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If you'd like to get your early adopter shoes on now, and head out the door, you could camp out at your local IT retailer and wait for one of the newly announced ASUS motherboards that are equipped with PCI-Express 3.0 The motherboards are capable of supporting Intel's Ivy Bridge chips which are set to debut next year.
The three Z68-powered boards will be called P8Z68-Deluxe/GEN3, P8Z68-V Pro/GEN3 and finally, P8Z68-V/GEN3. All three boards will sport two PCI-Express 3.0 slots, LucidLogix's Vertu graphics-switching technology and of course, USB 3.0. The boards will hit shelves and e-tailers alike in October with the Deluxe model priced at US$310, V-Pro sets you back $250 or so and finally, the V with a price of just $220.
A couple weeks back we saw MSI make a bold claim that GIGABYTE's "PCI-Express 3.0" implementation on many of its motherboards is, to have put it bluntly, "Fake". MSI even went to the extent of creating a number of detailed slides to express their views on why GB is supposedly misleading its buyers with the "Ready for Native PCIe Gen.3" tag on as many as 40 of its motherboards.
Of course, it wasn't difficult to imagine GIGABYTE would respond at some point in relation to this claim, and sure enough, that occured just the other day.
With that being a somewhat wishy washy response in unsurprising defence, what I felt particularly news worthy was ASRock's comedic approach to the whole situation, with a new advertisement showing up via its Facebook page that puts its own range of PCI-E 3.0-ready boards up on a pedestal, not that they ever really came down off it seeing as they were one of the first to roll in PCI-E 3.0-ready boards anyway.
Aww... no love for the poor ole' Z68X-UD7 here.
As we nudge closer to the highly anticipated X79 / Sandy Bridge-E launch, we're seeing more and more sightings of X79 boards in pretty much complete form. The X79R-AX Black Series from ECS is the latest X79 board to hit the lime light with pictures showing up on the web just recently.
This LGA2011 motherboard gives the full array of features you'd come to expect from this platform, including a strong looking 14-phase VRM setup and kaboodles of connectivity. There are four x16 slots on the board, providing the ability to run 4-way SLI or CrossfireX. Electrically, those slots work in a x16/NC/x16/NC configuration when using just a single card or in 2-way, x16/NC/x8/x8 for 3-way and x8/x8/x8/x8 for 4-way action.
There are a total of 12 internal SATA ports on the board, and two eSATA. Four DDR3 DIMM slots are split with two on either side of the LOTES socket. The board uses some cost-effective TI-made USB 3.0 controllers, with four USB 3.0 ports on the rear and two more available via an internal header.
A pleasant surprise came from GIGABYTE during IDF this past week with both word and somewhat evidential backing to their plan in FINALLY entering the glorious world of graphical mouse-driven BIOS'.
Despite being one of the largest players in the motherboard market, it could never have been predicted that GIGABYTE was going to stick to the ancient old workhorse known as AwardBIOS so long after almost every motherboard manufacturer, including the less influential mobs like BIOSTAR etc. had already turned to UEFI BIos coding.
While voice command tech is nothing new in this day and age, you have to admit this particular implementation has quite the cool factor associated with it.
Apparently MSI is aiming to role in a new technology called "Voice Activated Motherboard" for select models of their mobo lineup which instantly raises a number of questions about how it would work.
Imagine being able to simply look at your PC, then say a given word (or words) that would have it power on from a halted state, go into suspend, or power down. This is what MSI is looking at doing.
The tech works via a daughterboard comprising a mic/line input and taking up a PCI-E x1 slot; it then connects to a header on select motherboards, some boards of which are already on the market. That header is labelled "JDLED3".
IDF 2011 - Gigabyte have shown off their high-end X79-based motherboards at IDF, with the following models on show: GA-X79-UD5, GA-X79-UD7 and the G1.Assassin 2. There is a difference between the UD5 and UD7 this time round, though. Usually the UD7 is jut a beefed-up UD5 with added features and better cooling. This time the two boards are totally different from the PCB to the features they offer.
