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We've gotten our hands on some details of ASRock's little Clarkdale supporting H55 chipset based H55M-LE motherboard which ASRock says will hit the market by mid next month.
This motherboard is micro ATX sized with one PCI-E x16 slot, one PCI-E x1 slot and a couple of legacy PCI slots. The rest of the features are a pretty standard affair for H55 chipset boards, though ASRock has colored it some more with proprietory features of its own including "Turbo 50" (whereby an option in the BIOS automatically overclocks the CPU, memory and GPU frequencies along with all related voltages).
ASRock has also stamped the board with a logo stating that it has up to DDR3 2600+ support. Other ASRock specific features include Good Night LED, Multi Speed Fan Control, C.C.O. *Combo Cooler Option", OC DNA, EuP and Instant Boot.
You can learn more about each of these features as well as viewing the full specifications of the board in this PDF formatted slide.
Whilst we've previously seen pictures of GIGABYTE's top of the line LGA-1156 based GA-P55A-UD7 motherboard as far back as November of last year, it is only now a confirmed final design candidate has been spotted which has several notable changes from the production sample we've seen previously.
Aside from having both USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s support, the retail model also has four PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots instead of three on the earlier production model. Further to that is the nuse of NVIDIA's nForce 200 PCI-E bridge chip which provides two x16 links that can be split into four x8 links for each slot. GIGABYTE has also added a PLX-bridge chip to provide additional PCI-E 2.0 lanes that assist the USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s controllers.
Both the nForce 200 and PLX bridge chips are situated in the same area that would otherwise be used for a Northbridge on older gen motherboards. They are cooled by a fusion heatsink that can be connected to a water-cooling loop and also has the ability to offload heat from the VPU VRM and PCH heatsinks.
There are ten internal SATA ports, six of which are provided by Intel's P55 PCH. Two others are 3 Gb/s ports run off GIGABYTE's own GSATA2 controller (of which this same controller also provides an IDE port onboard), and the final two ports are 6 Gb/s ports controlled by Marvell.
Rounding out the features list, there are two color-coded USB 3.0 ports along with a bunch of USB 2.0 ports, FireWire support, two Gigabit ethernet ports and 8-channel audio with optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs.
MSI's upcoming Big Bang Fuzion motherboard has gathered much attention due to the use of Lucid's Hydra chip which provides much more flexible graphics technology in the sense that graphics cards from both ATI and NVIDIA can be added to provide better performance; similar to SLI or CrossFire but without the restriction of sticking to two or more of the same manufacturer and model cards.
We've seen the odd photo of the board show up on the web here and there recently, but finally a Japanese website has really got the goods in hand, having spotted the board available for purchase in the country at 39,000 YEN (430 USD).
At a Japanese gallery MSI decided to show off the board's overclocking prowess by pushing a Core i5 670 processor up to 6GHz with extreme cooling.
We've managed to get hold of some images of ASUS' upcoming M4A89GTD PRO motherboard which is based on AMD's new 890FX chipset.
As well as sporting both SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 support, this board also features a DirectX 10.1 IGP with 128MB of Sideport memory.
Seen above are a couple dip switches; one labeled "Core Unlocker" and the other "Turbo Key II". Certainly enticing additions for overclockers, though we won't know for sure how well these features work until we get our hands on a sample and test it out.
We'll keep you posted when more specific details about the board surface.
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.