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ASRock Announces Trio of Intel 400-series STEEL LEGEND Motherboards

ASRock today launched a trio of socket LGA1200 motherboards part of its Steel Legend family. These include the H470 Steel Legend, the B460 Steel Legend, the and Micro-ATX B460M Steel Legend. All three boards offer ASRock's BFB (base frequency boost) technology that improves performance of non-K processors by letting them sustain boost frequencies better. The H470 Steel Legend leads the pack with a 11-phase CPU VRM that draws power from a combination of 8-pin and 4-pin EPS connectors; enlarged VRM heatsinks, two M.2-22110 slots with heatsinks and PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring; an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards, and connectivity that includes a premium Realtek ALC1200-based onboard audio solution, 2.5 GbE wired networking powered by a Realtek-made controller, and a couple of USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, including a type-C port.

The B460 Steel Legend uses a different PCB design from its H470-based sibling. A simpler 9-phase VRM powers the CPU, pulling power from a single 8-pin EPS connector. You still get two M.2 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring and heatsinks; and an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards. Connectivity is similar to the H470-based board, too, with a 2.5 GbE wired networking interface, and a premium onboard audio solution based on the ALC1200. Lastly, there's the B460M Steel Legend, which maximizes the Micro-ATX form-factor PCB area. The CPU VRM solution is carried over from its ATX sibling (9-phase, single 8-pin EPS). ASRock managed to squeeze in two M.2 slots (one of them with a heatsink, both with gen 3.0 x4 wiring), and preparation for WLAN. Much like the other two, you get an ALC1200-based premium onboard audio solution, and a 2.5 GbE networking interface. The company didn't reveal pricing.
ASRock H470 Steel Legend ASRock B460 Steel Legend ASRock B460M Steel Legend

QNAP Launches Budget-Friendly 2-Bay TS-230 NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc., a leading computing, networking and storage solution innovator, today launched the new lightweight, quiet, and feature-rich TS-230 NAS that can easily fit into any living environment. Adorned with a refreshing baby blue hue, the TS-230 is ideal for home and daily central storage, back up, photo and video sharing. All digital assets on the TS-230 are securely protected by the powerful snapshot function. Coupled with multimedia apps and transcoding feature support, the TS-230 is an ideal entry-level NAS for creating a smart and fun lifestyle.

The TS-230 uses a Realtek RTD1296 quad-core 1.4 GHz processor and built-in 2 GB DDR4 RAM for meeting personal and home NAS applications. It provides one Gigabit port and supports SATA6 Gbps disk drives, AES-256 encryption, and SSD caching. The cooling fan uses an HDB type Sintetico bearing fan for maintaining high airflow and low noise, providing better cooling for the TS-230 to ensure constant system operation. The tool-less hard drive installation makes TS-230 setup easy even for a NAS newbie.

AMD Releases AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.5 Microcode

AMD formally announced its AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.5 microcode. The new microcode is intended to be encapsulated into motherboard UEFI firmware updates and distributed by motherboard- and OEM desktop manufacturers, at their discretion. AGESA 1.0.0.5 improves POST (time) with select Micron Technology DDR4-3200 memory chips. An intermittent virtual memory error with certain Realtek onboard Ethernet PHY chips has been fixed. The microcode also improves PCI-Express bus stability and interoperability, in general. A PCIe lane configuration issue with Ryzen 3 Pro 2100GE has been fixed. Besides these, all other performance- and stability-improvements part of older 1.0.0.4 a/ab/abb/abba microcodes are incorporated into 1.0.0.5. Keep an eye on the BIOS updates section of your socket AM4 motherboard's product page on its company website.

Colorful iGame Z490 Vulcan X and CVN Z490 Gaming Pro Motherboards Detailed

Here are some of the first pictures and details of a pair of premium socket LGA1200 motherboards by Colorful. The iGame Z490 Vulcan X appears to lead the company's upcoming Intel Z490 chipset motherboard lineup. The CVN Z490 Gaming Pro, on the other hand, is a mid-range offering. The iGame board offers a 280 W-capable 14-phase CPU VRM, three each of PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x8/x8/x4 with all three populated, else x16/NC/x4) slots, PCie x1, and M.2 NVMe slots; a PCH heatsink outer shroud that extends into heatsinks for two of the M.2 slots, a rear I/O shroud that extends into an M.2 heatsink; and connectivity that includes a premium ALC1220-based onboard audio solution, 802.11ax WLAN driven by an Intel AX201 board, and 2.5 GbE wired interface driven by an Intel i225-V controller. The I/O shroud and PCH heatsink feature RGB LED embellishments.

