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Reminiscing of the dodgey capacitor woes occuring left, right and centre on motherboards of a decade or more ago, it's been discovered by Lars over at SemiAccurate that the same nightmare is potentially unfolding yet again, although not with regard to capacitors (thankfully they're solid state these days to ensure no issues with age), but rather the chokes onboard.
You can see from the picture above that the chokes on this board are rusting. These are iron core chokes; cheaper than ferrite core chokes so therefore used on low to mid-range motherboards. Unlike ferrite core chokes, they have iron in them which is a metal that easily rusts when it has come into contact with water at some point. Here's an extract of the most probable explanation of this from the source :-
The iron powder used to make the iron core chokes had water added to it during the milling process and the iron powder was then not dried sufficiently before the chokes were made. The moisture trapped inside the chokes has then started to rust the chokes from the inside out during the time these boards have been sitting in the warehouse.
So far it's only the one board manufacturer with affected boards (of which thus far seem to be limited to P43, G31 and AMD 785G based models). It's been said that only boards inside of Taiwan and Singapore have been spotted with the rusty choke issue so far, but there's nothing to say it's not a much more widespread problem and only time will tell for sure.
What's of most concern is that the motherboard maker is aware of these affected boards and instead of simply pulling them off the market, they're apparently shifting them with lower pricing to help clear their inventory. The particularly scarey thing about this is that the issue, in time, could eventually develop into catastrophic failure whereby not only the motherboard would become useless, but it could also potentially kill the CPU residing in its socket.
You know I am all for smaller computers. I am really tired of these gigantic cases sitting by my desk that make lots of noise with all the fans for cooling. It would be great to build a powerful computer that was dead silent and could sit on my desk, or better yet behind my LCD.
A tiny Core i7 mainboard has turned up that might just let me do that called the conga-BM57. The board measures at a scant 5" x 3.7" and sports a 2.66 GHz Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, Intel integrated graphics, five PCI Express lanes, and eight USB ports.
That's not all either; the tiny board also packs in three SATA ports, one EIDE port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port. It can also support dual displays with VGA, LVDA, HDMI, and DisplayPort options. We aren't sure how much the thing will cost or when it will show up, but I want one if the price is right.
CES 2010 - ASUS had on display at CES a new Pine Trail based Mini-ITX motherboard designed for use in nettop systems.
ASUS calls it the AT5NM10-I which sports one of Intel's new Atom D510 processors and supporting NM10 chipset.
The board supports single channel DDR2 667 memory (up to 4GB) with two slots. There's only one expansion slot which is a legacy PCI slot. Other features include 6 channel audio, 10/100 Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports (and four via headers), D-Sub for display, serial and parallel ports, a PS/2 port and two SATA 3Gbps ports.
Pricing and availability hasn't yet been disclosed.
CES 2010 - One of the standout items being showcased at ASUS' booth is a final sample of the company's next flagship LGA1366 X58 motherboard, the Rampage III Extreme.
Some radical changes have been made to this board over its predecessor, the Rampage II Extreme. The biggest and most useful performance oriented change is this board's ability to run up to four double slot NvIDIA or ATI graphics cards with its well spaced out PCI-e 2.0 x16 slots. ASUS ensures there'll be no hindrance in the way of available PCIe lanes by including NVIDIA's nForce 200 chip and PCI bridge to assist in taking on four-card SLI and CrossFire.
Other enhancements include ROG Connect with the ability to overclock using Bluetooth (mobile phones etc.), discrete SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 controllers which won't affect graphics performance when used unlike other boards, thanks to ASUS' PCI-E 2.0 bridge implementation, a superior CPU VRM setup with super-ML capacitors being used for both the CPU and memory power circuits and slimmer low-profile heatsinks said to be made of ceramic composite which help make the board more adaptable to larger CPU cooling solutions.
The Rampage III Extreme is expected to arrive to market sometime this quarter, with pricing, while not confirmed, sure to be sky high.
CES 2010 - On display at ASUS' booth was a new ATX form-factor motherboard based on AMD's 890G chipset, a known successor to 790GX with its performance oriented IGP.
Dubbed the M4A89GTOD PRO, the board supports 2-way CrossFireX (x8 / x8) discrete graphics, but also has an integrated DX10.1 compliant IGP (DX11 would have been nice, when's that coming AMD?).
