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Drivers from Over 40 Manufacturers Including Intel, NVIDIA, AMD Vulnerable to Privilege Escalation Malware Attacks

Cybersecurity research firm Eclypsium published a report titled "Screwed Drivers," chronicling a critical flaw in the design of modern device driver software from over 40 hardware manufacturers, which allows malware to gain privilege from Ring 3 to Ring 0 (unrestricted hardware access). The long list of manufacturers publishing drivers that are fully signed and approved by Microsoft under its WHQL program, includes big names such as Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, AMI, Phoenix, ASUS, Toshiba, SuperMicro, GIGABYTE, MSI, and EVGA. Many of the latter few names are motherboard manufacturers who design hardware monitoring and overclocking applications that install kernel-mode drivers into Windows for Ring-0 hardware-access.

As part of its study, Eclypsium chronicles three classes of privilege-escalation attacks exploiting device drivers, RWEverything, LoJax (first UEFI malware), SlingShot. At the heart of these are the exploitation of the way Windows continues to work with drivers with faulty, obsolete, or expired signing certificates. Eclypsium hasn't gone into the nuts-and-bolts of each issue, but has briefly defined the three in a DEF CON presentation. The firm is working by several of the listed manufacturers on mitigations and patches, and is under embargo to put out a whitepaper. RWEverything is introduced by Eclypsium as a utility to access all hardware interfaces via software. It works in user-space, but with a one-time installed signed RWDrv.sys kernel-mode driver, acts as a conduit for malware to gain Ring-0 access to your machine. LoJax is an implant tool that uses RWDrv.sys to gain access to the SPI flash controller in your motherboard chipset, to modify your UEFI BIOS flash. Slingshot is an APT with its own malicious driver that exploits other drivers with read/write MSR to bypass driver signing enforcement to install a rootkit.

BIOS ROM Size Limitations Almost Derail AMD's Zen2 Backwards Compatibility Promise

AMD succeeded in delivering on its backwards-compatibility promise for the 3rd generation Ryzen processors on motherboards based on AMD 300-series and 400-series chipsets. This promise was very close to being derailed suggests a community thread on MSI forums. According to MSI representatives active on the forum, the capacity of the SPI flash EEPROM chip that stores the motherboard UEFI firmware is woefully limited to cram in the AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3a microcode on many of its motherboards.

The company had to make several changes to its UEFI BIOS package that's currently being circulated as a "beta," to accommodate support for 3rd generation Ryzen processors along with AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3a. First, it had to kick out support for A-series and Athlon processors based on the 28 nm "Bristol Ridge" silicon. Second, it had to [and this is a big one], kick the RAID module, breaking SATA RAID on many of its motherboards. Third, it had to replace its feature-rich Click BIOS 5 setup program with a barebones "GSE Lite" Click BIOS program, which lacks many of the features of the original program, and comes with a dull, low-resolution UI. This program still includes some essential MSI-exclusive features such as A-XMP (which translates Intel XMP profiles to AMD-compatible settings), Smart Fan, and M-Flash.

ASUS Z390 Motherboards Automatically Push Software into Your Windows Installation

During testing for our Intel Core i9-9900K review we found out that new ASUS Z390 motherboards automatically install software and drivers to your Windows 10 System, without the need for network access, and without any user knowledge or confirmation. This process happens in complete network-isolation (i.e. the machine has no Internet or LAN access). Our Windows 10 image is based on Windows 10 April 2018 Update and lacks in-built drivers for the integrated network controllers.

Upon first boot, with the machine having no LAN or Internet connectivity, we were greeted by an ASUS-specific window in the bottom right corner of our screen, asking whether we'd like to install the network drivers and download "Armoury Crate". This got us curious and we scanned the system for any files that aren't part of the standard MS Windows installation. We discovered three ASUS-signed files in our Windows 10 System32 folder, which, so it seems, magically appeared on our harddrive out of thin air. Upon further investigation we also found a new, already running, system service called "AsusUpdateCheck."

Intel Platform Vulnerability Lets Malware Erase or Block UEFI Firmware Updates

A new Intel platform vulnerability emerged, chronicled by the company under CVE-2017-5703, dated April 3, which could let malware erase your motherboard UEFI BIOS, or render the EEPROM chip storing it "read-only" forever, preventing future BIOS updates, exploiting vulnerabilities in Intel's implementation of the SPI (serial peripheral interface) on its platforms. The vulnerability affects all Intel processors dating all the way back to 5th generation "Broadwell." The company quietly passed on fixes to its OEM partners to release as BIOS updates.

