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Shuttle Announces XPC Barebone SH61R4 Based on Intel H61 Platform

Shuttle Computer Handels GmbH, European subsidiary of Shuttle Inc., one of the leading developers and manufacturers of compact PC solutions such as the world-renowned XPC Mini-PC Barebones, today announces the sales launch of a Mini-PC for second-generation Intel Core processors.

The XPC Barebone SH61R4 establishes itself as a highly efficient Mini-PC platform for cost-conscious users. It is suitable for all new second-generation Intel Core processors (i3/i5/i7 for LGA1155) as well as energy-saving DDR3 memory and boasts a particularly well-balanced performance/energy consumption ratio. Effective cooling is managed by a system comprising several heatpipes and a large, speed-controlled fan for optimal smoothness when running.

Finally, Gigabyte Goes UEFI

Gigabyte surprised many last year, when it broke its decade-long tradition of blue-colored PCBs to unveil its first black ones. Pictures of the first black PCB Gigabyte boards were first dismissed as Photoshop jobs, but after some confirmation, news posts carried quite some shock-value. It's such small things that Gigabyte has known to be quite particular about. Not that it's bad, Gigabyte is the second biggest motherboard vendor because many of its rigid design policies paid off, but some of these could work against the company.

One such has been the company's reluctance to use UEFI firmware on its motherboards. With socket LGA1155 and AM3+, we saw motherboard vendors of all shapes and sizes, including much smaller ones such as BIOSTAR adopt UEFI. Besides allowing vendors to deploy mouse-driven graphical user interface for the CMOS Setup program, UEFI addresses many glaring limitations of legacy BIOS, which hasn't changed much over decades. UEFI allows you to boot from volumes bigger than 2.2 TB in size. Eventually, storage volumes several terabytes in size will become mainstream, and that's when the ticking time-bomb that is BIOS, will blow.

Intel Displays Self-Branded Water Cooling Solution for Sandy Bridge-E

Back in August, it was reported that the retail packages of some, if not all, Intel's Sandy Bridge-E Core i7 LGA2011 processors will not pack the certified cooling solution like Core i7 LGA1366 processors do. It was also reported that Intel will sell its own-branded cooling solutions separately. It became a little obvious right then, that Intel won't selling dinky-little heatsinks that cost a couple of dozen Dollars. At the ongoing IDF event, Intel displayed its first retail-packaged cooling solution that's not only LGA2011-compatible, but also supports older socket types such as LGA1155, LGA1156, and LGA1366.

The cooling solution is a closed-loop (self-contained) liquid cooler made by water cooling OEM Asetek. Called the RTS2011LC, the cooler is rated to cool processors with TDP of up to 130W. The cooler consists of an exposed-copper block that also houses the pump, tough and flexible tubing that runs to the radiator assembly, which houses a reservoir, and a fancy-looking 120 mm fan. Along with the fan, the Intel logo on the block lights up blue. The radiator used looks similar to that on the Hydro Series H70, a popular cooler by Corsair, which is also made by Asetek. Expected to be available around the same time as Core i7 LGA2011 processors, the Intel RTS2011LC could command a price over $99.

Gigabyte Releases Sandy Bridge-Ready Thin Mini-ITX Motherboard to Retail Channel

What you're looking at below is one of the first "Thin mini-ITX" motherboards sold in the retail channel. The GA-MSH61DI is designed for extremely compact mini-ITX cases, that are thinner than the rear panel of ATX/ITX form-factors, and all-in-one PCs. The board draws power from an external power brick through a 12V DC input jack, the board then gives out SATA and Molex power via cables. It seats socket LGA1155 "Sandy Bridge" Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors with a maximum TDP of 95W.

The CPU socket is powered by a 3-phase VRM. The processor is backed by Intel H61 Express chipset. It is wired to two angled DDR3 SO-DIMM slots that can hold up to 8 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1333 MHz memory. There are no perpendicular expansion slots, but there's one mSATA slot that can hold an SSD, an mPCIe that can hold a wireless networking card, and an LVDS (low-voltage differential signaling) slot that can be used for devices such as VGA connections to LCD panels. The H61 chipset gives out two SATA 3 Gb/s ports apart from the mSATA slot.

