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MSI Launches the Z170I Gaming Pro AC Mini-ITX Motherboard

MSI launched its premium socket LGA1151 motherboard for the mini-ITX form-factor, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC. The board offers a premium feature-set, including support for dual-channel DDR4 memory, with MSI's DDR4 Boost technology. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it using a 5-phase VRM. Expansion slots include a PCI-Express 3.0 x16, an mPCIe (for the WLAN card), and an M.2 (reverse side of the board), with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring.

Storage connectivity includes an M.2 slot (reverse side of the PCB), with 32 Gb/s PCIe bandwidth, and four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, two of which convert to a SATA-Express 16 Gb/s connector. Display outputs include one each of DisplayPort and HDMI. Networking features include a gigabit Ethernet interface (Intel controller), 802.11 ac, and Bluetooth 4.0. The onboard audio solution packs an 8-channel 115 dBA SNR CODEC. There's also a USB 2.0 port specialized for USB headsets. Six USB 3.0 ports make for the rest of it.

GIGABYTE Unveils BRIX Mini-PC Powered by Celeron N3000 "Braswell" SoC

GIGABYTE unveiled its first BRIX mini-PC that's powered by Intel Celeron N3000 "Braswell" SoC. The 14 nm chip embeds a dual-core CPU based on the "Airmont" micro-architecture, clocked at 1.04 GHz, with a Turbo Boost frequency of 2.08 GHz; and featuring HyperThreading. Also embedded are 1 MB of cache, an 8th generation Intel IGP with 12 execution units, and a dual-channel DDR3L-1600 IMC.

The BRIX measures 56.1 mm x 107.6 mm x 114.4 mm, and is a barebones unit, you'll have to add your own memory and storage. Despite the chip's dual-channel memory interface, BRIX only offers one DDR3L SO-DIMM slot (max 8 GB). Storage connectivity includes an M.2 slot with both PCIe 2.0 x2 and SATA 6 Gb/s wiring, and a 9 mm thick 2.5-inch drive bay with SATA 6 Gb/s. A micro-SD slot is also offered. Network connectivity includes gigabit Ethernet. Display outputs include HDMI and D-Sub. 2-channel HD audio, and four USB 3.0 ports make for the rest of it.

Source: FanlessTech

MSI to Fuse OC and Gaming Lines with Z170 Family

MSI is set to fuse its two premium motherboard lines - OC Series and Gaming, with its upcoming Z170 family. The company's upcoming Z170 XPower Gaming Titanium Edition is the first such product. This stunning looking board features a silvery-white PCB, with the frosty-silver scheme continuing on to the chipset and VRM heatsinks. Its main PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (which are wired to the CPU), feature a chrome tipped slot brace. Built in the ATX form-factor, the Z170 XPower Gaming Titanium Edition draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, 4-pin ATX, and 6-pin PCIe power connectors. It uses a 16-phase VRM with tantalum capacitors, to condition power for the CPU. The CPU is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel memory.

Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16, from which three are wired to the CPU (electrical x16/NC/NC or x8/NC/x8 or x8/x4/x4); the fourth is electrical PCIe 3.0 x4 and wired to the PCH. Three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes two M.2 32 Gb/s slots, two SATA-Express 16 Gb/s, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Display outputs include one each of DisplayPort and HDMI. USB connectivity includes 4 USB 3.1 slots, which include a mixture of type-A and type-C, with a physical type-A port pointing "forwards." MSI AudioBoost 3 audio solution, and Killer E2200 NIC make for the rest of its connectivity. The board features a detachable module with OC controls, called the OC Dashboard. This plugs into headers around the voltage measurement points. You also get automatic overclocking via a rotary knob. MSI will launch this board in its first wave of socket LGA1151 motherboards.

Skylake iGPU Gets Performance Leap, Incremental Upgrade for CPU Performance

With its 6th generation Core "Skylake" processors, Intel is throwing in everything it's got, into increasing performance of the integrated graphics. This is necessitated not by some newfound urge to compete with entry-discrete GPUs from NVIDIA or AMD, but a rather sudden increase in display resolutions, after nearly a decade of stagnation. Notebook and tablet designers are wanting to cram in higher resolution displays, such as WQHD (2560 x 1440), 4K (3840 x 2160), and beyond, and are finding it impossible to achieve them without discrete graphics. This is what Intel is likely after. The aftereffect of this effort would be that the iGPU will be finally capable of playing some games at 720p or 900p resolutions, with moderate eye-candy. Games such as League of Legends should be fairly playable, even at 1080p. Intel claims that its 9th generation integrated graphics will over a 50% performance increment over the previous generation.

