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Computex 2012 - One of the most insane (and that's a good thing) things we've seen at Computex so far is the Zeus concept X79 motherboard.
If someone tried to sell you a motherboard without any PCI Express slots, what would you say to them? Go jump in the lake or let me give it a try. ASUS has been known for some pretty whacky concept designs in previous years, but this one takes the cake for creativity.
Onboard you get two GeForce GPUs operating in SLI mode. That's right, the motherboard comes with the GPU right on the board. This is rather creative and all, but what happens when the next GPU upgrade comes out? Are you expected to pull out the solder gun and install them yourself? Obviously not, but it's still a pretty cool idea none the less.
The Zeus in its concept stage also comes with two Thunderbolt ports and includes eight DIMM slots allowing for up to 128GB of DDR3 memory. At this stage of its life the board also includes no less than 10 SATA 6G ports with hardware RAID and a very solid 12 USB 3.0 ports. The I/O panel on the board is like nothing I've ever seen before. Even if this board never makes its way to the market, it was super cool to see anyway.
Computex 2012 - On Monday we managed to get some video time with MSI's brand new MPower Big Bang motherboards, which claim to change the game of overclocking. They are said to offer higher performance, water cooling support and more stable power.
We saw two new boards that we haven't seen before and they are the Z77 MPower and the X79 MPower. As you can probably tell by the model names the first is based on the Intel Z77 Express chipset for Ivy Bridge processors and the second is based on the older X79 chipset for Sandy Bridge-E processors.
Sadly at the time we didn't have many details on hand to give to you, but at least in the video above you get a good close up look at these two boards as well as the Big Bang XPower II which you may have already seen before now.
Computex 2012 - Again we walking the hall of Computex Nangang early we manage to bring you another exclusive and this time it is our very first and quick look at the upcoming ASRock Z77 OC Formula.
This is ASRock's first motherboard that designed especially for overclockers and it has a lot of design influence by new star recruit Nick Shih who really only joined the Taiwanese motherboard maker not that long ago. The board features a rather stylish black and yellow color theme which did remind me fairly quickly of something that you'd see in the Transformers movie.
Not that the color and resemblance is of any real importance as Nick Shih is a very well-known overclocker who knows his stuff and judging by Nick's signature on the PCB, a lot of his time and effort has gone into working with ASRock engineers to produce a board with his name on it. Besides the apparent overclockability of the Z77 OC Formula, the one big thing that excited me was that fact that this motherboard has no less than 10 USB 3.0 ports onboard.
The cooling setup looks rather impressive with support for water cooling along with the fact that this board appears to use all gold solid capacitors. This has just been our quick and early exclusive look at the Z77 OC Formula. Later in the week at Computex we will re-visit the ASRock booth and kidnap Nick Shih to give us a full run down on his new motherboard. Cool stuff!
Computex 2012 - We spent quite a bit of time with GIGABYTE yesterday on Day 0 of Computex in their VIP meeting rooms on the 36th floor of Taipei 101 where we got a good chance to look at some of their range of new Ultra Durable 5 based motherboards.
During our meeting we were told that GIGABYTE were the only motherboard maker to have a board that supports dual Thunderbolt ports. It turns out this is not true.
As we were walking around on our spy mission early in the Nangang Computex hall, we ran into ASRock who were showing off an upcoming Intel Z77 based motherboard that also supports dual Thunderbolt ports on the I/O panel.
It's clear at this early stage of Computex Taipei 2012 that Thunderbolt is a big deal and is being pushed really aggressively.
Computex 2012 - Besides Thunderbolt, the other big thing for GIGABYTE at Computex 2012 is Ultra Durable 5. The Ultra Durable name has been going strong for the Taiwanese motherboard maker for many years now. Ultra Durable basically stands for the high quality parts that GIGABYTE decide to place on its motherboard that try to make their boards stand out from the competition in terms of stability, life, cooling and more.
The latest addition to the series Ultra Durable 5 adds single package "power stage". It's different from a regular and traditional MOSFET in that the solution from IR (the PowIRstage IR3550) combines all of the parts into a single package chip. Usually the driver IC, high side and low side MOFSETS are separate individually chips. The IR3550 is able to deliver 60 amps of power were power stage chip and is said to deliver and much cooler, cleaner and efficient power supply.