TYAN Announces its First LGA1155 Client Motherboard for Core Processors

TYAN, an industry-leading server platform manufacturer, and a subsidiary of MiTAC International Corp., announced its TYAN S5515, the first Intel Core i3/i5/i7 supporting single socket server platform. As a Micro ATX form factor motherboard with Intel Q67 chipset on-board, the TYAN S5515 is designed to support single Intel 32nm Core i3/i5/i7 Processors. The innovative S5515 delivers higher performance in comparison to other desktops, workstations or general embedded solutions because of its sever-level feature set. The TYAN S5515 is also a compelling, cost-effective embedded solution because of its flexibility through multiple PCIe expansion slots on-board.

The S5515 motherboard features the following expansion slots (1) PCI-E 2.0 x16, (1) PCI-E x8, (1) PCI-E x1 and (1) PCI x1. The S5515 also includes (4) DDR3 DIMM sockets, (2) GbE LAN ports, (4) SATA II ports, (2) SATA III ports, (2) USB 3.0 ports and (4) RS232 Com ports on board that makes it the most ideal embedded platform that targets gaming, kiosk and signage and medical industry applications which require greater graphical functions. The S5515 is available worldwide through the TYAN distribution channel now.

Intel Releases 16 New Chips Over The Weekend

Intel launched as many as 16 new processors over the weekend, including 11 desktop socket LGA1155, and 5 mobile chips. The new wave includes several new sub-$100 parts covering key price-points, and carrying the Pentium and Celeron brands. Leading the pack is a new quad-core chip that is sure to strike a price-performance sweetspot: the Core i5-2320. This chip displaces the Core i5-2300 from its price-point of US $177, and is faster. While the i5-2300 is nominally clocked at 2.80 GHz, the i5-2320 runs at 3.00 GHz. Another significant introduction here is the Core i3-2130, which displaces the i3-2120 from its price-point of $139. The new dual-core chip is clocked at 3.40 GHz, 100 MHz faster than the chip it's displacing.

Then there's another kind of change, the Core i3-2125. This chip is identically clocked with the i3-2120 at 3.30 GHz, but it might be tweaked in other parameters (such as GPU clock speed, feature-set, etc). Core i3-2120T is a new low-power desktop chip, that's clocked at 2.60 GHz, and nearly half the rated TDP, at 35W. Then there's a trio of Pentium-branded dual-core chips, including the G630T, G860, and G630, clocked at 2.30 GHz, 3.00 GHz, and 2.70 GHz, displacing the G620T, G850, and G620, respectively.

Gigabyte Announces Ultra Durable 4 Motherboard Construction Technology

Gigabyte is one of the oldest motherboard manufacturers that made component choice, PCB construction, and the resulting durability as a selling point, with its Ultra Durable moniker. Each succeeding version of Ultra Durable denotes a higher grade of durability, with the introduction of newer classes of components that add to the durability. Ultra Durable started off as denoting motherboards with all Solid-state capacitors (conductive polymer), that are more durable compared to electrolytic ones. Ultra Durable 2 upped it with Ferrite Core chokes that have lower energy loss to noise and head, and lower resulting RDS(on) MOSFETs. Ultra Durable 3 further upped that with a PCB that has additional copper layers that help improving signalling, grounding, and cooling.

Today, Gigabyte added the fourth version of Ultra Durable, that addresses more elements that threaten the durability of a motherboards. Ultra Durable 4, as it's called, is a set of technologies that are layered on top of Ultra Durable 3, and addresses the problems of humidity, electrostatic discharge, high temperature, and power surge. Humidity is a natural element, moisture eats into components that have pure metals such as aluminum and copper, over time. Electrostatic discharge has a devastating impact on sensitive electronics, while power surges, usually caused after recovery from a power outage, can fry power conditioning electronics of the motherboard. And then we all know what high-temperature can do to tiny capacitors and FETs.

GELID Announces Gamer Series GX-7 CPU Cooler

Thermal Solutions specialist GELID Solutions reveals the GX-7 CPU cooler of its GAMER product line. Engineers at GELID Solutions have created an outstanding new CPU cooler with 7 power heat pipes. Contrary to traditional heat pipe arrangement for this GAMER CPU cooler "GX-7", a special array of heat pipes was used to take full advantage of all 7 heat pipes heat transfer capacity. Further V-shaped aluminum fins were used in the center of the heat sink to allow airflow to reach the heat sink more evenly. Openings inside of the heat sink and near the heat pipes let fresh-air flows in from the top and the bottom to zones normally poorly ventilated, and eliminate the creation of hotspots. The unique heat sink shape supports dual fans.

