News Posts matching "PCI-Express 3.0"

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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.

ASUS Unveils B85-Pro Gamer Motherboard

ASUS' choice of decking its mainline motherboards in black and gold is coming to bite it, as the company unveiled one of the first of its "Gamer" line of motherboards. Simply put, these are boards from its mainline Z87 and B85 series products, but with black and red color scheme, and not many of the goodies that its expensive ROG (Republic of Gamers) series comes with. It's the idea of making entry-level and mid-range products more appealing to gamers that ASUS appears to have aped MSI on, even if MSI isn't the original "black + red" motherboard maker. That said, the B85-Pro Gamer isn't just a B85-Pro with fancy heatsinks. Its PCB resembles rather closely with that of the Z87-A.

To begin with, this slim ATX motherboard uses an 8-phase VRM to condition power to the LGA1150 socket. It's wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. The other long x16 slot on this board is physically PCI-Express 2.0 x4, and wired to the B85 PCH. Three legacy PCI, and two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 make up the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s, and two SATA 3 Gb/s. Display outputs (which we doubt gamers would use), include DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. ASUS worked on the networking and audio of this board. It features a rather premium Intel I217V GbE controller, and SupremeFX audio, with a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, electrolytic capacitors, a TI-made 300Ω headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation.

Intel Updates Desktop CPU Roadmap, Haswell-E, Broadwell, Devil's Canyon Blip

At GDC, Intel announced a backpedal from its plans to eventually reshape desktop CPUs into components that come hardwired to the motherboards across the line, by announcing three new CPU families. It includes the Haswell-E HEDT platform, Broadwell performance platform, and Devil's Canyon. The three are expected to launch in reverse order, beginning with Devil's Canyon. A variant of existing "Haswell" silicon in the LGA1150 package, Devil's Canyon is codename for a breed of hand-picked chips with "insane" overclocking potential. In addition to binned dies, the chips feature a performance-optimized TIM between the die and the integrated heatspreader (IHS). The dies will be placed on special "high tolerance" packages, with equally "special" LGA contact points. The chips will be designed with higher voltage tolerance levels. Devil's Canyon is expected to branded under the existing Core i7-4xxx series, possibly with "Extreme" brand extension. It will be compatible with motherboards based on the Z97 chipset.

Next up, is "Broadwell." A successor to Haswell, Broadwell is its optical shrink to Intel's new 14-nanometer silicon fab process, with minor improvements to IPC, new power-management features, and likely added instruction sets, much like what "Ivy Bridge" was to "Sandy Bridge." It will take advantage of the new process to step up CPU and iGPU clock speeds. Broadwell is expected to launch in the second half of 2014. Lastly, there's Haswell-E. Built in the company's next-gen LGA2011 socket (incompatible with the current LGA2011), this HEDT (high-end desktop) processor will feature up to eight CPU cores, up to 15 MB of L3 cache, a 48-lane PCI-Express 3.0 root complex, and a quad-channel DDR4 integrated memory controller (IMC). Intel is also planning to launch a socketed variant of the Core i7-4770R, which is based on the company's Haswell GT3e silicon, which features the Iris Pro 5200 graphics core, with 40 execution units, and 128 MB of L4 cache.

Zotac Announces GeForce GTX 750 Ti Thunderbolt Graphics Card

Zotac announced the GeForce GTX 750 Ti Thunderbolt graphics card. Exclusive to the Greater China region, the card is a typical mid-range graphics card for its target market, featuring a meaty cooler, strong VRM, and an overall product design that looks a couple of notches above its class. It's a typical dual-slot, full-height PCI-Express 3.0 x16 card, and has nothing to do with Thunderbolt (the interface). The card features a sexy new cooling solution that hasn't made its way to Western markets yet. It features a pair of 90 mm hybrid impellers, which ventilate a large aluminium fin stack heatsink, covered by a groovy aluminium shroud. Under the hood is a custom design PCB with a 4-phase VRM. It offers factory overclocked speeds of 1229 MHz core (vs. 1020 MHz reference), 1320 MHz GPU Boost (vs. 1085 MHz reference), and 6.00 GHz memory (vs. 5400 MHz reference), making it the highest clocked GTX 750 Ti in existence. It's expected to be priced at 1,199 RMB (US $194).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