The CVN Z490 Gaming Pro is refreshingly spartan for a Colorful board. Chunky aluminium heatsinks cool the board's 10-phase VRM rated up to 125 W. The CPU socket is wired to two reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x4 electrical), You still get three M.2 slots, but only one of them features a heatsink. The connectivity is entry-level, too, with a Realtek ALC892-driven 8-channel HD audio solution, and a single 1 GbE wired networking interface driven by a Realtek RTL8111H controller. There are ARGB headers, although no RGB LED embellishments.

ASRock B550AM Gaming Motherboard Pictured Up Close

Here are some of the first close-ups of the ASRock B550AM Gaming motherboard, which made its first appearance back in October 2019. The B550A is a rebadged B450 low-power "Promontory" chipset. Boards based on the chipset are guaranteed to support all 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processors out of the box. The B550AM Gaming draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the AM4 SoC with an 8+2 phase VRM.

The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR4 memory; the board's sole PCI-Express 4.0 x16, and an M.2-22110 slot that has PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. The only other expansion slot is a PCI-Express x4 wired to the B550A chipset, which is likely gen 2.0. Other storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (from which one is type-C), and six USB 3.2 gen 1 ports (from which two are by headers). Network connectivity includes WLAN (likely 802.11ac), and a 1 GbE wired interface. The 6-channel HD audio appears to be driven by a premium Realtek ALC1220-class CODEC. There are two 4-pin RGB and one 3-pin ARGB headers. The company didn't reveal pricing, or whether this board is even available in the retail channel, given that back in October we heard that the B550A was an OEM exclusive.

ASUS Rolls Out Pro WS X299 SAGE II Motherboard

ASUS today rolled out the Pro WS X299 SAGE II, a redesign and refresh of its WS X299 SAGE series quasi-workstation motherboards, designed for those who want to use Intel's 10th generation Core XE "Cascade Lake-X" HEDT processors in a workstation-like environment (CEB form-factor) and can make do without ECC memory. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and two 8-pin EPS power connectors, along with an optional 6-pin PCIe power input to stabilize add-on card power delivery. An 8-phase VRM conditions power for the socket LGA2066 processor. The board employs PLX PEX8747 bridge chips to convert two x16 PCIe gen 3.0 links from the LGA2066 processor to four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots with full bandwidth, or seven slots with x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 wiring.

Storage options on the ASUS Pro WS X299 SAGE II include three U.2 ports, two M.2 slots (one right below the PCH heatsink, and the other vertical); and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports. Network connectivity includes two 2.5 GbE interfaces driven by a pair of Intel i225-LM controllers. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports driven by an ASMedia controller (from which one is type-C), a second such controller driving an internal port, and eight USB 3.2 gen 1 ports from the X299 PCH. A high-grade onboard audio solution featuring Realtek S1220A HDA codec, headphones amp, ground-layer isolation, and audio-grade capacitors, make for the rest of this board. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Rolls Out ROG Crosshair VIII Impact - Not Strictly Mini-ITX

ASUS over the past week rolled out its flagship socket AM4 motherboard for SFF gaming PC builds, the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact. Based on the AMD X570 chipset and supporting the latest 3rd generation Ryzen processors, this board is slightly longer than the Mini-ITX specification, while retaining its mount-hole layout. The logic here is that most ITX gaming PC cases have two expansion slots to accommodate dual-slot graphics cards, and so it would make sense to extend the motherboard's PCB up until there, reclaiming precious PCB real-estate. Technically this board would qualify as mini-DTX, but ASUS believes it should fit in most ITX cases that have two expansion slots. The board's dimensions are 203 mm x 170 mm.