Moving on to CPU, and the performance-increase is a predictable 10-20% single/multi-thread CPU performance, over "Broadwell." This is roughly similar to how "Haswell" bettered "Ivy Bridge," and how "Sandy Bridge" bettered "Lynnfield." Intel will provide platform support on some of its "Skylake-U" ultraportable variants, for much of the modern I/O used by today's tablets and notebooks, which required third-party controllers, and which competing semi-custom SoCs natively offer, such as eMMC 5.0, SDIO 3.0, SATA 6 Gb/s, PCIe gen 3.0, and USB 3.0. Communications are also improved, with 2x 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.1, and WiDi 6.0.

Source: FanlessTech

GIGABYTE's Next Gaming 3 Motherboard Pictured

Here's the first picture of GIGABYTE's upcoming Gaming 3 motherboard. We're not allowed to name the chipset, that's as well-guarded a secret as Coca Cola's recipe, so you'll just have to use your imagination. This socket LGA1151 motherboard, is designed to strike a price-features sweetspot, and supports 2-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, and offers a 7-phase CPU VRM. The socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8, when both are populated). A third PCI-Express x16 slot (electrical gen 3.0 x4), is wired to the PCH, along with three other PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots.

Storage connectivity includes two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, three SATA-Express 16 Gb/s, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Among the USB connectivity are two USB 3.1 ports (with at least one type-C port), at least eight USB 3.0 ports (from which four are given out via headers), and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports. The AMP-UP audio solution combines a 115 dBA SNR CODEC with ground-layer isolation, an OPAMP tuned for gaming and music, audio-grade capacitors, and EMI shielding. Networking is care of a Killer E2200 chip. Display outputs include D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI. GIGABYTE-exclusive Dual-UEFI BIOS is featured. Also offered is TurboOverclock+, a hardware-based overclock automation and stability testing system. This board will be a part of GIGABYTE's first wave of next-generation motherboards. It will include keys to some cool World of Tanks DLC.

OCZ Announces the Trion 100 Cost-effective SSD Line

OCZ announced the Trion 100, a new lineup of cost-effective SSD for first-time users graduating from HDDs, and for those who want fast read-intensive drives to replace storage HDDs in their systems. Some extremely low price-per-gigabyte figures build their case. The drive features 19 nm TLC NAND flash chips made by Toshiba, driven by a controller also made by Toshiba. This controller features an SLC-caching tech that deals with a small portion of the TLC NAND flash as SLC (by storing just one bit per cell), which has the maximum sequential transfer performance. The controller juggles hot-data in and out of this portion from the rest of the TLC area. Other controller features include DEVSLEEP mode support. In this mode, the drive draws just 6 mW of power. Other essentials such as TRIM and NCQ are also featured.

OCZ Trion 100 comes in four capacities - 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB, priced at US $56.99, $87.99, $184.99, and $369.99, respectively. All four variants offer sequential read speeds of up to 550 MB/s, while the maximum sequential-write speeds are rated at 450 MB/s, 520 MB/s, 530 MB/s, and 530 MB/s, respectively. The maximum 4K random-read performance for the 120 GB variant is rated at 79,000 IOPS; while the other three offer up to 90,000 IOPS. Random-write performance figures for the four variants are 25,000 IOPS, 43,000 IOPS, 54,000 IOPS, and 64,000 IOPS, respectively. The drives are built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gb/s interface. The drives ship with OCZ's SSDGuru software that lets you monitor the drive's health, update its firmware, and wipe it. OCZ is offering a 3-year warranty with these drives.



Read our review of the OCZ Trion 100 480GB.

