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GIGABYTE Launches the X399 Designare EX Motherboard

GIGABYTE formally launched its flagship socket TR4 motherboard for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, the X399 Designare EX. Positioned slightly above the company's current (and only) offering for this platform, the Aorus X399 Gaming 7, the new Designare EX is based on the same PCB, and a nearly-identical feature-set, except for cosmetic changes, such as its silver-metallic color-scheme dominating the VRM and chipset heatsinks, the M.2 SSD heatspreaders, the I/O shroud and integrated shield, and a back-plate covering most of the reverse side.

Built in the ATX form-factor, the X399 Designare EX draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin ATX, conditioning it for the CPU using an 8-phase VRM with "server-grade" chokes, and a VRM heatsink that offloads its heat onto a second heatsink via a heat-pipe. Expansion slots include five PCI-Express 3.0 x16, all of which are wired to the CPU. Storage connectivity includes three 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, from which four are directly wired to the CPU.

PNY Announces the Budget-friendly CS1311 SSD

PNY Technologies (PNY) considered one of the worldwide leaders in consumer electronics market and flash memory products, has introduce PNY CS1311 2.5 " SATA III SSD, the consumer-level solid state drives and the ideal replacement for users looking to upgrade from their normal HDD drive to their very first SSD without burning a hole in their wallet. The CS1311 drive is designed for an easy and cost-effective HDD replacement in the existing PC system to help realize faster boot times, quicker application launches and better overall system performance.

The CS1311 operates 20 times faster than traditional HDD drives and offers a combination of features well-suited for your desktops or laptops. Powered with TLC NAND Technologies, PNY CS1311 is a 7 mm 2.5" form factor SATA 6 Gb/s SSD and is available in four capacities ranging from 120 GB to a massive space of 960 GB. It delivers read and write speed up to 550 MB/s to 520 MB/s and random IOPS read and write of up to 90, 000 IOPS.

Colorful Launches the iGame X299 Vulcan X Motherboard

Colorful today launched its flagship socket LGA2066 motherboard, the iGame X299 Vulcan X, which it showcased earlier at the 2017 Computex. The board is available in two variants based on their color-schemes, white and black. The white model features a white PCB, I/O shroud, and white PCH and VRM heatsinks, while the black variant is almost completely black. Both variants have an identical feature-set. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 6-pin PCIe power connectors, and uses a 10-phase VRM to power the CPU. The CPU is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots.

Storage options include a 32 Gb/s M.2-22110 slot, a 32 Gb/s M.2-2280 slot, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (one each type-A and type-C), six USB 3.0 (four on the rear panel and two by headers); and two special USB 2.0 ports on the rear panel which are optimized for gaming input devices, with additional electrical stabilization. Of its two gigabit Ethernet connections, one is driven by an Intel i211-AT controller, and the other by Realtek DragonLAN 8118AS. Audio includes a Realtek ALC1220 CODEC with 120 dBA SNR; a headphones amp, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The board features dual-BIOS with manual switching, and a host of overclocking features. The company didn't reveal EU pricing.

GIGABYTE Intros the AB350N-Gaming WiFi Mini-ITX Socket AM4 Motherboard

GIGABYTE introduced the AB350N-Gaming WiFi, its first socket AM4 motherboard in the mini-ITX form-factor, with support for the entire Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor family, the 7th generation "Bristol Ridge" A-series APUs, and the upcoming Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the AM4 SoC with a 6-phase VRM. The motherboard is based on AMD B350 chipset.

The AM4 SoC is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory, the lone PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot on the reverse side of the PCB, two out of four of the board's SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and two out of six of the board's USB 3.0 ports. Other USB connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports from the B350 chipset, and two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (both type-A). Networking includes a WLAN card with 802.11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.2, and gigabit Ethernet. 8-channel HD audio driven by a 120 dBA SNR CODEC makes for the rest of it. The company didn't reveal pricing.

