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Silicon Power Launches the First IP67 Waterproof Portable HDD for Mac

Silicon Power, the world's leading provider of memory storage solutions, today launches the ultra-rugged USB 3.0 portable hard drive for Mac users-Armor A65M. Maximizing the shockproof and waterproof specifications of the Armor Series, the Armor A65M is specifically designed for Mac users with all-inclusive safety shields fighting against various threats that may occur during daily operations, and it also complies with the U.S. military-grade drop test and the IP67 standard.

The Armor A65M pioneers data protection measures with its exclusive cup-shaped design for optimizing its waterproof and dustproof functions, which makes the Armor A65M the first portable hard drive that meets the IP67 standard in the industry. In addition, the Armor A65M is especially rigid with its three-layer construction including two layers of rubber and one unibody frame in the middle, altogether promising great protection to withstand drops and shocks. Incorporating complete inside-out protection, the Armor A65M is guaranteed to keep your data safe under all sorts of conditions and is ideal for Mac users on the go. Furthermore, the Armor A65M enables easy plug-and-play use for it is already formatted in HFS+ format and supports Time Machine.

ASRock Takes Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs to Z68, P67 and H67 Series Motherboards

World's top 3 motherboard manufacturer ASRock today announced that its entire line of Intel P67, H67 and Z68 series motherboards will support Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs by updating the latest P version BIOS & Drivers! Via an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU, ASRock P67, H67 and Z68 series motherboards are resurrected. Users may expect more powerful processing speed yet lower power consumption by the world's first 22 nm 3-D Transistors.

"Besides pursuing extremes with hardcore hardware enthusiasts and die-hard gamers, making high-end technology easy and accessible for everybody is also one of ASRock's goals." commented James Lee, V.P. of Sales and Marketing at ASRock. "We have no doubt that users will be thrilled as much as we are with these updates, it will be like experiencing a brand new motherboard all over again."

Marketing and Prejudice Get the Better of Consumers with PC Processors: Test

At the AMD & HardOCP Game Experience event held in Texas, gamers were asked to participate in a blind test. The test involved gaming on two sets of gaming PCs with two PCs each, in each set is an AMD-powered PC, and an Intel-powered one. Participants weren't disclosed which PC was driven by what, as they were assembled in identical-looking cases (no window), with identical monitors and other peripherals. The first set is of budget single-monitor HD gaming, while the second set is high-end three-monitor gaming.

After gaming on both rigs in each set, respondents were asked to tick on a sheet of paper, which rig gave them a better gaming experience, or if gaming both had no observable difference. AMD went into this exercise expecting that most respondents will select "no difference" as their option, and so that would bring good PR to AMD, but to their surprise, most respondents selected the rigs that was powered by AMD processors.

ECS Enables X79-Driven SAS Ports on its X79R-AX Motherboard

Intel's X79 chipset for Sandy Bridge-E platform was originally designed to have four SAS (serial-attached SCSI) channels apart from its usual loadout of SATA ports. Early prototypes of socket LGA2011 motherboards displayed at last year's Computex event (June), carried a large number of chipset-driven ports. However, Intel found the chipset-integrated SAS RAID controller (independent device from the SATA RAID controller) to have "unreliable performance", and hence changed its specification at the last moment. So the production specification of X79 ended up having the same SATA port loadout as P67 (two SATA 6 Gb/s + four SATA 3 Gb/s).

This specifications change did not result in a design change of the X79 PCH package, its die remained the same, so did its package and pin-map, which motherboard vendors had for nearly an year. So ECS decided to implement the SAS ports despite being out of specifications. LegitReviews discovered that its X79R-AX sample very much did have SAS ports wired to the PCH. With firmware of the SAS RAID controller and drivers, it could enable and use those ports. Although the SAS ports are physically present on the board, users have to enable them via the UEFI firmware setup program (BIOS).

ASUS X79 Motherboards Hold 70% Global Market Share

Two in every three socket LGA2011 motherboards based on the Intel X79 chipset, globally, are ASUS. The company has amassed 70% global market share of X79 motherboards, according to the latest sales data given out by the company. That's not all, the same data claims ASUS globally holds 50% of the Z68 motherboard market, and 60% of the P67 motherboard market. ASUS' X79 motherboard lineup includes four models in the P9X79 series: the P9X79, P9X79 Pro, P9X79 Deluxe, P9X79 WS; three models in the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage IV series: the Rampage IV Extreme, Rampage IV Formula, and Rampage IV Gene; and Sabertooth X79.