ASUS Intros N3150-C and N3050-C Celeron "Braswell" Mini-ITX Motherboards

ASUS introduced the N3150-C and N3050-C, two mini-ITX motherboards based on the Intel Celeron quad-core N3150 and N3050 SoCs, respectively. The two SoCs are based on the "Braswell" silicon, embedding quad-core or dual-core CPUs based on the 64-bit x86 "Airmont" CPU micro-architecture. The dual-core N3050 features HyperThreading, enabling four logical CPUs, while the quad-core N3150 lacks it. Both chips also embed dual-channel DDR3L IMCs, supporting up to 8 GB of memory; 8th generation Intel graphics with 12 execution units, and TDPs under 6W.

The N3150-C and N3050-C from ASUS feature a common PCB design, with 24+4 pin power inputs, two full-size DDR3 DIMM slots, a single open-ended PCI-Express 2.0 x4 expansion slot, an mPCIe slot, two each of SATA 6 Gb/s, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 ports, 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and D-Sub display outputs; and legacy connectivity that includes two PS/2 ports, and a serial (RS-232) port.

Source: FanlessTech

GIGABYTE Outs Cost-effective P85-Gaming 3 Motherboard

For those looking to build a gaming rig on a shoestring budget, yet want a "gamer-centric" motherboard that has good onboard audio, GIGABYTE launched just the thing - the P85-Gaming 3. This socket LGA1150 motherboard is based on Intel B85 Express chipset, and derives the "P" in its model name from the fact that it has minimal connectivity for its integrated graphics (just one HDMI port), since its target buyers use discrete graphics cards anyway. The board is built in the slim (190 mm wide) ATX form-factor, and draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. The CPU is powered by a basic 4-phase VRM.

Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 3.0 x16, a second x16 slot that's electrical gen 2.0 x4 and wired to the PCH; and two each of PCIe 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s and two SATA 3 Gb/s. Its onboard audio solution features a Realtek ALC892 CODEC, backed by audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, a headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation. Gigabit Ethernet, and four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two by headers), make for the rest of it. Expect an attractive sub-$100 price tag.

EVGA Readies X99 Micro2 LGA2011v3 Motherboard

EVGA is giving finishing touches to the X99 Micro2, is latest socket LGA2011v3 motherboard, in the micro-ATX form-factor. The board is characterized by support for two USB 3.1 ports, including a type-C port. Most of the feature-set from the original X99 Micro, is carried over. This includes a 10-phase CPU VRM, three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (full-time x16/x16/x8), a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, with NVMe BIOS support, making up its expansion area. The board supports up to 64 GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory. Storage connectivity on the X99 Micro2 includes ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports, apart from the 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. Other modern connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (at least one of which is type-C), six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by header), 8-channel HD audio with ground-layer isolation, and a headphones amp; and gigabit Ethernet. EVGA didn't announce pricing or availability.

High-value ASRock Z170 Extreme4 Motherboard Detailed

ASRock is seeking to strike a cost-features sweet-spot around the $130-150 mark with the new Z170 Extreme4 motherboard. ASRock didn't finalize the board's heatsink design, but showed it off at Computex. This ATX form-factor, socket LGA1151 motherboard based on Intel's Z170 Express chipset, features four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-3400 MHz memory. A 10-phase VRM powers the CPU. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors; and with this generation, is appears that ASRock has finally got the onboard electrical distribution right; with the board lacking any additional power inputs.

Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16/NC or x8/x8), one PCI-Express x16 (electrical x4) wired to the PCH, and three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. Much like the beefier Z170 Extreme7, this board offers three SATA-Express 16 Gb/s ports, but just one M.2 (32 Gb/s) slot; and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. All other essentials for this generation are covered, with two USB 3.1 ports (one each of Type-C and Type-A), and eight USB 3.0 (four on the rear panel, four by headers); 115 dBA SNR onboard audio with a headphones amp and ground-layer isolation; and a single gigabit Ethernet interface (Intel controller).

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.

Silicon Motion Announces SM2256 SATA 6 Gbps SSD Controller

Silicon Motion Technology Corporation, a global leader in designing and marketing NAND flash controllers for solid state storage devices, today announced that its SM2256 SATA (6 Gb/s) client SSD controller now supports Micron's new 16 nm 128 gigabit (Gb) TLC NAND flash, enabling high-performance and unprecedented reliability for a new class of cost-effective TLC-based SSDs.

