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Quite the juicy rumor for the weekend, where SemiAccurate are reporting that they've heard that ASUS have made an offer to acquire ASRock's motherboard division. If this were to happen, we're looking at ASUS becoming bigger than they already are, and making a bigger threat for the number two in the market, Gigabyte.
ASRock sit at number three, so a combination of number one and three's forces would be quite significant for the market. If it were to happen, we're be looking at ASUS and Gigabyte, followed by the smaller players like MSI, ECS which don't see anywhere near the same numbers as ASUS, Gigabyte or ASRock, and then there's a few much smaller players, too.
If the deal does go through, there will be downstream effects to many of the other companies and suppliers to these companies - so it would cause quite the stir. But, with Intel talking about making motherboards pretty much redundant, could we see this as a preemptive move from ASUS to take more control of the already tight market?
Normally a DigiTimes report is preceded with the words "RumorTT", but this seems more serious, and more real than most of DigiTimes' reports as it makes a lot of sense. Intel is preparing the launch of their next-generation Haswell-based processors for sometime in 2013, and they'll baked into tablets, notebooks, ultrabooks, desktops, and servers - nearly every segment of the market.
But, Haswell is designed by Intel to integrate functions such as power phase control - something overclockers use, into the CPU itself. This is of course worrying motherboard makers, as the overclocking market is a big thing right now, and a lot of players have boards designed purely for overclocking in mind. We're talking of nearly all big players - Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI, ASRock. This won't spell the end of their businesses, but it will most likely see a change in direction of how we see them sell their boards, and what features will set them apart from the others.
Intel won't push these changes into Haswell straight away, but will instead bake more chipset functions into the CPU over time. Right now, we're seeing motherboard players changing gears and pushing USB-based features, Thunderbolt, BIOS firmware features, and more in order to not feel stale, or similar to similarly priced motherboards from competitors.
Are the days of feature-laden motherboards coming to an end?
ASRock's Z77 OC Formula has been used with an Intel Core i7 3770K and the help of legendary overclocker Nick Shih, which has reached an insane 7.136GHz. This has given ASRock the number one spot on HWBOT, as well as setting a new overclocking world record. The man himself had the following to say about the achievement:
Hitting number one on HWBOT makes my day, but scoring number one with the motherboard I designed is like the wildest dream come true! Thanks to everyone who helped make my dream, ASRock Z77 OC Formula, into reality!
ASRock's Z77 OC Formula is ASRock's first motherboard designed for overclocking, featuring three Formula kits. These three kits are the Power Kit, which delivers "smooth and stable current with Digi Power, DSM, PAC, MFC and the 12+4 power phase design". Next up we have the Cooling Kit, which provides some great cooling, sporting the Twin-Power Cooling Heatsink, 8-layer PCB design with 4 sets of 2oz copper inner layers and GELID Solution GC-Extreme Thermal Compound. Finally, we have the Connector Kit, which includes Hi-Density Power Connectors and 15μ Gold Fingers.
Gigabyte did promise some amazing things with their latest motherboard, the Z77X-UP7 and now they're being delivered. OC genius HiCookie has pushed a Core i7 3770K to 7.112GHz!
Yes, you read that right, over 7GHz on this Z77X-UP7 board. There's even a video to prove it, above. The overclock was achieved using some LN2, but we know that an overclock this high wouldn't be possible without the use of that type of exotic cooling.
What do you think of this news? 7.112GHz is an impressive thing to see, and considering the board is pretty fresh out of Gigabyte's oven, we should expect more things out of the Z77X-UP7 in the near future!
Earlier on today we were invited to the GIGABYTE headquarters here in Taipei where we were told we would see the Taiwanese motherboard maker and its in-house professional overclocker HiCookie try to set a new world record for the Intel Core i7 3770K processor.
Overclocking was done on the upcoming GA-Z77X-UP7 motherboard that is due to be released this coming Monday - GIGABYTE at the time of writing were not prepared to comment on pricing as it is yet to be 100% confirmed. However, you can expect the price to be fairly high as this is a board designed for overclockers and it has plenty of top notch features to help overclockers around the world set new performance records. In the video above I mentioned that the Z77X-UP7 is much like a Formula One car in its design theory. Every little tweak has been included and high-end components such as 32 CPU phases are included to help set said new records.
Besides the massive amount of power phases and its all-digital power system, GIGABYTE has included some new handy switches this time around. There are two switches at the southern end of the motherboard. One is to control which BIOS is used (master or backup) since this board like all other GIGABYTE boards support Dual BIOS. The second switch disables the Dual BIOS function as sometimes overclockers get into a kind of loop issue that has the motherboard looping between both BIOSes to figure out which one to use...
