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ASUS Announces B150 Pro Gaming-Aura and B150 Pro Gaming

ASUS today announced B150 Pro Gaming/Aura and B150 Pro Gaming, two new ATX motherboards packed with multiple exclusive features for superior gaming experiences, including gaming-grade SupremeFX and Sonic Radar II audio, gaming-grade Intel Gigabit Ethernet with ASUS LANGuard and GameFirst technologies for fast, safe and lag-free networking - plus awesome illumination technology in B150 Pro Gaming/Aura.

Based on the latest Intel B150 Express chipset and ready for the newest 6th-generation Intel processors, B150 Pro Gaming/Aura and B150 Pro Gaming also deliver gaming-grade cooling with a dedicated water-pump header plus intuitive Fan Xpert 3 controls. The new boards also have the very latest connectivity built in, including both USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and reversible Type-C, plus NVM Express (NVMe) M.2.

MSI Unveils the Z170A PC Mate Motherboard

MSI, which debuted its socket LGA1151 motherboard lineup with its Gaming series, launched its first mainline LGA1151 board, the Z170A PC Mate. A departure from the MS-7850 common-PCB, which the company used on various Intel 8-series and 9-series chipsets, the Z170A PC Mate features a boarder form, and covers all the platform basics. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and features a 6-phase CPU VRM. The CPU is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.

Other expansion slots on the Z170A PC Mate include a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical gen 3.0 x4), wired to the Z170 PCH, three PCI-Express 3.0 x1, and two legacy PCI slots. Storage connectivity includes an M.2 32 Gb/s slot, a SATA-Express 16 Gb/s connector, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Display outputs include one each of DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI 2.0 connectors. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (both type-A and on the rear panel), and six USB 3.0 (four on the rear panel, two by header), and four USB 2.0/1.1 ports by header. 6-channel HD audio with ground-layer isolation, and Realtek gigabit Ethernet make for the rest of it. The MSI Z170A PC Mate is priced at US $120.

Realtek Develops New Onboard LAN Chip to Win Back Gamer Crowd

In a bid to regain market share lost to Intel and Killer (Qualcomm) in the DIY motherboard market, particularly with motherboards targeted at online gaming PC builds; Realtek unveiled a new onboard LAN solution called the Realtek Dragon. Intel and Killer have replaced Realtek as a preferred onboard Ethernet chip provider for DIY PC motherboards over the past two generations, as perception of their lower driver overhead, lower latencies, and other advantages spread. Sensing that merely improving drivers for its existing RTL8111 family of PCIe gigabit Ethernet PHY chips won't fix the situation, Realtek sought to give its latest generation an off-beat brand name that it hopes could appeal to the DIY crowd.

At the heart of the Realtek Dragon is the new RTL8118AS, a PCIe gigabit Ethernet PHY, much like the 8111 family. Realtek says it made refinements to the chip over previous generations, which will offer better performance (lower driver overhead) for traffic with small UDP packets, which is how most online multiplayer games work, and lower power consumption than competing solutions, such as the Killer E2200. Realtek even set a new branding for its chip, and will allow motherboard makers to print it on their PCBs, just as they print branding for Killer or Intel onboard LAN solutions. Realtek Dragon will make its debut with certain socket LGA1151 motherboards by ECS.

Source: Anandtech

BIOSTAR Releases N3150NH Mini-ITX Motherboard

BIOSTAR is offering the N3150NH motherboard with the on-board Intel N3150 1.6G Quad-core processor, using a Mini-ATX form factor with a size of 17x17cm, builders are able to make creative designs for many different uses that fit into small enclosures.

The N3150NH boards comes with the Intel Celeron N3150 1.6G Quad-core processor with turbo boost up to 2.08G already installed and it supports up to 8GB Memory for DDR3L-1600 OR 16GB Memory for DDR3L-1066. With the integrated GPU, watching HD content and playing games is no sweat. Expansion includes 1 PCI-E 2.0 slot. Indeed, the N3150NH board is ready for building all kinds of multimedia systems with its HDMI and analog VGA-out, and high definition audio with the Realtek ALC662 6 Channel HD Audio chip.