The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning power for the AM4 SoC using a massive 8-phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to a pair of DDR4 DIMM slots, the board's sole expansion slot, a PCI-Express 4.0 x16, and the interestingly-named SO-DIMM.2 slot. Physically, this is an SO-DIMM slot that's been re-wired with PCIe gen 4.0 leading up to a proprietary SO-DIMM daughterboard that holds two M.2-2280 slots with PCIe 4.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, each. Four SATA 6 Gbps ports make for the rest of the storage connectivity. The area of the motherboard just below the PCIe x16 slot has another proprietary slot that holds the second daughterboard, this one with the SupremeFX Impact IV onboard audio solution, which has been physically isolated from the main PCB, and has an EMI-shielded Realtek ALC1220 main CODEC, ESS Sabre ES9023P DAC for the main stereo channel, a de-pop circuit, and audio-grade capacitors.

Realtek Announces New Flash Controllers, Including one for PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs

At the 2019 Flash Memory Summit, Realtek announced a slew of new Flash memory controllers targeting a diversity of devices, spanning from USB flash drives to USB external SSDs, M.2/U.2 NVMe internal SSDs. Leading the pack is the RTS5771, the company's new flagship NVMe SSD controller that features a PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface, 8 NAND Flash channels with up to 1,200 MT/s speeds per channel, NVMe 1.3, and DRAM cache. This becomes the third PCIe gen 4.0-capable client-segment NVMe SSD controller after the Phison E16 and the Marvell 88SS132x.

The RTS5765DL is its cost-effective sibling, which has PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, just 4 NAND Flash channels, and is DRAM-less, allowing manufacturers to design cost-effective SSDs. It still has 1,200 MT/s bandwidth per channel, so drives that implement it can offer sequential speeds similar to premium drives from the previous generation. The new RTL9210 is a bridge chip that converts USB 3.1 gen 2 (10 Gbps) to PCI-Express 3.0 x2, ideal for cost-effective external NVMe SSDs. The controller also features an integrated RGB LED logic, so drive designers can bling up their creations.

BIOSTAR Unveils Racing X470GTA Motherboard: Ryzen 3000 Support and Legacy PCI

Motherboard manufacturers seem to be rushing the fill the void of cost-effective motherboards with out of the box Ryzen 3000 support, as AMD X570 motherboards start at $170. The latest entrant is the Racing X470GTA by BIOSTAR, priced around the $120-mark, and packing an interesting mix of modern- and legacy connectivity. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the SoC with a simple 4+3 phase VRM. Out of the box, the board supports all Ryzen 3000-series processors launched so far, in addition to 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen, A-series, and Athlon "Bristol Ridge," which make up pretty much every socket AM4 chip launched so far.

The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and the board's lone M.2 slot. Two PCIe gen 2.0 x1, and a PCI-Express x16 slot with gen 2.0 x4 wiring, make for the rest of the expansion area; while six SATA 6 Gbps ports make the remaining storage options. This is probably the only AMD X470 motherboard to feature legacy PCI slots, using an ASMedia bridge chip. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports (from which one is type-C), and eight 5 Gb/s USB 3.1 gen 1 ports (from which four are by headers) The lone network interface is a 1 GbE driven by a Realtek 8118AS "DragonLAN" chip. The onboard audio solution is powered by an entry-level Realtek ALC892. Other legacy connectivity includes a PS/2 combo port and a serial COM header. Despite these, there are some wacky enthusiast-friendly features, including onboard buttons for automated overclocking, power/reset; dual-BIOS with a manual 2-way switch, and diagnostic LEDs.