The vulnerability came to light in the public as Lenovo, Intel's largest OEM partner, deployed BIOS updates for its vulnerable products, while detailing it. Lenovo describes the vulnerability as "the configuration of the system firmware device (SPI flash) could allow an attacker to block BIOS/UEFI updates, or to selectively erase or corrupt portions of the firmware." It goes on to add that "this would most likely result in a visible malfunction, but could in rare circumstances result in arbitrary code execution." Intel said it discovered the vulnerability internally and hasn't noticed any exploits in the wild that take advantage of it. "Issue is root-caused, and the mitigation is known and available," the company said in a security advisory. "To Intel's knowledge, the issue has not been seen externally."

ASUS Announces the TUF Sabertooth 990FX R3.0 Motherboard

ASUS signs off the AMD socket AM3+ platform with a motherboard that's built to last, the TUF Sabertooth 990FX R3.0, its third TUF series motherboard based on the AMD 990FX chipset. The board could be the ideal upgrade for AMD FX processor users wanting to hold on to their builds a few years longer, as it features cutting-edge connectivity, such as four 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (including a type-C port), eight additional 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports (of which four are via headers), a 20 Gb/s M.2 slot with NVMe support, and the very latest VRM innovations ASUS made for the TUF series.

The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and uses a 10-phase VRM to condition it for the CPU. The board supports 220W TDP AMD FX-9000 series CPUs. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and the AMD 990FX northbridge. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, of which three are wired to the 990FX chip, and run at x16/NC/x16 or x16/x8/x8 depending on the way they're populated; while the fourth slot is wired to the SB950 southbridge, and runs at gen 2.0 x4. Storage connectivity includes five SATA 6 Gb/s ports besides the M.2 slot. 8-channel HD audio and gigabit Ethernet (Intel i211V controller) make for the rest of it. The board is driven by UEFI BIOS, and features Windows 10 certification. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Rolls Out BIOS Updates for Next-Generation LGA1151 Processors

ASUS today announced that all 100-series motherboards will now support next-generation Intel Core processors. A quick and easy UEFI BIOS update unleashes the full potential of the next-generation high-performance CPUs for socket LGA 1151, reaffirming ASUS as the BEST leading motherboard brand - Best Selling, Easy to Use, Stable and Trusted. Owners of ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG), Pro Gaming, Signature and TUF Z170, H170, B150 and H110 motherboards are able to take advantage of the easy upgrade to the award-winning ASUS UEFI BIOS, which is available today via the relevant ASUS Support web page.

All ASUS 100-series motherboards that include the ASUS USB BIOS Flashback feature allow users to apply UEFI BIOS updates with ease. For other ASUS 100-series motherboards the necessary UEFI BIOS update takes just one click in an easy-to-use Windows-based BIOS updater application, ASUS EZ Update, which is available to download from the ASUS website.

AMD Outs Video BIOS Update for R9 Fury Series with Improved UEFI Support

AMD released an official video-card BIOS update for the Radeon R9 Fury X and Radeon R9 Nano graphics cards, which improve UEFI BIOS support. End users on our forums are also reporting improved overclocking stability. UEFI support at the video-BIOS level is required for the card to run without CSM at the system-BIOS end, in turn enabling useful OS features such as Secure Boot. Several of AMD's add-in board (AIB) partners already ship their cards with UEFI-ready BIOS. AMD is distributing the BIOS as ROM images, and it takes thorough knowledge of how to flash your graphics card's BIOS, to make use of these ROM images.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Video BIOS Update for Radeon R9 Nano | Radeon R9 Fury X | From AMD Website

ASUS Announces Support for Upcoming Intel Core i7 X-Series Processors

ASUS today announced support for the upcoming Intel Core i7 X-Series processors and Intel Xeon processors, with UEFI BIOS updates available immediately for ASUS X99 Signature, TUF, and ROG Series motherboards.

Easy BIOS updates with ASUS USB BIOS Flashback and EZ Flash 2
ASUS X99 Series motherboards include the renowned ASUS USB BIOS Flashback feature, which enables users to apply UEFI BIOS updates with ease. This tool downloads the latest BIOS to a USB flash drive, enabling users to update the ASUS UEFI BIOS quickly and easily. The motherboard does not even need to have a CPU or DRAM modules in place; simply connect the power supply, plug in a FAT32 formatted USB drive, press the USB BIOS Flashback or ROG Connect button and then sit back and wait until the flash process is complete.