Intel To Launch Sandy Bridge LGA1155 Processors That Lack iGPU

"Visibly Smart" was the tagline with which Intel brought its 2nd Generation Core processor family codenamed "Sandy Bridge" into the market. What every Sandy Bridge chip in the LGA1155 package launched thus far has in common is its integrated graphics controller. Apparently, Intel is planning to launch three new Core i5 quad-core processors, which lack that integrated graphics. The processors very much will work on H61, H67, and Z68 chipset-based motherboards, only you can't use the integrated graphics, making them functionally-identical to first-generation LGA1156 Core i5 quad-core chips.

The Core i5-2550K, which has been talked about for the past few weeks, is one of these three models that will lack iGPU. This chip is geared for overclocking, as it features an unlocked base clock multiplier. The other two models are the Core i5-2450P, and Core i5-2380P. Intel is perhaps counting on the "P" marker to intuitively denote lack of iGPU, like with P67 chipset. Clocked at 3.10 GHz with a Turbo Boost speed of 3.40 GHz, the Core i5-2380P is clocked identically to the Core i5-2400, except of course it lacks the iGPU. The Core i5-2450P, on the other hand is a little unique, with a clock speed of 3.20 GHz and 3.50 GHz Turbo Boost speed. Pricing and availability are not known, though it is expected that some of these chips will be priced lower than existing models with iGPU.

Intel Intros New Z68-based Extreme Series Desktop Boards

Intel released two new Desktop Board Extreme Series motherboards based on the Z68 chipset, supporting Core processors in the LGA1155 package, the DZ68ZV and DZ68BC. The DZ68ZV uses the same exact PCB as the DP67BG, replacing the P67 PCH with Z68 (they're pin-compatible). It lacks display connectivity. The only plus here is support for Intel Smart Response Technology. It uses a 8-phase active-swiching/load-balancing digital PWM power circuitry for the CPU, and quite a few overclocking features. Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16, three PCIe x1, and two PCI. Storage connectivity includes two SATA 6 Gb/s four SATA 3 Gb/s and one eSATA 3 Gb/s. Then there's 8-channel HD audio, USB 3.0, and Intel GbE controller.

The DZ68BC is a completely new design that is tailored for the Z68 chipset, complete with overclocking features, as well as display connectivity. The CPU is powered by an 8-phase digital PWM VRM, makes use of improved VRM cooling, expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16, three PCI and two PCIe x1, storage connectors consist of four SATA 6 Gb/s, four SATA 3 Gb/s, and two eSATA. There's 8-channel HD audio, Intel GbE connections, display IO that includes DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI, USB 3.0, and possibly FireWire. Lucid Virtu comes bundled, that provides active switching between the integrated and discrete GPUs.

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.

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.

Apacer Announces ARES DDR3-2133 MHz Dual Channel Memory Kits for Overclocking

Apacer, one of the world's leading brands of memory modules, today announced an expansion of its ARES overclocking memory series with high capacity and clock rate: DDR3-2133 8GB (4GBx2) dual channel memory kit,which is engineered for the latest Intel P67 and Z68 Sandy Bridge platforms. With a combination of high clock rate, huge capacity and low latency of CL9, ARES series is a perfect solution for extreme PC enthusiasts and gamers who want to optimize performance on the new platforms.

The newly-unveiled ARES DDR3-2133 8GB dual channel memory kit provides the highspeed and capacityon the Intel P67 and Z68 Sandy Bridge platforms and is backwards compatible with existing the P55 platform. It runs at CL9-11-9-27 with 1.65 voltage, using advancedprocess 256Mb x 8chips, which are screened and tested withthe advanced test fixture and programs under diversified parameters of voltage and time sequences.

G.Skill showcases its latest SATA 3 SSD, Phoenix II Pro, DDR3 Memory Kits

G.Skill International Co. Ltd., manufacturer of extreme performance memory and high performance solid-state storage, has released its latest SATA 3 6gbps SSD, Phoenix II Pro, based on the latest SandForce SF-2200 controller with the whopping random write speed up to 60K IOPS, and numerous ultra high performance memory series designed for the latest released platforms at Computex 2011.

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.

G.Skill Releases DDR3-2300MHz 8GB Memory for the Intel P67 Platform

G.Skill International Co. Ltd., manufacturer of extreme performance memory and solid-state storage with solid quality, today announces the world's fastest 8GB (4GBx2) DDR3 memory, rated at 2300MHz CL9 with only 1.65V voltage. This ultimate memory kit will join G.Skill award winning Ripjaws-X family and will be available soon via G.Skill global authorized distribution partners.

