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ASRock Unveils its First Socket FM2+ Motherboards Based on AMD A88X Chipset

ASRock unveiled its first socket FM2+ motherboards, ready for the upcoming A-Series "Kaveri" APUs, and backwards-compatible with A-Series "Richland" and "Trinity" ones. Among the most notable of ASRock's FM2+ products are the FM2A88X-Extreme6+ and the FM2A88M-Extreme4+. The former is a feature-rich ATX form-factor offering, while the latter isn't too far behind with its feature-set, albeit in the micro-ATX form-factor. The FM2A88X-Extreme6+ features a 10-phase VRM to power the APU socket, which is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x8/x8 when both are populated). A third PCI-Express x16 is electrical gen 2.0 x4, and wired to the A88X FCH. Two each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and legacy PCI make for the rest of the expansion.

Storage connectivity on the FM2A88X-Extreme6+ includes seven SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one eSATA 6 Gb/s. Display connectivity includes dual-link DVI, DisplayPort 1.2, and possibly HDMI 2.0. 8-channel HD audio with optical SPDIF output, gigabit Ethernet, and six USB 3.0 ports. Moving on, the FM2A88M-Extreme4+ features a simpler 6-phase VRM for the APU socket, which is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16. The other long slot is electrical gen 2.0 x4. One each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI make for the rest of its expansion. Display connectivity includes dual-link DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI (2.0?). Four USB 3.0 ports, 8-channel HD audio, and gigabit Ethernet make for the rest of it.

KingSpec 2.5 GB/s PCIe SSD Detailed

In the swarming SSD market, what better way to blast your way from obscurity to worldwide attention, than launching a ludicrously fast SSD? KingSpec unveiled the MC2J677M1T, a PCI-Express SSD that's tested to be capable of sequential speeds as high as 2.5 GB/s (gigabytes per second). Pictured below, the drive is an almost full-height add-on card with PCI-Express 2.0 x8 bus interface. The card seats a high performance SATA 6 Gb/s RAID controller by LSI (under that fan-heatsink), which is wired to eight mSATA 6 Gb/s ports, holding the eight sub-units.

The eight mSATA SSD sub-units on the MC2J677M1T each hold 120 GB of data (totaling 960 GB). Each sub-unit runs a JMicron-made controller, Intel-made MLC NAND flash, and Nanya-made DRAM cache. The LSI RAID controller is designed to be plug-and-play, i.e., the drive is bootable, and you won't need an F6 driver during Windows installation to detect the drive. A quick ATTO benchmark run by TheSSDReview, which has one of these drives, yielded sequential read speeds well past 2,500 MB/s.


Source: TheSSDReview

Intel to Demo SSD Overclocking at IDF 2013

It could soon become possible to overclock the controller and NAND flash of your SSD, if Intel has its way. The company is set to demonstrate how to overclock Intel-branded SSDs using its Xtreme Tuning Utility (XTU), at IDF 2013, which goes underway this September. The item on Intel's IDF itinerary marked "AIOS001" deals with seminars on overclocking Intel's next-generation HEDT (high-end desktop) platforms. X-bit Labs believes Intel could talk about SSD overclocking during that session.

Options to tweak SSDs were discovered when poking around the code of an unreleased XTU version. XTU is a unified software utility by Intel, which lets you tweak CPU, memory, and system cooling on systems running Intel Desktop Boards. Among the things end-users should be able to tweak, apart from the controller clock-speed, are the NAND flash bus-speed. Taking away interface overheads and other round-offs, 560 MB/s appears to be the practical maximum bandwidth SATA 6 Gb/s SSDs have been able to achieve. It could always be handy getting your SSD a few dozen more MB/s sequential speeds at the expense of stability.
Sources: MyCE, X-bit Labs

MSI Rolls Out H81-P33 ATX Motherboard

Motherboards in the ATX form-factor, based on entry-level chipsets are a rarity, but one that MSI attempted anyway. The company rolled out its H81-P33 socket LGA1150 motherboard in the 220 x 305 mm ATX form-factor, based on Intel's entry-level H81 Express chipset. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors; and uses a 6-phase VRM to condition it for the CPU. The CPU socket is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1600 MHz memory; and a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot (gen 3.0 is unsupported on H81 platform).

