Motherboards

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...
When we published our comprehensive P55 motherboard roundup back in early April, one of the boards we discussed and really liked was the Asus P7P55D Deluxe. At $220, that particular board was priced significantly higher than some of the other LGA1156 options we considered. Fast forward a few months and we've got the LGA1156-based P7P55D-E Pro on the table. Its MSRP is considerably lower than the P7P55D Deluxe's ($179.99 vs. $219), and it offers features like USB 3.0 and SATA 6G, both of which aren't available on the other board. The P7P55D-E Pro's features and price make it an attractive... Read more...
Every once in a while a product comes along that really gets us worked into a frenzy. Typically, the latest and greatest processors and graphics cards generate a lot of buzz around here, but some other components aren’t always as enticing for one reason or another, like motherboards for example. Don’t get us wrong, we love a great enthusiast-class motherboard with a ton of features as much as the next guy, but the majority of them just don’t have the appeal of new CPU or GPU. There are exceptions, of course. Most recently, a number of Asus’ RoG, Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable,... Read more...
The past few years have been very kind to Gigabyte; the company's shipments have increased to the point that it's now approximately tied with Asus in terms of volume shipments. Part of the reason for the company's good fortune is its decision to aggressively align its higher-end motherboards, both in terms of price and available features. Gigabyte has put a major push behind USB 3.0, and claims to have purchased one million of the three million USB 3.0 controllers NEC has shipped thus far. The X58A-UD3R we're reviewing today is a good example of Gigabyte's competitive product positioning. The board's... Read more...
Some might say that there has never been a better time to be a PC enthusiast. Compelling new products fighting for our attention abound, as the computer hardware scene is bursting at the seams with upgrade options. For example, it wasn't long ago that AMD launched the world's first DX11 videocard and now the company features a full lineup of products at a wide variety of price points. NVIDIA's answer to the Radeon HD 5000 series has just arrived as well, and the battle for dominance in the graphics market is as fierce as ever. SSDs are also becoming increasingly more affordable,... Read more...
It has been quite a while since AMD launched a new high-end desktop chipset. The 790FX has been riding high at the top of AMD's line-up for over two years now. It has been paired to newer Southbridge chips and AMD did follow up with the 790GX about a year and half ago, but for all intents and purposes AMD's flagship desktop chipset has remained unchanged for what is equivalent to an eternity in Internet-years.Today, however, a new chipset will finally supplant the 790FX/GX at the top of AMD's line-up. As its name suggests, the 890GX features an integrated graphics core, but there's more to the... Read more...
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