Since the demand of big capacity memory has grown dramatically, G.Skill R&D team has been dedicated to develop the fastest and best performing products based on 4GB memory sticks continuously. Following the marvelous achievement of DDR3 1900MHz 48GB and DDR3 2200MHz 16GB kits, G.Skill once again pushed the memory speed further and developed the industry leading memory kit. The DDR3 2300MHz CL9 kit has passed a series of rigorous tests and guarantees the best stability and performance.

Team Xtreem LV Series DDR3-2133, DDR3-1600 Start Shipping

With the launch of Intel's new generation high performance Sandy Bridge platform, Team Group Inc. announces its two exquisitely designed over-clocking masterpieces, Xtreem LV DDR3 2133 9-11-9-27 and Xtreem LV DDR3 1600 6-8-8-24, targeting at overclockers who look for high performance. Designed with focus on their compatibilities with the Sandy Bridge platform, both Xtreem LV DDR3 2133 9-11-9-27 and Xtreem LV DDR3 1600 6-8-8-24 use specially selected original particles manufactured under new production process, and pass 24 hours of strict burn-in testing to bring to consumers an exceptional usage experience. In addition, Team Group's Xtreem series memory modules are all completely compatible with the Intel XMP technology, and superior in high-performance and low-timing to fully release the potential of every computer.

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.

MSI Announces P67A-GD80 B3 Motherboard

World-renowned mainboard and graphics card manufacturer MSI has released the latest board to support Inte's Sandy Bridge processors and aimed towards enthusiasts: the P67A-GD80 (B3) mainboard. Utilizing MSI's various P67's exclusive specifications and technologies, such as the Military Class II Components standard which symbolizes high quality and stability, the comprehensive OC Genie II one-touch overclocking system, the uEFI-based ClickBIOS technology, and the SuperCharger function that provide mobile devices with the optimal charging. It also has a built in 12 phase DrMOS power supply and 3 sets of PCI-E x16 2.0 expansion slots, providing a more stable power supply for overclocking and for support up to a maximum of three-way multi-GPU computing.

Spot Signs of SATA Performance Degradation on Cougar Point P67/H67 Chipsets

Apparently there's a "slim" chance of users actually being affected by the recently-discovered chipset design error plaguing Intel's Cougar Point 6-series chipsets that drive the SandyBridge processors. Intel pegs this at 5% performance degradation caused due to data transfer errors over a period of 3 years. Users of Romanian tech community Lab 501 found out a way of detecting if your hard drives connected to the damage-prone SATA ports are already showing signs of errors.

To do so, you need the HD Tune Pro software, you can try out the Pro version. Select a hard drive connected to the damage-prone SATA 3 Gb/s port, click on the "Health" tab. HD Tune checks out various self-diagnostic parameters of the drive, including SMART values. A drive connected to an affected port should fail a number of tests as shown in the screenshot below. As a stopgap solution, you can connect the drive to one of the SATA 6 Gb/s ports available. Most motherboards should have 2 internal 6 Gb/s ports, some have additional 6 Gb/s ports driven by 3rd party controllers. It's advisable to use ports of those controllers. This stopgap fix should pull you through till April-May, when motherboard vendors are expected to have motherboards with B3 revision of the Cougar Point chipset. You can then claim replacement of your board under warranty.

ECS USA's Commitment to its Intel 6 Series Express Chipset Motherboard Customers

ECS ELITEGROUP USA branch office has worked with Intel and has been made aware of a design flaw in its newest generation Intel 6 Series Express Chipsets (codenamed Cougar Point, B2 Stepping) which could, under normal operation, experience an issue with SATA ports 2-5 that may result in these SATA ports experiencing a functional issue over time.

ECS USA, along with all motherboard manufacturers, is working closely with Intel (who has identified the problem) on containing the distribution of the B2 Stepping of this product on its motherboards. ECS USA takes pride in its products' quality and is passionate about offering the best possible customer experience. ECS USA stands by its products and is committed to its customers by offering the following:

V3 Gaming PC Announces Convoy Desktops with the 2nd Generation Intel Core Processors

V3 Gaming PC, manufacturer of high-end computer systems, has announced the integration of Intel's 2nd Generation Core Processor Family to their product line with the Convoy and Convoy 3DS Desktop Gaming Computers. Intel's latest processors, previously code-named "Sandy Bridge", offer several features that provide tangible performance benefits of their predecessors.