GIGABYTE Intros MZ30-AR0 Motherboard for AMD EPYC

GIGABYTE introduced the MZ30-AR0 motherboard for single-socket AMD EPYC processor-powered servers and workstations. The motherboard is built in the E-ATX form-factor, and features a single SP3r2 socket, for AMD EPYC 7000-series processors. Given that EPYC is a full-fledged SoC, the board has no chipset. An ASpeed AST2500 remote-management chip puts out basic display and IPMI features. The board draws power from two 8-pin EPS connectors, besides the 24-pin ATX. The CPU socket is flanked by 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, which support up to 512 GB of octa-channel DDR4 memory.

Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 with full-time x16 wiring, one x16 with x8 wiring, and two x8 slots. Storage connectivity includes four slimSAS 12 Gb/s ports, which put out sixteen SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. Networking is care of two 10 GbE ports driven by a Broadcom BCM57810S processor, and a single GbE port. There's no onboard audio or even USB 3.1 ports.

Crucial Readies the BX300 Mainstream SSD

Crucial is giving final touches to its next-generation mainstream SATA SSDs, under the BX300 series. A follow-up to its MX300 series, the BX300 series will be launched later this Summer. The drives combine a Marvell-made controller with Micron 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and likely come in capacities of 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB. Crucial will sell these drives only in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, initially. While the company didn't talk about performance, it mentioned that the drives offer "SATA-saturating performance," meaning that at least its sequential reads could be around the 530 MB/s mark (that of the MX300), if not higher. With the BX300, Crucual is launching a new multi-media SSD install tutorial website that's made as simple to understand as possible, so anyone with a screwdriver can replace their HDD with a new SSD.

ASUS Intros the ROG STRIX B350-F Gaming Motherboard

ASUS today introduced its RGB LED-rich implementation of AMD's mid-tier B350 chipset, with the ROG STRIX B350-F Gaming motherboard. This socket AM4 motherboard built in the ATX form-factor, this is one of the rare few B350 chipset based boards to feature two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots wired to the AM4 SoC, and x8/x8 lane switching, something B350-based boards generally lack. Don't expect SLI support, though. You can still install CrossFireX with not just these two slots, but also the third x16 (electrical x4) slot wired to the chipset. Three x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the SoC using an 8-phase VRM.

Storage connectivity on the ROG STRIX B350-F Gaming includes one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot with NVMe booting support, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (both type-A, rear panel), and six 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers). Networking is care of an Intel I211-AT gigabit Ethernet controller. The ROG SupremeFX onboard audio solution is powered by a Realtek ALC1220 CODEC (up to 120 dBA SNR), mated with two headphones amplifiers, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. Besides the RGB LED-lit ornament on the chipset heatsink, the board features two RGB LED headers, controlled by the ASUS Aura Sync RGB software. The company didn't reveal pricing, although we expect it to be around the $140 mark.

ASUS Intros the ROG STRIX H270I Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASUS today introduced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) STRIX H270I socket LGA1151 motherboard in the mini-ITX form-factor. The board offers most of the feature-set of its more expensive sibling, the STRIX Z270I, minus some of its CPU overclocking features, and should hence be perfect for SFF gaming PC builders who don't intend to overclock their CPUs. It is based on a different PCB from its Z270-based sibling. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU using a simple 7-phase VRM (compared to the 9-phase setup on the STRIX Z270I). The CPU is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and the board's lone expansion slot, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16.

Storage connectivity includes two M.2 slots (stacked on top of each other), one which has 32 Gb/s PCIe-only wiring with NVMe support, and another with 32 Gb/s PCIe plus SATA 6 Gb/s wiring; and four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Networking is another interesting mix, with two 1 GbE interfaces, one driven by an Intel i219V controller, and the other by a Realtek RTL8111H; and a WLAN card with 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth 4.1, driven by an Intel-made controller. Audio is care of ASUS SupremeFX solution, which combines a Realtek ALC1220 (120 dBA SNR) CODEC with two headphones amplifier circuits, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The board also features an RGB LED lighting element in addition to RGB LED headers, driven by its Aura Sync RGB software. The company didn't reveal pricing.

