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ADATA XPG Launches the Gaming SX950U 3D NAND SSD

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories, today launched the XPG SX950U 2.5" SATA 6 Gb/s Gaming SSD which utilizes the latest 3D NAND Flash memory and is driven by a high-speed SMI controller to reach large capacities of up to 960 GB with significantly higher read/write speeds up to 560/520 MB/s.

Furthermore, the SX950U is equipped with Intelligent SLC Caching and a DRAM Cache Buffer to provide an optimized and consistent performance. To ensure data integrity and the safety of data transmission, the SX950U features LDPC ECC and RAID Engine technologies, enhancing the stability of the system and extending the SSD's lifespan. For PC enthusiasts and gamers in pursuit of the optimal gaming experience, the SX950U is the ideal choice for improving system performance at an affordable price.

GIGABYTE Intros BRIX Mini-PCs with 8th Gen Core Processors

GIGABYTE today launched four new BRIX mini-PC models featuring 8th generation Intel Core processors. These include the GB-BRi5-8250, the GB-BRi7-8550, the GB-BRi5H-8250, and the GB-BRi7H-8550. The GB-BRi5-8250 and the GB-BRi7-8550 are built in a more compact 0.46L (34.4 x 112.6 x 119.4mm) chassis, while the GB-BRi5H-8250 and the GB-BRi7H-8550, come in a slightly taller 0.63L (46.8 x 112.6 x 119.4mm), with added room for a 2.5-inch drive bay. As their names suggest, the GB-BRi5-8250 and GB-BRi5H-8250 are powered by the Core i5-8250U processor (4-core/8-thread, 1.60~3.40 GHz, 6 MB L3 cache, 25W TDP); while the GB-BRi7H-8550 and GB-BRi7H-8550 implement the range-topping Core i7-8550U (4-core/8-thread, 1.80~4.00 GHz, 8 MB L3 cache, 25W TDP).

The 0.46L models offer two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, a 32 Gb/s M.2-2280 slot, a second M.2-2240 slot holding the pre-installed WLAN card, HDMI and mini-DP display output, two USB 3.0 type-A ports on the rear panel, and two USB 3.1 ports on the front-panel, including a type-C port; and network connectivity including a gigabit Ethernet connection driven by Intel i219-V controller, and Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 WLAN card with dual-band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. Stereo audio makes for the rest of it. The 0.63L models simply add to this feature-set with a 9 mm-thick 2.5-inch drive bay that has SATA 6 Gb/s interface. All models feature VESA mounting, so you can tuck them away behind your monitor. The company didn't reveal pricing.

QNAP Launches the TS-253Be and TS-453Be NAS with M.2 SSD and 10GbE Expandability

QNAP Systems, Inc. today unveiled the quad-core Intel-based 2-bay TS-253Be and 4-bay TS-453Be. With a PCIe expansion slot, the functionality of both NAS can be expanded to meet application needs, including M.2 SSD caching and 10GbE connectivity. The TS-x53Be also features HDMI output and 4K H.264/H.265 transcoding to provide a greater multimedia experience while its snapshots function helps protect data against potential ransomware threats.

"With the PCIe slot, the TS-x53Be series allows for extending NAS functionalities, including adding SSD caching and 10GbE connectivity, which provides great long-term potential for the NAS," said Jason Hsu, Product Manager of QNAP. "For users who require a professional storage that can help streamline workflows and provide a great multimedia experience, the TS-x53Be series is the ideal choice with a reasonable price," Hsu added.

Colorful Intros Unique C.J1900A-BTC PLUS V20 Mining Motherboard

Colorful today introduced the uniquely designed C.J1900A-BTC PLUS V20 motherboard for mining rigs. This odd-ball form-factor board is designed for makeshift racks, and removes the need for PCIe riser cables. The board itself is a large PCB with nine PCI-Express x16 slots with 1-slot spacing, of which eight can be used for installing your mining graphics cards (x1 wiring), while the slot on the middle (blue), isn't really a PCI-Express slot.

The blue slot has custom wiring for the business end of the motherboard, a riser card which houses the Celeron J1900 SoC, a DDR4 SO-DIMM slot, an mSATA 6 Gb/s slot for your SSD, and the board's main connectivity, which includes two USB 2.0 ports, two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, and an HDMI display output. If you have trouble finding an mSATA SSD in 2017, there's also a standard SATA 6 Gb/s port. The riser draws power from a 4-pin ATX input. The main PCB has eight 6-pin PCIe power inputs, which wire out to 6-pin PCIe outputs near each black slot. This is more of a cable-management feature, smaller (20 cm long) male-to-male 6-pin PCIe cables connect the outputs to the graphics cards.

Western Digital Now Ships up to 14 TB UltraStar HS14 HDDs

As computing systems advance and performance is increased, there is also increased need for sufficient storage space to store the results of data processing. Emerging trends and developments in storage technology have seen the promise of new, magnetic-based technologies such as Western Digital's own MAMR technology, which is expected to bring up to 40 TB HDDs in the near future. Until those days are with us, however, improvements on current platter-based technologies are consistent and dependable, with increasing storage space capacities and densities having been delivered by companies in the last few years.

Western Digital has now begun shipping up to 14 TB HDDs, on their UltraStar HS14 family of Enterprise drives, which bring storage areal density up to a staggering 1034 Gb/in². This level of areal storage density was achieved with recourse to SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) technology, though, which means performance in rewriting already written-to sectors will be somewhat decreased when compared to other HDDs that don't employ this particular technology. These helium-filled HDDs have a 7200 RPM spindle speed and a 512 MB cache to aid offsetting this performance penalty, though. The UltraStar HS14 HDDs also offer numerous technologies to increase reliability and durability of the drive, which, with its Enterprise classification, promise to deliver 2.5 million hours MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) accompanied by a five-year warranty. Available interfaces are SATA 6 Gb/s and SAS 12 Gb/s, with the drives being able to sustain transfer rates in the order of 233 MB/s.

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.

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.
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