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Intel Z77 coverage keeps on rolling in and this time we give you a look at three upcoming ASUS boards based on the upcoming Ivy Bridge chipset. Once again we were told not to say "Ivy Bridge" by ASUS, but surely by now you all know exactly what we are working with here, so we just decided to say it.
As you can see in the video above, ASUS has many bases covered with a full line-up of Z77 boards that support the third generation Core processors based on a 28nm architecture including ones for those who want it all, those who are into gaming (for small systems) and those who are interesting in impressive cooling performance.
We'll start off with the Sabertooth Z77 which is built for consumer workstation level performance. The big thing with this board is that it includes Thermal Armor which is an original ASUS invention to bring a new way to cool your motherboard. The cooling assembly is split into two cooling zones with one covering the northern part of the board and the other the southern part of the board. Two fans are included in the package with are optional to be installed - meaning, the board doesn't really active fan cooling, but if you add the fans in, ASUS measured up to a 10 degree Celsius drop in temperature on some areas of the board...
Earlier on today I did an unboxing video of the brand new and upcoming ASRock Z77 Extreme6 motherboard. This new board based on Intel's Z77 Express Ivy Bridge chipset is due out soon and comes with plenty of features packed in such as ASRock XFast 555 technology (XFast LAN, XFast USB, XFast RAM), Lucid VirtuMVP, Intel Smart Response, Intel Smart Connect and much more.
ASRock told us to say that this board supports 2nd and 3rd generation Intel Core processors and not "Ivy Bridge" processors, but at this stage of the game we're going to say Ivy Bridge, because we all know what we are talking about here.
ASRock's Z77 Extreme6 motherboard features a stylish and attractive gold and black color scheme which looks really great. The PCB is black and gold comes into the theme by way of the gold touches on the coolers as well as the Japanese golden caps. The board includes three PCI Express x16 slots for up to three-way SLI and CrossFireX support. ASRock does claim that the board can support Quad SLI, which it can, but only by way of using two dual-GPU video cards such as the GeForce GTX 590.
There are a total of four DDR3 DIMM slots which provides dual-channel memory performance all the way up to DDR3-2800 with the aid of overclocking, so you should be able to expect some good memory performance which is something ASRock has focused on for a while now...
ECS has shown up with some pics of the new Z77H2-AX motherboard that is due in the coming weeks and the first bit that stands out is the epic gold and black color scheme on the board which looks awesome.
The socket looks especially fantastic; it's such a pity that it's going to be covered by a cooler. At least the fancy heatsinks are going to stand out and the I/O ports which have also got the Midas touch.
Alongside some fancy gold heatsinks we can see three PCIe x16 Gen3 slots, two legacy PCI slots and two PCIe x1 slots. There is also four DDR3 DIMM slots, mSATA, SATA, DEBUG, power and reset buttons and the normal line up of connectors we'd expect to see.
This is a fantastic looking board, though. Fingers crossed performance is also strong. Expect a review in the coming weeks when the NDA officially lists on the new Intel chipset and we can finally take the board for a spin.
Intel's third-generation Core processor platform is almost ready to begin selling and that of course means we are starting to get new Intel ZZ Express based motherboards in for testing. MSI told us to say third-generation Core, but we all know that of course means Ivy Bridge and we know many of you are really excited about this platform.
MSI were one of the first to ship us a Z77 board to our Taipei Test Lab and in something new here at TweakTown which we are starting today, we are giving you an unboxing of it as an early preview before our full review gets posted later on. We hope to do several of these unboxing each week as long as everything goes to plan.
MSI sent us its Z77A-GD65 which is their mid-range Z77 board, but still comes packed with plenty of great features including PCI-Express gen 3 support, Military Class II, OC Genie II, Click BIOS II and much more. The motherboard itself looks brilliant with its stylish black and blue theme. It features passive cooling, but looks to be a rather solid cooling setup with impressive heatsinks, that also looks just great.
Check out the video above as we give you a full unboxing of the MSI Z77A-GD65. You can look forward to our full review in the future once the Intel Ivy Bridge platform goes on sale.
GIGABYTE motherboards kick ass, we all know this, but just how much? Well, enough for them to claim the No. 1 spot in the world for motherboard durability. A lot of this comes from GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable technology, which has now spread its tentacles into Ultra Durable 4 on their upcoming 7-series motherboards.
GIGABYTE's industry-leading Ultra Durable 4 technology, is coming on their 7-series motherboards, and helps safe-guard GIGABYTE motherboards from common everyday threats such as humidity and moisture, electro-static discharge, sudden power loss and high operating temperatures.
Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit says:
With the launch of the first Ultra Durable motherboard in 2006, GIGABYTE revolutionized the motherboard industry by making quality the number one focus in our motherboard design. Five and a half years later, GIGABYTE maintains our leadership in quality design by equipping our upcoming 7 series motherboards with even more lifespan enhancing technologies in the form of Ultra Durable 4.
GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable 4 is some seriously slick stuff, read up more on it here.
Intel's 7-series chipset is only a month away, but the PC motherboard industry is seeing some huge movement, with ASRock and GIGABYTE both teasing us with some new boards, and now we have ASUS joining the ranks.
