Motherboards

In between chipset releases, manufacturers typically pump out numerous motherboard variations, adding this or that feature or optimizing boards for a particular function. Unsurprisingly, folks like us enjoy tinkering with those boards when granted the opportunity to see if they offer anything special, over and above plain-Jane products. Gigabyte is one manufacturer that is never short on SKUs, and with a trio of its Z77-based motherboards in hand, we wondered what any red-blooded hardware enthusiast would: How far can we overclock these puppies? We especially wanted to find out how well they would... Read more...
We have had a few weeks with three A85X motherboards and AMD’s top of the line Trinity APU, the A10-5800K, which combines 4 unlocked Piledriver CPU cores (stock 3.8GHz, turbo 4.2GHz) with an integrated Radeon HD 7600D GPU with 384 Radeon Cores at 800MHz. We’ve written several in-depth articles on AMD’s new Virgo platform--A85X chipset, FM2 socket and Trinity APUs--covering both the basics of the new A85X chipset, as well as CPU and overclocking performance. The FM2 socket is brand new for Trinity APUs and is not backwards compatible with FM1--sorry, Llano owners. Gigabyte... Read more...
We’ve seen more than our share of motherboards sporting the Z77 chipset, but today we have a pair of Z77 boards--one each from ASRock and MSI--that are designed specifically for overclocking. Even better, both of these mainboards are actually mid-range offerings, meaning you can enjoy the overclocking features without paying for the highest-end options from the two companies. What better way to put them through the paces than by setting up a good old-fashioned mainboard shootout? Because Z77 was made to be paired up with Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, we slapped a quad-core Intel Core... Read more...
Over the last few months, we have looked at plenty of Z77 based motherboards here at HH, covering a wide range of price points. But today we dive deep into one of the higher-end models available, the Gigabyte G1.Sniper3. We slapped an Ivy Bridge chip in this one instead of the Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K and 2700K's we've tested in the boards thus far, to see how well Intel's newest chips and the Z77 work together. Specifically, we used an Intel Core i5-3470 chip, which we reviewed in depth here. The Gigabyte G1.Sniper3 supports LGA 1155 processors and features support for up to 32GB... Read more...
We've already covered all of the juicy details of Intel’s Z77 chipset and put a few motherboards through their paces, but there are so many manufacturers with killer boards available based on the chipset, that it’d be a crime if we didn’t round up another stack of them for you. This round of Z77 mainboards consists of entries from ASRock, EVGA, Gigabyte, and Zotac. To date, the EVGA Z77 FTW and Zotac Z77-ITX WiFi we're going to show you here are the only Z77 boards from their respective companies (though more are surely on the way), while the ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional and... Read more...
In preparation for the impending arrival of the company’s 3rd Generation Core processor products based on its Ivy Bridge microarchitecture, Intel has readied a new chipset dubbed the Z77 Express. We have already been able to show you a number of Z77 Express-based motherboards, thanks to a handful of sneak peeks while out at CES early this year and a few briefings that took place afterwards, but today we can finally give you the full monty on the chipset itself. We have been playing with a few Z77 Express-based motherboards for the past couple of weeks, evaluated their performance, and... Read more...
Intel’s X58 chipset made for great platform performance, and even though the chip maker has unleashed many more chipsets since the X58 came out, there hasn’t been a true successor in the high-end of their product line-up (not even the Z68 chipset) until now. The X79 chipset looks to pick up the X58’s poll position, so we decided to bench test a few motherboards from ASRock, ASUS, and Gigabyte to see how Intel's new flagship performs. The new X79 chipset brings with it a new socket (LGA 2011) and a crop of new Core i7 processors. There are several familiar features with the new... Read more...
ASUS, ever the gracious hosts, had us out to Dallas, TX recently to show us the company’s upcoming motherboard series and let us play with some test systems to see if we could break them. (Full disclosure: We did. But we fixed them, we think.) There is much we learned there that we can’t yet discuss (suffice it to say you’ll want to stay tuned for more on Intel's 3rd generation Core series processors and 7-series chipset), but we can tell you all about the new line of ASUS motherboards based on Intel’s Z77 series chipset. ASUS’ strategy of late has been simple but... Read more...
In a lavish suite at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas, Asus set up a number of existing an upcoming products for eager members of the technology press to ogle and get some hands-on time. In the suite, we had a chance to checkout a handful of upcoming X79 motherboards, nettops, netbooks, notebooks, and even a few tablets and a smartphone. One of the standout products had to be the new Transformer Prime TF700T, which builds upon the original design we showed you here, but adds an absolutely awesome WUXGA 1920x1200 resolution screen, a higher-resolution front facing camera, and reportedly more reliable... Read more...
We’ve looked at our share of Z68-based motherboards here at HotHardware, and the Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 is another stand-out to consider. The G1.Sniper2 is in Gigabyte’s line of Sniper/Guerilla/Assassin gaming motherboards, although it’s currently the only one in the family with the Z68 chipset. Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 Specifications & Features CPU  -Supports 2nd Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors, LGA1155 package -L3 cache varies with CPU  Chipset Intel Z68 Express  Memory -4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory -Dual channel... Read more...
Until Intel's next-gen, high-end Sandy Bridge-E and its companion X79 chipset, launch sometime this quarter, Sandy Bridge, Intel's second generation Core family of processors and the Z68 Express chipset remain Intel's current premiere desktop platform. It is with that in mind that we've just taken a look at several different motherboard offerings from manufacturers that cover a range of form factors, feature sets, and price points. If you’re on the market for a Z68 board for a new build, odds are one of the products in this round-up will meet your needs. We’ve already covered... Read more...
In preparation for the impending arrival of its Bulldozer-based FX-series of processors, AMD recently released their 9-Series chipsets. The AMD 9-Series currently consists of three products, the 970, the 990X, and the flagship 990FX chipsets. At their core, all of the current AMD 9-Series chipsets are similar, and offer support for socket AM3 and AM3+ processors, DDR3 memory, PCIe 2.0 (with a varying number of lanes), and SATA III (6Gb/s). The chipsets differ in their support for AMD CrossFireX technology, however, due to a different number of PCI Express lanes available on each. The... Read more...
It's becoming more difficult to justify the purchase of Intel's X58 Express chipset with all the new technology looming on the horizon. This chipset came out almost three years ago. Time sure flies, especially in the hardware industry. We still like the fact that the X58 offers support for the six core processors in Intel's lineup, along with triple channel memory. However, after the success of Sandy Bridge processors and their associated chipsets, one has to wonder how much longer the major manufacturers will be willing to pick from this tree. One thing is certain. Gigabyte... Read more...
Motherboards are arguably one of the more difficult PC component to shop for. The magnitude of choices available can make the shopping experience confusing and frustrating. Take for example Intel's heralded Sandy Bridge line of processors and the Cougar Point chipset used on a wide variety of motherboards. A popular online e-tailor, Newegg.com, offers no less than 151 motherboards at this point based on Intel's Socket LGA 1155. So how exactly should you go about choosing the perfect board for your build? The answer to that question will inevitably be different for each consumer,... Read more...
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