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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.

AMD A10-7700K "Kaveri" De-lidded

Here are the first pictures of an AMD A10-7700K "Kaveri" APU with its integrated heat-spreader (IHS, or 'lid') removed. Put next to its predecessors, "Richland," "Trinity," and "Llano," AMD's new APU silicon is its biggest for the DIY PC market, more so because it's built on the 28 nm silicon fab process, compared to its predecessors being built on 32 nm. The die measures roughly 245 mm², and packs a staggering 2.41 billion transistors.

Under the IHS, AMD is using a thermal paste to transport heat from the die, and not a solder. The chip should be easy to de-lid, if you know what you're doing. Kaveri integrates two "Steamroller" x86-64 CPU modules with two cores each, a total of 4 MB of L2 cache, a massive on-die GPU with 512 stream processors based on the Graphics CoreNext micro-architecture, a dual-channel DDR3 IMC with hUMA and DDR3-2400 native support; and a PCI-Express 3.0 root complex.

Source: Akiba PC Hotline

ASUS Z87-Deluxe/SATA-Express Detailed

ASUS released a prototype of the first desktop PC motherboard with SATA-Express support, the Z87-Deluxe/SATA-Express. A variant of ASUS' flagship socket LGA1150 motherboard from its mainline Z87 series, the Z87-Deluxe, the board features two SATA-Express ports. SATA-Express sees a fusion between two of the most successful serial I/O interfaces, SATA and PCI-Express. It's essentially ATA over PCI-Express 2.0 x2, which offers a raw bandwidth of 8 Gbps per direction, 16 Gbps total. The SATA-Express port is structured similar to the classic SATA port, with PCI-Express lanes running over two 7-pin SATA connectors, and an additional block of 4 pins that make up the 18 pins required by 2-lane PCI-Express. A SATA-Express connector is thus unified, and legacy SATA devices should still be able to run off one of the two 7-in SATA connectors in a SATA-Express block.

Since there are no SATA-Express drives in the market, ASUS gave TweakTown a MacGyver contraption that adapts SATA-Express to a physical PCI-Express 2.0 x4 slot (electrical x2). An ASUS RAIDR Express PCI-Express SSD was found to offer sequential transfer rates of around 750 MB/s on ATTO. The rest of the board is practically identical to the Z87-Deluxe. The board uses a 16-phase VRM to condition power for the LGA1150 CPU. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors. Expansion slots include three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4, depending on how they're populated); and four PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots.

MSI to Release the H87I AC Mini-ITX Motherboard

In addition to the Z87I GAMING AC model seen last week, MSI is set introduce another mini ITX LGA1150 motherboard, the H87I AC. Seen below, this H87-based board features two DDR3-1600 memory slots, four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1 channel audio, four USB 3.0 ports, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, plus Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac WiFi.

The H87I AC makes use of Military Class 4 components and is available for pre-order at €102.

MSI Shows Off Gaming Series Mini-ITX Z87 Motherboard and GeForce GTX 760 Card

Courtesy of MSI's Facebook page we can now have a pretty good look at two of the company's upcoming Gaming Series products, two compact components known as the Z87I GAMING AC and GTX 760 GAMING OC ITX.

The Z87I GAMING AC is a mini-ITX motherboard that's powered by the Intel Z87 chip and features Military Class 4 components, two DDR3 memory slots, five SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, Killer E2200 NIC Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio (with Audio Boost technology), and even 802.11ac WiFi support.

NVIDIA Announces Market Availability of GeForce GTX 780 Ti

NVIDIA announced the market availability of its GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics card. Based on the same "GK110" silicon as the GTX TITAN, the GTX 780 Ti features its full complement of 2,880 CUDA cores, 240 TMUs, 48 ROPs, and a 384-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 3 GB of memory. The core is clocked at 875 MHz, with a maximum GPU Boost frequency of 928 MHz; the the memory is clocked at a staggering 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective), at which the memory bandwidth is 336 GB/s.

The GeForce GTX 780 Ti is based on the same PCB and cooling solution as the GeForce GTX 780, draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors, features a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 bus interface, and a combination of two DVI, and one each of HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. The card is 4-way SLI capable. NVIDIA is pricing the GeForce GTX 780 Ti at US $699.99, about $150 pricier than the Radeon R9 290X, but close to $300 cheaper than the GTX TITAN. NVIDIA is also running a free-game scheme that will see buyers of the GTX 780 Ti get Steam keys for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Splinter Cell: Blacklist; and a coupon that shaves up to $100 off an NVIDIA Shield purchase.
Don't forget to check out our comprehensive GeForce GTX 780 Ti review.