Apart from the PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot, two other PCIe 2.0 x1 slots, and three legacy PCI, make for the rest of the expansion. The H81 Express PCH gives out two each of SATA 6 Gb/s and SATA 3 Gb/s ports, wired out as internal ports on this board. Its four USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports are wired out as two on the rear panel, and two via header. Display outputs include one each of dual-link DVI and D-Sub (VGA). 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, legacy PS/2 mouse/keyboard, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports make for the rest of the connectivity. The board is driven by AMI UEFI BIOS, which supports Windows 8 fast boot. Expect a sub-$100 price-tag on this one.

MX Technology Unveils Driver-less EXPRESS PCIe SSD Card

Mach Xtreme Technology Inc., a worldwide leader in top performance, high reliability and user-friendly designed PC components, today unveiled EXPRESS Series PCIe SSD add-on card. The MX-EXPRESS is implementing advanced dual-controller technology and is based on an unique driver-less design. Based on an innovative design, the low-profile MX-EXPRESS PCIe 2.0 x2 SSD card delivers an enhanced desktop computing experience with much faster application loading times, ultra-fast data access and shorter boot-ups of today's and future high-end desktops featuring PCIe 2x / 4x /16x interface.

The MX-EXPERSS continues our tradition of catering to power users who want the fastest and smoothest performance. It meets extreme data transfer needs, utilizing a PCIe 2.0 bandwidth. This add-on card is fully compliant with AHCI standard and thus is truly plug and play solution where no drivers are needed. The MX-EXPRESS PCIe SSD card puts the very latest storage technology in users' hands and sets a new benchmark for SSD add-on cards. In addition, this series maintains the highest level of read and write performance though the life of the SSD, making it a must have item for any serious enthusiast.

Apacer Introduces 22PIN SATA 6 Gb/s High-Speed Modular SSD

The pursuit of speed for IT products is always endless. Therefore, Apacer devotes to breakthroughs and innovation in technology and is fully prepared to provide the high-speed storage products to customers before the R & D of the next-generation product. Apacer launches the new generation of SDM5 (SATA Disk Module), which adopts the SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) high-speed transmission interface, Toggle DDR 2.0 NAND Flash, as well as the specifically designed 2-Channel bidirectional structure. The sequential read/write speed reaches 315/145 MB/Sec and provide an excellent performance of high speed read, all of which enable the SDM5 to be one of the fastest storage solutions in the next generation IT products.

Apacer SDM5 connector adopts standard 7-pin Signal and 15-pin Power male SATA connector. To provide greater flexibility, Apacer rolls out two new designs - perpendicular (at 90°) and parallel (at 180°) - for 22-pin SATA connectors.

GIGABYTE Readies Cost-effective Socket AM3+ Motherboard with FX-9590 Support

Only a select club of high-end socket AM3+ motherboards come with support for AMD's FX-9590 5.00 GHz eight-core processor, with a gargantuan 220W TDP, and even among some of them, support is 'unofficial,' and through use of beta BIOS (use of which is generally not covered by motherboard warranties). GIGABYTE plans to change that, with a new cost-effective motherboard with out of the box support for high-TDP AMD CPUs, such as the FX-9590, FX-9370, and FX-8770. Called GIGABYTE 970A-UD3P, the motherboard is built in the standard ATX (244 x 305 mm) form-factor.

