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Nearly all motherboards feature PCIe 3.0, but we're going to be seeing more and more about PCIe 4.0 in the coming years, now that the PCI Special Interest Group (PCI SIG) getting closer to the final version of the PCIe 4.0 specification.
The PCI SIG has been developing PCI Express 4.0 for a few years now, with the new standard set to feature a huge 16GT/s per lane, which is double that of the 8GT/s that PCIe 3.0 is capable of. The standard isn't finalized jut yet, as there are quite a few steps to overcome first. One of the first is the interconnect attributes, fabric management, and the programming interface that is used to design and build systems and peripherals that are PCIe 4.0 compliant.
PCIe 4.0 will usher in a new connector, but it is backwards compatible with PCIe 3.0 cards. But, PCIe 4.0-based cards will not work with the old PCIe 3.0 ports. Al Yanes, the President of the PCI SIG explained in an interview with EE Times: "We are getting 16GT/s, something no one thought was possible a few years ago. The base distance is still being validated but it's typically 7 inches or so. Longer channels of 15 inches or so with two connectors will have retimers, but Gen 3 has used retimers - now we will need to use them for shorter long channels".
According to an industry insider, we can expect some big things from the upcoming Z170 chipset from Intel, alongside the new processors that will include the flagship Core i7-6700K processor that will launch a week after Windows 10.
Our source has said GIGABYTE will be the first to the market with the 100 series motherboards, with the Z170, H170, B150 and H110 chipsets to launch between August and September, with some boards including Killer NIC chips, USB Type-C and GIGABYTE should be a world-first with PCIe shielding, and much more.
In reply to some media outlets claiming that ECS is looking to palm off or close its motherboard manufacturing capabilities, ECS Global Channel Marketing Department employee May Chuang reached out to us to clarify that these claims are incorrect with words straight from the the ECS president, Sunny Yang.
The official letter addressed the issue directly, stating that "We [ECS] feel regret to learn the untrue report from DIGITIMES," furthering that ECS would like to "formally clarity that ECS would never give up any opportunity to work on own-band DIY motherboard as what we always commit to our valuable customers."
DIGITIMES claimed that the information it received was from "Taiwan makers," however ECS took this as an opportunity to point out that it continues to progress in research and development in the motherboard industry with no means of escape planned for the immediate future.
Complete with an Intel Celeron N3150 1.6G Quad-core CPU built in to the motherboard, BIOSTAR has enabled its N3150NH model to support up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600 or 16GB DDR3L-1066 memory.
Other features include one PCI-E 2.0 slot, a gigabit Realtek RTL8111H Ethernet controller, Realtek ALC662 6 Channel HD Audio, HDMI and VGA-out.
With gamers in mind, BIOSTAR added in a recent press release that this motherboard features Smart Speed LAN - allowing a program to monitor your "PC's network behavior," meaning you can prioritize what is important and limit whatever is not.
Marketed with gamers in mind, additional features include two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.0 header and four USB 2.0 ports. In addition to this is a 'Charger Booster' function, allowing fast-charge capabilities for Apple and Android mobile products.
Including a single USB Type-C port, EVGA has showcased its new micro-ATX form factor motherboard, the X99 Micro2.
Adding to the feature list is two USB 3.1 ports in total, a 10-phase CPU VRM, three PCI-E x16 slots, one 32Gb/s M.2 SATA connector and support for up to 64GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory. Coupled with NVMe BIOS support is ten SATA 6/Gbps ports, six USB 3.0 ports, 8-channel HD audio and gigabit Ethernet.
EVGA certainly hasn't gone light on the features in this new small motherboard but unfortunately there is no release date or pricing listed just yet.
During Computex 2015 this year, BIOSTAR was showing off its upcoming Intel Z170-powered motherboards, something the company has just said will be available starting next month.
One of the key motherboards in its range was the BIOSTAR Gaming Z170X motherboard, based on the Intel Z170 chipset with support for Intel's upcoming Skylake processors, and DDR4 RAM. The BIOSTAR Gaming Z170X includes an on-board USB 3.1 Type-C connector, dual GbE LAN, PCIe M.2, SATA Express, and much more.
Computex 2015 - As seen in a recent press release, MSI has teamed up with Intel to offer a wide range of motherboards suitable for your next upgrade package, providing you're looking at the Intel 5th generation core processors.
Coupled with MSI Click BIOS 4, these motherboards offer you a claimed reliable and easy to use design - letting end users "unleash your system's performance" and customize components as you see fit.
Computex 2015 - As pointed out in a recent press release, GIGABYTE has become the first manufacturer to add Intel USB 3.1 premium I/O controller on board support through the 100 series of motherboards.
Wondering how it works? The GIGABYTE press release stated that by "using PCIe Gen.3 x4 lanes from the chipset and Display connectivity from the processor" it is able to operate at "a total bandwidth of 40 Gb/s."
This means you may be using USB Type-C before you though it was possible, enabling the long-awaited reversible plug for use at home, work or school.
Computex 2015 - The BIOSTAR Z97X, its latest high-end gaming motherboard, is the first Intel Z97 motherboard to receive the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system certification.
BIOSTAR designed the Z97X from the ground up, featuring an ATX form factor board that supports USB 3.1, three PCI Express 3.0x16 slots, PCIe M.2 support, Dual GbE LAN and BIOSTAR Super Hi-Fi Audio technology and support for the DisplayPort.
The motherboard also features an onboard HDMI capable of support for 2K and 4K resolutions. This is a great move by BIOSTAR, as Microsoft has promoted Windows 10 as a true OS for gamers, and gaming-focused hardware will be important.
Computex 2015 - Showcasing what ECS has to offer in the Intel Z170 chipset department is the Z170-CLAYMORE and the Z170-BLADE offerings.
The Z170-CLAYMORE boasts four memory ports capable of DDR4 Dual-Channel support up to 32GB, five PCIe x16 slots and a display outputs including HDMI 2.0 and Display Port. Adding to this is 2-Way SLI support for those looking at increasing performance.
Next up is the Z170-BLADE. Also supporting Intel's 6th Generation processors, expect four RAM bays supporting Dual-Channel DDR4 up to 32GB, two PCIe x16 slots, one PCIe x1 slot and further 2-Way video card support. Adding to this is six SATA (6Gb/s) ports and a single M.2 offering. Outputs on this board include HDMI, SVI, D-Sub and Display Port sitting alongside a 6-Channel (5.1) HD audio output by Realtek, two USB 3.1 ports, siz USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 offerings.