BIOSTAR Intros a Pair of AM4 Motherboards for Bitcoin Mining Rigs

BIOSTAR expanded its niche line of motherboards for Bitcoin-mining rigs, with two boards for the socket AM4 platform, the TA320-BTC, and the TB350-BTC. These boards feature a minimalist layout so you can drop in as many PCI-Express GPU or ASIC Bitcoin-mining cards as possible. As their names suggest, the TA320-BTC is based on the entry-level AMD A320 chipset, and the TB350-BTC the mid-range AMD B350. Both boards share an identical PCB, and barring for some chipset-level features, their feature-sets are largely identical.

The boards are built in the narrow ATX form-factor, and draw power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 4-pin Molex (optional), and 8-pin EPS power connectors. A 6-phase VRM conditions power to the SoC, which is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, besides a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and six other PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots. Storage options are limited to four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Connectivity includes 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, DVI and D-Sub display outputs, six 5 Gbps USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 high-power ports (1.5 A current). Both boards support Ryzen processors (up to 95W TDP), and 7th gen A-Series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. Available now, the TB350-BTC is priced at USD $84.99.

MSI Intros the A320M Gaming Pro Motherboard

MSI today introduced its entry-level gaming-grade socket AM4 motherboard, the A320M Gaming Pro. This board is based on the same exact PCB as the A320M Grenade, but tops it up with slightly more premium black capacitors, a pitch-black PCB (compared to brown on the A320M Grenade) and MSI's signature dragon red color scheme for some of the slots and connectors. The board could be priced slightly above the A320M Grenade. The feature-set of the two boards, however, appears to be identical.

Built in the narrow micro-ATX form-factor, the A320M Gaming Pro draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the SoC using a 6-phase VRM. Expansion slots include one reinforce PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and two PCIe gen 2.0 x1. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. USB connectivity includes six 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports. 6-channel HD audio (Realtek ALC887 controller) and gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8111H controller) make for the rest of it. The board features red LED illumination and RGB LED headers, which can be controlled using the Mystic Light app. Expect a sub-$80 price.

Silicon Motion Announces SATA FerriSSD Single-chip 3D NAND SSD

Silicon Motion Technology Corporation, a global leader in designing and marketing NAND flash controllers and solid-state storage devices, today announced that it has extended its popular family of SATA 6 Gb/s FerriSSD Industrial BGA SSDs to support the latest 3D NAND with end-to-end data path protection, NANDXtend ECC, and IntelligentScan feature - delivering unsurpassed data reliability for embedded storage applications. The new FerriSSD products offer flexible data capacity options up to 256GB and feature proprietary data protection technologies that eliminate drive downtime and extend the service life of these SSDs. FerriSSD products offer customized solutions for various end-market demands and are optimized to meet the specific needs of the customer.

BIOSTAR Unveils the TB250-BTC Motherboard for Bitcoin Mining Rigs

Apparently some Bitcoin miners haven't moved on to ASIC-based mining rigs. For these, BIOSTAR unveiled the TB250-BTC, a motherboard with a number of PCI-Express slots, so you can cram in as many GPUs/ASIC cards as possible. Since mining isn't a bandwidth-heavy application, a number of PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots besides an x16 slot wired to the CPU, should live up to the task. The TB250-BTC is built in the ATX form-factor, and is based on the Intel B250 Express chipset, with support for Core "Kaby Lake" processors out of the box.

The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, a SATA-power, and two optional 4-pin Molex power connectors, to stabilize power delivery to the add-on cards. It uses a simple 7-phase VRM to condition power for the CPU, which is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. 6-channel HD audio and gigabit Ethernet driven by a Realtek RTL8111H controller, make for the rest of it.

ASRock Socket AM4 Motherboard Lineup Detailed

At the 2017 International CES, ASRock showed off some of its first socket AM4 motherboards for AMD Ryzen processors and 7th generation A-Series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. Leading the pack is the X370 Taichi. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. It uses a 16-phase CPU VRM with high-capacity Super Alloy chokes. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and two PCI-Expres 3.0 x16 slot (x8/x8 when both are populated). The third x16 slot is electrical x4 and wired to the chipset. Two other x1 slots make for the rest of its expansion area.