The results really do speak for themselves as you can see in the video above. GIGABYTE had some competitor boards on display that use a traditional 6 phase and 8 phase power design. All systems on display were configured with the exact same hardware and settings with all except the middle boards running the CPU at 100% load...
Computex 2012 - Before I head out of the VIP Media Suite here at Taipei 101 for GIGABYTE we had a quick look at some of the upcoming motherboards that we'll see over the coming weeks and months. Three boards managed to really steal our attention with the first being a refresh of the high end X79 chipset. The new GA-X79S-UP5 WIFI comes in as part of the new UP series.
Along with that we've got 8 SAS Ports offering us support for a large amount of storage while 3-Way CrossFire and SLI support means that it's a great option for gamers as well who want some serious horsepower. In typical fashion we can also see that Black / Blue design that we've grown to love from Gigabyte over the years...
Computex 2012 - Thunderbolt is going to be a big thing this year at Computex with Intel having one of the first press events showing off the technology. Over at the Gigabyte suite in Taipei 101 we got a chance to check out the upcoming GA-Z77X-UP5 TH Thunderbolt motherboard which brings with it two onboard Thunderbolt ports offering 10 Gbps transfer each.
What good is a Thunderbolt board without Thunderbolt devices. Alongside the upcoming motherboard we got a chance to look at a number of Thunderbolt devices that Gigabyte are testing from Apple, Blackmagicdesign, Lacie and Promise to name just a few of the companies. You can also see that we had a chance to see some Thunderbolt cables from SUMITOMO including an upcoming 10m / 20m cable.
No doubt this is one of many Thunderbolt setups that we'll see throughout Computex and we look forward to seeing more and more companies show off teh technology over the week.
The GA-Z77X-UP5 TH is the first product of Computex 2012 to be awarded our Computex Recommended Award.
Computex 2012 - Hanging out at the VIP Media Room at Taipei 101 we've had a chance to check out a couple of new motherboards that Gigabyte has launch or are launching over the coming weeks and months. The first motherboard we got a chance to look at is the upcoming GA-F2A85X-UP4 which falls into the new UP series from Gigabyte
Supporting next generation FM2 A Series APUs from Intel the GA-F2A85X-UP4 brings with it support for Dual Channel DDR3 2400MHz DDR+, 8 SATA3 ports, 6 USB 3.0 ports and Lucid Virtu technology.
You can see we've got the same black color scheme we've grown to love from Gigabyte along with our quick access power button in the top right corner and our debug reader on the bottom right.
Gigabyte had the board on display running three monitors and we should get a chance to take a closer look at the board when it becomes available soon.
AMD still has yet to release the desktop version of Trinity, but that hasn't stopped ECS from showing off its latest creation. ECS has released pictures and a bit of information about its upcoming motherboard designed for the AMD desktop Trinity APUs. The full-size ATX board is called the A85F2-A Deluxe and looks pretty good.
About all we know about the chipset is that it is an A85X chipset, which is one that AMD has yet to announce. We have a few more details available about the board such as it features six USB 3.0 ports, four of them near the I/O section. The board sports 7 SATA III 6Gbps ports just in case you have that many SSDs. That number also includes an external eSATA port.
The board also features two PCIe-x16 sots for graphics cards. ECS has also said that there are four more FM2 sockets in the works: the A75F2-A2, A75F2-M2, A55F2-A2, and A55F2-M3. Furthermore, the announcement says nothing about backwards compatibility, so for now, I would assume that it is not. And of course, a release date is missing as AMD has yet to release the Trinity APUs.
Thunderbolt has been all out of thunder lately, debuting last year on the refreshed Apple MacBook line up, it now looks like the technology will make a bigger appearance on motherboards later this year. DigiTimes is reporting that it is expected to become one of the key specifications that motherboard makers will be competing with in the second half of this year.
This is thanks to sources from motherboard players, but we all know Thunderbolt will eventually be a bigger thing as time goes on. Thunderbolt supports PCI Express and DisplayPort, allowing a Thunderbolt port to smash through data at high speeds. Compared to USB 3.0, unfortunately, the higher costs stop Thunderbolt's market penetration.
At the moment, Thunderbolt chips are offered only by Intel, with quotes of around $20-$25. This leaves non-Intel chipmakers unable to make much profit from the technology, which leaves us with adapter chips being more popular. We should hopefully see more Thunderbolt-powered products at Computex in just over a weeks time.