While PCI-E 2.0 has been more than kind enough to us since its inception in early 2007 with its gobs of available bandwidth on tap, looking over 4 years beyond and now PCI-E 3.0 is becoming the talk of the town.
While it's been said that current gen high-end video cards can be used to their maximum potential on existing PCI-E 2.0/.1 equipped boards, PCI-E 3.0 gives far more headroom for future super bandwidth hungry graphics cards inevitably to come, boasting a bit rate that effectively "doubles" PCI-E 2.0 at 8GT/s.
On that note, it's been rumoured that the benefits of PCI-E 3.0 could be utilized for some folks straight off the bat, providing you are lucky enough to have one of those super duper PCI-E based SSD solutions, such as one of these monsters from OCZ.
WIth that said and done, make way for the world's first PCI-E 3.0 equipped enthusiast motherboard, from none other than ASRock along with Fatal1ty's influential touches.
Jumping aboard the llano bandwagon ahead of the APU launch, MSI has announced its A75 powered mainboard today in the "A75MA-G55" which has been given the Military Class II treatment (comprising MSI's Hi-c CAPs, Super Ferrite Chokes and Solid caps) which both improves overall lifespan and helps in lowering power consumption as well as giving a more solid, reliable platform.
Using the mATX form factor, the board packs a good array of features for its size including enough USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps ports to keep you content, HDMI and DVI output, 7.1 channel audio and proprietory features from MSI including their UEFI based Click BIOS, OC Genie II for easy one click overclocking and i-Charger Apple friendly charging support.
Alongside the likes of ASUS, MSI and ECS, ASRock have also launched their first Llano optimized A75 chipset motherboards ahead of the official APU launch in just a few days.
The particular boards ASRock have first let out the gate include their top-of-the-line option in the A75 Extreme6, as well as the A75 Pro4 (also a full ATX sized board) and three mATX boards in the A75 Pro4-M, A75M and A75M-HVS.
All boards of course carry support for FM1 APUs, have two or four DDR3-1866 RAM slots, and between five and eight SATA 6.0 Gbps ports depending on the board. All boards carry four USB 3.0 ports (boasting ASRock's XFast USB technology) with the exception of the Extreme6 which has six ports. Both D-Sub and HDMI outputs are resident on all models.
ASUS have today announced the launch of the AMD A75 chipset-based F1A75 Series motherboards. The F1A75 Series are specifically designed to optimize performance for the AMD Llano APUs, the F1A75 Series boards also sport overclocking capabilities for the APU with a variety of integrated graphics built directly into the same die.
The new series is also sporting the latest ASUS-exclusive technologies and features such as Dual Intelligent Processors 2 (DIP2) with DIGI+ VRM for precise power control, a graphical and mouse-controlled UEFI BIOS and easy-to-use auto tuning for better performance.
Earlier on today here in Taipei we managed to cross paths with upcoming hardware from AMD and GIGABYTE. It is a good look at the hard work AMD has put into it Fusion APU technology and what GIGABYTE has done to seat it.
Specifically we met the upcoming GA-A75M-UD2H micro-ATX motherboard from GIGABYTE, which is based on the AMD A75 chipset with support for AMD Llano APU processors, using the FM1 socket configuration.
You may have seen this type of configuration before, but not like how you are going to see in the video above. We managed to overclock the AMD CPU from its default clock speed of 2.9GHz all the way up to 3.6GHz (150 x 24) using an FSB of 150MHz. In turn this also overclocked the DX11 Radeon HD GPU within the AMD APU from a core clock speed of 600MHz to 900MHz. This is really impressive and we even saw Crysis 2 running at 720p at around 40 - 45 frames per second and from a system without a video card (strange to look at, actually), that is rather good.
As you can see in the video above, we managed a 3DMark Vantage performance score of 6281, which is a world record for IGP. This new hardware setup from AMD and GIGABYTE will more than likely be on sale next week and for sure in popular stores next month.