Connectivity on the X370 Taichi include two USB 3.1 ports (one type-A and one type-C), ten USB 3.0 ports, 8-channel PureSound 4 onboard audio solution (of the same grade the company is deploying on its high-end Intel Z270 motherboards), gigabit Ethernet with an Intel-made controller, and 802.11ac WLAN. Storage options include one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, one 16 Gb/s M.2 slot, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Next up, is the X370 Professional Gaming. This board is practically identical to the X370 Taichi. The two boards share a common PCB, and differ only with the red+black color scheme on the X370 Professional Gaming, as opposed to white+black on the X370 Taichi.

Four GIGABYTE Socket AM4 Motherboards Pictured

GIGABYTE showed off four socket AM4 motherboards, designed for the upcoming AMD Ryzen processors and 7th gen. A-series APUs, at its 2017 CES booth. The lineup begins with the AB350M-D3H, an entry-level micro-ATX board based on the mid-tier B350 chipset; the mid-range AB350-Gaming 3, the mid-high segment AX370-Gaming K5, and the AX370-Gaming 5. The AB350-D3H covers the basics, with a 7-phase VRM, one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot wired to the AM4 socket, a second x16 slot that's electrical x4 and wired to the B350 chipset, one legacy PCI slot; one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports (from which two are directly wired to the AM4 socket); and connectivity that includes 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.1 (10 Gb/s) ports, DVI, HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort.

Moving up the ladder, the AB350-Gaming 3 is a gaming-grade board in the ATX form-factor, featuring a red+black color scheme. 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-phase VRM. The APU is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Other expansion slots include two x16 slots that are electrical x4, and two x1 slots. Storage connectivity includes one 32 Gb/s M.2 and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports (from which two are low-latency ports). Display outputs include DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.1 (10 Gb/s) ports, and six USB 3.0 ports. GIGABYTE deployed its gaming-grade AMPUp! onboard audio solution with a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, ground-layer isolation, audio-grade capacitors, a headphones amp, and gold-plated audio jacks. Network is care of an Intel-made gigabit Ethernet controller.

MSI B350 Tomahawk Socket AM4 Motherboard Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of MSI B350 Tomahawk, an upcoming socket AM4 motherboard that comes with support for AMD Ryzen CPUs. Positioned in the company's "Arsenal Gaming" series, this board is based on AMD's mid-tier B350 chipset. It covers the entire feature-set of the B350 chipset. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. It conditions it for the AM4 processor/APU with a 4+2 phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.

The second PCIe 3.0 x16 slot is electrical x4, and wired to the B350 chipset. Two each of legacy PCI and PCIe 3.0 x1 make for the rest of the expansion slots. Storage connectivity includes one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, and four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. From these, two come directly from the APU/CPU. The board also offers up to eight USB 3.0 ports, gaming grade 8-channel HD audio (with ground-layer isolation and audio-grade capacitors); gigabit Ethernet, and display outputs that include HDMI, DVI, and D-Sub (which will be disabled when using Ryzen).

ASUS Prime B250M-Plus Pictured, Too

The third Prime B250 series motherboard by ASUS is the B250M-Plus. This micro-ATX motherboard offers most of the features its bigger siblings ship with. The board features the same 7-phase VRM as the other boards. Expansion slots include one each of PCI-Express 3.0 x16, PCIe x1, and legacy PCI. Storage connectivity includes one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The board offers 8-channel HD audio (compared to 6-channel on the larger boards), gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 ports, and display outputs that include HDMI, DVI, and D-Sub. Expect a sub-$100 price.

Source: VideoCardz

GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming K3 Socket AM4 Motherboard PCB Pictured

The picture of a bare PCB of an upcoming GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming series socket AM4 motherboard is doing rounds on the web. The picture reveals the bare PCB of the motherboard with all its traces and printed markings, but at a stage before surface-mount components can be soldered onto it. One can still make out quite a bit about the board. AMD X370 is the company's upcoming high-end desktop chipset, which will be launched alongside the company's Ryzen 8-core processor, some time in February, 2017.

