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ASRock Readies Z68 Fatal1ty Motherboard with PCI-Express 3.0 Slots

ASRock gave its premium LGA1155 motherboard lineup a boost with the new Z68 Fatal1ty. Apart from being a Z68 chipset based motherboard modeled along the lines of its predecessor, the ASRock P67 Fatal1ty, the new motherboard features PCI-Express 3.0 graphics slots, that work on Sandy Bridge and future Ivy Bridge processors. The new third generation PCI-E interconnect can drive 1 GB/s of data per link, per direction. You'll need PCI-E 3.0 compliant add-on cards to make use of that bandwidth, current graphics cards will run at Gen. 2 speeds. One advantage here could be that AMD Radeon HD 5000 and HD 6000 series single-GPU graphics cards will run on Gen 2.1 mode, which has slightly higher bandwidth at its disposal thanks to its lower-overhead data coding scheme.

The ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty is designed for both gamers and overclockers, using high-grade components. The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 18-phase VRM, wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR3-2133 MHz (Ivy Bridge IMC's optimal memory speed). Featuring Intel Flexible Display Interface (FDI), the board allows you to use the integrated graphics. With the Lucid Virtu technology, you can switch between the integrated graphics, and discrete graphics cards. Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical x8/x8 when both are populated), one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4, wired to Z68 PCH), and two each of PCI-E 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI.

Prolimatech Intros Megahalems Black Series CPU Heatsink

Prolimatech released a new variant of its iconic Megahalems CPU heatsink, called the Black Series Megahalems. With the same exact dimensions as the original at 130 x 158.7 x 74 mm (LxWxH), the new variant uses black colored aluminum fins. The coating doesn't make for a polished, glossy surface, but a grainy one, which increases surface area. The design remains the same: six nickel-plated copper heat pipes pass through a base, conveying heat to two aluminum fin stacks that are arranged along each arm of the U-shape the heat pipes make. The Black Series Megahalems is compatible with all the current CPU socket types, including AMD AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2; Intel LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, and LGA775. The Prolimatech Megahalems Black Series is listed on Caseking.de for €54.90.

Scythe Releases Third Edition of Mugen CPU Cooler Series

Japanese cooling expert Scythe is announcing today the successor of popular Mugen 2 CPU Cooler. Mugen 2 CPU Cooler was awarded many times and is well known world-wide to mainstream users, Overclocker and Enthusiasts. During the development process main focus was set on improvement of performance and mounting mechanism as well as shrinking the heatsink dimensions. New Mugen 3 CPU Cooler is ready to take on the legacy.

While optimizing the performance the whole heatsink design of Mugen 3 CPU Cooler was re-worked which resulted in creation the improved fin-structure M.A.P.S. (Multiple Airflow Pass-Through Structure). Enhancements were achieved by reducing the aerodynamic resistance as well as improving of the overall heatsink stability. Furthermore Mugen 3 is equipped with total of six high-quality copper-heatpipes where the predecessor had only five. Typical for Scythe is the excellently processed and flat surface of the copper base which was refined by a thin nickel layer to prevent corrosion.

G.Skill Breaks SuperPi 32M LGA1155 World Record

During the first day of Computex 2011, three legendary overclockers, Shamino, Fredyama and Young Pro smashed the super Pi 32M record at the G.Skill booth. They achieved incredible Super Pi 32M time of 5min 33.172s with amazing ram speed of DDR3 2340MHz CL6-9-6-25 1T. This is the fastest Super Pi 32M record recorded using the latest Intel LGA 1155 platforms. This amazing score was achieved with top in-line hardware, G.Skill DDR3 2400MHz CL8 4GB (2GBx2) PI memory, ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme motherboard and Intel 2600K CPU.