ASUS Rolls Out Pro WS C246-ACE Motherboard with Xeon E-series Support

ASUS today rolled out of the WS C246-ACE, a sober-looking workstation motherboard in the ATX form-factor based on the Intel C246 chipset, which supports not just Intel Xeon E-series processors in the LGA1151 package, but also 8th and 9th generation Core processors. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the processor with a 9-phase VRM that's cooled by heavy ridged heatsinks. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 128 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and two metal-reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC or x8/x8). Two open-ended PCIe 3.0 x1 and a PCI-Express x16 (electrical gen 3.0 x4) make for the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity on the ASUS WS C246-ACE include two M.2-22110 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, a U.2 port, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. Networking is care of two 1 GbE interfaces, driven by a combination of Intel i211-AT and i219-LM controllers. The onboard audio solution combines a Realtek ALC1220S CODEC with EMI shielding, ground-layer isolation, and a headphones amp circuit. USB connectivity includes four 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, all on rear panel, one of which is a type-C port; and six 5 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, of which two are via headers. Display connectivity include HDMI and DisplayPort. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Rolls Out the Prime A320I-K Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASUS today rolled out an entry-level mini-ITX motherboard for the AMD socket AM4 platform, the Prime A320I-K. Based on the AMD A320 chipset, the board supports 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen processors out of the box, including the 8-core models. The tiny A320 chipset is tucked away behind a metal heatspreader underneath the M.2-2280 slot. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning it with a 6-phase VRM that makes do without a heatsink.

Storage connectivity on the A320I-K includes four SATA 6 Gbps ports, and an M.2-2280 slot with PCI-Express 2.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring from the SoC. The board's lone expansion slot is a PCI-Express 3.0 x16. USB connectivity includes six USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, four on the rear-panel and two via headers; and four USB 2.0 ports, of which two are via headers. Display connectivity includes one each of DisplayPort and HDMI. Networking is care of a single 1 GbE interface driven by a Realtek RTL8111H controller, and the onboard audio solution is an entry-level Realtek ALC887. We expect the Prime A320I-K to be priced around $60.

GIGABYTE Gives AMD X570 the Full Aorus Treatment: ITX to Xtreme

Motherboard vendors are betting big on the success of AMD's "Valhalla" desktop platform that combines a Ryzen 3000-series Zen 2 processor with an AMD X570 chipset motherboard, and have responded with some mighty premium board designs. GIGABYTE deployed its full spectrum of Aorus branding, including Ultra, Elite, ITX Pro, Master, and Xtreme. The X570 I Aorus Pro WiFi mini-ITX motherboard is an impressive feat of engineering despite its designers having to wrestle with the feisty new PCIe gen 4 chipset. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin and 8-pin connectors, and conditions power for the SoC with an impressive 8-phase VRM that uses high-grade PowIRstage components. A rather tall fan-heatsink cools the X570 chipset, with a 30 mm fan.

Connectivity options on the X570 I Aorus Pro WiFi are surprisingly aplenty. The sole expansion slot is a PCI-Express 4.0 x16, but the storage connectivity includes not one, but two M.2-2280 slots (reverse side of the PCB), each with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. Four SATA 6 Gbps ports make for the rest of the storage connectivity. Networking options include 2.4 Gbps 802.11ax WLAN, Bluetooth 5.0 (Intel , and 1 GbE, all pulled by Intel-made controllers. USB connectivity includes six 5 Gbps USB 3.2 gen 1, and two 10 Gbps USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (of which one is type-C), and two 5 Gbps ports by headers. The onboard audio solution has 6-channel analog output, but is backed by a premium Realtek ALC1220VB Enhance CODEC (114 dBA SNR).

ASRock X570 Aqua is a $1000 Zen2-ready Liquid-Cooled Monsterboard

We were pleasantly mistaken when we thought ASRock would stop at the X570 Phantom Gaming X or the X570 Taichi for AMD's new "Valhalla" enthusiast desktop platform. It turns out that they have a roughly-$1,000 monster motherboard in the pipes, called the X570 Aqua. Pictured below, the board is based on a slight variation of the X570 Phantom Gaming X PCB. The biggest change of course is the aluminium shroud that covers most of the board's front side. There's also a metal back-plate.

Beneath the metal shroud is what gives the board its name: a massive liquid-cooling monoblock that cools not just your processor (including heavyweights such as overclocked Ryzen 9 3900X chips), but also the CPU VRM, and the feisty AMD X570 chipset. The coolant channel first goes over the CPU through a large micro-fin lattice, then onto the X570 chipset, and finally over the CPU VRM on its way out. Much like the Phantom Gaming X, this board features daisy-chained dual-channel DDR4 memory slots designed to make the most OC out of 2-module setups.

