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Computex 2012 - Walking around the halls today we spotted a motherboard with the model name "Hacker" and it made me stop and pay attention.
The company in question here is Wibtek, a long time Chinese motherboard producer who has only just entered the retail motherboard market at the end of last year. We often walk the show floor each year and see loads of motherboard makers, but they usually don't interest that much with their non-enthusiast entries.
Wibtek was different though as they did get our attention for the Hacker Z77 and Hacker Z75 based motherboards. This is Wibtek's first attempt and creating an enthusiast motherboard and by the looks of things, they are off to a fairly positive start. They are marketing their Z77 board as offering easy overclocking and impeccable performance. They add in an Auto-Overclocking Button with customised software along with a Hacker IC which is something we need to check out more before we can comment on it properly.
Judging by the board design, they will get the attention of buyers who usually turn to the likes of ASUS, MSI, GIGABYTE, ASRock and others, but do they really have what it takes to compete in a global market that is already tightly controlled by the aforementioned companies?
Only time will tell, but you're seeing the boards here on TweakTown, which means Wibtek has our interest peeked, at the least.
Computex 2012 - Walking around the Computex Nangang halls today we ran into Nick Shih from ASRock which is a good thing considering he and ASRock just announced their newest product, the Z77 OC Formula.
We gave you a quick preview of the Z77 OC Formula a couple of days ago, but it's best to let Nick give us a personal introduction as well as some details on some of the 2D world records they've already broken.
Watch the video above to learn more about this new extreme overclocking motherboard from ASRock. Think 7GHz Ivy Bridge and G.Skill RAM running at 3000MHz and MSI's Lightning video card running at insane speeds. Tasty!
Computex 2012 - Sitting in the corner of the ROG booth amongst a bunch of other motherboards we found the new Crosshair V Formula-Z, a refresh of the popular 990FX motherboard from ASUS that we know as the Crosshair V Formula. Looking at it you could easily find yourself thinking that it's just the regular non-Z version, but if we look a bit closer we can notice a few things.
One of the first comes with the removal of the legacy PCI slot that was present. That has now been swapped out for a PCIe slot. The audio side of things has also got an upgrade thanks to the addition of SupremeFX III now being present on the board.
Along with that ASUS said that they've also just done some overall tweaking to the board to increase the overclocking ability while we can also see the layout has slightly changed with the power and reset buttons being moved from the bottom of the board to the top with the LED Debug readout also being present now.
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.