MSI Z97-based Gaming Series Motherboard Lineup Detailed

With Intel's "Haswell Refresh" CPU lineup around the corner, motherboard makers are giving final touches to their next-gen socket LGA1150 lineups based on Intel Z97 Express chipset. MSI, which practically reinvented itself in the DIY hardware scene with its Gaming Series of motherboards and graphics cards, is readying three products based on the chipset, the mid-range Z97 Gaming 3, the premium Z97 Gaming 5, and the high-end Z97 Gaming 7. With it, MSI is ditching the "G45," "GD55," and "GD65" brand extensions. In addition to M.2 slots, some of the three will include SATA-Express add-on cards, which let you plug-in drives with a staggering 10 Gbps of bandwidth.

MSI unveiled early versions of the top of the line Gaming 7 and the mid-range Gaming 3 at this year's CeBIT event. The Z97 Gaming 7 offers a 12-phase CPU iVR, three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, four PCIe x1 slots, eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, an M.2 slot, and possibly an included SATA-Express add-on card; in addition to a wealth of connectivity. The Gaming 5 could be based on the same PCB, but with a lighter feature-set. The Gaming 3, on the other hand, is based on a lighter PCB, with a 6-phase CPU iVR, a lack of the M.2 slot, legacy PCI slots, yet retaining the ground-layer isolated on-board audio, and Killer NIC. The "Haswell refresh" Core processor lineup, along with motherboards based on the Z97 Express chipset, could be launched around the same time as Computex.
Sources: Expreview (1, 2)

Gigabyte Announces B85N-Phoenix Mini-ITX Motherboard

Gigabyte announced the B85N-Phoenix, a socket LGA1150 motherboard based on the Intel B85 chipset, and in the mini-ITX form-factor. The board is unusually rich in connectivity, despite its precious little PCB real-estate. It features an equally unusual black+orange color scheme that's more commonly found with the company's OC-series motherboards. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 4-pin CPU power connectors, and conditions it using a 4+2 phase VRM. The CPU socket is wired to a pair of DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory; and a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. It's neighbored to the north by an mPCIe 2.0 slot, wired to the B85 PCH.

Storage connectivity on the B85N-Phoenix includes three SATA 6 Gb/s, and a single SATA 3 Gb/s. The board features a total of four USB 3.0 ports, two on the rear panel, two by header. Display outputs include dual-link DVI and HDMI. The board comes prepped for wireless communications, but doesn't include a card. There are holes for two antennae, and an mPCIe slot. The board offers 8-channel HD audio with optical TOSLINK output. Gigabit Ethernet, PS/2, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports make for the rest of it. Gigabyte didn't announce pricing.

MSI Outs A78M-E45 Socket FM2+ Motherboard

MSI launched the A78M-E45, a fairly well-equipped socket FM2+ motherboard in the micro-ATX form-factor, based on the AMD A75 chipset. The board supports the latest A-series "Kaveri" APUs, in addition to previous generation "Richland," and "Trinity" ones. It features a 5-phase VRM to power the FM2+ socket, which is cooled by VRM heatsinks. The socket is wired to a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Other expansion slots include a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), a PCIe 2.0 x1, and a legacy PCI, all wired to the A75 FCH.

Display connectivity on the A78M-E45 includes dual-link DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI 1.4a. The board offers a total of six USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, and two by headers. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, PS/2 mouse/keyboard connectors, and a number USB 2.0/1.1 ports make for the rest of the connectivity. The board is driven by UEFI BIOS. MSI didn't reveal pricing.

ECS Introduces the A55F2P-M2 Motherboard

ECS announced the A55F2P-M2, an entry-level socket FM2+ motherboard, that's ready for AMD's A-Series "Kaveri" APUs, and backwards-compatible with "Richland" and "Trinity" APUs. The narrow micro-ATX motherboard draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 4-pin CPU power connectors, and uses a 3+2 phase VRM to condition it for the APU. The socket is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and a PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slot. A legacy PCI slot makes for the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 3 Gb/s ports. Display outputs include DVI and D-Sub. Two USB 3.0 ports, 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, and PS/2 connectors make for the rest of the connectivity. Expect this board to go around the $50 mark.
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