SM2256, the world's first SSD controller supporting Micron's 16nm TLC NAND, offers the best performance and cost-optimized four channel SATA 6 Gb/s client SSD controller in the market. Using Micron's 128 Gb 16 nm TLC NAND, the SM2256 delivers up to 540 MB/s sequential read performance and 460 MB/s sequential write, as well as up to 90,000 random read IOPS and 80,000 random write IOPS. Leveraging Silicon Motion's proprietary NANDXtend error-correcting code (ECC) technology, the SM2256 enhances the endurance and retention of TLC NAND, delivering more than three times better reliability for TLC SSD as compared to the existing BCH ECC schemes.

BIOSTAR Shows off Hi-Fi B150Z5 with DDR3 and DDR4 Memory Slots

Here's one of the first glimpses of a socket LGA1151 motherboard featuring both DDR3 and DDR4 memory slots, the Hi-Fi B150Z5 by BIOSTAR. The board supports up to 16 GB of DDR3L-1600, and up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133. The board is driven by Intel's mid-range B150 Express chipset, and should do just fine for gaming builds with single graphics cards. Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 3.0 x16, one PCIe 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), three legacy PCI, and one PCIe 2.0 x1. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s (from which two wire out as SATA-Express 16 Gb/s). BIOSTAR's Hi-Fi 6-channel onboard audio solution, gigabit Ethernet (Intel controller), and six USB 3.0 ports, make for the rest of its connectivity. The board features dual-UEFI BIOS.

ADATA XPG SX930 Performance SSD Detailed

ADATA unveiled its new high-performance 2.5-inch SATA SSD, the XPG SX930. Based on a JMicron-made controller, wired to 19 nm MLC NAND flash, the drive comes in capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB; with sequential transfer rates of up to 565 MB/s reads, with up to 465 MB/s writes; and 4K random access performance of up to 80,000 IOPS reads with up to 70,000 IOPS writes. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, the drive supports modern SSD features, such as TRIM and NCQ. The company didn't disclose pricing, but mentioned that the drive will come with 5-year warranties.

MSI Next Generation GAMING Motherboards Pictured

MSI's third-generation "GAMING" series motherboards are almost ready, and the company displayed two of them at Computex. The first is a mid-range socket LGA1151 motherboard, the MSI Z170A-G45 Gaming, and the X99A-GODLIKE Gaming (we kid you not). It looks like MSI is doing away with the "Gaming 3/5/7/9" nomenclature in the wake of GIGABYTE copying it. The Z170A-G41 Gaming offers a decent feature-set for gaming PC builds with up to two graphics cards. This includes an 10-phase CPU VRM, four DDR4 DIMM slots (dual-channel DDR4), three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, two M.2 slots (32 Gb/s and 10 Gb/s); SATA-Express 16 Gb/s, six SATA 6 Gb/s, Killer E2205 networking, and 8-channel HD audio with ground-layer isolation and audio-grade capacitors.

The X99A-GODLIKE Gaming is a different beast. Topping off the company's LGA2011v3 lineup, this board offers top of the line components. It begins with a 12-phase VRM that draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin ATX power connectors; five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots with support for 4-way SLI/CrossFire, 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, and an EMI shield that covers a large part of the front PCB area (a la ASUS TUF), and gaming-centric connectivity that includes two gigabit interfaces, 8-channel audio with onboard 600Ω headphones amp, 802.11 ac Killer ACK Double-Shot WLAN, and USB 3.1 type-C ports.

ASUS X99M-WS Micro-ATX Motherboard Pictured

Here's the first picture of ASUS X99M-WS, an upcoming workstation-grade socket LGA2011v3 motherboard based on the Intel X99 Express chipset, which the company claims will be the "most powerful" motherboard of its kind in this form-factor. The board draws power from 24-pin ATX, and two 8-pin EPS power connectors, with an optional 6-pin PCIe power input to stabilize power to add-on cards. The socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 128 GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory; and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 connectors.

Other expansion slots include one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4) and a PCI-Express 2.0 x1. Storage connectivity includes eight SATA 6 Gb/s, and a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. Other connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, two gigabit Ethernet interfaces (Intel-made controllers); 802.11 ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, 8-channel HD audio with a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, ground-layer isolation, and audio-grade capacitors. The board supports certain 1P Intel Xeon models in addition to Core i7 ones.

