Motherboards

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...
When Intel initially launched their second generation Core processor family, also known as Sandy Bridge, the processors were widely praised for their strong performance and power efficiency. Shortly thereafter, however, a defect in the processor’s companion 6-Series chipsets, which affected the reliability of some of its SATA ports, cropped up and forced Intel to halt production and recall the chipsets. A fix was relatively quick in the making and current chips based on the B3 revision of the silicon resolve the issue.  However, the recall and subsequent lack of availability surely forced... Read more...
It's been several weeks since Asus announced that certain socket AM3 motherboards would support AMD's upcoming Bulldozer processors. Since then, we've turned up additional rumors on the nature of such support. MSI has also announced its own plans to retrofit some existing AM3 boards with Bulldozer compatibility. What follows is the general shape of the situation as we currently understand it. Will AMD Officially Support Bulldozer On The AM3 Platform? No. The recent announcements from Asus and MSI make it clear that some AM3 boards will function with a Bulldozer-class processor installed. With... Read more...
Intel's Sandy Bridge processors have won acclaim for their hardware-accelerated video transcoding capabilities, dubbed Quick Sync, but there are significant limitations in the current iteration. LucidLogix, a company that's heretofore been known for its multi-GPU Hydra hardware, has developed a software-only solution named Virtu that it claims will solve one of the major issues that prevent enthusiasts from taking advantage of Sandy Bridge's transcoding performance, however. The problem is this: At present, there's no way to easily use a discrete graphics card and access Sandy Bridge's transcoding... Read more...
One of the unfortunate consequences of AMD's inability to match Intel's performance at the ultra high-end of the CPU market over the past few years is that there's been a substantial decline in the number of high-end AMD motherboards. NewEgg presently stocks just two AMD motherboards in the $200-$300 price range compared to 36 Intel products. That's not to imply that you have to pay $200 or more for a quality motherboard but it clearly implies that when motherboard manufacturers are thinking about enthusiasts, they're also thinking about Santa Clara. With one exception. Both of the $200+ AMD boards... Read more...
This year's Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada offered some of the most exciting product announcements we've seen in any previous CES show thus far.  The past three years' CES shows have been rather snoozy, to be honest, with the economy taking its toll on product design investment and innovation.  However, this year's CES showed great promise of not only emerging technologies and product innovations but with the sheer number of announcements and the notable increase in attendance (as well as city traffic, which was a nightmare), it was all a very encouraging sign of... Read more...
If you're in the market for an X58 motherboard, there are plenty of options available. A quick search fetches countless results that fill a wide range of price points. Budget conscious enthusiasts looking to save some scratch will be happy to find that almost every motherboard maker offers an X58 model under $200. On the other end of the spectrum, companies offer performance enthusiasts and overclockers a number of products that cater to pushing the performance envelope that often manifests itself while attempting to break world records. Asus provides serious hardware enthusiasts an excellent shot... Read more...
The MSI XPower series of motherboards is clearly designed to curry favor with overclocking enthusiasts and the high-end gamers Asus has targeted with its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand. The XPower packs full support for all the latest buzzwords and capabilities, but MSI is also claiming to offer certain unique features that other manufacturers can't match currently. We're always interested in new innovations and ideas when it comes to motherboard design; let's take a look at the oomph behind MSI's Big Bang.  MSI Big Bang XPower The XPower is as much a love letter to enthusiasts as it is a... Read more...
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