The feature-set on this board is very nice thanks to the AMD SB800 Southbridge. This is potentially the first motherboard chipset that gives native SATA 6Gb/s support with the ability to control up to six of them (which the M4A89GTOD PRO makes full of). Further to those six ports is another (black) SATA 3 Gb/s port, an IDE port and an eSATA port which is controlled by an external JMicron storage controller.
The AM3 CPU socket is given a 5-phase VRM and there's four DDR3 DIMM slots for dual-channel memory support. Other features include a VIA made 8+2 channel HD audio codec with optical S/PDIF support, FireWire, a bunch of USB 2.0 ports (hmm, USB 3.0 please) and both DVI and D-Sub display connectivity for the IGP.
Whilst not confirmed, rumour has it the board will surface a bit later in the year, likely sometime during Q2.
CES 2010 - We caught up with MSI this afternoon at its suite here at CES where they were showing off its much spoken about Big Bang Fuzion motherboard that uses the Lucid Hydra chip to create some pretty special video card options.
We finally got to see the motherboard in action with a pair of GeForce and Radeon video cards that are able to run together in a SLI or Crossfire type mode. Watch the video now and you will even see the 3DMark06 benchmark results!
While details are still unconfirmed at this stage, this board should be on shop shelves by the end of Q1.
With Intel's new 32nm Clarkdale officially unveiled yesterday, details of supporting H55 and H57 motherboards from various manufacturers are beginning to surface. Yesterday we took a look at one of ASRock's initial H55 models in the H55M Pro which impressed us.
Details have surfaced in relation to two new offerings from eVGA, one using the H55 chipset and the other, H57.
As you can see from the pictures above, both are full ATX sized, each with a pair of x16 slots for CrossFire(X) use. Other features include eight SATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, 7.1 audio and in conjunction with the in-built IGP on the CPUs themselves, there's a D-Sub, DVI and HDMI output on the rear I/O.
Shouldn't be long before eVGA make more noise about the new boards including pricing and availability.
In what seems to be a flashback to the Lynnfield/P55 launch we now hear that H57 boards from at least one manufacturer are showing up for sale in the Taipei computer market. The culprit this time is the Asus P7H57D-V EVO, the problem? Well the launch for this and the CPUs that support it are not until sometime in January.
What does this mean for Clarkdale and the new H5x chipsets? Well it can go one of two ways really. The first is the worse of the two scenarios as we start seeing Clarkdale Core i5 CPUs hitting the shelves in the same stores in Taipei. At the time of this writing that is not the case. The other is one where the boards hang out and are picked up by those wanting to get an early start on Clarkdale Core i5 and i3 CPUs.
But no matter which way it goes the Asus H57 board is a little higher priced that it should be. It runs for about $240. This is more than many P55 boards will run, but I suppose they are banking on the IGP on the CPU to make the cost seem more logical. The issue still remains that we do not yet know if the IGP on Clarkdale is worth the extra money or not.
For that we will have to wait for the official Clarkdale launch, or for some brave and enterprising website to push out a review early to get some extra page hits before the end of the year.
Word's now entered the rumour mill that DFI are going the way of Abit, looking to pull out of the motherboard market, which would be a real shame for the niche of avid DFI LANParty fans that look to no other when it's time to purchase their next enthusiast oriented motherbord.
If website SemiAccurate are onto anything solid with regard to this story, we could see DFI make an official announcement as early as next month saying their goodbyes as they exit the mobo market and put sole focus into the 'industrial PC business'.
As it stands now, Newegg only have stock of two DFI motherboard models across their inventory of 21 Intel boards and five AMD boards, so signs sure aren't looking good.
Come the official launch of Intel's new Atom processor range earlier today, ECS are one of the first out the gate with an Intel NM10 Express chipset based mini-ITX board and embedded Atom D510 processor designed for fan-less systems, small form factor PCs and the like.
The TIGT-I's features include integrated GMA3150 DX9 graphics, two DDR2-800 memory slots, one PCIe x1 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, HD audio, 2 x SATA 3Gbps, 1 x PATA and 4 x USB 2.0.
For further info, check out the official PR here.