chipset. Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board offers a boat-load of enterprise-relevant connectivity, and out of the box support for not just Core "Haswell" Refresh processors, but also Xeon processors based on the "Haswell" silicon. The board draws power from 24-pin ATX and two 8-pin EPS connectors, with an optional 6-pin PCIe power input to stabilize power supply to add-on cards. It features an 8-phase CPU VRM, with additional heatsinks to dissipate heat from the MOSFETs.

The LGA1150 socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and a PLX PEX8747 PCI-Express gen 3.0 x48 bridge chip. This chip wires out four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, which auto-configure between x16/NC/x16/NC, x16/NC/x8/x8, and x8/x8/x8/x8, depending on how you populate the four slots. Other expansion slots include two PCIe 2.0 x1, and one PCIe 2.0 x4, wired to the PCH. Storage connectivity includes eight SATA 6 Gb/s, from which four convert to two SATA-Express ports, and one M.2 slot. Display outputs appear to include DisplayPort and HDMI. There are two gigabit Ethernet interfaces on offer, both driven by Intel-made controllers. 8-channel HD audio, several USB 3.0 ports, and legacy ports by headers, make for the rest of the connectivity. Its feature-set include Ai-Suite III, reinforced power connectors, and the ability to log system events onto USB flash drives.


Source: TweakTown

GIGABYTE G1.Gaming Z97 Motherboard Pictured

GIGABYTE is giving final touches to its next G1.Killer series motherboard, the G1.Gaming Z97. Branded in an uncanny way to MSI's Gaming series, the G1.Gaming is a mid-range ($150 - $200) socket LGA1150 motherboard based on Intel's Z97 Express chipset, which can run Core "Haswell" Refresh processors out of the box. The board features most of the stuff you've come to expect from "gaming" grade motherboards. To begin with, its draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and uses an 8-phase VRM to condition power to the CPU. The CPU is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory; and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x8/x8 when both are populated). Three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and two legacy PCI make for the rest of its expansion area.

Display connectivity on the G1.Gaming Z97 includes DisplayPort and HDMI. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s, and likely one M.2 slot. A total of six USB 3.0 ports are on offer, four on the rear panel, two by header. The board features 7.1-channel Creative Sound Core3D audio with user-replaceable OPAMPs, a 115 dBA DAC, audiophile-grade electrolytic capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The wired networking on this board is equally special, a Broadcom-Killer E2100 PCIe NIC with packet prioritization that's optimized for multiplayer gaming. For those with USB headsets that come with their own DACs, GIGABYTE is offering a special USB 2.0 port with extra power output, and electrical noise filter. GIGABYTE's dual-UEFI BIOS is at the helm of this board.


Source: Expreview

ASUS Z97 Deluxe Pictured, Too

Here's the first picture of a market-ready version of ASUS' Z97 Deluxe motherboard, from the company's mainline computer brand. ASUS seems to have received screaming feedback from some quarters that bright gold isn't the best choice heatsink color, and if Z97 Deluxe is anything to go by, we might see a softer champagne tone of gold, with a more minimalist heatsink design. The Z97 Deluxe is packed to the brim with features, beginning with a 16-phase CPU VRM. The LGA1150 socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots. Storage connectivity appears to include six SATA 6 Gb/s, one SATA-Express, one M.2, and possibly one or more eSATA. Other connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio with ground-layer isolation, dual gigabit-Ethernet interfaces, WLAN, and a large number of USB 3.0 ports. We also scored a teaser pic of the flagship mini-ITX motherboard from ASUS based on the Z97 chipset, likely named the Z97-I Deluxe. It should give you a closer look of the chipset heatsink design.


Source: ROGFan (Sina Weibo)

MSI 9-series Gaming Series Motherboards Pictured

MSI is ready with its Gaming series socket LGA1150 motherboards based on Intel's next-gen 9-series chipset, which are ready for Core "Haswell" refresh processors. The series includes three boards in the ATX form-factor, the 9-series Gaming 9 AC, 9-series Gaming 7, and 9-series Gaming 3; and one in the mini-ITX form-factor, the 9-series Gaming. The 9-series Gaming 9 AC is loaded with features, including a 12-phase CPU VRM, four DDR3 DIMM slots, three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4), eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, a PCI-Express x2 M.2 slot, Killer E2200 NIC, 802.11 ac WLAN, and more.

