CES 2017 - MSI had some new Ryzen-capable motherboards on display at CES, with two boards to check out: the B350 Tomahawk, and the higher-end X370 XPower Gaming Titanium.
First up, the MSI B360 Tomahawk - with a slick military style theme, 4 x DDR4 slots (dual-channel support), 8 x USB 3.1 and 6 x USB 2.0 ports. There's also Turbo M.2 support, offering 32Gbps of bandwidth for those high-end storage needs.
But for me, it's the upcoming X370 XPower Gaming Titanium that caught my eye. We have a bunch of connectivity, with 2 x M.2 slots, 2-way NVIDIA SLI support and 3-way AMD CrossFire support with its 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots.
I've been excited for AMD's next-gen Zen CPU architecture since day one, and that excitement has built up over the last 12 months into the official Ryzen CPU architecture AMD teased earlier this month.
Ryzen will rock up to 16 threads of CPU performance with an 8-core processor starting at 3.4GHz, and performance in the levels of the Core i7-6800K and 6900K from Intel. Now we're hearing that motherboard makers have been "rather aggressive about placing orders" for Ryzen-capable motherboards, as they "believe demand for the new platform will increase AMD's share in the worldwide desktop processor market in the second quarter of 2017", reports DigitTimes.
Better yet, we're getting an idea of how far along the Ryzen CPU and compatible motherboards are, with DigiTimes' report continuing: "The sources pointed out that they have started receiving high-end X370, mainstream B350 and entry-level A320 chipsets from AMD and are now in the final stage of finishing related testing and motherboard designing".
AMD is expected to launch its 8-core/16-thread Ryzen CPU in the final weeks of February, or early March. AMD should fully unveil Ryzen at CES 2017 next week, as well what I'm hoping will be a better look at Vega.
Specs and details ASRock's new Fatal1ty and Extreme4 Z270 motherboards have surfaced, giving us a good look at the boards ahead of their CES 2017 showcase.
With Intel's seventh-gen Kaby Lake CPUs on their way, hardware-makers are busy readying their fleets of new 200-series motherboards, giving consumers lots of possible upgrade mobo paths to Z270 chipset adoption. ASRock's new Fatal1ty Gaming K6 and Extreme4 mobos use the LGA1151 socket and support both 7th-gen Kaby Lake and 6th-gen Skylake processors, and also have native support for Intel's new high-end Optane 3DXpoint 3D NAND SSD storage lineup.
Let's start with ASRock's Extreme4 Z270 motherboard. This is a standard ATX motherboard that features HDMI, DVI-D, and D-Sub display slots (no DisplayPort), three PCIe 3.0 x16 lanes (two of which are outfitted with steel bracing) that support up to three AMD GPUs in CrossFireX or two NVIDIA GPUs in SLI. The Extreme4 Z270's four DDR4 DIMM slots can power up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4-3866 memory. Storage outlets include eight SATA III 6Gb/s ports and two M.2 sockets. The Extreme4 features eight USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 3.1 ports (Type-A and Type-C) on the rear. Onboard LED and RGB lighting on the header splash some style to the mobo.
'Tis the season for Kaby Lake leaks, with MSI ready to unleash their Z270 and H270 motherboards during CES 2017 - but the leaks are here, and MSI's new boards are looking mighty fine. MSI's 200-series motherboards include the GAMING, Tomahawk, Bazooka, and Pro brands - making me want to build a new gaming PC with a "Bazooka" themed motherboard.
MSI's next-gen 200-series motherboard lineup:
- MSI Z270 Gaming M7
- MSI Z270 Gaming M5
- MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon
- MSI Z270I Gaming Pro Carbon AC
- MSI Z270 KRAIT Gaming
- MSI Z270 TOMAHAWK ARSENAL Gaming
- MSI Z270 SLI PLUS
- MSI Z270 SLI
- MSI Z270 PC Mate
MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon
Now, onto the motherboards that piqued my interest. Starting with the MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon, which rocks some beautiful Mystic Light RGB goodness, we have 4 x DDR4 DIMM slots that support 4000MHz+ RAM in OC mode. The DDR4 DIMM slots are protected by MSI's steel armor which will protect the PCB of the motherboard when installing your RAM.
As you can see, we have 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 ports for graphics cards, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots as well as 2 x Turbo M.2 slots. MSI will be shipping the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon with their new M.2 Shield that will protect, and cool down those super-hot NVMe-based M.2 SSDs that can get ridiculously hot - and lose considerable performance when they do get hot.
Intel is poised to unleash its next-gen Kaby Lake family of processors at CES 2017 in January, and now we're getting a glimpse of Colorful's incredible stack of 200-series motherboards.
Colorful's upcoming 200-series motherboards will use both the Z270 and B250 chipsets, and will fall into the iGame and Tomahawk series. Colorful's iGame Gamer Customization is their high-end motherboard that sports a slick red and black color scheme, and armor plating that is placed across the entire board.