The 970A-UD3P features an AM3+ CPU socket, with a 10-phase VRM tuned for high-TDP CPUs. It is based on AMD 970 + SB950 chipset. 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 970 northbridge. The northbridge gives out the board's sole PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot, and three other PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots; the other physical x16 slot is electrical x4, and wired to the southbridge. Two legacy PCI slots take seats. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The board provides four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two by header). 8-channel HD audio with optical SPDIF output, gigabit Ethernet, and a PS/2 combo port make for the rest of connectivity. The board is driven by AMI Aptio UEFI BIOS, backed by dual-UEFI. It wouldn't surprise us if GIGABYTE prices this board under $100.

IntelliProp Announces High Performance SATA SSD Flash Controller

IntelliProp, Inc., a leader in innovative semiconductors for Data Storage applications, announced today the availability of a new, SATA SSD (Solid State Drive) Flash Controller, the IPA-SA129-CT. The new device was developed at IntelliProp's Longmont design center using their internally developed cores (SATA, flash, ECC, AES) and logic. The first customer development is preparing for production.

The IPA-SA129-CT is an SSD (Solid State Drive) flash controller for Serial ATA (SATA) applications supporting SATA 6 Gb/s speeds. The IntelliProp IPA-SA129-CT (code named "Apache") features enterprise class ECC:BCH error correction, True End-to-End CRC, AES-XTS-256bit encryption and supports both MLC and SLC flash. The data path for read and write IO's of the IPA-SA129-CT controller is managed by IntelliProp's proprietary hardware accelerator engines to provide consistent, low latency access to user data. This data path architecture focuses on maximizing IOPS and throughput while allowing the embedded processor cycles to be dedicated to garbage collection and background management tasks.

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

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.

GIGABYTE Announces its First Intel H81 Chipset Motherboards

GIGABYTE announced its first socket LGA1150 motherboards based on Intel's new H81 Express chipset for entry-level desktop platforms, among the trio of H81-based motherboards launched today, are the H81M-DS2, H81M-D2V, and H81M-D3V. The three are based on a common compact micro-ATX PCB design measuring 226 x 170 mm, and differ with connectivity features. The H81 Express is basically B85 Express without SBA, and fewer SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and PCIe gen 2.0.

The H81M-DS2 has a focus on legacy connectivity, which could go well with POS (that's point-of-sale, but we won't disagree with what you made out) PCs that are wired to old LPT printers. Its legacy ports include an LPT parallel port, an RS232 COM serial port, separate PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboard. Its lone display output is a D-Sub (VGA). The H81M-D2V sheds LPT while retaining a the RS232 COM port, and a slightly more modern display connectivity that includes D-Sub (VGA) and DVI. It features a single, common PS/2 connector. The H81M-D3V has the least legacy connectivity, with just DVI and D-Sub for display outputs, no rear-panel COM or LPT ports, and a common PS/2 connector.

Intel SSD 530 Series High Performance Client SSDs Launched

Intel launched its newest line of high-performance client SSDs, the SSD 530 series. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch, 80 mm M.2, and mSATA form-factors, with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, these drives come in capacities starting from 80 GB. In the 2.5-inch form-factor, the SSD 530 series is available in 80 GB, 120 GB, 180 GB, 240 GB, 360 GB, and 480 GB variants; the 80 mm M.2 and mSATA form-factors it will be sold to OEMs in 80 GB, 120 GB, 180 GB, and 360 GB.

In its product brief, Intel didn't mention performance numbers specific to capacities, but gave out numbers applicable to all capacities - up to 540 MB/s reads, up to 490 MB/s writes, up to 41,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 80,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The series is built around the latest version of SandForce SF-2281 controller with a few LSI refinements. It's based on Intel's 20 nm MLC NAND flash. The SSD 530 series, at least in the 2.5-inch form-factor, are expected to displace SSD 525 and SSD 520 series models from their current price-points.