Next up, is the 9-series Gaming 7, which offers the same 12-phase CPU VRM as the 9-series Gaming 9 AC, same three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, four PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and an identical storage connectivity. The 9-series Gaming 3 is the most affordable of the lot, with a 6-phase CPU VRM, one PCI-Express 3.0 x16, a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), two PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and three PCI; six SATA 6 Gb/s, one M.2, and Killer E2200 NIC. Lastly, there's the 9-series Gaming ITX, which offers a decent 6-phase VRM, single PCI-Express 3.0 x16, 802.11 ac networking, Killer E2200 NIC, and AudioBoost audio. The three should launch in the run up to the mid-May release of Intel's new processors.
More pictures follow.

MSI Announces A88X-G41 PC Mate Motherboard

MSI rolled out a new mid-range, socket FM2+ motherboard in the ATX form-factor, the A88X-G41 PC Mate. As its name suggests, it's based on the A88X FCH chipset by AMD. Drawing power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, the board uses a 5-phase VRM to condition power for the FM2+ socket, which is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots, that support up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1866 MHz memory; and a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. The second x16 slot is electrical PCI-Express 2.0 x4, and wired to the FCH.

Storage connectivity on the A88X-G41 PC Mate includes just six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, even as the A88X FCH offers eight. The board offers a total of four USB 3.0 ports, two on the rear panel, two by header. Also on offer are ten USB 2.0 ports, four on the rear panel, six by headers. There's quite some legacy connectivity on offer, such as LPT and COM, by headers. Display outputs include a dual-link DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI 1.4a. 6-channel HD audio, and gigabit Ethernet make for the rest of it. The A88X-G41 PC Mate is driven by AMI UEFI BIOS. Expect this board to be priced around the $100 mark.

Radeon R9 295X2 Press Deck Leaked

Here are some of the key slides from AMD's press-deck (presentation) for reviewers, for the Radeon R9 295X2 dual-GPU graphics card, ahead of its April 8 launch. The slides confirm specifications that surfaced earlier this week, which describe the card as bearing the codename "Vesuvius," having two 28 nm "Hawaii" GPUs, and all 2,816 stream processors on the chips being enabled, next to 176 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interfaces. Two such chips are wired to a PLX PEX8747 PCI-Express 3.0 x48 bridge chip. There's a total of 8 GB of memory on board, 4 GB per GPU. Lastly, clock speeds are revealed. The GPUs are clocked as high as 1018 MHz, and memory at 5.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective). The total memory bandwidth of the card is hence 640 GB/s.

The Radeon R9 295X2 indeed looks like the card which was pictured earlier this week, by members of the ChipHell tech community. It features an air+liquid hybrid cooling solution, much like the ROG ARES II by ASUS. The cooling solution is co-developed by AMD and Asetek. It features a couple of pump-blocks cooling the GPUs, which are plumbed with a common coolant channel running through a single 120 mm radiator+reservoir unit. A 120 mm fan is included. A centrally located fan on the card ventilates heatsinks that cool the VRM, memory, and the PCIe bridge chip.

Intel Finalizes Feature-sets of the First Wave of 9-series Chipsets

Here's what the first wave of Intel 9-series chipsets will look like. It will consist of upper-mainstream chipsets for the LGA1150 platform, and the sole chipset for the LGA2011-3 HEDT platform. LGA1150 will get two new chipsets based on a common silicon, the Z97 Express, and the H97 Express. The Z97 will be the next top-end chipset for the platform, supporting current Core "Haswell" and upcoming "Haswell refresh" and "Devil's Canyon" processors. Motherboards based on the Z97 chipset, like the ones based on the Z87 and Z77, will feature up to three PCI-Express 3.0 slots wired to the CPU, in configurations of x16/NC/NC, x8/x8/NC, and x8/x4/x4. It will support overclocking, something its sibling the H97 Express will lack. The H97 will also lack the PCIe configurations that the Z97 supports.

Both Z97 and H97 will introduce support for PCI-Express M.2 storage, which offers 66.6% higher bandwidth than SATA 6 Gb/s, and the same bandwidth as SATA-Express. Its introduction will spur up development and launches of a new generation of high-performance client SSDs in 2014-15. Apart from M.2, the two chipsets offer six SATA 6 Gb/s ports with AHCI and RAID support. Rapid Storage Technology (RST) and Smart Response Technology (SRT) are common for both chips, however, the Z97 also features Dynamic Storage Accelerator (DST), something the H97 will lack. H97 will exclusively offer Small Business Advantage (SBA), instead. Both chips will feature 8-lane PCI-Express gen 2.0 root complexes to drive onboard devices, and 14 USB ports, including six USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports.
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