ZOTAC Unveils Z68ATX-A-E Fully Loaded LGA1155 Motherboard

ZOTAC showed off its new, upcoming socket LGA1155 motherboard based on the Intel Z68 chipset, the Z68ATX-A-E. This is a full-blown ATX form-factor motherboard, that throws in plenty of connectivity. The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 20-phase VRM, that makes use of super-ML capacitors to condition power. The board uses an nForce 200 bridge chip that occupies the PCI-E x16 link of the processor, giving out PCI-Express 2.0 x16 links, further split between four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots. A PLX-made PCI-E 1.1 x4 to 3 PCI-E 2.0 x1 bridge chip is also present, driving additional controllers such as three of the four USB 3.0 controllers giving out 8 ports (four by headers). The board is designed to support 3-way and 4-way SLI.

Display connectivity includes two DVI, with the possibility of a DVI-HDMI dongle being bundled, other connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio, WiFi b/g/n, and dual gigabit Ethernet. In the storage department there appear to be four SATA 6 Gb/s, four SATA 3 Gb/s. There is a suite of overclocker-friendly features, including triple-redundant BIOS, voltage measurement points, and diagnostic LED display. The ZOTAC logo in the heatsink over the NF200 lights up. While the placard speaks of Intel 311 SSD, we're not sure if they're talking about an mSATA fixed SSD, we can't see one. Perhaps a 2.5-inch SATA 311 Series SSD comes bundled.

ZOTAC Z68-ITX WiFi a Fun-Sized Treat for Overclockers

Rarely do motherboard vendors dish out mini-ITX form-factor motherboards targeting the overclocking community. There's little space to squeeze in the bare essentials, but nothing is impossible, if there are competent designers at work, a case in point is the new Z68-ITX WiFi from ZOTAC. Based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset, this board supports LGA1155 Core i3/i5/i7 Sandy Bridge, and future Ivy Bridge processors, supports their integrated GPU giving you access to Intel QuickSync technology, as well as a suite of overclocking options.

To begin with the LGA1155 socket is powered by an 8-phase digital-PWM power design that uses high-grade PWM chokes made by Pulse, and in all probability, a Volterra PWM IC giving you precise voltage control as well as vDroop protection (high-precision load-line calibration). It also uses server-grade high-C capacitors. The PWM circuit takes input from an 8-pin EPS connector. The PWM chips are cooled by a large heatsink that sends some of its heat to the heatsink cooling the Z68 PCH, over a heat pipe.

Maximus IV Gene Gets Z68 Treatment, Too

Recently, ASUS released the Maximus IV Extreme-Z, a variant of the Maximus IV Extreme motherboard, based on Intel Z68 chipset. The original is based on Intel P67. ASUS' premium micro-ATX motherboard, the Maximus IV Gene got the same treatment, with Gene-Z. Back when ASUS was designing its Republic of Gamers lineup for socket LGA1155, P67 was the premium discrete-graphics chipset, which was later dethroned by Z68, which gives you everything P67 does, plus access to the processor's integrated graphics (letting you use Intel QuickSync), and Intel Smart Response SSD caching technology.

The Maximus IV Gene-Z uses a design very similar to its predecessor. The LGA1155 socket is powered by an impressive 12-phase Digi+ Extreme Engine VRM, 2-phase VRM for the dual-channel DDR3 memory, supporting speeds as high as DDR3-2000 MHz. Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x16/NC or x8/x8), supporting NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire; and an open-ended PCI-E x4. ASUS managed to pack in two SATA 6 Gb/s ports, four SATA 3 Gb/s ports, and connectivity that includes SupremeFX X-Fi 8-channel audio, eSATA, gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and HDMI 1.4a (the lone display connector). ASUS nearly all ROG-exclusive features such as consolidated voltage measurement points, iROG, ROG UEFI, etc.

Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD Comes with Intel 311 Series SSD Bundled

Gigabyte has been working on the idea of shipping socket LGA1155 motherboards based on Intel Z68 chipset with mSATA slots, to accommodate Intel 311 Series "Larson Creek" cache SSDs that come in mSATA form-factor. The company did release a number of its latest boards with the slot, including GA-Z68XP-UD3, GA-Z68XP-D3, GA-Z68AP-D3 and GA-Z68P-DS3. Now Gigabyte took the idea to its next logical step, bundling an Intel 311 Series 20 GB SSD with the motherboard (since consumers might find mSATA SSDs at little hard to find in the market). The small SSD serves as a high-speed cache which comes into use when Intel Smart Response acceleration is enabled.

The GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD is a variant of the GA-Z68XP-UD3, with the "-iSSD" suffix denoting the bundled SSD. The board comes with the 20 GB mSATA SSD pre-installed into its slot. That aside, the GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD is a fairly straightforward Z68 implementation, with 7-phase CPU VRM, dual-channel DDR3-2133 MHz memory support by overclocking, two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x8/x8 with both populated) supporting SLI and CrossFireX; four SATA 6 Gb/s, four 3 Gb/s ports; HDMI 1.4a display output, Lucid Virtu support, 8-channel HD audio, four USB 3.0 ports, and FireWire.

ASUS Readies Z68-based ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z Motherboard

When Intel's Sandy Bridge platform was launched, P67 Express was perceived as the top of the line discrete graphics chipset that gives performance segment users everything they'll ever need. ASUS hence based its prestigious ROG Maximus branded motherboard based on it, and came up with the Maximus IV series. With Intel releasing a higher-end chipset with the Z68 Express, ASUS decided to redo its socket LGA1155 ROG motherboard lineup, with the Maximus IV Extreme-Z. The new motherboard gives users access to the processors' embedded graphics via a HDMI port, and gives them the benefit of Intel Smart Response technology that P67 lacks.

The Maximus IV Extreme-Z looks similar to its P67-based cousin. Based on the Intel Z68 chipset, the motherboard uses an NVIDIA nForce 200 bridge chip to ensure PCI-Express connectivity to up to four graphics cards, supporting NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX. The CPU is powered by ASUS Digi+ Extreme VRM, backed by high-grade components and proadlizers to condition power. There are four DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR3-2000 MHz memory by overclocking. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x16/NC/x16/NC or x8/x8/x8/x8), there's also a PCI-E x1 and open-ended PCI-E x4.

New Sandy Bridge Based Celeron Processors Detailed

Amidst the rather high-profile launch of Intel's Z68 chipset platform, Intel Smart Response technology, and Larson Creek SSDs, Intel is also readying its cheapest processors for the LGA1155 platform, this time carrying the Celeron brand. Based on the new Sandy Bridge processor architecture, the single-core Celeron G440, and dual-core Celeron G530, Celeron G540 processors stick to the very basics in terms of feature set.

The chips lack Intel HyperThreading or CPU Turbo Boost, run at low clock speeds, and have just 2 MB of L3 cache enabled. The G440 is a single-core/single-thread chip clocked at 1.60 GHz, with 650 MHz graphics (1.00 GHz Turbo), and 35W TDP. The G530 puts on a second core, is clocked at 2.40 GHz, with 850 MHz (1.00 GHz Turbo) graphics, and 65W TDP. The series is topped off with G540 dual-core, which is clocked at 2.5 GHz. Expect these chips to take up sub-$100 price points.

ASUS Announces P8Z68 Series and Maximus IV Gene-Z LGA1155 Motherboards

Continuing its legacy of leadership, ASUS offers consumers a range of new motherboards based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset. The ASUS P8Z68 Series and ROG Maximus IV GENE-Z motherboards all have numerous powerful features that fully exploit the performance benefits of Sandy Bridge technology without compromise, packing more features and new innovations onto the Z68 platform while maintaining unmitigated performance and reliability.

ASUS is the only motherboard manufacturer able to integrate diverse new technologies in tandem on its Z68-based motherboards on launch. These include the universal implementation of LucidLogix Virtu switchable graphics to harness the capabilities of Intel Quick Sync Video for faster video transcoding and the extreme performance of the latest NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards, along with Intel Smart Response Technology to accelerate hard drive performance and reduce energy consumption.