GIGABYTE Unveils the 990FX-Gaming Socket AM3+ Motherboard

GIGABYTE unveiled its flagship socket AM3+ motherboard featuring an up-to-date feature-set, the 990FX-Gaming. The board is part of the new wave of socket AM3+ motherboards AMD promised, in its recent AMD FX + Wraith release, to serve up modern connectivity such as USB 3.1 and M.2 slots with NVMe support. The board supports 220W FX-9000 series processors, in addition to the latest FX-8370, out of the box. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it using a 10-phase VRM.

The AM3+ socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2400 MHz memory; and the AMD 990FX north bridge. This chip puts out two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots. The board's third PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot is electrical x4, and wired to the SB950 southbridge. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and an M.2 (20 Gb/s) slot. The board features GIGABYTE's top of the line AMP-Up onboard audio implementation, including a 110 dBA SNR CODEC, a TI Burr Brown OPA2134 user-replaceable OPAMP, Nichicon Muse capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. Networking is care of a Killer E2201 controller. Modern connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports, and four USB 3.0 ports. The board is driven by UEFI BIOS, and features GIGABYTE's dual-UEFI tech. GIGABYTE is pricing the 990FX-Gaming at US $150.

GIGABYTE Unveils G1.Sniper B7 Socket LGA1151 Motherboard

If you've got a "green-thumb" with PC building, GIGABYTE has you covered, with its latest green+black motherboard, the G1.Sniper-B7. This socket LGA1151 motherboard, designed for 6th generation Core "Skylake" processors, is based on Intel B150 Express chipset, and should target a mid-range price around the $100-120 mark. The board is fit for single graphics card builds. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and offers a 7-phase CPU VRM. The CPU is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. The second x16 slot is electrical gen 3.0 x4, and wired to the B150 PCH. Two each of PCIe 3.0 x1 and legacy PCI, and an mPCIe 3.0 x1, with preparation for WLAN antennae on the rear panel, make for the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity includes one each of M.2 32 Gb/s and SATA-Express 16 Gb/s; and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Networking is care of an Intel i219V gigabit Ethernet controller. The AMP-Up onboard audio solution combines a 115 dBA SNR CODEC with ground-layer isolation, audio-grade electrolytic caps, and a user-replaceable OPAMP. The board offers three USB 2.0 DAC-UP ports, that are modified for USB headsets, to offer stable current with no E/M noise. Four USB 3.0 ports are on offer, two on the rear panel, two by header. Among its other cool features are a green LED strip that runs through its length near the front, and dual-UEFI BIOS.

GIGABYTE Intros Z170N-Gaming 5 Mini-ITX Motherboard

GIGABYTE rolled out its premium SFF gaming PC motherboard that supports 6th generation Core processors, the Z170N-Gaming 5. Bearing the company's coveted G1.Gaming branding, this mini-ITX motherboard supports socket LGA1151 processors, with dual-channel DDR4 memory. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU using a 5-phase VRM. The CPU is wired to two full-size DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory; and the board's lone expansion slot, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16, with a reinforcing brace.

Storage connectivity on the Z170N-Gaming 5 includes an M.2 slot with 32 Gb/s bandwidth (reverse side of the board), two SATA-Express 16 Gb/s ports, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Display outputs include dual-link DVI and HDMI. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (one type-C, one type-A), five USB 3.0 ports (three on the rear panel, two by header), and four USB 2.0/1.1 ports by headers. Network connectivity includes gigabit Ethernet (Killer E2200 controller), 802.11 ac WLAN (up to 867 Mbps), and Bluetooth 4.2. The onboard 8-channel audio solution combines a 115 dBA SNR CODEC with audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, and a headphones amp. Dual-UEFI BIOS makes for the rest of it. Expect premium pricing that's just north of $150.

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.

GIGABYTE Enables Support for Upcoming 5th Gen Intel Core Processors

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce their entire line-up of Z97 and H97 motherboards now support the soon-to-launch 5th Generation Intel Core processors.

GIGABYTE engineers have tested and validated all GIGABYTE 9 series motherboards including Z97 and H97 chipset-based motherboards to ensure optimal performance for 5th Generation Intel Core processors. Users wanting to take advantage of all the features of 5th Gen Intel Core processors have to offer at launch, simply need to download the latest UEFI BIOS from the GIGABYTE website.

ASUS Announces that All its Z97 and X99 Motherboards Support NVMe

ASUS today announced that it is the world's first motherboard brand to support all NVM Express (NVMe) storage devices via a simple UEFI BIOS update and optional ASUS Hyper Kit expansion card.