AMD X570 Unofficial Platform Diagram Revealed, Chipset Puts out PCIe Gen 4

AMD X570 is the company's first in-house design socket AM4 motherboard chipset, with the X370 and X470 chipsets being originally designed by ASMedia. With the X570, AMD hopes to leverage new PCI-Express gen 4.0 connectivity of its Ryzen 3000 Zen2 "Matisse" processors. The desktop platform that combines a Ryzen 3000 series processor with X570 chipset is codenamed "Valhalla." A rough platform diagram like what you'd find in motherboard manuals surfaced on ChipHell, confirming several features. To maintain pin-compatibility with older generations of Ryzen processors, Ryzen 3000 has the same exact connectivity from the SoC except two key differences.

On the AM4 "Valhalla" platform, the SoC puts out a total of 28 PCI-Express gen 4.0 lanes. 16 of these are allocated to PEG (PCI-Express graphics), configurable through external switches and redrivers either as single x16, or two x8 slots. Besides 16 PEG lanes, 4 lanes are allocated to one M.2 NVMe slot. The remaining 4 lanes serve as the chipset bus. With X570 being rumored to support gen 4.0 at least upstream, the chipset bus bandwidth is expected to double to 64 Gbps. Since it's an SoC, the socket is also wired to LPCIO (SuperIO controller). The processor's integrated southbridge puts out two SATA 6 Gbps ports, one of which is switchable to the first M.2 slot; and four 5 Gbps USB 3.x ports. It also has an "Azalia" HD audio bus, so the motherboard's audio solution is directly wired to the SoC. Things get very interesting with the connectivity put out by the X570 chipset.
Update May 21st: There is also information on the X570 chipset's TDP.
Update May 23rd: HKEPC posted what looks like an official AMD slide with a nicer-looking platform map. It confirms that AMD is going full-tilt with PCIe gen 4, both as chipset bus, and as downstream PCIe connectivity.

ASRock Outs Z390 Phantom Gaming 4S Motherboard

ASRock today rolled out the Z390 Phantom Gaming 4S motherboard. Clearly built to a cost, the board ships with a narrow ATX PCB, and is positioned below both the Z390 Phantom Gaming 4 and the Z390 Pro4. It draws power from a 24-pin ATX and an 8-pin EPS, conditioning it for the CPU with a 6+2 phase VRM. The LGA1151 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16. The second x16 slot is electrically x4 and wired to the PCH. An M.2 PCIe E-key slot (for WLAN cards) and three open-ended PCIe 3.0 x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes just the one M.2-22110 slot (PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring), and six SATA 6 Gbps ports.

Display outputs include just the one HDMI port. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.2 gen 1 ports, four on the rear panel, four by headers. The board's sole 1 GbE network interface is driven by an Intel i219-V controller. The onboard audio solution combines a rather premium Realtek ALC1220 CODEC with 6-channel analog output, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. Separate PS/2 ports, one 3-pin addressable-RGB, two 4-pin RGB, and five 4-pin PWM fan headers make for the rest of this board. We expect this to be ASRock's cheapest Z390 offering, priced between USD $110-120.

ASUS Also Outs ROG Strix B365-F Gaming Motherboard

In quick succession to last week's launch of the ROG Strix B365-G Gaming, ASUS rolled out its first ROG-branded ATX motherboard based on Intel B365 Express chipset, the ROG Strix B365-F Gaming. Supporting all 9th and 8th generation Core processors out of the box, this board is targeted at gamers who don't intend to overclock their CPUs or need memory clock speeds above DDR4-2667. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 10-phase VRM. The board supports up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory capped at 2667 MHz.

Expansion includes one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with metal reinforcement wired to the CPU, a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (physical x16) slot wired to the B365 PCH, three PCIe x1, and an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards. Storage connectivity includes two M.2 slots each with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, one of which even has SATA 6 Gbps wiring; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports at the rear panel, and six 5 Gbps USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, two by header. The onboard audio solution is premium ROG SupremeFX, combining a Realtek ALC1220A CODEC with dual high-impedance headphones amplifiers, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The board's sole 1 GbE interface is pulled by the ubiquitous Intel i219-V controller. Expect this board to be priced around $120.