GIGABYTE Also Shows off B150M-D3H Micro-ATX Motherboard

The B150M-D3H, based on Intel's mid-range B150 Express chipset, offers a neat feature-set at a potentially sub-$100 price point. This full-width micro-ATX board offers a 6-phase CPU VRM, four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting dual-channel DDR4-2666 memory, expansion slots that include one PCI-Express 3.0 x16, two legacy PCI, and one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4). Storage connectivity includes a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, two SATA-Express 16 Gb/s ports, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI make up the display outputs; six USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet and 8-channel HD audio make for the rest of it.

ASUS Unveils N3150M-E Motherboard with Celeron "Braswell" SoC

ASUS unveiled a value micro-ATX motherboard based on the new Intel Celeron N3150 SoC "Braswell." This 14 nanometer chip embeds a quad-core CPU based on the "Airmont" architecture, an integrated GPU with 12 execution units, and a dual-channel DDR3L-1600 memory controller, apart from platform core-logic. The board draws power from a 24-pin ATX and 4-pin CPU power connectors.

The SoC, with its 6W rated TDP, is cooled by a fan-less heatsink. The SoC is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots, a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot, and two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots, apart from the board's I/O. Storage connectivity includes two SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Display outputs include HDMI and D-Sub. Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports, and onboard audio with audio-grade capacitors and ground-layer isolation; make for the rest of its modern connectivity.

Gigabyte Intros Z97X-Game Plus Motherboard

From a sea of black and red, Gigabyte brushed a refreshing stroke of green, with its latest socket LGA1150 motherboard, the Z97X-Game Plus. Designed to compete with $150-ish mainline products such as ASUS Z97-Pro Gamer, which are loaded with gamer-centric features and product design, though barely missing premium gaming brands such as ROG or G1.Gaming; the new Z97X Game Plus could be particularly appealing to gamers with "green" (read: reference NVIDIA) gaming PC builds. The Z97X-Game Plus is a socket LGA1150 motherboard, with out of the box support for 5th gen Core "Broadwell" processors, in addition to Core "Haswell."

The board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. An 8-phase VRM conditions it for the CPU, which is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4). Other expansion slots include three PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and one legacy PCI. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports (from which two wire out as SATA-Express 10 Gb/s), and one M.2 (PCIe 2.0 x2 physical layer). Notable features include Gigabyte's famed AMP-UP onboard audio, with an EMI-shielded 115 dBA SNR CODEC, ground-layer isolation, audio-grade electrolytic caps, and an OPAMP with tuning for music and gaming; Broadcom Killer E2200 gigabit Ethernet, six USB 3.0 ports, and dual-UEFI BIOS. Expect a $140-150 pricing.

Intel Unveils DC S3510 SSDs for the Data Center

Intel quietly announced availability of its DC S3510 SSDs for data centers. Built in the 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, these drives feature SET (standard-endurance technology) MLC NAND flash built by IMFlash Technology, on a 16 nanometer node, which can take in up to 880 TBW. Its controller offers native 256-bit AES encryption. The drive is available in capacities of 80 GB, 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB, 800 GB, 1.2 TB, and 1.6 TB. The table below shows sequential and 4K random access performance figures by the company for each model. The drives are backed by 5-year warranties, and are available in the OEM channel. Its target consumers are low-cost dedicated hosting providers.

Fixstars Unveils the Highest-Capacity 2.5-inch SSD

Fixstars unveiled the world's highest capacity SSD in the 2.5-inch form-factor, with a SATA 6 Gb/s interface, the Fixstars SSD-6000M. This drive offers 6,000 GB of unformatted space, and uses 15 nm MLC NAND flash chips. The underlying controller is unknown, but the drive offers reasonably high sequential transfer speeds of up to 540 MB/s read, with up to 520 MB/s writes. The drive supports modern SSD features, such as NCQ, TRIM, and SMART. The drive is 9.5 mm thick, and may not fit in certain kinds of notebooks. The company plans to launch the drive some time in July, 2015, backed by a 3-year warranty.