Earlier on today we visited the ASRock headquarters here in Taipei where we caught up with Chris Lee and Nick Shih who introduced to their latest motherboard, the ASRock Z77 OC Formula.
Nick Shih joined ASRock some seven months ago and joined the Taiwanese motherboard maker team with his past professional overclocking experience to help the company create a new motherboard that is designed purely for overclocking and enthusiasts and it has performance written all over it. He worked closely with ASRock engineers to create what they vision to be the best OC motherboard in the world.
In the above video Chris and Nick do a good job of telling us about the motherboard and why it's good for overclocking. Features such as premium chokes and caps that can handle various impedance frequencies are used along with a new digital PWM and more. Heck, ASRock even throw in a tube of GEIL thermal paste which is a first as far as I know and another feature I personally liked was the see-through PCB that shows each layer of the eight layer copper PCB.
Another feature which is sure to come in handy is the PCI Express on/off switch. It allows you to turn on or off all three of the x16 PCIe slots and that helps by reducing power consumption if two or more video cards are not needed or if you want to diagnose problems or just increase system stability while enter the wild world of LN2 overclocking...
ASRock makes quality motherboards that are often priced with budget boards. The latest edition to the ASRock lineup has been exclusively designed by Nick Shih, a leading overclocker. The board is designed for the high-end enthusiast market, and is "full to the brim with features" and is sure to perform beautifully.
"My vision for the OC Formula Brand is to allow overclockers to smash the overclocking limits effortlessly." said Nick Shih, OC Mater of ASRock. "Z77 OC Formula is just the one you've always expected. I live for challenges and welcome OC rockers to take my OC crown!"
James Lee, V.P. of ASRock Sales and Marketing:
ASRock OC Formula was born for rewriting the overclocking numbers! Z77 OC Formula is the first baby from ASRock OC segment. We've thrown in everything essential, ensuring users to build up an unbeatable rig.
The motherboard comes with some unique features:
- Formula Power Kit
- Formula Cooling Kit
- Formula Connector Kit
- NEW UEFI GEARS
- NickShih's OC Profile
If you thought Gigabyte's motherboards were good, you ain't seen nothing yet. How would Gigabyte best show off what 32-phases of power regulation can do? In Gigabyte's case, you grab two 1200W power supplies, wire up the motherboard to handle three DC load testers, and throw 2000W of power through the CPU socket, that's what.
Gigabyte says that this is enough power to power 25 of Intel's Core i7-3770K CPUs. But, you might already know you won't ever need to draw down 2000W, but the company is simply showing off how good their new Ultra Durable 5 motherboard design using PowIRstage's is compared to previous boards.
The demonstration is meant to whet the appetite of enthusiasts for their upcoming Z77X-UP7. It's also the first sneak peak at the final board design, which has changed slightly from the last board seen at Computex, now sporting a gorgeous black and orange look, with a new heatsink design.
GIGABYTE have just announced the very latest 7-series motherboards that are the first to offer fully certified dual on-board Thunderbolt ports. The motherboards allow you to connect up to 12 devies, plus 3 digital displays simultaneously.
The Thunderbolt-powered motherboards allow users to daisy chain up to 12 devices simultaneously through an incredible bi-directional 10Gbps data pipeline that features both PCIe and DisplayPort traffic. GIGABYTE has worked closely with some of the world's largest device partners, including Promise® Technology, LaCie, BlackMagic, Western Digital, Seagate, Elgato, CalDigit and cable manufacturer Sumitomo.
Thunderbolt is no slouch when it comes to performance, meaning that these GIGABYTE dual-port Thunderbolt motherboards transferring at their top speed of 10Gbps, could transfer a full HD 1080p movie in under 30 seconds - imagine that!
The three motherboards to sport dual Thunderbolt ports are, the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP5 TH, Z77X-UP4 TH, and finally, the Z77MX-D3H TH.
BIOSTAR announces the world's first AMD FM2-based motherboard, sports WHQL certification for Windows 8
Windows 8 still has a while until it gets released, but BIOSTAR have a world's first on their hand. BIOSTAR today announce its AMD FM2 motherboard, the Hi-Fi A85X, which has received Windows 8 hardware certification from Microsoft.
Now that BIOSTAR's Hi-Fi A85X sports the Windows Hardware Qualification Labs (WHQL) certification, BIOSTAR can guarantee to deliver the mot reliable, performance-driven solutions to power a Windows 8-based system, as well as setting a standard for future Windows 8 certified motherboards.