The UD5 model targets the premium user, with eight DDR3 DIMM slots, and suited to 3-way SLI/CrossFire. The UD7 on the other hand is bleeding-edge with just four DDR3 DIMM slots and support for 4-way SLI/CrossFire with a bunch of overclocking features to boot. Finally there's the G1.Assassin 2 which targets the gamer-overclocker market with features such as hardware-accelerated Creative X-Fi audio, a Bigfoot Killer NIC and support for [only] 3-way SLI/CrossFire.
The above pic is of the GA-X79-UD5 which sports 14-phase CPU VRM, eight DDR3 DIMMS with support for up to 64GB of quad-channel memory. Expansion slots include three PCI-e 3.0 x16 (x16/x8/x8 or x16/NC/x16), two PCI-e 3.0 x1, and a legacy PCI. 12 SATA ports are on the board, 8-channel HD audio, one GbE, four USB 3.0 ports and power-eSATA.
With one of the highest anticipated launches of this year closing in after recent word of a supposed October launch, the lads at VR-Zone have managed to get a peek at an almost finalized (engineering sample) version of the mighty Quantum Force X79 LGA2011 motherboard from Foxconn.
Compared to an earlier revision of the board sighted at Computex earlier in the year, primarily speaking, this new one looks to have a different physical expansion slot arrangement, a more finalized looking heatsink onboard and some front panel header adjustments.
Originating from its own media database to confirm the source, MSI is taking a pretty vicious swipe at GIGABYTE for apparently giving somewhat misleading information to its buyers in the way of native PCI-E Gen 3 support on its motherboards.
Using a batch of freshly produced, detailed slides that are now being distributed about the web, MSI makes an effort to educate people on what a true PCI-E 3.0 board is all about and how to tell if a motherboard carries proper PCI-E 3.0, with its primary intent at this stage of the game to point out that GIGABYTE's boards are lacking in this respect and will not deliver quality PCI-E 3.0 connectivty.
ASUS has just released a new Micro-ATX sized Fusion motherboard to market of which they look to have put a solid amount of effort into. Based on the Fusion "Zacate" processor platform, the new E45M1-M PRO is in most ways similar to another in their existing Fusion line-up, the E35M1-M PRO, but this one's brains are that of the newer, faster E-450 dual-core APU.
The E-450 runs at a clock speed of 1.65GHz using two Bobcat architecture x86-64 cores with Radeon HD 6320 DX11 graphics (80 stream processors), and DDR3-1333MHz memory controller. The board itself runs measurements of 244 x 183 mm and gives a single PCI-E x16 slot, a PCI-E x1 slot and two legacy PCI slots for expansion possibilities.
ASUS has decked it with a 3-phase VRM and an EPU chip to help improve on energy efficiency. A couple DDR3 DIMM slots reside on the board and give a single channel config. The most eye catching feature is the large passive heatsink setup that manages to cover both the APU and Hudson M1 chipset. If you feel it's necessary, there is also the option of attaching a fan to it to help lower temps further.
Here's a lovely candidate for pairing with the SVD-NC11-4 we mentioned a little earlier, as well as being a quick eye opener for HTPC or LAN builders looking to get a compact, budget build underway. A new Mini-ITX sized A75 chipset motherboard has reached shelves in Japan from ASRock, dubbed the A75M-ITX.
Japanese tech site Akiba PC has managed to get some hands on with it and ascertain what ASRock have packed onto this confined space. It's got a 4 phase power arrangement with two DDR3 memory slots, four SATA 6Gb/s ports and a dedicated x16 PCI-E slot.
The I/O area doesn't look to be lacking for a board of this stature with a combo PS/2 port, four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, both VGA and HDMI (w/ 1.4a support) display output and ASRock's XFast USB technology on tap.
We're yet to see it emerge in other markets, but to give you an idea on price, it's now shifting in Japan for about 8980 Yen ($116 US).