ASRock Z170 Extreme7 Motherboard Pictured Up Close

Here's one of the first pictures of ASRock's flagship socket LGA1151 motherboards from its mainline Z170 Extreme series, the Z170 Extreme7. This board offers an exhaustive feature set, and should appeal to gamers and overclockers alike. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, with no other auxiliary inputs. The LGA1151 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200 MHz memory; and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4); the fourth PCIe x16 slot is electrical x4, wired to the PCH. There's also an mPCIe slot; which will seat a WLAN+Bluetooth card on the /ac variant of this board.

The Z170 Extreme7 is the first motherboard to feature three M.2 slots, all three of which are PCIe gen 3.0 x4 (32 Gb/s). Other storage options include three SATA-Express 16 Gb/s, and ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The board features two USB 3.1 ports, one each of Type-C and Type-A; and eight USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, four by headers. Display outputs include one each of dual-link DVI, HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2. The onboard audio is an ASRock designed Purity Sound III solution, which combines a Realtek ALC1150 CODEC with ground-layer isolation, a headphones amp, and audio-grade capacitors. Other features include dual-BIOS (manual switching), and a high-quality plastic sheath running along its I/O area.

ECS Unveils L337 Z170 Claymore and Blade

ECS unveiled two socket LGA1151 motherboards based on the Z170 Express chipset, under its L337 line of gamer-centric products - the ATX Z170-Claymore, and the micro-ATX Z170-Blade (pictured in that order). The two pictured below are pre-launch versions, the company didn't finalize their heatsink design or color-scheme. The Z170-Claymore features a 12-phase CPU VRM, four DDR4 DIMM slots, and five PCI-Express x16 slots. Of these, three are wired to the CPU (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4); and two are gen 2.0 x4, wired to the Z170 PCH. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s, one SATA-Express 16 Gb/s, one M.2, two USB 3.1, six USB 3.0, Realtek-made gigabit Ethernet and HD audio, and 2-way SLI support. The Z170-Blade, on the other hand, is a micro-ATX board with a 9-phase CPU VRM, two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC or x8/x8), one PCIe 2.0 x1, six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, an M.2 slot; 6-channel HD audio, and gigabit Ethernet, making up the modern connectivity. Two USB 3.1 and six USB 3.0 ports make for the rest of it.

MSI X99-GODLIKE Gaming Audio Boost 3 Pro Solution Has Some Serious Chops

The past two generations of motherboards saw the onboard HD audio finally get a quality leap it deserved, as motherboard makers addressed the shortcomings of onboard audio in dealing with heavy gaming and audiophone headsets. We've seen things like a 115 dBA SNR CODEC by Realtek (ALC-1150), ground-layer isolation, de-pop circuits, audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, and headphones amps become essentials for today's high-end motherboard onboard audio solutions. It looks like MSI is trying to push that envelope even further with Audio Boost 3 Pro, a new onboard audio solution making its debut with the X99-GODLIKE Gaming, which could also feature on some upcoming high-end LGA1151 motherboards by the company.

To begin with, the solution consists of two separate DACs. An ESS Sabre 124 dBA SNR chip handles the front-out and headphones out channels; while a Realtek ALC1150 (115 dBA SNR) handles other analog channels in a 7.1-channel setup. The way this works is that the Realtek chip is wired to the HDA channel of the PCH, while offloading select channel D/A conversion to the Sabre chip. Further downstream to this chip is a 600Ω headphones amplifier chip by TI. Even the other analog channels have amplifier circuits. Signal loss is prevented by Nichicon Muse electrolytic capacitors. The CODEC and DAC are capped by an inner EMI shield, and the board's outer metal shroud; and is isolated from the ground-layer of the rest of the board. This solution also features Nahimic, a sound quality enhancing DSP used in the defense and aerospace industries. All analog jacks feature gold-plating. Digital outputs include optical TOSLINK. Unrelated to the audio solution, the X99-GODLIKE also features a special USB port meant for headsets, that has additional electrical stabilizers.