Core i7 "Ivy Bridge-E" Arrives Before September 11

Intel's next HEDT (high-end desktop) processors, Core i7 "Ivy Bridge-E," should launch in most global markets before September 11. The launch window for these chips opens on September 4th, and the last of the targeted markets should see these chips launched by the 11th. Among the parts launched, are the Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition flagship, the Core i7-4930K, and the Core i7-4820K.

The i7-4960X is a six-core part, with 3.60 GHz clock speed, 4.00 GHz maximum Turbo Boost, and 15 MB L3 cache; the i7-4930K is the other six-core part, which offers 3.40 GHz clocks, 3.90 GHz maximum Turbo Boost, and 12 MB L3 cache. The i7-4820K is the only quad-core part in the series, featuring 3.70 GHz clocks, 3.90 GHz Turbo Boost, and 10 MB of L3 cache. All three are based on the 22 nm "Ivy Bridge-E" silicon, are built into the LGA2011 package, feature unlocked BClk multipliers, and will run on existing motherboards based on the X79 Express chipset, with BIOS updates. It's also rumored that Intel could launch a new chipset for the platform, which offers more SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and integrated USB 3.0.Source: Hermitage Akihabara

GIGABYTE Intros F2A75M-DS2 Entry-level Socket FM2 Motherboard

GIGABYTE rolled out its newest entry-level socket FM2 motherboard, the F2A75M-DS2. With it, GIGABYTE established AMD A75 chipset and black PCB color as the new baseline for its AMD platform motherboards. Built in the compact micro-ATX form-factor measuring 174 x 226 mm, the motherboard seats AMD A-series APUs and Athlon processors in the FM2 package, with out of the box support for A-series "Richland" APUs.

The F2A75M-DS2 draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, a 4+1 phase VRM powers the APU socket, which is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2133 MHz memory; and a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot. A PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI make for the rest of its expansion. Display outputs include dual-link DVI and D-Sub. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the A75 FCH. Four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel two by header), 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports make for the rest of the connectivity. The board is driven by AMI Aptio UEFI BIOS, backed by GIGABYTE's dual-UEFI technology. Expect this one to go for around $60.

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.

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

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.

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.

ASUS P9X79-E WS Socket LGA2011 Motherboard Launched

First sighted in January, ASUS' P9X79-E WS socket LGA2011 motherboard is ready to take on the new breed of Core "Ivy Bridge-E" and Xeon "Ivy Bridge-EP" lines of processors, even if initial versions of its BIOS don't advertise that support. Based on Intel X79 Express chipset, the board is built in the 305 x 267 mm SSI-CEB form-factor. The LGA2011 socket is powered by a 10-phase VRM, with 2+2 phase memory VRM. The CPU socket is wired to eight DDR3 DIMM slots, four on its either sides, supporting up to 64 GB of quad-channel DDR3-2133 MHz memory. The board features a total of seven PCI-Express x16 slots. 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX are supported.

Storage connectivity on the P9X79-E WS includes two SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the X79 PCH, four SATA 6 Gb/s from a Marvell-made 4-port SATA 6 Gb/s AHCI/RAID controller, four SATA 3 Gb/s from the PCH, and an additional two eSATA 6 Gb/s from an ASMedia-made controller. There are just four USB 3.0 ports on offer, all ASMedia-made controllers. Other connectivity includes two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, both driven by Intel-made controllers, 8-channel HD audio, legacy connectivity such as PS/2 and RS232 COM (header), and a pinch of overclocker-friendly features in the BIOS and on-board. The P9X79-E WS from ASUS is priced at US $499.99.

KingFast Unveils C-Drive 1 TB SSD

Chinese flash memory specialist KingFast announced its take on high-capacity compound SSDs with the C-Drive 1 TB. The drive looks like any other 2.5-inch, 9.5 mm-thick SSD, but encloses two subunits striped in an internal RAID 0 configuration, that's abstract to the host, to which it connects over SATA 6 Gb/s. Each of the two 512 GB subunits is driven by an LSI-SandForce SF-2281 controller. KingFast didn't mention if the RAID controller lets the contraption retain support for the TRIM command, but unless they have something substantial like OCZ VCA, we suspect it doesn't. The SATA 6 Gb/s interface clearly bottlenecks the C-Drive, which offers sequential speeds of 559 MB/s reads with 532 MB/s writes, with 5~10% of the interface bandwidth being consumed by the various overheads.It's still the fastest sequential speeds advertised for a SATA 6 Gb/s drive.

