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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...
ASRock have just unveiled a new X79-based motherboard, where they've partnered up with pro-gamer Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, who worked closely with ASRock engineers to develop a well-featured motherboard based on Intel's X79 chipset. Enter, ASRock/Fatal1ty X79 Professional. Fatal1ty is quoted:
This Fatal1ty motherboard was designed to bring your gaming performance to the highest level. The Fatal1ty X79 Professional comes with a Fatal1ty Mouse Port that delivers the precise control needed to elevate your game. In addition to gaming functions, the board packs 4 PCIe 3.0 slots, supporting up to 4-Way SLI and 4-Way CrossFireX. This combination will make you deadly and feared in the battlefield.
James Lee, Vice President of ASRock Sales and Marketing chimes in with:
ASRock-Fatal1ty motherboards represent quality. This board is crammed full of features like XFast 555 and F-Stream. The blistering performance will satisfy users who require both overclocking and gaming needs.
Earlier this week we took a trip to the VIA Technologies office not far from our very own actually here in Taipei and got an introduction to a few new products including the brand new VIA EPIA-M900.
The EPIA-M900 is a Mini-ITX motherboard designed for the embedded market and what's special about this board is that it is the world's first to offer a quad-core processor on a Mini-ITX platform. This processor we speak about is the new VIA QuadCore E-Series at 1.2GHz and it also includes Adaptive Overclocking to increase the processor clock speed a little when under heavy load. What's great about this platform besides its small size and fit me anywhere type design, is that it has a TDP (thermal design power) rating of just 27.5 watts.
The processor is teamed up with the VIA VX900H Media System Processor (chipset) and when combined is able to playback 720p and 1080p video as well as offer up to 8GB of DDR3 memory support along with some other goodies you'd expect such as gigabit LAN, HDMI, VGA, four USB 2.0 ports and audio output. The board also includes a single PCIe x16 slot (with effective speed up to PCIe x8) which would allow you to add in a video card if you require additional video outputs for your digital signage needs or whatever else it may be.
We shot a video as you can see above with Mike from VIA who gave us a bit of an introduction and hands-on time with the VIA EPIA-M900.
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.