Habey Launches MITX-6770 Mini-ITX Motherboard

HABEY USA, a leading manufacturer of embedded computer products, today announces MITX-6770, the latest embedded board powered by the Intel J1900 Quad Core 2.42 GHz Celeron Processor. This thin Mini-ITX board is designed to meet the increasing demand for variety of network connectivity, higher network performance, flexible storage options and improved security of the Internet of things (IoT). The board has dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports build-in with Power over Ethernet (PoE) option, on-board Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security feature and support of two mSATA slots for storage redundancy.

Unique features of the MITX-6770 also include Digital Display Interface (DDI) headers for additional rear panel HDMI, DisplayPort (DP) or LVDS, eDP expansion, 7.1 High Definition audio header for RCA device outputs, LPC expansion header for legacy I/O device add-on cards and a SIM socket for cellular radio connectivity.

GIGABYTE Rolls Out the X99-SLI Motherboard

Trying to squeeze revenues from the high-end desktop (HEDT) market to its last drop by saturating it with as many catchy-named models as possible, GIGABYTE launched the X99-SLI socket LGA2011v3 motherboard. This board will likely be priced between $199 and $249, and will compete against the likes of ASUS X99-A and MSI X99S Gaming 7, enabling it to make the most out of the crucial pre-Summer sales season. Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the X99-SLI offers a feature-set that's nearly identical to the company's X99-UD4. It's not a rebrand, because the PCB is different between the two. The X99-SLI could end up being cheaper.

The X99-SLI draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, with an optional 4-pin Molex input to stabilize multiple graphics cards that rely on the PCI-Express slot for power. Power to the CPU is conditioned by a 6-phase VRM. The CPU is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, four on either sides, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/x16/NC or x16/NC/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8 on i7-5930K and i7-5960X; x16/NC/x4 or x8/x8/x4 on i7-5820K), supporting 4-way SLI and CrossFireX. The board supports DDR4-3333 MHz with overclocking.

ASRock Unveils Fatal1ty 970 Performance Socket AM3+ Motherboard

ASRock unveiled its newest socket AM3+ motherboard for gamers with on a budget, the Fatal1ty 970 Performance. Based on the AMD 970 chipset with SB950 southbridge, this board offers a slick feature-set for its potentially two-figure price. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. An optional 4-pin Molex power connector is required, if you have two cards that rely solely on the expansion slot power. The board features a 10-phase CPU VRM, and supports 220W TDP chips such as the FX-9370 and FX-9590.

Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x8/x8 when both are populated), a third PCI-Express 2.0 x16, which is electrical x4 and wired to the southbridge, a legacy PCI, and two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and an M.2 slot (electrical PCIe 2.0 x4). Other modern connectivity includes six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers), an electrically-reinforced Fatal1ty Mouse port, ASRock Purity Sound 2 on-board audio with a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation, and gigabit Ethernet (Realtek-made controller). The board is driven by UEFI BIOS, and supports Windows 8.1 features such as Secure Boot and Fast Boot. Expect this board to be priced at $99.

GIGABYTE Intros 990XA-UD3 R5 Socket AM3+ Motherboard

GIGABYTE introduced its latest socket AM3+ motherboard, and its first in a long while, the 990XA-UD3 R5. Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, and conditions it using a 10-phase CPU VRM. The board, however, does not support FX-9000 series chips. Based on AMD 990X chipset, featuring AMD SB950 southbridge, expansion slots of the board include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x8/x8 when both are populated), supporting NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX, a third PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (electrical x4, wired to the southbridge), and two each of PCIe 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI slots.