The free UEFI BIOS update enable all ASUS X99 and Z97 motherboards to be compatible with the latest NVMe storage devices, including those with PCI Express (PCIe) and M.2 (PCIe) interfaces. All ASUS X99 motherboards are also compatible with the latest 2.5-inch NVMe SFF-8639 solid-state drives (SSDs), via the exclusive ASUS Hyper Kit expansion card - for ultimate data-transfer bandwidth up to 32 Gbit/s.

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.

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.

ASUS Announces BIOS Updates for 5th Gen Core Processor Support

ASUS today announced that all 9 Series motherboards offer support for 5th-generation Intel Core processors, assuring a quick, safe, and smooth upgrade - immediately. The easy-to-use ASUS USB BIOS Flashback or BIOS Updater tools enable users to update the UEFI BIOS quickly, unleashing the great performance of the latest high-performance CPUs.

ASUS 9 Series motherboards that include the renowned ASUS USB BIOS Flashback feature enable users to apply UEFI BIOS updates with incredible ease. This innovative tool downloads the latest BIOS to a USB flash drive, enabling users to update the award-winning ASUS UEFI BIOS quickly and easily. The motherboard does not even need to have a CPU or DRAM modules in place: users can simply connect the power supply, plug in their USB drive, press the USB BIOS Flashback or Reset button and then sit back and wait - there's nothing else to do.

Gigabyte Rolls Out H97-DS3H Motherboard

Gigabyte rolled out the entry-level H97-DS3H socket LGA1150 motherboard. Built in the ATX form-factor (305 mm x 190 mm), and based on Intel H97 Express chipset, the board features a mixture of legacy and modern connectivity that make it fit for office desktop builds. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors. It features a super-simple 2+1 phase CPU VRM. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16. Other expansion slots include PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), and two each of PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI.

Storage connectivity on the H97-DS3H include six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Display outputs include one each of dual-link DVI, D-Sub (VGA), and HDMI. Legacy connectivity includes PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, COM (serial) and LPT (parallel) headers. On to the more modern connectivity, and you get gigabit Ethernet, 6-channel HD audio, four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two by headers), and a number of USB 2.0 ports. The board is driven by UEFI BIOS. Gigabyte dropped in its dual-UEFI BIOS redundancy. Expect a sub-$100 pricing.

ASRock X99 OC Formula Pictured

Here are the first pictures of ASRock X99 OC Formula, the Nick Shih-designed socket LGA2011-3 motherboard for professional overclockers. Designed for CPU and memory overclocking, apart from running up to four graphics cards in multi-GPU configs, the board can supply a claimed "1300W" of maximum CPU power, using its 12-phase CPU VRM. Memory is care of a 4-phase VRM. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, 4-pin ATX, and 4-pin Molex power connectors, to stabilize the various power domains.

The LGA2011-3 socket is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, which can support up to 64 GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory. The board features BIOS options that can let you crank DRAM frequencies over 4000 MHz. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16/x8/x16/x8), an mPCIe 2.0 x1 (for WLAN cards), and one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (physical x4). Storage connectivity includes two M.2 slots, from which one is an "Ultra M.2" slot, which is wired to the CPU, and features physical-layer PCI-Express 3.0 x4; and ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The board offers ten USB 3.0 ports (six on the rear panel, four by headers). 8-channel HD audio with audio-grade capacitors and ground-layer isolation; two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, at least one of which is Intel-made, make for the rest of it.

Colorful Announces iGame Z97 Ymir-X Motherboard

Colorful officially launched its flagship socket LGA1150 motherboard, a fruition of its partnership with Chaintech, the iGame Z97 Ymir-X. This motherboard is also being referred to as "Flame Warrior" in some markets. The motherboard was first unveiled at Computex 2014, early this June. Built in the standard ATX form-factor, this board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, and 8-pin EPS power connectors. A highlight here is its 16-phase CPU VRM, which uses driver-MOSFETs, and Poscap capacitors. The CPU is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical x8/x4/x4 when all three are populated, x8/x8 when two are, and x16 when one is.) Four PCIe 2.0 x1 slots make up the rest of its expansion area. Overclockers are offered on-board base-clock tweaking switches, auto-OC buttons, and PCIe slot power gating, apart from a feature-rich UEFI BIOS, with manually selectable dual-BIOS.