Included in the GX-7 is the multi-award winning Wing 12 PL fan, allowing the cooler to reach remarkable temperature. The Wing 12 PL Blue features blue LEDs and unique Nanoflux bearing which ensures a friction-free and silent operation. Thanks to the clever design and magnetic bearing, the impeller can be detached for easy cleaning. Additionally, fan blade winglets were designed to achieve larger airflow and greater static pressure. The fan also includes a premium PWM control, so the temperature can be controlled precisely by the BIOS.

SAPPHIRE Supports Latest Intel CPU Family with Pure Platinum Z68 Mainboard

SAPPHIRE Technology, a leading manufacturer and global supplier of graphics, mainboard and multimedia solutions has just introduced a new mainboard developed to support the latest SandyBridge family of CPU's from Intel.

The SAPPHIRE Pure Platinum Z68 is a full ATX sized board that supports the 2nd Generation Intel SandyBridge i3 / i5 / i7 processor family using socket LGA1155. Four dual channel memory sockets are provided, supporting up to 16GB of DDR3 memory with current technology, and capable of supporting up to 32GB when suitable modules become available. There two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports (plus 8 on headers), as well as Gigabit LAN and Bluetooth connectivity with EDR (enhanced data rate). It has four SATA II 3G ports, and two SATA III 6G ports (+ two more on a header) and supports Intel "Rapid Storage" technology as well as RAID 1, 0, 5 and 10.

Intel Desktop Board Lineup for 2011-12 Disclosed

Here are some of the first motherboards by Intel's Desktop Board brand of consumer motherboards. Towards the end of 2011, Intel will release its Sandy Bridge-E high-end desktop platform. Like with the launch of any new chipset or desktop platform, Intel will have its Desktop Board products in place, that follow the chipset and branding specifications to the letter. With Sandy Bridge-E, Intel will launch two Extreme Series motherboards, the DX79SI and the DX79TO. In the second half of 2011, Intel will also launch a variety of Intel Atom boards, including one codenamed "Marshaltown".

Then in the first half of 2012, Intel will launch its next-generation 22 nm "Ivy Bridge" desktop processors in the LGA1155 package (compatible with Sandy Bridge). To back its launch, Intel will release a new chipset called Z77 Express. There will be no discrete graphics chipsets. H77 is the client desktop chipset that lacks overclocking features. Z77 has them, and support for Smart Response technology. Q77 adds a few enterprise management features. Intel's Z77 based motherboards include two Extreme series models, and two top-end Media Series models.

Gigabyte Slips in New Mini-ITX H61N-USB3 Motherboard

Gigabyte launched a new socket LGA1155 motherboard in the mini-ITX form-factor, the GA-H61N-USB3. It is targeted at HTPCs and compact desktops, and is based on the Intel H61 Express (B3) chipset. In its tiny board area of 289 cm², Gigabyte manages to cram in the essentials that the board's consumers will need. The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 6-phase VRM design. The board draws power from a standard 24-pin ATX and 4-pin CPU power connectors. The CPU is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots for dual-channel DDR3-1333 MHz memory. The lone expansion slot is a PCI-Express 2.0 x16.

In the area of connectivity, we're a little baffled by Gigabyte's choices. There are two SATA 3 Gb/s ports, but that's next to a TPM header, which could have easily made room for two more SATA ports. The board uses high-quality Realtek ALC889 HD audio CODEC, but instead of wiring it to an 8-channel audio jack cluster, it's wired to a 6-channel one, and space is wasted on an optical/coaxial SPDIF out cluster. Instead, Gigabyte could have used the hybrid cluster that has 8-channel analog outputs as well as a TOSLINK output, like this one. Nevertheless, there's plenty of display connectivity, including DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI 1.4a. There are four USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports driven by Fresco FL1009 controller. There is one power-eSATA port wired to the PCH. A gigabit Ethernet connection makes for the only networking option. The Gigabyte GA-H61N-USB3 is priced at around $105.

GIGABYTE Announces Entire 6 Series Ready to Support Native PCIe Gen. 3

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co., Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards and computing hardware solutions today announced their entire range of 6 series motherboards are ready to support the next generation Intel 22nm CPUs (LGA1155 Socket) as well as offer native support for PCI Express Gen. 3 technology, delivering maximum data bandwidth for future discrete graphics cards.