Source: TweakTown

Intel SSD Data Center S3500 Series Gives Cloud Computing Major Boost

Intel Corporation today announced the Intel Solid-State Drive DC S3500 Series, its latest solid-state drive (SSD) for data centers and cloud computing. Designed for read-intensive applications such as Web hosting, cloud computing and data center virtualization, the Intel DC S3500 Series is an ideal replacement for traditional hard disk drives (HDD), allowing data centers to save significant costs by moving toward an all-SSD storage model.

Intel SSDs, including the Intel SSD DC S3500 Series, enable transformational improvements in cloud infrastructure, fostering new and enriching Web experiences. End customers experience quicker Web page loads and improved response times as a result of dramatically improved data access times and reduced latency. IT managers and cloud developers are rewarded with improved total cost of ownership as a result of reduced power consumption, more consistent performance and smaller space requirements. More than half of U.S. businesses now employ cloud computing applications, and IDC predicts that worldwide spending on cloud services will reach $44.2 billion this year. Data centers powering these cloud applications need to quickly, efficiently and reliably scale to handle the tremendous growth of connected users and data traffic.

Galaxy Shows off Z87 Hall of Fame Motherboard

Galaxy extended its top-end Hall of Fame (HOF) brand extension to motherboards, and unveiled its flagship socket LGA1150 motherboard, the Z87 HOF. The board uses two PEX8747 x48 bridge chips, probably chained, to give out four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, all four of which stay at electrical x16, no matter how you populate them. The board uses a 16-phase VRM to power the CPU, which draws power from two 8-pin EPS connectors, in addition to the 24-pin ATX. The board takes advantage of its unique PCI-Express configuration to support 4-way SLI and CrossFireX.

Sadly, the board doesn't impress quite as much with storage connectivity. You get four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, an mSATA/mPCIe, and an eSATA. DVI, HDMI, 8-channel HD audio, and gigabit Ethernet make for the rest of it. The board gives you plenty of overclocking features, such as onboard OC controls, dual-BIOS, voltage measurement-points, an OC module, and a feature-rich UEFI setup program.

Team Unveils Dark L3 Line of Consumer SSDs

Team Group showed off its Dark L3 line of mainstream consumer SSDs. Based on the common SandForce SF-2281 platform, and built in the conventional 9.5 mm-thick 2.5 mm form-factor with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, these drives use 19 nm MLC NAND flash, and come in 60 GB, 120 GB, and 240 GB capacities. All three models offer up to 550 Mb/s reads, the 60 GB and 120 GB variants offers up to 450 MB/s writes, while the 240 GB variant offers up to 500 MB/s. All three models offer 35,000 IOPS 4K random reads, the 60 GB variant offers 25,000 IOPS 4K random writes; while the 120 GB and 240 GB variants offer up to 50,000 IOPS. Most common client SSD features such as TRIM, NCQ, and SMART, are standard issue.

ADATA Also Shows Off XPG SX920 Series Consumer SSDs

In addition to the SX1000 and SX2000 series enterprise SSDs, ADATA showed off its latest consumer SSDs, under the XPG SX920 banner. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and available in 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB capacities, these drives are based on a Marvell-made controller, driving 19 nm MLC NAND flash. These drives offer up to 530 MB/s of sequential reads, up to 480 MB/s sequential writes, and up to 80,000 IOPS 4K random writes. Most common client SSD features such as TRIM, NCQ, and SMART. The drives are backed by 3-year warranties.
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