Storage connectivity on the iGame Z97 Ymir-X includes eight SATA 6 Gb/s, and an mSATA 6 Gb/s that doubles up as mPCIe. Display outputs include dual-link DVI, D-Sub, HDMI, and DisplayPort. Bolstering its gaming PC credentials, are its Killer E2200 gaming-grade gigabit Ethernet, and 8-channel "Voice Gamer" HD audio with audio-grade capacitors, a headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation that prevents electrical noise with headsets plugged in. Six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by header), and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports. Colorful speaks of a new dense-weave fiber PCB that's resilient to humidity. Colorful plans to market this motherboard in the Asia-Pacific and Europe markets.

ASUS Enables Overclocking on H97, H87, B85 and H81 Series Motherboards

ASUS today announced that its H97, H87, B85 and H81 Series motherboards are able to overclock the latest Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition processor (G3258), 4th-generation Intel Core K Series ('Haswell') and new 4th-generation Intel Core K Series ('Haswell Refresh') processors. The combination of the Pentium Anniversary Edition processor and non-Z chipsets represents the best choice for mainstream overclocking, delving both great value and superb performance.

The overclocking features of the Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition processor, 4th-generation and new 4th-generation Intel Core K Series processors have traditionally been limited to Intel Z chipsets. With ASUS H97, H87, B85 and H81 Series motherboards, performance enthusiasts are now able to exploit the overclocking power of those processors via the award-winning ASUS UEFI BIOS.

ASRock Launches First Socket AM3+ Motherboard with M.2 Slot

ASRock updated its Fatal1ty branded socket AM3+ motherboard. The new ASRock 990FX Fatal1ty Killer gives AMD platform gamers most advancements in onboard connectivity. To begin with, the board is based on the AMD 990FX chipset, with SB950 southbridge. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU with a 10-phase VRM. The CPU is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2400 memory.

Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 wired to the AMD 990FX northbridge, a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4) wired to the southbridge; and two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots. Storage connectivity includes five SATA 6 Gb/s, and one M.2, with a combination of PCIe 2.0 x2 and SATA 6 Gb/s link layers. The board features Realtek's latest ALC1150 HDA CODEC, which boasts of 115 dBA SNR; equipped with ground-layer isolation, and a headphones amp. Wired networking is care of a Broadcom Killer E2200 controller. Four USB 3.0 ports, and gaming peripheral-optimized USB 2.0 ports (stabilized power); make for the rest of it. The board is driven by AMI Aptio UEFI BIOS, supporting Windows 8 Secure Boot.

BIOSTAR Announces A88MQ Micro-ATX Socket FM2+ Motherboard

BIOSTAR has released the A88MQ motherboard based on the new AMD FM2+ socket design that supports AMD Multi-Core (x4, x2) socket FM2+/FM2 processors AMD A-series/ E2-series processors all in a micro ATX form factor. Using the AMD A88X Chipset, the A88MQ, gives users the options for small build using the MicroATX form factor. It gives 4 DIMM slots supporting DDR3 RAM up to 64GB. It uses the newest SATA3 6Gb/s bus which is twice the speed of previous SATA2. There is also support for AMD Dual Graphics Technology.

The A88MQ will give users the 6+ Experience. The first, Audio+ includes audio features from BIOSTAR which are extensive with True Blu-Ray Audio and SPDIF out. The Video+ features support for full HDMI 3D 1080p and a Dual-Link DVI port for resolutions up to 2560x1600. The Speed+ features include support for SmartSpeedLAN which is a free software application that monitors and manages your PC's network behavior. There is also Charger Booster, the fastest and most efficient charger solution for Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones.

ASUS Introduces Three Z97-Based Maximus Gaming Motherboards

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the Maximus VII Gene mATX, Maximus VII Hero ATX, and the new Maximus VII Ranger ATX gaming motherboards. These Intel Z97 chipset-based Maximus VII motherboards feature the LGA 1150 socket and support Intel 4th, new 4th and 5th-generation processors (Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Haswell Refresh K-series/ Devil's Canyon) to give enthusiasts unmatched gaming performance.

These three gaming motherboards build on the renowned and trusted ROG gaming legacy. All three motherboards sport the distinctive ROG black and red color scheme, with the Maximus VII Gene and Hero featuring the world's first dual-color PCB with a matte black and red finish. The Maximus VII series features premium components, black nickel processor socket covers and improved circuit layouts. The Maximus VII series also boasts advanced networking and audio for gaming, along with an upgraded UEFI BIOS and M.2 (PCIe x2) with up to 10 Gbit/s data transfer speeds.
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