AMD "Hawaii" Architecture Diagram Leaked

An alleged company slide detailing the architecture of AMD's upcoming "Hawaii" GPU was leaked to the web, revealing a monstrous combination of components. The GPU maintains the same component hierarchy as "Tahiti." The most distinguishing feature here is that whereas "Tahiti" features two shader engines, "Hawaii" features four. What it translates to, is double the geometry processing power, four independent geometry processors with a tessellation unit each, and double the number of ROPs, at 64. Each shader unit features 11 compute units (CU), the number-crunching machinery of the GPU. Each CU holds 4 TMUs (texture memory units), and 64 stream processors.

The four shader engines of "Hawaii" are tied to a unified command processing structure, a 1 megabyte L2 cache, a 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interfaces, and the ancillaries, that include the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 bus interface, six display controllers (six TMDS links in all), CrossFireX XDMA, and multimedia accelerators that include UVD (accelerates high-def video), VCE (video codec engine, accelerates multimedia codecs), and the new TrueAudio hardware DSP.

Source: 3DCenter.org

ASUS Announces TUF Vanguard B85 Motherboard

ASUS launched its first The Ultimate Force (TUF) series motherboard based on a mid-range chipset by Intel, the TUF Vanguard B85. Designed for gamers who don't overclock their CPUs, and for businesses that change their IT infrastructure every decade, this motherboard is a tight ship. To begin with, it uses a simple 4-phase VRM to condition power for the CPU, but that VRM consists of high-grade components, and is cooled by heatsinks. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors. The LGA1150 socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory; and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. A second PCI-Express x16 slot is electrical gen 2.0 x4, wired to the PCH. One each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and legacy PCI, make up the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity on the TUF Vanguard B85 includes four SATA 6 Gb/s, and two SATA 3 Gb/s, all of which are assigned as internal ports. Display connectivity includes one each of dual-link DVI, HDMI, D-Sub, and DisplayPort. The board offers a total of six USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, and two via internal headers. 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, PS/2 mouse/keyboard combi-plug, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports, complete the connectivity package. The board feature all the TUF military-grade durability paraphernalia, including the Thermal Radar feature from the TUF Sabertooth series. Expect this one to go for about $110.

GIGABYTE Announces G1.Sniper B5 Gaming Motherboard

For gamers who don't plan on overclocking their CPUs, GIGABYTE announced a new gaming desktop motherboard, branded within its G1.Killer series no less. The G1.Sniper B5 combines the key ingredients of a G1.Killer motherboard, with the mid-range Intel B85 Express platform, supporting Core "Haswell" processors in the LGA1150 package. It's built in the standard ATX form-factor. Since the chipset doesn't support CPU overclocking, GIGABYTE went easy on the CPU VRM, with a 4+1 phase design, which is guaranteed to run any socket LGA1150 CPU at its stock speeds. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors.

Expansion slots include two long PCI-Express slots, but only one of them is wired to the CPU, and supports PCI-Express 3.0 x16 speeds. The other slot is electrical gen 2.0 x4, and wired to the B85 PCH. Two each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI, make up the remaining expansion slots. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s, and two SATA 3 Gb/s ports. The audio solution is based on a Realtek ALC898 CODEC (110 dBA SNR), ground-layer isolation, Nichicon audiophile-grade electrolytic capacitors on the AMP stage, and a removable OPAMP chip. There's no Bigfoot Killer NIC, but a decent Intel-made GbE LAN chip. The board features AMI UEFI BIOS with GIGABYTE's latest G1.Killer series setup program (minus the CPU overclocking options, of course), backed by dual-BIOS.

Gigabyte Also Shows Off Thunderbolt 2.0-Equipped Motherboards

In addition to the G1.Assassin 3, Gigabyte showed off its first motherboards with Thunderbolt 2.0 connectors. Armed with 20 Gb/s of bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2.0 gives you enough bandwidth to drive high-resolution displays (beyond WQHD), and storage arrays with SSDs. Among these motherboards are the Z87X-UD7 TH. Gigabyte distinguished the "UD7" brand extension from "OC," which marks products that prioritize performance-enhancing components over connectivity, while the UD7 leads the company's mainline Z87X pack with top-grade connectivity, and electricals not too far behind the Z87X-OC.