ASUS are teasing with their Republic of Gamers-based board, the next-gen Maximus V board. It seems as though ASUS have the ROG Maximus V ready, and should sport the latest Intel Z77 chipset. The board will most likely come in three flavors: Extreme, Formula and the micro-ATX-based Gene.
Full pictures, and more details should be made available this week, so a little patience is needed. Personally I run a ROG-based board and love it. Never had a single hiccup on it, whatsoever. The new Maximus V board should be a delight to see, and I'm excited to see where ASUS can take their new ROG board.
After typing up this news, I stumbled across some the Maxishine forums, where they've shown the ASUS ROG Maximus V GENE mATX-based board, and boy does it look pretty. It definitely sports Intel's Z77 chipset, which in turn supports Intel's 3rd-generation processors. We now have some details on the board:
ASRock have literally just started to show off the upcoming X79 Extreme11 motherboard that hopefully isn't too far away and will get a showing at CeBIT this week. If the previous X79 Extreme9 is anything to go by we should be excited as we found ourselves impressed with what ASRock was doing with the board when we looked at it earlier in the year.
We don't have heaps of information on the board at the moment as the covers have literally just come off it, but you can see, we're dealing with a total of five PCIe x16 slots which offer support for 4-way video card setups (SLI and CrossFireX) along with two legacy PCI slots.
The board comes with two GEN3 PLX 8747 chips allowing for four way setups to run at x16 / x16 / x16 / x16 along with an LSI SAS2308 chip offering us eight SAS ports or eight SATA3 ports which are only part of the 14 total SATA ports on offer with 10 of them being SATA3.
Audio is provided by the Creative Core3D chip which is impressive and you can see eight DDR3 slots, two 8-pin CPU connectors, the typical debug readout and a power and reset button sitting next to it. Extra power connectors also include a Molex connector on the far left under the bottom most PCIe slot along with a second Molex connector next to the top most slot.
Gigabyte's G1 series of gaming motherboards have shared their fair share of success in the ATX or XL-ATX form factor, but it seems Gigabyte want to continue this success and launched a much-requested mATX model with the G1.Sniper M3.
The Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 shares some of its features with the G1.Sniper 3, but is found in an mATX form factor, where some compromises had to be made. The G1.Sniper M3 sports two PCI-Express 3.0 slots, but both slots would run in x8 mode when populated. It also sports one x16 PCI-Express 2.0 slot, but only has four lanes connected via the chipset, on top of this, we also have a single x1 PCI-Express 2.0 slot.
The G1.Sniper M3 only includes two SATA 6Gbps ports, with three SATA 3Gbps ports to back it up. Considering this is an mATX board, one would only be using a small form factor-based case, which would have limited HDD capacity anyway. It does sport the G1. Sniper 3's same Creative Sound Core3D, too, but with a changed design. VR-Zone have spotted that there are empty spaces where the additional audio-grade capacitors seem to be missing. What will go there, or not go there, is not currently known.
As you might have seen, we just got done covering four of GIGABYTE's upcoming Intel Z77 "Ivy Bridge" motherboards in an earlier story we posted today.
What we also saw today during our meeting at the GIGABYTE headquarters here in Taipei was a revised version of its 3D BIOS. If your memory fails you a bit, that is GIGABYTE's name for its fancy UEFI graphical BIOS for its current motherboards. 3D BIOS adds a layer of interactivity over the "Advanced Mode" BIOS (more like an old style BIOS setup) which shows a picture of your motherboard and options to quickly adjust settings for various areas of the motherboard by simply clicking on that part that you want to change.
The new version of 3D BIOS is refined just in time for the launch of the upcoming Intel Z77 "Ivy Bridge" platform. At this stage only these new Z77 boards we'll get the new and improved 3D BIOS, but at a later stage, older boards may also get upgraded, but that hasn't been decided on yet.
You can see now that the motherboard looks like it is somewhat snowed over (or LN2'ed over) and other things have been cleaned up such as nice and more readable fonts, more detailed information on settings, more icons and so on. There are some more pictures below in the gallery if you want to see some more detail.
Earlier on today we visited the GIGABYTE headquarters here in Taipei where we got some exclusive hands-on time with its range of upcoming Intel Z77 "Ivy Bridge" Socket 1155 motherboards. GIGABYTE told us to say "3rd generation" processors, but to be more clear, we're telling you they are indeed "Ivy Bridge" processors. These are the boards that will support the upcoming third generation Intel Core processors that are due to come onto the market sometime in April as far as we know at this stage of the game. These boards will also support current Sandy Bridge based processors such as the 2500k, 2600k and 2700k.
We also know that the performance of these said processors is really impressive and the power consumption numbers are great, too. We cannot go into too many details about this platform at this stage, but what we can do is give you a look at what GIGABYTE has planned for the platform with a look at four of its upcoming Z77 boards which we went hands-on with today.
We'll start off with the big daddy which is the G1.Sniper 3, this is a board designer for gamers as well as overclockers and represents as the highest end Z77 board from GIGABYTE at this stage. It comes with an improved cooling setup with oversized heatsinks and a more minimalistic cooler design - rather than a big gun shaped heatsink at the south end of the board, there is just a small golden skull with a knife held in its mouth...