ASUS Unveils ROG Strix B365-G Gaming Motherboard

With inventories of the B360 Express digesting nicely, motherboard vendors are finally implementing its replacement, the B365 Express, in premium gaming-grade products. ASUS rolled out its first Republic of Gamers (ROG) product, with the ROG Strix B365-G Gaming. Built in the micro-ATX form-factor, this board packs many gamer-essentials and is targeted at PC gamers who don't bother with overclocking. With its in-BIOS memory frequency setting capped at DDR4-2667, ASUS is very specific about the target audience. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 7+2 phase VRM. The board supports all 9th gen and 8th gen Core "Coffee Lake/Refresh" processors out of the box.

The LGA1151 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2667 memory; and the board's sole PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with a metal reinforcement. A PCI-Express 3.0 x1, M.2 E-key slot (for WLAN cards), and PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (physical x16), make for the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes two M.2-2280 slots, one of which supports both PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps, while the other is just PCI-Express 3.0 x4; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. The board's sole 1 GbE interface is driven by an Intel i219-V controller. USB connectivity includes two type-A 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, besides six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers). The onboard audio solution combines a Realtek ALC1220A CODEC with dual OPAMPs, EMI shielding, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. A couple of 3-pin addressable RGB headers make for the rest of this board, which is expected to retail around the $100-mark.

ASUS Intros Prime B365-Plus Motherboard

Response from motherboard manufacturers to the Intel B365 Express mid-range socket LGA1151 chipset has been rather lukewarm, with very few product launches. The B365 Express is a rebadged H270 Express with 8th and 9th generation Core CPU support replacing 6th and 7th gen. ASUS launched one of its first ATX form-factor boards based on this chipset, with the Prime B365-Plus. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 4+3 phase VRM. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. The board supports 9th generation Core processors out of the box.

Besides the main x16 slot, the board's expansion slots loadout is designed to benefit from the increased 20-lane PCIe budget of the B365 Express. You get a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical gen 3.0 x4) slot, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots. There are two M.2 slots on offer. The bottom slot has PCI-Expres 3.0 x4 wiring only, and supports M.2-22110 drives, while the top M.2 slot has PCI-Express 3.0 x2 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. There are six SATA 6 Gbps ports. Display connectivity includes one each of D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, four by headers. The board's sole 1 GbE network interface is controlled by a Realtek 8111H PHY. The onboard audio solution is driven by an entry-level Realtek ALC887 CODEC. Expect this board to be priced around $90.

ASUS Rolls Out TUF B450M-Pro Gaming Motherboard

ASUS expanded its TUF Gaming motherboard series for the AMD platform with the new TUF B450M-Pro Gaming, positioned above its existing TUF B450M-Plus Gaming. This board features a more upscale CPU VRM design, chunkier VRM heatsinks, a more premium onboard audio solution, an additional M.2 slot, and more fan headers than the B450M-Plus Gaming. To begin with, the board features a 10-phase CPU VRM compared to the simpler 6-phase design of the B450M-Plus Gaming. Both areas of the CPU VRM are cooled by visibly bigger heatsinks, while the B450M-Plus Gaming features no heatsink over the VSoC phases. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors.

ASUS rearranged the expansion slot layout to make room for a second M.2 slot. The upper slot features both PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, while the lower slot features PCI-Express 3.0 x2 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. Both slots use SATA switching logic to divert SATA links from the board's six SATA 6 Gbps ports. The third major area of improvement is the onboard audio solution, which uses a top-grade Realtek ALC1220A CODEC compared to the entry-level ALC887 of the B450M-Plus Gaming. This chip is still wired out to 6-channel analog jacks. There are a couple of additional 4-pin fan headers. The onboard gigabit Ethernet solution is unchanged, driven by a Realtek RTL8111H PHY. The ASUS TUF B450M-Pro Gaming is expected to be priced at USD $99.

