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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.
Last week I reported on some news that three Gigabyte motherboards, X79-UD3, X79-UD5 and G1.Assassin 2 had issues with build quality and a bad BIOS. I've received official word from Gigabyte that it was not a board-related, or build-related problem, but a BIOS-related issue.
I used a specific quote "Gigabyte has said the issue stems from a combination of poor quality PWM components and bad firmware." I should've fact checked before posting, and done some background work before making a statement like that and trusting a single source. For this, I apologise on behalf of TweakTown.
The problems does not stem from the board, but from a BIOS issue and Gigabyte have released a new bios: F7, which fixes the issue. If you have one of the boards and would like to update its BIOS, visit this page.
Biostar have officially launched their first Sandy Bridge-E (LGA2011) motherboard, after the previously-leaked TPower X79 made the rounds a few weeks ago. We posted about it last month and now the board has been made official.
The Biostar TPower X79 has the standard ATX form-factor and features support for Intel's latest LGA 2011 socket Sandy Bridge-E processors, a 9-phase power design, an 8-layer, 2 oz Copper PCB, four DDR3-2400 memory slots, and three PCI-Express x16 3.0 slots which enable Quad CrossFireX and 3-way SLI setups.
The TPower X79 also sports dual 8-pin EPS connectors, one PCI and two PCIe x1 slots, three SATA 3.0 Gbps and four SATA 6Gbps ports, one eSATA connector, Gigabit Ethernet, six USB 3.0 ports on the back plate, 7.1-channel audio, a debug LED, UEFI BIOS, and on-board Power, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons. The board is aimed at the enthusiast/overclocking market and should be available next month.
Intel's upcoming LGA2011 server board product, S4600LG (codenamed "Lizard Head Pass") which will be capable of handling 1TB of RAM. Yes, that's 1024GB of RAM. The board is designed mainly for high-performance computing and math-intensive server applications, such as video streaming sites using it for transcoding, etc.
The board is capable of achieving such large memory expansion room by providing three DIMM slots per memory channel, with each socket giving four memory channels. The S4600LG supports the 8-core Xeon E5-4600 series Sandy Bridge-EP processors. The S4600LH is driven by an Intel C600 "Patsburg" chipset with up to 8 SCU ports and 2 SATA 6 Gb/s ports. One of the downsides is the board doesn't have any standard expansion slots, with only two PCI-Express 3.0 x48 risers, which daughterboards with three x16 slots each, can be attached (as shown in the picture above).
The board also sports dual Intel LAN with VT support, KVM and BMT logic is in-built and the board should be available in Q2 2012. 1TB of RAM, doesn't that just sound insane to others? I really think we'll see a shrink in personal machines over the future as Windows becomes much better on resources, but for a server build, this thing is a beast and a half.
[update] I've been informed by Gigabyte that it was not an actual build issue, but a BIOS-related problem. Gigabyte recommend that users who own the below boards update their BIOS immediately, or contact Gigabyte directly (details on this link). Gigabyte have stated it was an isolated case and can be fixed with the use of the F7 BIOS.
I do apologise greatly for the mistake, to both our readers and Gigabyte.
Last week, YouTube user "japan0827" uploaded a video of his overclocked testbed releasing a plume of smoke. Of course, being upset, posted on various Asian message boards with detailed pictures of the board that failed: a Gigabyte X79-UD3, and more specifically, a MOSFET in its CPU VRM.
But, he isn't the only one. Gigabyte had released a press release this week acknowledging the fault, and that they had received other complains from other overclockers who own other X79-based boards: GA-X79-UD3, GA-X79-UD5 and G1.Assassin 2 - the company's main LGA2011 products. Gigabyte has said the issue stem
Today is the big day for Intel and its new Sandy Bridge-E processors and X79 Express chipset platform. The NDA just came off moments ago and now we can give you the full run-down on the ASRock X79 Overclock King Series of motherboards based off the new platform.
Last week we met up with Chris Lee, Director of Marketing, at the ASRock HQ here in Taipei where he gave us a full introduction to its first batch of X79 motherboards. ASRock is launching with five X79 boards right now including the Extreme3, Extreme4-M (Micro-ATX), Extreme4, Extreme7 and the Extreme9.
We spent most of our time in the video above focused on the top-dog, the ASRock X79 Extreme9. This board is packed out with loads of good features including eight DDR3 DIMM slots for quad-channel memory support, five PCI-E x16 slots, active fan cooling for the X79 chipset, loads of SATA-III ports and full digital VRM power management with 18 phases of power for RAM (2) and CPU (16).
One of the big additions with the Extreme9 is the bundle inclusion of the ASRock Game Blaster which is a PCI-E x1 add-on audio and LAN card which uses the quad-core Creative SoundCore 3D audio processing chip for greatly improved gaming audio support over usual onboard audio usually found on most motherboards.
Now that the Intel NDA is up for the X79 Express chipset, we can finally let fly with all of our content on the subject. Our latest is from the GIGABYTE headquarters here in Taipei where last week we visited them and got a good look at their range of motherboards to support the new Socket 2011 Intel processors.
Since we've already spent a good amount of time previewing some GIGABYTE X79 boards and others, we didn't want to focus too much on the boards themselves, but some of the features included. We will start off with the all new 3D Dual UEFI BIOS. 3D, you say? Yes - well probably not the kind of 3D you are thinking with movies and the need to pull out some fancy active shutter glasses.
Check out the video for a full hands-on look at the BIOS.
ASUS may have the amazingly sexy Republic of Gaming boards, but Workstation (WS) series boards are filled to the brim with great detail and are fit for mission-critical environments. The WS-branded boards are usually based on chipsets from Intel's client product lines rather than Enterprise lines. Intel's Sandy Bridge-E 1P platform will get a similar treatment with the P9X79WS.
The board is based on an ATX form-factor, and uses the tpyical X79 layout. The socket LGA2011 is powered by a 10-phase Digi+ VRM, which is cooled by a heatsink that shares its heat with a VRM heatsink cluster over the memory VRM, and one over the X79 PCH.
ASUS' P9X79WS features eight DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting SB-E's quad-channel memory, and all PCI-Express slots are long-type, and the board supports 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire X support. Storage-wise we have two SATA 6Gbps and four SATA 3Gbps from the PCH, two SATA 6Gbps from a discrete controller, and to my surprise, a lack of eSATA.