Gigabyte GA-Z68-UD3H-B3 Motherboard Pictured

It is becoming increasingly clear now, that Gigabyte will have two parallel lines of socket LGA1155 motherboards based on the same Intel Z68 B3 chipset, one that does away with display connectivity to make room for other ports and is geared for discrete graphics, while the other has display connectivity at the expense of additional ports on the rear panel, and also gives you everything you'd expect from Z68, including overclocking. In mid-April, pictures of GA-Z68-UD3P-B3 surfaced, which is a motherboard of the first kind explained above. Now, there's deck of pictures of the GA-Z68-UD3H-B3, its counterpart of the second kind.

The GA-Z68-UD3H-B3 features a much lighter CPU VRM, consisting of 7 phases, against 14 on the UD3P. It gives you the same expansion slot layout consisting of two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x8/x8 when both are populated), supporting ATI CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI, three PCI-E x1, and two PCI. Gigabyte made full use of the display connectivity options that come with Sandy Bridge, there is one each of DVI, D-Sub, HDMI, and DisplayPort. Audio is at the helm of Realtek ALC889 8+2 channel HD audio CODEC, with optical SPDIF output.

FinalWire Releases AIDA64 v1.70

FinalWire today released the latest version of AIDA64, the industry's popular system diagnostic tool for IT administrators, engineers, and PC enthusiasts. Version 1.70 of AIDA64 includes mainly updated device support database. To begin with, AIDA64 features the ability to tell LGA1155 motherboards with B3 stepping Cougar Point chipsets from the older stepping; it features preliminary support for AMD's upcoming FX-Series CPUs, and A-Series APUs.

A host of new SATA SSDs are supported, including Intel 320 series, OCZ Vertex 3 series, and Samsung PM810. Support is added for AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6770M and Radeon HD 6790 GPUs. Support is also added for a scores of NVIDIA GeForce 500 series GPUs, including GT 520, GT 520M, GT 550M, GT 555M, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 590.

DOWNLOAD: AIDA64 v1.70 EXE Installer, ZIP Portable Package

Computex 2011 Launchpad for Intel X79 Motherboards

At Computex 2010, motherboard vendors across the board displayed socket LGA1155 motherboards that support Intel "Sandy Bridge" processors, based on P67, H67 chipsets, months in advance of the platform actually making it to the market. This year, the motherboard industry will do something similar and show off socket LGA2011 motherboards based on the Intel X79 "Patsburg" chipset.

Detailed to much length in older articles, the platform schematic of Sandy Bridge-E surfaced, confirming X79's feature-set, including a PCI-Express 3.0 based supplementary interconnect between the processor and chipset to bolster enough bandwidth for the massive 10-port SATA 6 Gb/s controller, and a 8-port PCI-Express 2.0 hub. Sandy Bridge-E processor itself comes in three main variants, an all-enabled 6-core Extreme Edition, a 6-core unlocked variant, and a limited-OC 4-core variant. The platform is slated for late 2011.

Ivy Bridge CPUs Feature PCI-Express 3.0

Slides detailing Intel's upcoming "Panther Point" chipset reveal that the next generation of LGA1155 processors will feature PCI-Express 3.0 bus to connect with graphics cards. PCI-Express 3.0 doubles bandwidth over PCI-Express 2.0, and comes with a number of new features and electrical specifications. With Panther Point, Intel put an end to chipsets meant for discrete graphics (such as P67). Here on, all LGA1155 chipsets will support Intel Flexible Display Interface (FDI), although only the Z-series will support overclocking. Among the Z-series, Z77 is the top part supporting a wider range of PCI-Express configurations, Z75 supports discrete graphics with up to 2 graphics cards, while H77 only supports one graphics card, and lacks overclocking features.

Unlike the X79 LGA2011 chipset, Panther Point chipsets don't feature massive 10-port SATA 6 Gb/s storage controllers. Like Cougar Point, it features two SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and four SATA 3 Gb/s. The chipset embeds a USB 3.0 controller, but only 4 out of 14 USB ports are USB 3.0, rest are USB 2.0. Intel's Ivy Bridge will make for the company's 2012 Core Family portfolio, supplying entry-thru-performance segments with processor, while enthusiast segment is care of a different platform.