Storage connectivity on the 990XA-UD3 R5 include six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The board's onboard audio solution features a Realtek ALC1150 CODEC, offering 115 dBA SNR, audio-grade electrolytic capacitors on the audio circuit, a TI-made headphones amplifier with support for headphones impedance as high as 600Ω, and PCB ground-layer isolation. Also on offer are a gigabit Ethernet connection, driven by a Realtek-made controller, four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two by headers), and PS/2 mouse/keyboard combo port. The board is driven by AMI UEFI BIOS, and supports Windows 8 SecureBoot and FastBoot. Expect this board to be priced around US $130.

Gigabyte Launches X99 Champion Series Motherboards

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce today the addition of 4 new high performance motherboards to their comprehensive Intel X99 chipsets offering with the X99 Champion series. The new motherboards consist of the X99-Gaming 5P, X99-UD4P, X99-UD3P and the already famous X99-SOC Champion.

DDR4 memory modules are available at a stock frequency of 2133 MHz, but memory vendors encode XMP profiles which can automatically modify the frequency and timings of the supported memory modules to work in par with your CPU. With the X99 Champion Series, GIGABYTE is offering a tested and proven platform that ensures proper compatibility with profiles up to 3200 MHz, and exclusively 3400 MHz for the X99-SOC Champion.

Supermicro Announces the C7Z97-M Socket LGA1150 Motherboard

In what's a clear sign of enterprise motherboard manufacturers like Supermicro and TYAN taking an interest in the DIY client-desktop market, Taiwanese company Supermicro launched the C7Z97-M, a micro-ATX, socket LGA1150 motherboard, based on Intel's Z97 Express chipset. It may not be the first motherboard based on the chipset by a traditionally enterprise-hardware company, but it's certainly the first designed to woo the PC enthusiast crowd. The features a matte-black PCB, with matte-black and ruby-red scheme, which bear a strong resemblance to Foxconn, and its Blood-Rage series.

The C7Z97-M features a 6-layer PCB, a digital-PWM CPU power delivery, with ceramic multi-phase bar chokes, and driver-MOSFETs. The board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS. You can tell it's a board made by an enterprise manufacturer, looking at components such as the ASpeed IPMI 2.0 remote management chip, an LVDS display output, a TPM header, and key toggles being left to manual jumpers. The BIOS setup program is a reference AMI Aptio (not skinned).

GIGABYTE Announces X99M-Gaming 5 Micro-ATX Motherboard

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards announced today the new X99M-Gaming 5, a mATX addition to its X99 lineup based on the Intel X99 chipset with support for the new Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition (Haswell-E) processor and latest DDR4 memory support.

With the GIGABYTE X99M-Gaming 5 motherboard, the ultimate gaming station does not have to be bulky and expensive. With a compact, yet feature rich design, the X99M-Gaming 5 is an affordable solution packed with high-end features including GIGABYTE AMP-UP audio technologies, onboard SATA-Express and M.2 ports for fast data transfers, and a Killer gigabit Lan port from Qualcomm Atheros for better online gaming performance.

Gigabyte Outs G1.Gaming Branded H81 Chipset Motherboard

Gigabyte took the concept of H81M-WW a notch higher, and gave it the G1.Gaming branding. So what, if you can't run PCI-Express gen 3.0 graphics cards at their native gen 3.0 bus speeds, the H81 Express chipset must still amount for something? Gigabyte thinks so, and launched a G1.Gaming branded entry-level micro-ATX motherboard based on the chipset, which Intel reserves for "essential computing."

The new H81M-Gaming 3 is mostly identical to the H81M-WW, and the only visual differences we can spot are the second PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slot on the former, instead of the latter's legacy PCI; and the fancier PCH heatsink. The board still gives you onboard audio with audio-grade electrolytic capacitors and ground-layer isolation, even if its centerpiece, the ALC892 CODEC, doesn't have a three-figure SNR. One notable difference here is Gigabyte opting for an Intel-made gigabit Ethernet controller, instead of the cheaper Realtek-made one on the H81M-WW. Gigabyte didn't announce pricing or availability, but something tells us this package could sell well with entry-level gaming PC builders.