Among the benefits of the new processors is a more aggressive Turbo Boost 2.0, which will automatically overclock some of the processor's cores when the others are not in use. For those who desire a more traditional overclock, the Intel has launched K-series parts that can be overclocked through an unlocked multiplier to very impressive speeds. "We have managed overclocks exceeding 5.0GHz in our testing of the Intel Core i7-2600K processor," remarked Chuck Morris, System Engineer at V3 Gaming PC, "we've got some pretty incredible performance out of it too."

Socket Pin Burnout Returns to Haunt LGA1155?

Last year, credible reports of a design defect with LGA1156 sockets made by a certain component manufacturer in particular, made headlines. Reviewers found that extreme overclocking using increase voltages, in test cases, caused certain pins of the socket to burn out, damaging both the board and processor. The defect was found to be caused by shorting between the pins and the socket causing tiny electrical arcs. Motherboard reviewer from discovered that his Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 and GA-P67A-UD7 samples showed signs of socket burn. The publication is yet to receive a reply from the board manufacturer.

LGA1155 and LGA1156 are very similar in physical pin layout, chip package, and retention clips, although the pin-maps are significantly different. TechReaction comments that while only "extreme conditions" cause such pin burnouts, 24/7-stable overclocked settings could, over a period of time, create similar conditions. Only time, and extensive testing will reveal if burnouts are a cause for concern to enthusiasts.

Sapphire Adds Muscle to Mainboard Line

SAPPHIRE Technology, best known as a manufacturer and global supplier of graphics solutions has just announced plans to seriously address the motherboard market with the introduction of high end Intel platforms.

SAPPHIRE has just released information that for the first time it will introduce Intel based mainboards in the high-end sector. Designed to appeal to the enthusiast, the first product will be a fully featured X58 board, to be known as the SAPPHIRE Pure Black X58, supporting the Intel core i7 series of processors. In addition to the established and highly regarded X58 chipset, the board incorporates many state of the art features such as on-board USB3.0, SATA 6 Gb/s ports in addition to SATA 3 Gb/s, six DDR3 memory slots, 3 Gen2 (x16/x8/x8) and one Gen1 (x4) PCI-Express expansion slots as well as a host of peripheral connections and on-board 8-channel audio.

EVGA P67 Micro-ATX Motherboard Pictured

Joining the ranks of the mighty P67 Classified and P67 SLI is EVGA's third socket LGA1155 motherboard, the P67 Micro (120-SB-E672). Based on the P67 chipset, this board provides all the features of the chipset, and also provides 2-way SLI support. The CPU socket is powered by a 4+2 phase VRM, wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots for dual-channel memory. Expansion slots include two PCI-E 2.0 x16 (both electrical x8 at all times), and two PCI-E x1.

There are two SATA 6 Gb/s, four SATA 3 Gb/s, two eSATA 3 Gb/s ports. 8-channel HD audio with optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, a number of USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and Firewire make for the rest of the connectivity. Basic overclocker-friendly features include power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons on board, along with a POST diagnostic LED display. EVGA should add this motherboard to its ranks soon.

Sapphire Readies PC-CI7S42P67 Motherboard, Combines LGA1155 with Hydra

Sapphire is readying a new performance motherboard for LGA1155 Intel "Sandy Bridge" processors, driven by Intel P67 chipset. The most distinct feature here is the LucidLogix Hydra Engine chip, which takes in the lone PCI-Express 2.0 x16 link from the processor, and gives out three PCI-E x16 slots (electrical x16/x8/x8), which lets users build a variety of 3-way multi-GPU configurations, including mix-matching of GPUs of different types and makes. The fourth PCI-E x16 slot is wired to the P67 PCH, and is electrical x4. Other slots include two PCI.

The CPU is powered by an 8-phase VRM, and memory by a 3-phase VRM. Sapphire-marked self-cooled chokes and driver-MOSFETs are used. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 3 Gb/s and three SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one eSATA. Other connectivity features include 8-channel HD audio with optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs, two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, USB 3.0, FireWire, Bluetooth, and a number of USB 2.0 ports. Overclocker-friendly features include redundant BIOS with manual selection, debug LEDs, power and reset switches on board.

OCZ Displays New Fatal1ty DDR3 Memory Modules

Long time Fatal1ty brand partner OCZ Technology showed off its latest range of DDR3 DIMM modules carrying the Fatal1ty Profess1onal badge. The module uses OCZ's Blade 2 series heatsink, which makes it slightly taller than conventional modules, and helps keep the module cool at high voltages. It is expected to be available in DDR3-1600 speeds, and optimized for Intel Sandy Bridge processors. Here, it's pictured on ASRock's P67 Fatal1ty motherboard.
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