Gigabyte have launched their latest range of next-generation desktop motherboards powered by Intel's H61 Express Chipset which supports the second generation of Intel Sandy Bridge Core CPUs. Gigabyte Super4 motherboards are powered by the best components and a comprehensive range of unique features that is set to raise the bar for mainstream desktop PCs.
Gigabyte's Super4 motherboards feature a slew of Gigabyte tech such as "Super Safe", which includes DualBIOS 3TB+ HDD Support (Hybrid EFI technology), One Fuse per USB Port and 50,000 hour Japanese Solid Capacitors. "Super Speed" which has Overclocking IC, Ultra Durable 2 and 3 x USB Power Boost + On/Off Charge, useful for iOS-based devices to charge up to 40-percent faster compared to standard USB ports.
COMPUTEX Taipei 2011: Intel may have found glory in the 2500/2600K Sandy Bridge CPUs but for undeniable power, e-peen and enthusiasts, the Intel X58-based range is still superior. Intel's 980X is still the champion when it comes to thrashing through benchmarks and the chipset and socket it's based on is getting old. Tick, tock says Intel.
At the ASUS stand at Computex, ASUS had a Socket 2011 board on show. As we all know the X79 chipset will be a quad-channel based board, with the processors themselves expected to have a nice kick up the arse in performance over the existing Sockets from Intel. The ASUS board featured the following tech:
TPU: For ultimate Turbo Boost on your processor
EPU: All round energy efficiency
UEFI BIOS: Flexible with easy interface
Socket 2011: For Intel Sandy Bridge E processors
COMPUTEX Taipei 2011 - As well as stopping by the notebook department during our GIGABYTE visit on the 36th floor at Taipei 101 today, we of course made a stop with the motherboard who had no shortage of new motherboards to show off.
Dino from GIGABYTE Australia was on hand to introduce three new boards, but kind of got a little shy when it came to the third and very new board. We got a look at their new AMD 990FX motherboard that was released today that finally brings all the big GIGABYTE features to the AMD platform in the flavor of the UD7.
Next up we also got a look at the Z68-Gaming motherboard. You might remember the previous range of gaming series motherboards from GIGABYTE based on the P65 chipset. The word was that if that range was successful and sold well, the gaming series would continue. Obviously it was a successful move by GIGABYTE to focus more on gamers and sales must have been good as we get the new Intel Z68 chipset with gaming mobo treatment from the Taiwanese mobo maker.
And finally and probably the one board that most are excited about, the upcoming Intel X79. Intel all of a sudden allowed motherboard markers to display dummy samples of their upcoming X79 mobos - of course on the same day as AMD released its new flagship chipset, the 990FX...
ASUS 990FX Sabertooth Mobo flaunts in front of the camera, lifts skirt just above knee and bites its bottom lip
ASUS are really going for gold with the AM3+ platform by including the Republic of Gamers (ROG) teaming of two motherboards in the form of the ASUS Crosshair V Formula and The Ultimate Force (TUF) Sabertooth 9900FX which go hand-in-hand with AMD's 990FX chipset that is designed to run up to four discrete graphics cards. ASUS are keeping the color scheme in line with other TUF-series boards and it doesn't look too bad at all.
The board comes with ultra-durable components, 10-phase Digi+ VRM, four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR3-1866MHz memory and connects to the 990FX chipset over a HyperTransport 3.1 link. The board includes four PCI-Express 2.0 16x (capable of 16/4/8/8x or 16/4/16/nc - depending on what is installed). The electrical x4 slot is wired to the SB950 southbridge and is placed there to hold PCI-Express SSDs (such a great addition).
We all know hacking is a fact of life, be it for good or bad. However, I don't think the topic of this news relates all that much to hacking.
Colin Brix is a manager at GIGABYTE headquarters here in Taipei and someone I have worked with as a contact for product samples and tech questions for many years. From the information we have seen so far, he seems to be the victim of a fairly serious prank today and one that the Taiwanese motherboard maker is taking very seriously.