BIOSTAR Introduces Edge Computing Solution with SoC Motherboard -A10N-8800E

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, introduces a solution for edge computing, the BIOSTAR A10N-8800E system-on-chip (SoC) mini-ITX motherboard, for faster data access and computing over traditional cloud solutions. The BIOSTAR A10N-8800E integrates the AMD FX-8800P processor, typically found in AMD mobile computing, for superb processing performance and power efficiency. Even with a mini-ITX form factor, it includes features such as dual channel DDR 4 2133 support, USB3.1 Gen. 1, PCI-e M.2 16Gb/s and HDMI output. The BIOSTAR A10N-8800E is an excellent motherboard for edge computing applications for home, office or online gaming.

ASUS Rolls Out a Pair of Intel B365 Chipset Motherboards

ASUS today rolled out a pair of entry-level motherboards based on Intel B365 Express chipset for 8th and 9th generation Core processors. The B365 has been extensively detailed in our older article as trading off features such as integrated USB 3.1 gen 2 and an older version of Management Engine, in exchange for significantly more downstream PCIe lanes than the B360 Express. Intel's decision to fallback to the 22 nm node for chipsets resulted in the B365. Among ASUS' new motherboards include the Prime B365M-A and Prime B365M-K. The company is also working on three quasi gaming-grade motherboards targeting gaming i-Cafes, namely the B365M-KYLIN, B365M-BASALT, and the B365M-PIXIU, which are essentially cosmetic variations of the B365M-K with one less SATA port.

The Prime B365M-A is the slightly better endowed of the two micro-ATX boards launched today. Pulling power from a 24-pin ATX and an 8-pin EPS, it uses a 4+2 phase CPU VRM. The CPU is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and the board's sole PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, which features a metal reinforcement brace. Two additional gen 3.0 x1 slots wired to the PCH make for the rest of the expansion. Storage connectivity includes an M.2 slot with PCIe gen 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, and six other SATA 6 Gbps ports. As expected, there are no USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, as the chipset lacks it. You get four USB 3.1 gen 1 (5 Gbps) ports, two of which are on the rear panel, and two via headers. A 1 GbE interface pulled by a Realtek RTL8111H controller, and 6-channel HD audio handled by an entry-level Realtek ALC887 make for the rest of it. The Prime B365M-K is the more cost-effective of the two Prime B365M-series boards, and is built with a narrower PCB, and hence only serves up two DDR4 memory slots. You also lose out on Vcore VRM heatsink, and metal reinforcement on the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.

GIGABYTE Intros C246-WU4 Motherboard for Xeon E-Series and Core Processors

GIGABYTE today introduced the C246-WU4, a workstation-grade socket LGA1151 motherboard based on Intel C246 chipset, with support for the recently announced Xeon E-2100 series, in addition to 8th and 9th generation Core processors. With Xeon processors installed, it supports up to 128 GB ECC memory. 9th Generation Core processors let you use up to 128 GB non-ECC memory. 8th generation ones cap out at 64 GB non-ECC. The board also supports many of the vPro enterprise features that the Q370 Express chipset offers.

Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and optional 4-pin ATX, and uses an 8+2 phase VRM to condition power for the CPU. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16, from which slots 1 and 3 are wired to the CPU, and share an x16 link (x16/NC or x8/x8), while slots 2 and 4 are gen 3.0 x4, and wired to the PCH. There's also a legacy PCI slot driven by a bridge chip. Storage connectivity includes two M.2 PCIe with gen 3.0 x4 wiring, each; and ten SATA 6 Gbps ports, from which eight are driven by the PCH, and two from an ASMedia ASM1061 chip. Network connectivity includes two 1 GbE interfaces, one driven by an Intel i219-V, and the other by i211-AT, with vPro support. USB connectivity includes USB 3.1 gen 2, including type-C rear-panel ports. The onboard audio features a Realtek ALC1220VB, which is EMI shielded, and wired to WIMA capacitors. Expect this board to be priced around $350.