Wanting to provide maximum upgradeability to customers, GIGABYTE has enabled native support for PCI Express Gen. 3 across the entire range of GIGABYTE 6 series motherboards, including the recently launched G1.Sniper 2 motherboard, when paired with Intel's next generation 22nm CPUs. By installing the latest BIOS for their 6 series motherboards today, users can be assured they are ready to take advantage of all the performance enhancements tomorrow's technologies have to offer.

EVGA Rolls Out Trio of Z68 Motherboards

After much delay, EVGA released its first wave of LGA1155 motherboards based on the Intel Z68 chipset featuring Intel Smart Response technology. Quite surprisingly, none of EVGA's Z68 motherboards feature display outputs. The series is topped by Z68 FTW, designed for enthusiasts and overclockers; followed by Z68 SLI, geared for gamers with NVIDIA SLI graphics setups; and Z68 SLI Micro, an SLI-ready board in the micro-ATX form-factor.

The Z68 FTW uses a similar layout to the P67 FTW. It uses a strong VRM to power the CPU and memory, it provides as many as six PCI-Express x16 slots, making use of a nForce 200 bridge chip that makes it 3-way and 4-way SLI ready. It is loaded with overclocker-friendly features such as EVbot support, a front-panel OC controller, and an overclocking gauge. The Z68 FTW is also available as a package without those two accessories.

Sandy Bridge-E 2011 Launch Put on Slide, Ivy Bridge in March-April 2012

Last month, there reports of Intel pushing its Sandy Bridge-E enthusiast desktop platform to 2011. It was originally scheduled for 2011, but was reportedly delayed to 2012 because of issues Intel was facing with its flagship desktop chipset, codenamed Patsburg-D. Intel will be launching Sandy Bridge-E this year, but the first wave of motherboards will feature Patsburg-A/B chipsets, which have fewer SATA 6 Gb/s ports than Patsburg-D.

Intel put its launch plans on paper with its latest desktop platform roadmap, that shows the first three models of socket LGA2011 Sandy Bridge-E processors, the six-core Core i7-3960X, Core i7-3930K, and the quad-core Core i7-3820, featuring in the Q4 2011 column. The roadmap shows that the three processors will hold their market-positions till Q2-2012, when Intel will release faster models to displace them. The roadmap slide also shows that Ivy Bridge, Intel's next-generation socket LGA1155 processors that are built on the 22 nm fab process, will be released in March or April 2012, and not early 2012 as speculated earlier.

Production Gigabyte G1.Sniper 2 Features PCI-Express Gen. 3

About a month ago, we were treated to the first pictures of G1.Sniper 2, Gigabyte's first LGA1155 motherboard in its G1.Killer series of motherboards targeting the gamer-overclocker market segment. High resolution pictures showed the prototype of having PCI-Express Gen. 2 slots like most other LGA1155 boards. It turns out, according to a photo-session of a production sample by tech-blog SIN's Hardware, that Gigabyte refined the design with the production version (the one that will be sold in the markets), it features PCI-Express 3.0 (Gen. 3) graphics slots.

For a LGA1155 motherboard to have Gen. 3 PEG slots, it requires Gen. 3 specifications compliant switching circuitry, which wasn't available to motherboard vendors when they were designing their first LGA1155 boards. With availability of those components, motherboard vendors are not wasting any time in rolling out new variants of their LGA1155 boards that feature Gen. 3 PCI-Express slots. Gigabyte placed "PCI-Express 3.0" marking on the board manually using stickers, going on to show that adding Gen. 3 slots indeed may have been a last-minute decision at Gigabyte. The other interesting marking on the G1.Sniper 2 carton is the mention of the board being ready for upcoming 22 nm "Ivy Bridge" Core processors. More pictures, and a preview at the source.

Biostar Readies TZ68K+ Socket LGA1155 Motherboard

Biostar released a new, improved variant of its TZ68A+ socket LGA1155 motherboard, the TZ68K+. The new board looks almost exactly the same as its predecessor except for the stronger CPU VRM. The CPU is now powered by an 8-phase VRM, compared to the 4-phase VRM on the previous version. The VRM cluster north of the CPU socket has its own little heatsink as well. Apart from that, it's the same budget Z68 chipset based motherboard in the ATX form-factor that TZ68A+ was.

Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 2.0 x16, one PCI-E x16 (electrical 2.0 x4), a PCI-E 2.0 x1, and two PCI. The board builds entirely on the chipset's and the LPCIO chip's feature-sets. In the storage department, we have two SATA 6 Gb/s, four SATA 3 Gb/s ports, all internal. Connectivity includes legacy ports such as LPT and COM given out as headers, wired to the LPCIO chip, a number of USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel, 6-channel HD audio, and PS/2 keyboard connector. Display outputs include HDMI 1.4, DVI, and D-Sub. Being Z68 based, it features Intel Smart Response technology. Like the TZ68A+, it uses UEFI firmware. We don't expect much of a price-difference between this board and the TZ68A+.

Intel Aims at 10 nm Processors by 2018

It's not just host nations of the Olympics that are decided almost decades in advance, but also Intel's silicon names and the fab process they're going to be built on. Intel has its plan for the greater part of this decade already charted out, well beyond the upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture. Intel follows the "tick-tock" product cycle, where every micro-architecture gets to be built on two succeeding fab processes, and every fab process getting to have two succeeding micro-architectures built on it, in succession. Westmere is an optical shrink of the Nehalem architecture, it was a "tick" for the 32 nm process, Sandy Bridge is its "tock", and a new architecture. Ivy Bridge is essentially an optical shrink of Sandy Bridge, it is the "tick" for 22 nm process.

Ivy Bridge will make its entry through the LGA1155 platform in 2012, it will make up the 2012 Core processor family. Haswell is the next-generation architecture that succeeds Sandy Bridge and IvyBridge, it will be built on the 22 nm process, and is expected to arrive in 2013. Roswell is its optical shrink to 14 nm, slated for 2014. Looking deep into the decade, there's Skylake architecture, that will span across 14 nm and 10 nm processes with Skymont. This model ensures that Intel has to upgrade its fabs every 2 or so years, an entirely new micro-architecture every 2 or so years as well, while providing optical shrinks every alternating year. Optical shrinks introduce new features, increased caches, and allow higher clock speeds. 10 nm for processors by 2018 sounds realistic looking at the advancement of NAND flash technologies that are pushing the boundaries of fab process development. NAND flash is much less complex than processor development, and hence serve as good precursors to a new process.

ASRock Intros Z68-ITX Motherboard for Compact HTPCs

ASRock launched its newest motherboard, the Z68M-ITX. As the name suggests, it is a socket LGA1155 motherboard based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset, in the mini-ITX form factor. ASRock's new board is aimed squarely at HTPCs or premium home desktops. It uses a standard ATX power supply, drawing power from a 24-pin ATX and 4-pin CPU power headers. The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 4-phase VRM, it is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR3-1600 MHz memory, the lone expansion slot: a PCI-Express 2.0 x16, and the Z68 PCH. Z68 provides overclocking capabilities, as well as Intel Flexible Display Interface (FDI) letting you use the integrated graphics, and Intel Smart Response Technology that lets you use SSD for caching HDDs

Connectivity includes 8 channel HD audio with optical SPDIF output, driven by Realtek ALC892 CODEC, two USB 3.0 ports driven by ASMedia ASM1042 controller, gigabit Ethernet, and a number of USB 2.0 ports. Storage connectivity consists of two each of SATA 6 Gb/s and SATA 3 Gb/s internal ports, and an eSATA 3 Gb/s port. Display connectivity includes HDMI, DVI, and D-Sub. The board is driven by UEFI firmware, with a graphical setup program. ASRock bundles a specially-designed Windows Media Center remote control, which comes with a multi-sensor CIR USB dongle that can receive infrared signal from a number of angles. ASRock did not give out pricing.

Intel To Still Launch Sandy Bridge-E in 2011, But With Reduced Platform Feature-Set

Sandy Bridge-E is Intel's next-generation high-end desktop and enterprise platform that is an upscale of the Sandy Bridge platform the company launched early this year. At this year's major trade-shows such as Computex, motherboard partners displayed their socket LGA2011 motherboards with the complete feature-set of the platform. Apart from the large socket, and memory slots at odd places, the most distinct feature of those motherboards was the plethora of SATA ports they came with. Even the most [relatively] low-end LGA2011 motherboards had around 10 SATA ports, most of which were 6 Gb/s. Platform schematics also made it to the public domain around that time, revealing a key feature that makes driving 8 SATA 6 Gb/s ports possible: a supplementary PCI-Express 3.0 x4 link between the X79 PCH and the LGA2011 processor, that adds 16 GB/s (8 GB/s per direction) of bandwidth between the processor and the chipset, without which the storage controller would be severely bottlenecked with the DMI Gen2 (physical PCI-Express 2.0 x4), with its puny 8 GB/s (4 GB/s per direction) bandwidth.

