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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.
I love me some new hardware. I don't read Chinese the best, if at all, but what I gather from these pictures and a bad Google Translate is that ASUS has released two new motherboards that support Intel's super fast Thunderbolt port. The products in question are the P8Z77-V PREMIUM and P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT and ASUS claims they have been Intel certified.
The boards appear to be ATX standard based and the P8Z77-V PREMIUM features 4 PCIe-x16 slots and 2 PCIe-x1 slots. It also comes with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. Additionally, it features an mSATA SSD for Smart Response and a front USB 3 expansion module. These boards are both, as the name implies, using the Intel Z77 chipset that was released in conjunction with Ivy Bridge.
The second board, the P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT, sports the same 2 PCIe-x1 slots with only 3 PCIe-x16 expansion ports. It features a single Gigabit Ethernet port and DVI, VGA, and HDMI video connectors. It does not come with an mSATA SSD, nor does it feature a DisplayPort output. Prices are unknown at this time. More as it comes.
ASRock has unveiled a high-end Z77 motherboard, the ASRock Z77 Extreme9, and when I say high-end, it's filled to the brim with features. First up, it sports the Z77 chipset which will give us compatibility for Intel's latest 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs. The Z77 Extreme9 sports 4-way NVIDIA SLI support as well as 4-way AMD CrossFireX support.
As for the SLI and CrossFireX support, if all four PCI-Express 3.0 ports are filled, we're looking at x8 for all four slots, or if a 2-way setup is used, it will sport x16 speeds. With graphics out of the way, the board includes no less than twelve (12!) SUB 3.0 ports, with four on the front, and eight on the rear, as well as six SATA 6Gbps ports.
The ASRock Z77 Extreme9 comes with a single x1 PCI Express 2.0 slot, backed up by a mini PCI Express slot that takes a dual-band combo 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 card. On the back of the board along with the eight USB 3.0 ports, you'll find two USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, a FireWire port, dual Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out, an HDMI-out port, and a clear CMOS button.
Ultra-small-form-factor PCs are all the rage right now. Look around and you'll see Ultrabooks, Zotac Zboxes, and all kinds of other small-form-factor systems. Intel, apparently, was unhappy with the size of the systems and wants to push the envelope just a wee bit further with its new form-factor dubbed the Next Unit of Computing (NUC).
The new 4"x4" (100mm x 100mm) board was shown off by Intel at an event in London last week. It has quite a bit more power than one would think a board of that size would contain. The board currently features Sandy Bridge-based mobile Core i3 and i5 processors. Along with the mobile theme, the board sports a pair of SO-DIMM memory slots.
A pair of Mini PCI Express slots, HDMI, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt ports are also included. Intel expects these NUC PCs to be available in the second half of the year. Most likely they will be sporting Ivy Bridge CPUs by that time. The more capable GPU will be a nice addition as it appears that there is no room for a discrete GPU.
ASUS and Pegatron enjoy quite the relationship, but 2012 is the year of the end of everything, and ASUS now have plans to end their ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) partnership with Pegatron. ASUS first have plans to decrease ODM production of motherboards from Pegatron which will start mid way through the year, after which they'll completely end their ODM relationship by Q3 2012, according to component manufacturers.
After ending their ODM partnership with Pegatron, ASUS will have other companies stand up and take ODM motherboard production, these companies are: Thailand-based Cal-Comp Electronics, Taiwan-based Global Brands Manufacture, Info-Tek and Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS). ECS and ASUS aren't strangers to each other, either, as ECS has been an ODM of graphics cards for ASUS.
It's been a fairly busy day for the TweakTown Taipei team with a visit to GEIL and then we headed on over to MSI who were nearby.
We were shown a few products during our meeting, but the one that stood out to us the most was their upcoming Z77A-GD80 motherboard, which you can get up close and personal with in the video we embedded above. This board supports the upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge processors which if you have been reading TweakTown this past week, you know quite a bit about now.
What's probably the most interesting feature of this motherboard is that it comes with a Thunderbolt connector. It's the first time we've seen a Z77 board with Thunderbolt onboard and that's pretty impressive. We have heard rumours around Taipei of more boards including Thunderbolt, but at this stage of the game, MSI is out in front in this department...