Gigabyte Outs Z97-HD3P Motherboard

Gigabyte rolled out the Z97-HD3P, its entry-level socket LGA1150 motherboard based on Intel Z97 Express chipset, and built in the ATX form-factor, with a width of just 19 cm. The board goes easy on overclocking-grade features, but doesn't leave out connectivity that makes the Z97 a successor to the Z87. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, and conditions it for the CPU, with a simple 4-phase VRM. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Other expansion slots include one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), and two each of PCIe 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI.

Storage connectivity on the Z97-HD3P includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, one SATA-Express port (drawing out two 6 Gb/s ports), and an M.2 10 Gb/s slot. Display outputs include one each of D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI. The audio solution is basic, 8-channel Realtek ALC887 driven, but features audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, and PCB ground-layer isolation, to reduce electrical noise. Modern connectivity includes six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by header). Legacy ones include COM and LPT by header, and PS/2 mouse/keyboard combo port. Expect a $100-ish price.

New Gigabyte Entry-level Motherboard Designed to Sound Well

Gigabyte launched the H81M-WW, its newest entry-level socket LGA1150 motherboard, in the compact micro-ATX form-factor, and based in Intel H81 Express chipset. Its unique selling point is an unusual onboard audio solution. The board features a Realtek ALC887 HD audio CODEC in the 6-channel configuration. Its 8-channel configuration is possible, if you plug in two channels through the jack wired to the front-panel audio header. The CODEC itself isn't impressive, with its under 90 dBA SNR, but is backed by Nichicon audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, and ground-layer isolation from the rest of the board.

The rest of its feature-set is pretty basic. The H81M-WW draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 4-pin CPU power connectors, and features a basic 3-phase CPU VRM. The CPU is wired to a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot. Other expansion slots include one each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI. Storage connectivity includes two each of SATA 6 Gb/s and SATA 3 Gb/s ports. The only display output is a D-Sub (analog, max resolution 1920 x 1200). The board's other legacy connectivity includes one each of serial (COM) and parallel (LPT). Two USB 3.0 ports, and a gigabit Ethernet connection make for the rest of it.

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.

MSI ProBox23 Thin Mini-ITX Barebone Now Shipping

MSI announces the launch of the MSI ProBox23, the first model in its new generation of commercial oriented barebone PCs. These series use the latest Intel H81 chipset, and support the 4th Generation Intel Core processors with high performance and integrated GPU providing powerful graphics processing.

Furthermore, the MSI ProBox23 is equipped with a thin mini-itx motherboard and energy efficient CPU cooler. With a length and width of only 20cm and a height of just 5cm, this barebone PC is one of the smallest in its kind. Moreover, the MSI ProBox23 can easily be mounted behind a monitor, making it the best space-saving solution for commercial and entertainment applications. The MSI ProBox23 will be available worldwide per beginning of April 2014.

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 Rolls Out H81M-HD3 Socket LGA1150 Motherboard

While GIGABYTE's first motherboards based on Intel's new entry-level H81 Express chipset were mostly focused on small business PC builds, its latest one could lure HTPC builders. The new H81M-HD3 is built in the narrow micro-ATX (244 x 190 mm) form-factor as the other H81-based motherboards from the company, with a feature-set tuned for the living room. To begin with, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors; the LGA1150 socket is powered by the same simple 2+1 phase VRM. The CPU socket is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory; and a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot (as PCIe gen 3.0 is outside the platform's feature-set). A pair of legacy PCI slots and a PCI-Express 2.0 x1 make for the rest of the expansion area.

The H81 PCH gives out two each of SATA 6 Gb/s and SATA 3 Gb/s ports. With the help of an additional VLI-made USB 3.0 host controller, the board features a total of six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by header). Display connectivity includes dual-link DVI, D-Sub (VGA), DisplayPort, and HDMI. 8-channel HD audio with optical (TOSLINK) SPDIF output, driven by Realtek ALC892 CODEC; and gigabit Ethernet, driven by Realtek 8111F controller, make for the rest of the connectivity. COM and LPT ports are given out by headers. The board is driven by AMI Aptio UEFI BIOS, backed by GIGABYTE's dual-UEFI technology. We expect this one to go for around $60.

