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Earlier today Shane Baxtor and I ventured out to the ECS headquarters here in Taipei where we were given exclusive access to look at the Taiwanese motherboard company's range of upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge motherboards that are due to come out onto the market sometime in late March or April as far as we can tell.
In the video above we spent most of our time focusing on ECS' most high-end Ivy Bridge motherboard, the Z77HS-AX Black Extreme. This is a full size ATX motherboard with plenty of the bells and whistles ticked including onboard Bluetooth 2.1 and Wi-Fi as well as native USB 3.0 provided by the Intel Ivy Bridge chipset. It also gets some other nice goodies such as onboard power and reset buttons as well as a heatpipe cooling design which looks like it should do an adequate job of keeping things under control in the temperature department.
Some of the big features of this board is the inclusion of not two, but three PCI-E x16 3.0 slots which allows for SLI and CrossFireX support. The first slot is 16 lanes while the other two other eight lanes - ECS was able to achieve the extra lanes by adding in an additional chip which is said to cost $30 alone. As far as memory goes, you get support for DDR3 dual channel and in early testing so far, ECS engineers told us that they have been able to reach over 2600MHz DDR so far...
CES 2012 - As any ASUS user will tell you, on the ROG series there is already a pretty full gamut of offerings for software overclocking and control of various features that come with their motherboards and add-on devices. As seen in this screen shot, there are now seven windows of opportunity. We all know there is a version of CPU-Z and GPU-z, along with the GPU Tweak program, as well as others, but there is a couple of hidden gems in this image.
The first offering I am going to cover is the new ROG Exchange program. What this offers is the ability to go to a database on ASUS' web site and pick from a multitude of pre-clocked configurations saved into a file that users can download. You simple pick through a list of offering with your board and processor and find the file you think fits your needs and let the software load it into the bios for you. Also with this software, you can be in the driver's seat and load bios files that you have found to work well and share it with everyone else. This should make overclocking much easier for those who don't have the time to learn everything in the bios, and let the professionals do all the tedious testing for you...
CES 2012 - In our second video with JJ from ASUS at their Trump Towers suite we got a close up look at the new ASUS ROG Rampage IV Formula and Gene and learned a lot about what ASUS is doing to really take audio to the next level.
Exclusive to the aforementioned two motherboards, ASUS engineers are taking audio quality very seriously and have created a special route for the audio tracers from the back IO to the onboard audio codec towards the south of the motherboard. When held up to sunlight with a static board demo we could clearly see the separation in the PCB for the audio. When the system is turned on, the route actually glows red as you can see in the video above.
The reason for all this? By creating a dedicated route for the audio signals, ASUS is able to offer better audio performance that is somewhat separate from the other parts on the PCB and this should go a long way to reducing any audio interference.
CES 2012 - We met up with JJ from ASUS today in their lovely suite at the Trump Towers here at CES and he was good enough to give us a hands-on introduction of the upcoming Z9P3-D8 Workstation server motherboard which is a dual socket board supporting upcoming Intel Xeon processors and chipsets.
This board comes with no less than eight DIMM slots supporting up to 128GB of memory, USB 3.0, dual Intel server grade gigabit LAN ports, an amazing seven x16 PCI-E 3.0 slots and a total of 14 SATA ports.
It should be going on sale towards the end of Q1 2012 in time for the new server processors from Intel.
Shamino has posted a thread on the kingpincooling forum, where the ASUS R&D have figured a way to publish voltage modifications for graphics cards.
These include control of the VGA loadline, switching frequency, OverCurrent Protection and core voltage. The picture above shows what to solder with the Rampage IV Extreme. These headers are then plugged into the video card, in the below shot. There are some steps you should follow:
Do Not plug in the header before boot.
After Boot and go into OS, plug in header
Open Digipower CNTRL (install from CD)
CES 2011: CES is a time where technology porn is at its highest. ASUS stepped up their game by showing off their ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS motherboard which supports the soon-to-be-released Intel Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon E5 platform.
As you can see in the above shot, the board looks insanely hot, sporting no less than seven PCIe slots, and eight DIMM slots. It also has ten SATA ports, and of course, dual Socket LGA 2011 support. The board is powered by a single 24-pin ATX power connector backed up by dual 8-pin connectors.
Considering how feature-packed the board is already, it's surprising that on the rear panel we only see two USB 3.0 connectors. On top of using Intel PHYs and Realtek audio, there's an ASPEED AST2300 2D VGA controller and also provides management over IP. Also spotted on the board is a swappable LOTES 'X-Socket' which is also used on the X79 ROG boards and CHiL PWMs.
CES 2012 - We missed our appointment with MSI today but that doesn't mean we missed the scoop. With other motherboard manufactures showing their nearly ready designs MSI wanted to show that they are ready to roll right now.
Here we see the Z77A-GD65 with all of the heatsinks and color scheme ready to go. Everyone is very excited about this release since it should include native USB 3.0 built into the chipset and four SATA III ports. If you look at the specs there is also something quite exciting, DDR3-2667. ROCK ON!
Next up is the flagship Z77A-GD80. The specs are incredible and we can't wait to see how they perform.
CES 2012 - GIGABYTE just got done holding their "Meet the Executives" event at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas and one of the big points for staying ahead of their competition (ASUS) was to be first out with new technology.
One big new piece of technology coming out sometime later this year is Intel's Ivy Bridge platform. We are already bound by an NDA, so there is little we can say. A quick search on Google though shows things like native USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.0 support. It will be a mid-range platform, you can think of it as an updated Z68 Express for upcoming Intel processors.
After giving attending media a rundown on GIGABYTE's aims for 2012, Colin Brix of GIGABYTE started bashing on the door of a nearby room in the hotel suite and asked if we could interrupt and show off the Taiwanese company's range of upcoming Ivy Bridge boards. We got see the full model range including the G1. Sniper 3, G1 Sniper 3 M3 (Micro-ATX), Z77X-UD5H, Z77X-UD3H and B75M-D3H.
Fortunately we had video camera in hand and captured the whole deal. Watch it above. There are a lot of pictures in the photo gallery below, too.
MSI have officially released their flagship motherboard based on the X79 Express chipset, taking the LGA2011 Sandy Bridge-E CPUs. MSI have dubbed the board Big Bang-XPower II and boy does it have some great features.
The board sports support for PCI-Express 3.0, 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire technologies, 8 DIMM slots that can handle an insane 128GB of RAM, 22-phase PWM design with Hybrid Digital Power, dual 8-pin CPU and single 6-pin VGA power connectors to reach Xtreme Power Design as well as the introduction of MIL-STD-810G certified Military Class III components.
This board is aimed squarely at overclockers, super high-end gamers and those who simply want the best in motherboards. The color scheme of the board looks slick too, as well as the magazine-looking heatsink that just looks amazing. Because the Big Bang-XPower II has a 22-phase PWM design with Hybrid Digital Power, it can deliver up to 770W output, 2.4 times the reference 9-phase design.
Our latest poll had almost 3,000 people who answered, Which company made the best desktop motherboards in 2011?.
Well out in front with almost half the votes, ASUS was voted as the maker of the best desktop motherboards in 2011 by TweakTown readers.
In second place GIGABYTE got 20% of the votes while ASRock came in third with 14% of the votes.