GIGABYTE Intros X299 Aorus Master Motherboard

GIGABYTE today announced its almost-flagship socket LGA2066 motherboard, the X299 Aorus Master. The Master brand-extension, if you'll recall, is positioned just a notch below the flagship Aorus Xtreme, which makes this board a successor to the X299 Aorus Gaming 7. The X299 Aorus Gaming 9 and Designare-EX remain the company's flagship LGA2066 products, until they're succeeded by a new Aorus Xtreme product. There's still plenty to go around with the new X299 Aorus Master, beginning with its updated design scheme that's in sync with the company's latest Z390 motherboard lineup. It ships with out-of-the-box support for Core X 9000-series processors. The board is wider than ATX, although not quite E-ATX. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, two 8-pin EPS, and an optional 6-pin PCIe power. A 12-phase VRM powers the CPU, cooled by a 2-stage heatsink. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16/NC/x16/NC or x16/NC/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8). The DIMM and PCIe slots feature metal reinforcement.

Storage connectivity on the GIGABYTE X299 Aorus Master includes three M.2 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, each with heatsinks; and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports. Networking includes a 2.5 GbE wired interface driven by Realtek Dragon 8125AG controller, a 1 GbE driven by Intel i219-V controller, and 802.11 ac + Bluetooth 5 interface driven by Intel 9260 WLAN card. USB connectivity includes four USB 3.1 gen 2 ports (two on the rear panel including a type-C, two by header), driven by a combination of ASMedia ASM1142 controller and the X299 PCH. The onboard audio solution is quite something. An ESS Sabre 9218 DAC (130 dBA SNR!) drives the main front + headphones channel with Ti Burr Brown OPA2111KP OPAMPs and WIMA capacitors; while a 120 dBA SNR Realtek ALC1220VB pulls the remaining channels. Manually-switchable dual-BIOS, 7-segment POST code readout, USB flash-back, and a boatload of other overclocker-friendly features complete the board. Expect it to be priced around USD $399.

QNAP Introduces TS-351 3-bay Home NAS

Following the releases of the TS-328 (powered by a Realtek CPU) and the TS-332X (powered by an AnnapurnaLabs CPU), QNAP Systems, Inc. today completes the 3-bay RAID 5 NAS lineup with the introduction of the high-end home NAS TS-351. The TS-351 is powered by an Intel Celeron J1800 processor, and includes a wide range of features for media streaming, instant sharing, HDMI-output, and auto-tiering for optimal storage efficiency. The TS-351 provides homes and home offices with an excellent file management and multimedia entertainment center.

The high-performance TS-351 uses an Intel Celeron J1800 dual-core 2.41 GHz processor (burst up to 2.58 GHz), features 2 GB/4 GB DDR3L memory (upgradable to 8 GB), supports SATA 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s disks, and enables AES 256-bit encryption for both full volumes and shared folders. Featuring a minimalist design with effective airflow and cooling, the TS-351 can easily fit home space. Its tool-less 3.5-inch hard drive installation allows easy system setup and maintenance.

ASUS Intros WS Z390 Pro Motherboard with Dual x16 PCIe Bridge Chip

ASUS expanded its Workstation motherboard series with the new WS Z390 Pro, a socket LGA1151 board based on Intel Z390 Express chipset, featuring out-of-the-box support for 9th generation Core processors. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of one 24-pin ATX, two 8-pin EPS, and an optional 6-pin PCIe power. A 10-phase VRM (likely 8+2 phase incorporating smart-doubling on the Vcore side). This board appears to be using a PCI-Express 3.0 x48 bridge chip to convert 16 gen 3.0 lanes from the CPU to two x16 downstream slots, which are further split to four x8 slots, depending on how you populate the slots. The slot configuration options are x16/x16/NC/NC or x16/x8/x8/NC or x8/x8/x8/x8. An additional open-ended x4 slot wired to the PCH makes for the rest of the expansion.

Storage connectivity includes two each of M.2-22110, and U.2 ports, each with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. Networking interfaces include two 1 GbE ports, one of which is driven by Intel i219-LM, and the other Intel i210-AT. USB connectivity includes six USB 3.1 gen 2 ports on the rear panel, from which one is type-C, two additional USB 3.1 gen 2 ports by header, and a USB 3.1 gen 1 2-port header. The 8-channel onboard audio solution combines an EMI-shielded Realtek ALC S1220A codec with audio-grade capacitors, a headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation. We expect a price of around $350 for this board.
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