A website by the name of Rumor Pedia claimed to be have sent a screenshot by someone named Kirllos who managed to 'infiltrate' GIGABYTE's internal work network using "mega-d botnet". Mind you, this bot was disabled by security company FireEye back on November 6, 2009, according to sources on Wikipedia. This screenshot is filled with a vast amount of inconsistencies relating to 'leaked' details about an upcoming processor from AMD. It also showed benchmarks using popular tests such as Super PI and others. This type of leak by a company employee tends to have very serious consequences, as you can imagine.
The screenshot includes an apparent MSN Messenger chat window with Colin and Alain Sam Lai, an engineer at GIGABYTE. The big issue though is that the details in the MSN chat window are incorrect (read: faked) ranging from his display name, email and even the picture...
Intel's X79 Express chipset is set to receive some love from motherboard makers at COMPUTEX Taipei 2011. Lucky SOBs will be able to catch a glimpse of demos running at stalls. Intel X79 boards are set to be ready as early as August and Sandy Bridge-E processors roughly one month later.
What is funny is that it doesn't bring a heck of a lot to the table, some stand out things are: PCIe Gen 3, Quad-Channel DDR3 - yet no USB3.0 support, shame.
Gigabyte have today released a video showing off their new Touch BIOS, it's innovative and user-friendly and available on all Gigabyte Z68-based motherboards. The BIOS has not really changed much in the past few, oh I don't know, decades... but there are a few companies with different takes on what they think the BIOS should be (or at least, how it should look and feel). Gigabyte have taken a path that brings familiarity to the concept in the form of an icon-based user experience. Take a look at the below video and see what you think.
The touch navigation obviously has requirements of a touch-enabled monitor plus Windows 7 in order to work. Mouse navigation is supposed with any monitor along with Windows XP/Vista and 7.
Man, can we get anymore anagrams in that headline?
Andrew Burnes of Geforce announced today that they will once again be providing AMD motherboards that support SLI. Kick-ass, Andrew. Hit the jump for a photo of one of these shiny new toys, and to check out the rest of the press release.
As gamers we know how important it is to find the best price-performance ratio when building a new rig. For several years, gamers have been clamouring for us to reintroduce SLI support for AMD motherboards, and as hard as it may be to believe, SLI was first seen on AMD motherboards in fact, but as the years went by AMD's stature as the preferred platform for gamers fell by the wayside.
However, due to the increasing abundance of affordable, high performance kit across all aspects of the industry, and continued calls for the reintroduction of SLI support for AMD motherboards, we figured that now is a great time to do it. After all, we want to make sure that gamers can benefit from the new competitive CPU landscape and to ensure that their existing SLI setups can be utilised in all systems, and that new buyers can make use of NVIDIA SLI, the highest performance, most stable multi-GPU solution.
According to Steam's monthly hardware survey, ninety-three percent of all multi-GPU systems in use today use SLI.
NVIDIA have plans to launch their Desktop Optimus at COMPUTEX Taipei this coming June. One of the most surprising things about it is that it will be free and no license agreement is needed. The technology works like LucidLogix's Virtu where it allows dynamic swapping between iGPU and dGPU based on the applications nature and also uses Intel's Sandy Bridge Quick Sync technology whilst doing video transcoding jobs.
Desktop Optus will support Intel's H61, H67 and Z68-powered chipsets and won't require special versions of discrete graphics cards and will allow motherboard makers to implement it using a software "key".
Intel's Z68-based boards are popping up in Taiwan in the form of a Gigabyte Z68X-UD7-B3 - box shots and all below! The box shot shows us that the board includes Touch BIOS and Hybrid EFI technology. Gigabyte is one of the last motherboard companies to catch up on the EFI front.