The board will include an 8-pin power connector, 14-phase IPP digital power supply for overclocking, VRMs are found under large heat sinks for heat load management, 4 x DDR4 DIMMs that support up to 64GB, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 ports, 4 x PCIe x1 ports, 1 x M.2/U.2 port, and 6 x SATA 6Gbps ports. There's also Killer LAN, HDMI/DisplayPort outputs, USB 3.1, 6 x USB 3.0, and 8 x USB 2.0 ports. We should expect a price of $250 or so.
Intel is ramping up towards their release of Kaby Lake, led by the enthusiast Core i7-7700K processor (which runs at 100C under load) - and now, we have leaked details on the entire Z270-based line up from ASUS.
ASUS's next-gen Maximus, Strix, and TUF series products are on their way, and they look delicious. ASUS will be revealing 8 motherboards based on the Z270 chipset, but there will be other H170-based boards released, aimed at mid- and budget-minded consumers. All of the ASUS Z270-based boards will be enthusiast/overclocker/gaming boards, and we are beyond excited.
The best of the best from the Z270 series by ASUS will be the ROG Maximus IX Formula, with the usual upgrades over the Z170-based motherboards, but it rocks an awesome integrated I/O and backplate.
Intel will be launching its Kaby Lake architecture and flagship Core i7-7700K processor in early 2017, with 200-series chipsets to launch alongside the CPU, with Z270 and H270 motherboards now spotted from Supermicro.
Supermicro is branding their new motherboards under their SuperO brand, designed for gamers and enthusiasts. There are four motherboards listed on SuperO website, with pictures and features listed, as for the four new motherboards, we're looking at:
- C7Z270-CG | POWERFUL GAMING
- C7Z270-PG | POWERFUL GAMING
- C7Z270-CG-L | POWERFUL GAMING
- C7H270-CG-ML | POWERFUL GAMING
This is the C7Z270-CG, which has a NVIDIA-ready black and green theme, with a huge PWM supply that is cooled by a heat pipe. There's 4 x DDR4 DIMMs, ready for up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM. 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 ports and 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. Storage enthusiasts won't be left out, with 2 x M.2 slots that will support next-gen M.2-based SSDs for blistering 2GB/sec+ speeds, and we also have 6 x SATA 6 ports.
Intel will soon introduce their next-generation CPU architecture, and now we know that 100-series motherboards from ASUS will support the upcoming Kaby Lake processors - while the impending release of the 200 series will support them from day one.
ASUS series100 motherboards can be updated with Kaby Lake support through a BIOS update, using either a USB drive in the UEFI, or within Windows. You can get the new BIOS update on the ASUS website.
Here's a list of the ASUS 100-series motherboards that will support Kaby Lake CPUs after the BIOS update:
Instant compatibility with next-generation Intel Core processors
All ASUS 100-series motherboards that include the ASUS USB BIOS Flashback feature allow users to apply UEFI BIOS updates with ease. For other ASUS 100-series motherboards the necessary UEFI BIOS update takes just one click in an easy-to-use Windows-based BIOS updater application, ASUS EZ Update, which is available to download from the ASUS website.
Users keen to take advantage of the power of the next generation of LGA1151 Intel Core processors should visit product support page via http://www.asus.com and download the relevant UEFI BIOS version today. The following ASUS 100-series motherboards can be updated for compatibility with the latest Intel CPUs:
A future BIOS update will further improve performance and functionality.
Intel's next-gen Kaby Lake architecture is around the corner, with a tease of the Core i7-7700K processor and it packing a massive 40% improvement over the Skylake architecture in single-threaded performance - but now, we're seeing Z270-based motherboards from ASRock teased.
The two motherboards from ASRock are in the Z270 Gaming K6 and Z270 Pro 4, with the Gaming K6 featuring a red and black theme, and will be aimed at the - uh, hmm - gaming market.
ASRock will most likely aim its Z270 Pro 4 at the mainstream market, and as for when we'll see the new Z270-based boards from ASRock, we should be aiming for CES 2017.
One of the biggest stories of the week was the tease of the PCIe 4.0 specification, which was said to deliver up to 300W over the PCIe port. It sounded impossible, but we thought the information was legit, considering it came from Tom's Hardware. The information wasn't accurate, with PCI-SIG coming out and confirming the real news: PCIe 4.0 won't deliver 300W over the PCIe 4.0 slot... damn.
The updated post on Tom's Hardware said: "Update, 8/24/16, 2:06pm PT:PCI-SIG reached out to tell us that the power increase for PCI Express 4.0 will come from secondary connectors and not from the slot directly. They confirmed that we were initially told incorrect information. We have redacted a short passage from our original article that stated what were originally told, which is that the slot would provide at least 300W, and added clarification:"
- PCIe 3.0 max power capabilities: 75W from CEM + 225W from supplemental power connectors = 300W total
- PCIe 4.0 max power capabilities: TBD