Realtek Announces Low Power Consumption USB Ethernet Controller Solutions

Realtek Semiconductor Corp., one of the world's leading network and multimedia IC providers, announced today its USB 3.0-to-Gigabit Ethernet controller. The RTL8153 will target Ultrabook, Tablet, IPC, and Motherboard applications, and support the latest system platforms and features. Alongside ultra low power consumption and package size, the RTL8153 also offers simplified design-in with very low RBOM. It is pin-to-pin compatible with the current USB2.0-to-10/100M RTL8152B.

Realtek also provides an industrial version of the USB3.0 GbE Controller (RTL8153I) that meets heavier demands required for industrial use and features increased operating temperature range (-40 to 85°C) and support for IEEE 1588. The feature rich RTL8152B/RTL8153 USB-to-Ethernet controllers support the latest power saving scheme 'LPM/LTM', which is ideal for the Intel Shark Bay platform and for AOAC for Windows 8 from Microsoft.

Gigabyte Rolls Out 990FXA-UD3 Rev. 4

Gigabyte rolled out the fifth revision to its 990FXA-UD3 socket AM3+ motherboard, which possibly heralds a series of upgrades to the company's existing socket AM3+ motherboard SKUs. The 990FXA-UD3 Rev. 4 features a host of changes over its UEFI-equipped predecessor, beginning with a refreshed 10-phase CPU VRM (Digital Power Engine), a different selection of chokes, capacitors, and MOSFETs, newer VRM and chipset heatsinks capable of handling higher thermal loads, and Gigabyte's newest UEFI setup program. The board is otherwise identical to the 990FXA-UD3 Rev 3.

Designed with support for AMD FX "Vishera" processors out of the box, the 990FXA-UD3 Rev. 4 features a split power-plane 10-phase CPU VRM, with chokes that don't whine under load, and lower footprint MOSFETs. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2133 MHz memory, and the AMD 990FX northbridge. This chip gives out two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, and two PCI-Express 2.0 x4 slots (physical x16). Two PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and a legacy PCI make for the rest of its expansion. All six SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the SB950 southbridge are assigned as internal ports, while a Marvell 9172 controller handles two eSATA 6 Gb/s. The board offers a total of four USB 3.0 ports, driven by EJ168 controllers by Etron. 8-channel HD audio driven by Realtek ALC889 CODEC, and a gigabit Ethernet interface driven by Realtek 8111F, cover the rest of its connectivity. Since it's a revision to an existing SKU, we expect it to be priced the same, around $140.

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.

GIGABYTE Rolls Out 990FXA-UD7 Rev 3.0, with Updated Feature-Set

GIGABYTE created UEFI-equipped revisions of most of its socket AM3+ motherboards with the advent of FX "Vishera" processors last year, but held back with its flagship motherboard for the platform, the 990FXA-UD7. The company released an updated revision of the motherboard, dubbed 990FXA-UD7 Rev 3.0, completely skipping "Rev 2.0." While the new board is essentially laid out similar to its predecessor, a lot has changed.

To begin with, its based on GIGABYTE's newer (though not latest) Ultra Durable 4 construction. A 10-phase high-amperage VRM powers the AM3+ socket, which appears to be ready for AMD's FX-9000 series CPUs for overclockers. The CPU VRM uses driver-MOSFETs, although not quite the PowIRStage chippery we find on Ultra Durable 5 motherboards. A thicker, chunkier heatsink is used to cool these driver-MOSFETs and the AMD 990FX northbridge. This cluster of heatsinks is connected to the one that cools the AMD SB950 southbridge over a heat pipe. The AM3+ socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, which support up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2000+ MHz memory.
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