Originally slated for Q4 2011, Intel's Sandy Bridge-E platform was reported to have been delayed to Q1 2012. It is now emerging that Patsburg-D, the variant of Patsburg X79 chipset, which features 8 SATA/SAS 6 Gb/s ports, which requires that supplementary PCI-E 3.0 x4 link, may be causing a development hold up at Intel. So, the company is planning on launching the platform this year itself, but with Patsburg-B, a variant of the chipset that has only four SATA/SAS 6 Gb/s ports, and relies entirely on DMI as the chipset interconnect. The slide below lists out differences between the many variants of Patsburg PCH. DMI would give the platform the same amount of chipset interconnect bandwidth as today's LGA1155-Cougar Point platform. It is, however possible that the higher Patsburg-D/X variants will be launched when Intel irons out whatever issues exist with them.

ZOTAC Readies Monster LGA1155 Motherboard

ZOTAC entered the motherboard scene as yet another vendor of reference NVIDIA nForce motherboards, which the like of EVGA, XFX, and BFG also sold. After the fall of nForce, ZOTAC attempted a LGA1366 motherboard, and went dormant with motherboards. Later, it picked up interest in the mini-ITX form-factor as it gained popularity in Asian markets like China and India, manufacturing motherboards based on Intel Atom, Atom with NVIDIA ION, and eventually socketed mini-ITX motherboards as it became a 2-chip affair with Intel's Ibex Peak platform (LGA1156). It looks like Zotac is making a comeback into full-size ATX motherboards that target the very top tier of the market, to woo gamers, professional overclockers, and enthusiasts.

Seen here is what the Chinese press is referring to as "ZT-Z68 Crown Edition-U1DU3", we may have lost the correct name in translation, but let's call it ZT-Z68-U1DU3 for now. It is a full-size ATX motherboard that takes socket LGA1155 Intel Sandy Bridge and future Ivy Bridge processors, and is based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset. It combines a strong VRM to support extreme overclocking, with graphics expansion, adding 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX capabilities using an NVIDIA BR-03 bridge-chip that sits on the processor's PCI-E x16 link, to give out two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 links, which are then spread between four slots in x16/NC/x16/NC, x16/NC/x8/x8, or x8/x8/x8/x8 lane configurations.

ASRock Giving PCI-Express 3.0 A Big Push

ASRock today is one of the top-three motherboard vendors in terms of sales volumes, but it must have been a long and tiring journey getting there in the market. One of the design philosophies of ASRock motherboards has been to experiment with unique features, odd chipset-socket combinations, odd and exotic expansion slot selection, and so on. Today, ASRock may not be the only motherboard vendor with products featuring PCI-Express 3.0, but it looks like the company is of the idea to make the new interconnect a major selling point, of the kind USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s became a couple of years ago. The company is planning an entire series of socket LGA1155 motherboards targeting mid-thru-high end price-points, featuring PCI-Express 3.0 graphics slots.

PCI-E 3.0 finds itself in the same spot USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s found themselves when they made an entry into client motherboards. There are close to no products that use it. So while it might look gimmicky, PCI-E 3.0 could add a thin layer of future-proofing to the offer, if you're in the market for a new socket LGA1155 motherboard. ASRock is readying no less than five motherboards, four based on the Z68 Express chipset, and one on the P67 Express (B3). All model names are tagged with "Gen3" to convey that it features PCI-E 3.0. The series includes the Z68 Extreme Extreme7 Gen3 at the very top of the pile, with its swanky-looking heatsinks, followed by the Fatal1ty-branded Z68 Profess1onal Gen3, Z68 Extreme4 Gen3, Z58 Extreme3 Gen3, and the P67 Extreme4 Gen3.