Colorful iGame-Z170 Motherboard Pictured

Here is the first picture of Colorful's premium socket LGA1151 motherboard, the iGame-Z170. The company plans to carve out at lease three unique SKUs out of this PCB (second picture below), the iGame-Z170 being the base model. As its name suggests, the board is based on Intel's upcoming Z170 Express chipset, and is designed for 6th generation Core "Skylake" processors. Some variants of this board, such as the iGame-Z170U, will feature DDR4 DIMM slots (up to 64 GB), while others will feature DDR3 (up to 32 GB).

The board offers a pretty decent feature-set, including a 14-phase CPU VRM, two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x8/x8 when both are populated) wired to the CPU, a third PCI-Express x4 slot wired to the PCH, three other PCI-Express x1 slots; storage connectivity that includes six SATA 6 Gb/s, one SATA-Express, and one M.2 10 Gb/s; two USB 3.1 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and a modern onboard audio solution with ground-layer isolation, and audio-grade capacitors. The iGame-Z170 series will launch some time in Q3, 2015. The three will likely be exhibited at Computex 2015, this June.

ASRock Develops Mini-ITX LGA2011v3 Motherboard with Quad-Channel Memory

They've done it! After building the first LGA2011v3 motherboard in the mini-ITX form-factor, letting you cram up to 8 "Haswell" cores into a lunchbox-sized PC, albeit having to make do with just dual-channel memory; ASRock developed the first mini-ITX motherboard with not just LGA2011v3, but also its full quad-channel memory interface, called the EPC612D4I. There's just one rider, which shouldn't really be a dealbreaker - this is a server-grade motherboard, and is bound to be expensive.

The EPC612D4I achieves its quad-channel memory chops by using smaller DDR4 SO-DIMM slots instead of standard-sized DIMM slots. Availability of aftermarket DDR4 SO-DIMM memory is close to non-existent, but that could change with 6th Generation Core processor notebooks hitting the shelves by Holiday 2015. As an enterprise board, it also supports Xeon E5-1600 V3 and E5-2600 V3 processors.

ASRock Unveils X99M-Killer USB 3.1 Socket LGA2011v3 Motherboard

ASRock unveiled its latest socket LGA2011v3 motherboard for Core i7 "Haswell-E" processors, the X99M-Killer USB 3.1. Characterized by its micro-ATX form-factor and two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports, the board offers a pretty tight feature-set. To begin with, the board draws power from 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and an optional 4-pin Molex. A 12-phase VRM conditions it for the CPU, which is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting quad-channel memory. Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 wired to the CPU, and one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), wired to the PCH.

Storage connectivity on the X99M-Killer USB 3.1 include ten SATA 6 Gb/s, from which two turn into SATA-Express 10 Gb/s, an eSATA 6 Gb/s, and one Ultra M.2 (PCI-Express 3.0 x4 physical-layer). Modern connectivity includes ASRock's Purity Sound 2 onboard audio solution, featuring a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, audio-grade capacitors, a headphones amplifier, and ground-layer isolation on the PCB; two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, one driven by a Killer E2205, and another by Intel i218-V controller; two USB 3.1 ports (type-A connectors), six USB 3.0 (four on the rear panel, two by header), and a pair of low-latency, power-stabilized USB 2.0 ports, meant for gaming mice or keyboards. Also featured is dual-BIOS, with manual switching between two physical EEPROMs. ASRock didn't announce pricing or availability.

ASRock Also Announces 970M Pro3 Micro-ATX Socket AM3+ Motherboard

In addition to the high bang-for-buck Fatal1ty 970 Performance, ASRock announced one of the very few AMD 9-series chipset based socket AM3+ motherboards in the micro-ATX form-factor, the 970M Pro3. Based on the AMD 970 chipset, and built to be priced well under $99, the 970M Pro3 supports AMD FX processors with TDP of up to 125W (that excludes FX-9000 series). Drawing power from a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS, the board offers a 5-phase CPU VRM. Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 2.0 x16, one PCIe 2.0 x16 (electrical x4, wired to the southbridge), and one each of PCIe 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI. Storage connectivity on the 970M Pro3 includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. 6-channel HD audio with ELNA capacitors, gigabit Ethernet, and four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two by header), make for the rest of its modern connectivity. The board is driven by UEFI BIOS.
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