The board is being sold for 11, 900 New Taiwan dollars which translates to around $409 for the US folks. Intel's Z68 chipset is expected to allow discrete GPUs to work with QuickSync - obviously from their high-end boards, you'd expect just as much.
Earlier on today we visited the GIGABYTE headquarters in Taipei and had a good old fashioned full look at its newest motherboard that will be officially launched next week at CeBIT in Germany. We are talking about the X58A-OC aka Hi Cookie's baby.
GIGABYTE has long wanted to produce a motherboard dedicated strictly to overclockers - that wait is now over. We are talking about a board that doesn't just overclock well, but one that cuts out the crap and nonsense and just gets down to the business of high-end overclocking.
The Taiwanese company has long been involved with overclockers and overclocking events around the world where it has managed to create a sizable market for itself. It has learnt much from the investment put into these events over time and even managed to pick up a famous Taiwanese extreme overclocker named "Hi Cookie". This guy is the brains behind the X58A-OC, an overclocking motherboard designed by a real overclocker. Logically it makes perfect sense, but how does it actually work out? From what we saw today, pretty well.
We've heard (and seen at demo events) some exciting development in the way of a new, super fast proprietory optical cable interface designed by Intel that boasts some mega impressive capabilities, even outshining those of USB 3.0 in some respects.
Many of you would have heard bits and pieces about this technology here and there since mid 2010 - dubbed "Light Peak" throughout its development phase.
Well folks, today is the day Intel announces it to the world with its formal name,"Thunderbolt Technology". This new high-speed PC connection technology operates at up to 10Gbps and thanks to the gobs of bandwidth on tap by harnessing PCI Express and DisplayPort communications methods, it supports both data and (HD) display on a single cable, allowing for a more simplistic connectivity mechanism and new possibilities for PC use.
Intel's revised Sandy Bridge-based motherboards are looking to arrive in the first week of March, everyone is calling them B3. While CeBIT is cranking along in the first week of March, press and customer samples of B3 revision boards will be making their way around the world.
It's also possible that there might be B3 revision boards at CeBIT, but that is something that will have to wait until the event itself to see if it's true. Until then!
Artwork for new boxes on Gigabyte, MSI, Asus motherboards has been signed off and sent to production
It looks as though the big motherboard players have their Sandy Bridge-based motherboards hitting revision 2.0 with new box designs being approved and sent for manufacturing. Gigabyte is now showing a "rev 1.0" on their website as the pic below shows:
Will the box-art bring a huge change to the look of the box itself, to differentiate between the "broken" 1.0 boards and the newer 2.0 boards? Only time will tell, but to calm to worry from customers I'm guessing the boxes will bring a change and most likely have a big sticker placed on them to stop people from worrying.
A new video has just been posted to YouTube which shows off the upcoming GIGABYTE X58A-OC, a motherboard dedicated solely to overclocking. It has many unnecessary features stripped from the board creating a platform that is ideal for ultra high clock speeds.
HiCookie, resident extreme overclocker at GIGABYTE, posted the above video which showcases his upcoming X58A-OC. Teamed up with Intel's latest 990X Extreme Edition processor and LN2 he managed to go past 7GHz all without using a keyboard or mouse. Demonstrated was the OC Touch feature which utilizes buttons on the motherboard to increase the bus speed of processor.
Suffice to say, if you are an overclocker trying to hit extreme speeds, the X58A-OC is looking like the motherboard for you.
Intel's Sandy Bridge chip problem is causing quite the kerfuffle. Working in retail selling these boards everyday is going to be hard for the next few months. What do you tell customers? As a retailer we're having to explain a huge issue which is daunting to a new customer coming in off the street, however most manufacturers are stepping up to the plate with some great service.
Gigabyte now has a free tool to check 6-series motherboards for their SATA problem. It will check if the installed hard drives are connected to the defective SATA ports, whether the board is prone to the said defect. Not all 6-series motherboards have the issue, so having a tool like this is quite helpful. Nice work Gigabyte!