Gigabyte Presents the GS-AH6G3N Business Notebook

The GS-AH6G3N embeds the new LGA1155 Intel platform for mobile products, with the most powerful and efficient processor and chipset for a reliable and durable business notebook. Designed for professional end users, our product includes all the most important features required by a utilization in a business environment. The GS-AH6G3N is therefore a very versatile business notebook, with the highest standard of performance and quality from GIGABYTE. It is nevertheless a stylish product, with an excellent design and ultra-thin profile, as well as a very light weight and a large power autonomy for the smoothest mobility. With its high value features, the GS-AH6G3N has everything to be the best work tool for your daily business life.

The GS-AH6G3N offers all the important features that e good business notebook should have. Probably the most critical feature, the GS-AH6G3N has a power autonomy of about 7 hours, which can be extended to 10 hours with a second battery docked in the swappable ODD bay (this bay can also dock a second HDD).

Gigabyte Gives Touchscreen Support to Latest BIOS Setup Program

Apart from a brand new CPU architecture, Intel's Sandy Bridge LGA1155 platform saw the mass introduction of EFI (extensible firmware interface) to the PC, a new BIOS-replacement component that can eliminate several limitations of BIOS, most notably, the ability to boot from volumes bigger than 3 TB in size. While most motherboard manufacturers have given their LGA1155 models support for UEFI, not everyone has a graphical user interface (GUI) based UEFI setup program that uses mouse as a pointing device, and presents users with UI elements such as radio buttons, drop-lists, and checkboxes to make changes. Gigabyte has been one such manufacturer with its first wave of P67 and H67 based motherboards.

With its newest B3-revision motherboards that include the upcoming Z68 chipset based motherboards, Gigabyte wants to make amends. It has to, being the number two motherboard vendor in terms of volumes. Gigabyte wants to go a step ahead of other vendors, and design a UEFI setup program that not only supports mouse, but also touchscreens, and present a user interface with large icons and design elements that resemble tablets, which are designed to make configuration easier than on mouse-driven UEFI setup programs. The TouchBIOS ("BIOS" here is just used as a verb) from Gigabyte should be available on Gigabyte's upcoming motherboards, as well as in the future, on Gigabyte's all-in-one PCs, tablets, and notebooks.

UPDATE: It turns out that TouchBIOS isn't a firmware application, but rather a Windows-based utility that makes BIOS management easily for the people less acquainted with it. Let's hope the "less acquainted" don't touch the wrong colorful button in their "ooh what does this button do? " moments.

Leaked Roadmap Reveals Two Lines of Enthusiast Sandy Bridge-E Processors

In Q4 2011, Intel will unveil its new Sandy Bridge-E (enthusiast) platform, consisting of new multi-core processors in the 2011-pin LGA package, and Intel X79 Express chipset. A roadmap slide leaked to the Chinese media reveals an interesting way in which Intel will approach the platform to monetize it best. To begin with, it appears like Sandy Bridge-E will keep up with the trend set by LGA1155 processors where only certain models can be overclocked, while others are greatly limited. Among those that can be overclocked (or "unlocked", as Intel puts it,) there will be two classes.

The first class are the 6-core chips at the very top of the pile, probably branded "Extreme Edition", which feature both unlocked BClk multipliers, and have 15 MB of L3 cache, among several other features enabled. Traditionally these processors cost around US $1000. The first of such chips will be clocked at 3.30 GHz. The second class of "unlocked" chips are those which make overclocking more accessible at lower price points (we're thinking under $600), probably branded with the "K" brand identifier extension (eg: 2600K). These 6-core chips will feature unlocked multipliers, while having 12 MB of cache enabled. The first of these chips will be clocked at 3.20 GHz.