AMD FX-8130P Processor Benchmarks Surface

Here is a tasty scoop of benchmark results purported to be those of the AMD FX-8130P, the next high-end processor from the green team. The FX-8130P was paired with Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 motherboard and 4 GB of dual-channel Kingston HyperX DDR3-2000 MHz memory running at DDR3-1866 MHz. A GeForce GTX 580 handled the graphics department. The chip was clocked at 3.20 GHz (16 x 200 MHz). Testing began with benchmarks that aren't very multi-core intensive, such as Super Pi 1M, where the chip clocked in at 19.5 seconds; AIDA64 Cache and Memory benchmark, where L1 cache seems to be extremely fast, while L2, L3, and memory performance is a slight improvement over the last generation of Phenom II processors.

Gigabyte G1.Killer Series Meets Sandy Bridge with New G1.Sniper 2 Motherboard

Gigabyte released pictures of G1.Sniper 2, the company's first socket LGA1155 motherboard in the G1.Killer series of motherboards designed for gamers with overclocker alter-egos (the same market ASUS Republic of Gamers targets). The board is based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset without any additional PCI-E bridge chip such as NVIDIA nForce 200. The board supports 2nd generation Core "Sandy Bridge" LGA1155 processors. The first G1.Sniper was a LGA1366 motherboard based on Intel X58 chipset.

Apart from being yet another high-end 2-way SLI/CrossFire Z68 motherboard, which Gigabyte's mainline Z68X series motherboards already achieve, the G1.Sniper 2 packs two extremely gamer-specific onboard devices: the Bigfoot Killer E2100 low-latency, high-offload PCI-Express network controller with its of dedicated memory; and Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi hardware audio with CA20K2 PCIe processor and 64 MB XRAM, backed by a high-grade Cirrus Logic DAC and OPAMP circuit, driving signal-noise ratio easily above 105 dBA with punchy bass.

Intel Ivy Bridge Dual-Core Put Through Clock-to-Clock Benches Against Sandy Bridge

Taiwanese PC enthusiast Coolaler has a new Ivy Bridge LGA1155 dual-core engineering sample to play with, and wasted no time in putting it through some tests. The sample has two cores, four threads with HyperThreading enabled, clock speed of 1.80 GHz, 256 KB L2 cache per core, and 4 MB shared L3 cache. It is running on an Intel P67 chipset-based motherboard with 8 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1600 MHz memory. At 1.80 GHz, it may not be game for absolute performance figures since it's unlikely that Intel will release a chip with that clock speed unless it has unreal performance:clockspeed gains over Sandy Bridge; but it's good enough for clock-to-clock performance comparisons between Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge. A Core i5-2400 was clocked at 1.80 GHz with 18x BClk multiplier, and put through a single-threaded benchmark, and a multithreaded one.

The cache and memory benchmark that measures bandwidth and latency of caches and memory was unable to measure bandwidth, but measured some latencies. The L1 cache at 2.2 nanoseconds (ns), and L2 at 2.9 ns. Next, the Ivy Bridge DC, and the Core i5-2400 (@ 1.80 GHz) testbeds were put through CPUMark 99, where Ivy Bridge DC scored 278 points, and Core i5-2400 clocked at 1.80 GHz scored closely followed at 276 points. Moving on to multithreaded performance, the two were put through Cinebench 11.5 64-bit. The Ivy Bridge DC chip scored 1.81 points; while the Core i5-2400 clocked at 1.80 GHz, scored 2.61 points. Coolaler promises more benches.

GELID Intros Tranquillo Rev. 2 CPU Cooler

GELID today announced a revision of its Tranquillo CPU cooler. Revision 2 of this aluminum fin tower-type cooler comes with three major changes, an updated heat pipe profile; a new AMD socket clip that allows 4x 90° installation; and an improved heatsink shape. To begin with, the four exposed-copper heat pipes project out of the fanned out better, with the heat pipes almost reaching the periphery of each of the fins. Next, a new AMD socket clip allows you to orient the heatsink in the same way you can with the square bolt layout of Intel sockets (90° in any direction). Lastly, in the space between the CPU base and the bottom of the aluminum fin stack, GELID put a larger heatsink than the one found on the original Tranquillo. The Tranquillo Rev. 2 is certified to work on Intel sockets LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, and LGA775; AMD sockets AM3, AM2+, and AM2. The company did not give out pricing information, but usually revised SKUs carry the same market prices as the originals they're revisions of.
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