To begin with, the AX370-Gaming K3 is built in the ATX form-factor. Its AM4 socket supports both Ryzen "Summit Ridge" CPUs and 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. The board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU with a 7-phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots. Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 3.0 x16, a second gen 3.0 x16 slot that's electrical x4, and three other gen 3.0 x1 slots. Storage connectivity appears to include at least eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.1 (including type-C) ports, appear to make for the rest of the connectivity. GIGABYTE's signature Dual-UEFI is featured.
Many Thanks to TheLostSwede and Tomas H. for the tips!

ASUS Announces the TUF Sabertooth 990FX R3.0 Motherboard

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

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

Seagate Introduces the 5th Gen FireCuda SSHDs - Up to 2 TB, 8Gb NAND

Seagate has officially updated their FireCuda line, the solid-state supported, high-capacity hybrid drives. The new, 5th Gen models sport a thinner form-factor (2.5"), rocking the company's multi-tier cache technology as well as 1 TB SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) plates. The SMR plate's difference compared to conventional, perpendicular recording HDD technology allows these hybrid drives to increase storage density by up to 25%, by allowing newly-written magnetic tracks to partly overlap previously-written ones, reducing the amount of platter real-estate occupied.

The caveat with this technology is that the overlapping-tracks architecture may slow down the writing process, since writing to one track overwrites adjacent tracks, and requires them to be rewritten as well. However, according to Seagate, the large, multi-tier cache technology and large NAND caches are enough to offset any performance loss incurred by the SMR technology employed on these drives, and then some.

ASRock Intros Trio of "Apollo Lake" Motherboards

ASRock introduced a trio of low-cost embedded motherboards for entry-level desktops based on Intel's newest 14 nm "Apollo Lake" Pentium/Celeron SoCs. These include J3455-ITX and J3455M based on the Celeron J3455 quad-core SoC; and the J4205-ITX, based on the Pentium J4205 quad-core SoC. The J3455-ITX and J4205-ITX are based on a common board design, differing only with the SoC, while the J3455M features a narrow, 3-slot micro-ATX design.

The J4205-ITX and J3455-ITX take in power from a 24-pin ATX connector. The SoC is wired to two DDR3L SO-DIMM slots, supporting up to DDR3-1866 MHz spec. Expansion slots include one PCI-Express x1, and an M.2 (PCIe x2 electrical) connector. Besides this M.2, storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, and four USB 3.0 ports complete its connectivity. The J3455M features a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x1) besides two other PCIe x1 slots, and features two standard DDR3 DIMM slots instead of SO-DIMM; and features 6-channel HD audio instead of 8-channel. The rest of its connectivity is the same as its ITX siblings.

Toshiba OCZ Announces the VX500 Series Performance SSDs

Toshiba company OCZ today announced the new VX500 line of performance SSDs in the 2.5-inch form-factor, featuring SATA 6 Gb/s interface. The drives are based on a new-generation platform by OCZ's parent company Toshiba. The drives combine Toshiba TC358790 controller with 15 nm MLC NAND flash memory chips by Toshiba. The drives come in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, and offer price/GB comparable to TLC NAND flash-based drives; yet with performance comparable to high-end MLC NAND flash drives.

All four variants offer up to 550 MB/s sequential reads. The 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants offer up to 485 MB/s, 510 MB/s, 515 MB/s, and 515 MB/s of sequential writes, respectively. Random access performance is rated around 90,000 IOPS reads, with up to 65,000 IOPS writes. The 128 GB variant is priced at US $63.99, the 256 GB variant at $92.79, the 512 GB variant at $152.52, and the 1 TB variant at $337.06. The drives are backed by 5-year warranty. Acronis TrueImage disk cloning software comes included.
Read our review of the VX500 512GB here.

AMD Unveils its 7th Generation A-Series Desktop APUs

AMD today unveiled its 7th generation A-series desktop APUs. Unlike its predecessors, the new chips are full-fledged SoCs, built in the new socket AM4 package, on which the company plans to launch its "Zen" processors. The 7th gen A-series APUs are based on the "Bristol Ridge" silicon, and are the first fully-integrated SoCs (systems-on-chip) from the company in the performance-desktop segment, in that the APU completely integrates the functionality of a motherboard chipset, including its FCH or southbridge.