ASUS P6Z68-V Pro Pictured, Detailed

Pictures of ASUS' upcoming upper-mid range LGA1155 motherboard based on the Intel Z68 chipset, the P8Z68-V Pro surfaced on Chinese websites, revealing what comes across as a blend of P8P67's feature-set, and P8H67's display connectivity (which is what Z68 is all about). The new board makes use of a 14-phase Digi+ VRM to power the CPU. Highlights include CPU overclocking features driven by the UEFI BIOS, coupled with Intel Flexible Display Interface, letting you make use of the processor's embedded Intel HD 3000 graphics with Intel QuickSync accelerated video encoding. Further, the board is Lucid Virtu certified, letting you use (and switch between, depending on graphics load) both the integrated and discrete graphics simultaneously, and saving power in the process.

Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x8 with both populated), one PCI-Express x16 (electrical x4), two PCI-Express x1, and two PCI. This wholesome expansion area is backed by a wealth of connectivity options, including four SATA 6 Gb/s ports (two from PCH, two from Marvell controller), four SATA 3 Gb/s internal, and one eSATA 3 Gb/s; display connectivity that includes one each of dual-link DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI 1.4a; 8-channel HD audio with optical SPDIF output; four USB 3.0 (two internal/by header), a number of USB 2.0 ports, FireWire (by header), Bluetooth, and gigabit Ethernet. A number of overclocking features found on P8P67 series motherboards are present.

Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P-B3 Motherboard Pictured

Amidst speculations that Gigabyte has put a stop to its P67 chipset-based lineup of LGA1155 motherboards and is planning a transition to Z68 top-to-bottom targeting several price points, pictures of the Z68X-UD3P-B3 surfaced. The new UD3P board is based on Z68, features a hybrid-EFI BIOS (dual-BIOS with >3 TB bootable volume support), and is designed exclusively for discrete graphics setup, it lacks FDI display connectivity. The CPU is powered by a 14-phase VRM that uses driver-MOSFETs, and cooled by simple heatsinks.

Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x8, x8 when both are populated), with 2-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX support. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s (two from the Z68 PCH, two from a Marvell-made controller), and four internal SATA 3 Gb/s from the PCH. Other connectivity includes four USB 3.0 ports (two internal/by header), a number of USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, gigabit Ethernet, and 8-channel HD audio. The Z68X-UD3P should join the rest of Gigabyte's Z68X series, for an early May launch.

Gigabyte Z68X-UD7 Spotted in Taiwan Stores

Stores in Taiwan have started stocking up on Gigabyte's latest high-end LGA1155 motherboard, the GA-Z68X-UD7 B3. Based on the new Z68 chipset that combines the overclocking capabilities of P67 with the Flexible Display Interface (FDI) feature of H67, Z68 will be Intel's most functional desktop chipset for the LGA1155. Gigabyte's board carries forward the feature-set of the P67A-UD7, and adds a GUI-based Hybrid EFI setup program. Quite surprisingly, there are no display outputs, so we're not quite sure why the designers opted for Z68 in the first place.

The GA-Z68X-UD7 uses a 24-phase VRM that uses driver-MOSFETs to power the CPU, four DDR3 DIMM slots to support dual-channel memory, four PCI-Express x16 slots supporting 3-way SLI and CrossFireX. Gigabyte is probably using an NVIDIA nForce 200 bridge chip for the additional PCI-E lanes. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s, six SATA 3 Gb/s, and two eSATA/USB combo ports. There are at least four USB 3.0 ports. Gigabyte's new board will reach western markets later this month, after Z68's formal launch.

Gigabyte Intros New Mini-ITX LGA1155 Motherboard with Dual HDMI Output

Gigabyte sneaked in its latest motherboard for SFF (small form-factor) fans, the GA-H67N-USB3-B3. This mini-ITX motherboard supports socket LGA1155 Intel Core processors, and is based on the Intel H67 chipset (B3 revision). The board supports every LGA1155 Core processor released till date, its designers didn't have to worry much about its electricals since you're not going to overclock on H67. Yet, the board packs a 4+2 phase VRM for the CPU, that's compliant with Intel's VRD 12 specification. The socket is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots for dual-channel memory support, and a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot.