The Z87X-UD7 TH is built in the standard ATX form-factor. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, an optional 4-pin ATX, and an optional SATA power input. It uses a 16-phase VRM to power the CPU, which uses high-grade PowIRstage driver-MOSFETs. The VRM cooler is a combination of an active air-cooled heatsink, with a coolant channel that lets you make it part of your liquid cooling loop. This cooler shares some of its heat with the heatsink covering the PLX PEX8747 bridge chip, and the PCH, which also features a fan-heatsink. The board features five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, of which three are gen 3.0 x16 capable, and four gen 3.0 x8 capable. A mechanism lets you bypass the bridge chip, and connect a single graphics card directly to the CPU. Two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots complete the expansion area.

Gigabyte G1.Assassin 3 Motherboard Detailed

Gigabyte showed off an early version of its upcoming high-end socket LGA2011 motherboard, the G1.Assassin 3, at IDF. Based on the same Intel X79 Express chipset as its predecessor, this board is built in the standard ATX form-factor. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors. It uses a 9-phase VRM to condition power to the CPU socket, which uses PowIRstage driver-MOSFETs by International Rectifier. The CPU socket is wired to eight DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of memory, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots. A couple of PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots complete the expansion area.

Storage connectivity on the G1.Assassin 3 includes four each of SATA 6 Gb/s and SATA 3 Gb/s ports. Network connectivity includes two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, from which one is driven by an Intel-made controller, and an add-on card with 802.11ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.0. A hyped up feature here is its Creative Sound Core3D audio, with a high SNR DAC, audiophile-grade OPAMP circuitry with user-replaceable amps (Gigabyte calls this AMP-UP). Six USB 3.0 ports, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports make for the rest of it. Gigabyte didn't finalize heatsink designs for the VRM or PCH, and there's no word on when exactly the company plans to launch the thing.

Source: Legit Reviews

ASUS Announces X79 Deluxe Socket LGA2011 Motherboard

ASUS announced its first socket LGA2011 motherboard after Intel's Core i7 "Ivy Bridge-E" family launch. Sticking to the simplified model naming scheme introduced by its LGA1150 motherboard lineup, the board is named X79-Deluxe, and is styled just like them (black PCB, black expansion-slots, gold heatsinks). It is expected to ship with out of the box support for Intel's latest HEDT chips. The board is built in the standard ATX form-factor, drawing power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors. It uses a 10-phase VRM to power the CPU socket, which is wired to eight DDR3 DIMM slots, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots. A couple of PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots, wired to the PCH, make for the rest of its expansion.

Storage connectivity includes eight internal SATA 6 Gb/s ports, of which just two are wired to the X79 PCH, four SATA 3 Gb/s ports, and two eSATA 6 Gb/s. Out of the eight USB 3.0 ports on this board, you get six on the rear panel, two by header. The X79 Deluxe features the latest WiFi GO! module by ASUS, which lends it 802.11 ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.0 support. Of the two gigabit Ethernet ports on the board, one is driven by an Intel-made controller. 8-channel HD audio, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports make for the rest. Among the ASUS-exclusive features are USB BIOS Flashback, EPU, TPU II, ASUS SSD Caching, and USB 3.0 Boost. The X79 Deluxe from ASUS is expected to go for US $349.99. Find a comprehensive review at the source.

Source: TechReport

Supermicro Dips its Toes in DIY Motherboard Market, Unveils C7Z87-OCE

Known more for its server and workstation motherboards; and rackmount server chassis; Supermicro dipped its toes into consumer (DIY) motherboards, announcing the C7Z87-OCE, a socket LGA1150 motherboard based on the Intel Z87 Express chipset. Built in the standard ATX form-factor, this board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, and 8-pin EPS connectors. It features a rather bland blue PCB, with seemingly basic heatsinks over the chipset and CPU VRM. In reality, the 22 nm-built Z87 Express PCH, with a 4.1W TDP can make do with a heatsink like that. The one on the VRM, on the other hand, is suspect. It appears to use a 6-phase digital PWM circuitry with driver-MOSFETs.