This level of integration includes PCI-Express root-complex, USB 3.0, and storage interfaces such as SATA 6 Gb/s emerging directly from the AM4 socket. Some AM4 motherboards could still include a sort of "chipset," which expands connectivity options, such as USB 3.1 ports, additional SATA ports, and a few more downstream PCI-Express lanes. The amount of downstream connectivity and features decide the grade of the chipset. AMD is initially launching two chipsets, the A320 for the entry-level segment, and the B350 for mainstream desktops. The company plans to launch an even more feature-rich chipset at a later date (probably alongside ZEN "Summit Ridge" CPUs).

ASUS Unveils the X99-E 10G WS Workstation Board

ASUS today unveiled the X99-E 10G WS workstation motherboard. Although based on the X99 Express chipset, this board supports Intel Xeon E5-1600 and E5-2600 (v3 and v4) processors, besides Core i7 "Haswell-E" and "Broadwell-E" processors in the LGA2011v3 package. The board's eight DDR4 DIMM slots support up to 128 GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory. The board is built in the SSI-CEB form-factor (305 mm x 267 mm). The board features seven PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, and uses PLX PEX-8747 x48 bridge chips to provide either two x16 slots with direct wiring to the CPU, or four x16 slots running at full x16 bandwidth, or seven x16 slots in x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 configuration.

Storage connectivity includes one 32 Gb/s U.2 port, a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, and a total of ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The board derives its name from support for 10 Gbps Ethernet, and features a pair of 10 Gbps connections driven by an Intel X550-AT2 controller. Other modern connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (of which one is type-C), eight USB 3.0 ports, and 8-channel HD audio with a 115 dBA SNR CODEC. The board draws power from a 24-pin ATX, a 6-pin PCIe, and two 8-pin EPS connectors, and uses an 8-phase VRM to condition power for the CPU. ASUS didn't reveal pricing.

MSI Also Unveils the 970A Gaming Pro Carbon Motherboard

In addition to the X99A-SLI, MSI today unveiled the 970A Gaming Pro Carbon socket AM3+ motherboard. The board is based on AMD 970 + SB950 chipset, and is based on a new PCB design. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with an 8-phase VRM. Expansion slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x8/x8 when both are populated), three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and one legacy PCI. The x16 slots feature metal reinforcement braces. The board features chunkier heatsinks over the VRM and the AMD 970 northbridge, than what we're used to seeing on older boards by MSI on this platform.

The 970A Gaming Pro Carbon gets its name from RGB LED lighting on the SB950 southbridge heatsink, and the PCB ground-layer isolation trace that separates the onboard audio area from the rest of the PCB. Storage connectivity includes a 20 Gb/s M.2 slot, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Modern connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (both type-A), four USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and a high-grade onboard audio solution that includes a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, ground-layer isolation, heasdet OPAMP, and audio-grade capacitors. The board is driven by UEFI BIOS, and supports NVMe booting.

MSI Unveils the X99A-SLI Motherboard

MSI unveiled the X99A-SLI motherboard. This is not to be confused with the X99A-SLI PLUS the company launched in its first wave of socket LGA2011v3 motherboards, in 2015. The new board features a few modern connectivity features, such as 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, a U.2 connector, and USB 3.1 with type-C. The board also comes with support for Core i7 "Broadwell-E" processors, out of the box. Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, and uses an 8-phase VRM to condition it for the CPU.

Expansion slots include three PCI-Express 3.0 x16, and two PCIe 2.0 x1. Storage connectivity includes one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, a 32 Gb/s U.2 port, one 10 Gb/s SATA-Express connector, and a total of twelve SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Among the USB connectivity are two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports, from which one is type-C, and eight other USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, four by headers). 8-channel HD audio, and an Intel controller-driven gigabit Ethernet connection make for the rest of it. This could be one of MSI's more affordable socket LGA2011v3 boards.
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