In the storage department, there are two SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the chipset, two SATA 3 Gb/s, and one eSATA 3 Gb/s, also from the chipset. Its display connectivity surprisingly includes two HDMI ports, and one D-Sub. Audio is care of the high-grade Realtek ALC889 HDA CODEC, which can deliver 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio, the board also provides coaxial and optical SPDIF output connectivity. Other connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and a number of USB 2.0 ports. The board features dual-BIOS with an EFI module that allows you to boot from a 3 TB+ volume. Gigabyte's H67N-USB3-B3 is expected to be priced around the $120 mark. This one for the HTPC.

MSI Z68A-GD80 (B3) Motherboard Pictured

Here are the first pictures of MSI Z68A-GD80 (B3), the company's first socket LGA1155 motherboard based on Intel's new Z68 PCH. Intel is weeks away from launching the Z68 PCH, which is a middle-ground between P67 and H67. P67 let you overclock, while it didn't feature Flexible Display Interface (FDI); H67 featured FDI, but didn't let you overclock. Z68 features FDI, it also lets you overclock to the potential of P67. MSI's Z68A-GD80 makes use of the B3 revision of the Z68 PCH. It intends to offer loads of overclocking features, ample discrete GPU expansion, as well as FDI connectivity to let you use the processor-embedded graphics.

The LGA1155 socket supports 2011 Core i5/i7 "Sandy Bridge" processors. The LOTES-made socket on the Z68A-GD80 is powered by a 15-phase VRM that uses "solid-state" chokes that don't buzz on load. The VRM is cooled by two heatsinks that share heat over a heat pipe. The socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots that support dual-channel memory. Expansion slots include three PCI-Express x16 (electrical x16/NC/x4 or x8/x8/x4), two PCI-E x1, and two PCI.

Foxconn Unveils Quantum Force Rattler P67 Motherboard

Many had speculated that OEM giant Foxconn's own motherboard channel-brand is being closed down as the silicon conglomerate has enough on its plate. That turned out to be untrue, as the company released a new high-end socket LGA1155 motherboard based on Intel P67 (B3) chipset, the Quantum Force Rattler. The Rattler combines high-grade components with plenty of overclocker-friendly features. The CPU is powered by a 14-phase digital PWM power circuitry, and the memory by a 2-phase VRM. An OS-independent clock speed control with its own controls add to the numerous OC features.

Expansion includes two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x8/x8 with both populated), three PCI-E x1, and one PCI. In the storage department, there are four SATA 3 Gb/s, two SATA 6 Gb/s wired to the P67 PCH, while a 3rd-party controller drives two eSATA 3 Gb/s and the lone IDE connector. Connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio with optical/coaxial SPDIF outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, a number of USB 2.0 ports, dual gigabit Ethernet, and PS/2 keyboard. OC-friendly features includes diagnostic LED, redundant BIOS, OC tuner, consolidated voltage-measure points and onboard power/reset buttons. Pricing/availability is not known.

Sandy Bridge-Based Pentium Dual-Core G840 Processor Surfaces

The first Intel Pentium branded processor based on the Sandy Bridge architecture surfaced in China. The Pentium Dual-Core G840 as it's identified, is said to be based on the 32 nm dual-core silicon. It differs from Core i3 dual-core processors in having no HyperThreading technology (one thread per core), and 3 MB of L3 cache enabled. The AVX instruction set also seems to be lacking according to the CPU-Z screenshot.

The Pentium G840 is clocked at 2.80 GHz, with a base clock of 100 MHz, and 28x multiplier. The embedded Intel HD Graphics GPU is clocked at 850 MHz, with 1100 MHz GPU Turbo Boost frequency. The processor cores lack Turbo Boost. The chip has a TDP of 65W. Pricing and availability details are awaited, though expect this LGA1155 chip to cost under $100.
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