The LGA1150 socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/NC, x8/x8/NC, x8/x4/x4). A trio of close-ended PCI-Express 2.0 x4 find room in between them. The board offers a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, six from the Z87 PCH, two from a third-party controller. Also on offer, are eight USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, four by headers. The board offers 8-channel HD audio with optical SPDIF output, a pair of gigabit Ethernet interfaces, Thunderbolt (which doubles up as mini-DisplayPort), dual-link DVI and D-Sub display outputs. Although driven by AMI Aptio UEFI BIOS, it features a classic keyboard-driven setup program UI. The company didn't release pricing. Find a complete review at the source.

Source: TweakTown

ASRock Unveils H87E-ITX/ac Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASRock unveiled the H87E-ITX/ac, its first mini-ITX motherboard featuring 802.11ac WLAN. Based on Intel's H87 Express chipset, the board seats Core "Haswell" processors in the LGA1150 package. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 4-phase VRM. Up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory is supported through a pair of conventional 240-pin DIMM slots. A PCI-Express 3.0 x16 makes for the board's lone expansion slot, aside from the mPCIe that's populated by the WLAN card.

Connectivity on the H87E-ITX/ac include 802.11ac WLAN, based on Intel's i217V chipset, offering up to 867 Mbps of wireless bandwidth, gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth 4.0. It makes use of all SATA channels of the H87 PCH, offering five internal SATA 6 Gb/s, and an eSATA 6 Gb/s. 8-channel HD audio based on Realtek ALC1150 CODEC, with optical SPDIF, four USB 3.0 ports, a pair of USB 2.0/1.1 ports; and display connectivity that includes one each of DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI, make for the rest of it. ASRock will begin shipping the board a little later this week.

EVGA X79 Dark Motherboard Launched

EVGA launched its flagship socket LGA2011 motherboard, the X79 Dark (model: 150-SE-E789-KR). It made its debut at this year's International CES event. Designed for open-air benches, this motherboard requires a case that can seat E-ATX motherboards. It measures 304.8 x 263.5 mm (LxW). It draws power from a combination of a 24-pin ATX input, two 8-pin EPS inputs, and a 6-pin PCIe input, to stabilize bus-supplied power for add-on cards. The X79 Dark from EVGA comes with a plethora of features for CPU and VGA overclockers alike. In addition to onboard controls, EVBot support, consolidated voltage measurement points, EVGA deployed a brand new UEFI setup program interface, which debuted with some of its premium Z87-based motherboards.

EVGA X79 Dark features a 12-layer PCB. It uses a 12+2 phase VRM to power the CPU, a 4-phase VRM for the memory, and features power-gating to individual PCI-Express slots. On the expansion front, you get five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, from which two are electrical x16-capable, and all five electrical x8-capable, depending on how the slots are populated. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s internal ports, two of which are from the X79 PCH, four from third-party controllers; four SATA 3 Gb/s ports from the PCH, and two eSATA 3 Gb/s. The rest of its connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio, two gigabit Ethernet interfaces (both driven by Intel-made controllers), six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by header), Bluetooth, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports. EVGA X79 Dark bear a street-price of US $399.99.

Many Thanks to Radrok for the tip

MSI Unleashes Z87 XPOWER Flagship LGA1150 Motherboard

Z87 MPOWER and Z87 MPOWER MAX, two of MSI's top overclocker-targeted socket LGA1150 motherboards, are joined by the company's new flagship motherboard, the Z87 XPOWER. Built in the XL-ATX (345 x 264 mm) form-factor, this board gets you the best MSI has to offer, and is ideal for both CPU and VGA overclocking benches. The CPU is powered by a gargantuan 32-phase digital-PWM power supply, which draws power from two 8-pin EPS connectors, in addition to the 24-pin ATX, and an optional 6-pin PCI-Express connector.

The CPU socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-3000+ memory, and a PLX PEX8747 PCI-Express gen 3.0 bridge chip, which gives out four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, two of which are x16 capable, all four of which are x8-capable. One of the five x16 slots, the second one from top, is directly wired to the CPU, and plugging a graphics card on that slot will bypass the bridge-chip. This slot is ideal for when you have just one card. Two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots take seat between the x16 slots, wired to the PCH. In addition to 4-way NVIDIA SLI and 4-way AMD CrossFireX, the board includes Lucid Virtu MVP 2.0 software.
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