The advent of Intel’s Skylake 6th-generation Core processors and their supporting Z170 chipset marks the biggest change in Intel’s consumer line since the original X68. While the Skylake CPU holds few surprises other than its support for DDR4 memory, the Z170 chipset finally brings to the mainstream market what it’s so desperately needed: more PCI-E lanes, and of the 3.0 variety at that! Of course MSI adds their own unique touches to this system and today Benchmark Reviews checks out the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 LGA1151 motherboard.
Category Archive: Motherboards
Want to build a gaming system on a budget? Then you have to know where to spend your money to get the best bang for the buck. It’s always tempting to go for the flashy, high end motherboards with tons of extra features, but you may find that those extra features don’t buy you much in the way of extra performance. Micro Star International has sent Benchmark Reviews their MSI 970 Gaming motherboard, claiming they’ve gone beyond the specifications of the AMD 970 chipset. What kind of basis does this make for a gaming rig? Let’s find out.
If you’re looking at building an X99-based system, you already know they’re expensive. But if you can live without features like a second Ethernet port and onboard WiFi, you can get great performance and save some money too. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at ASUS’ new X99-A LGA2011-v3 mainstream motherboard for Haswell-E systems.
The AMD 990FX Chipset has been around for a while now, but it has recently come back into the spotlight with the release of a few new CPUs from AMD’s FX series. With that release we were pleased to receive a 990FX motherboard that we hadn’t previously looked at. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard; a 990FX motherboard focused on gaming performance. Motherboards manufacturers are all about differentiating themselves by including features that make them stand out. The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer motherboard is definitely a motherboard that stands apart.
Since Intel no longer manufacturers desktop motherboards, it works closely with its partners to ensure products are ready when new CPUs and chipsets are introduced. The X99 Express chipset, part of the LGA2011-V3 system that replaces the aging X79/LGA2011 system, is Intel’s newest foray into very high end desktop systems, and today Benchmark Reviews looks at the bundled software, features, utilities, and performance of the ASUS X99-DELUXE motherboard.
The mini-ITX form factor has taken off in a big way. Packing a lot of power in a small space, these 17 x 17 centimeter squares have enabled new concentrations of computing power. Generally, you have to pay quite a bit for the privilege of shrinking everything down, but Gigabyte has a model in their Ultra Durable line of motherboards that brings a “Z” chipset to the ~$130 price point. With high-efficiency MOSFETs and on-board WIFI/Bluetooth, USB 3.0 and two gigabit LAN controllers (Intel and Atheros), the Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI is a reasonably priced entry into the overclocking-capable Z87 chipset. Is it worth it? Follow along as Benchmark Reviews takes a closer look.
Intel’s LGA2011 and its aging X79 chipset have soldiered along for that segment of the market that prized core count and memory bandwidth above all. But now there’s a new LGA2011 in town: LGA2011-V3, complete with the new X99 chipset, and Benchmark Reviews has ASUS’ latest X99-based motherboard to test. Replete with features like 5-way optimization, Crystal Sound audio, on-board 802.11ac wireless, m.2 SSD support, extensive overclocking options, and unique additions like a fan extension card and multiple ways to mount m.2 SSDs, the ASUS X99-DELUXE is aimed squarely at the enthusiast for whom only the very best will do.
If you haven’t heard, desktop computing is losing serious ground to other, increasingly affordable computing solutions, including notebooks, chromebooks, and tablets. Desktops are still around. You probably have one at home and you probably use one at work. With mobile gaming on the rise and so many productivity features being streamlined for mobile platforms, the need for a powerful desktop computer because your other devices can’t handle the load is declining. According to AMD, entry level computing options make up the majority of the market. In this review, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini desktop processor paired with the Gigabyte GA-AM1M-S2H mATX motherboard and 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz AMD Radeon Series RAM.
FM2+ Motherboards sporting the A88X chipset started appearing in October 2013, but the improved functionality over the latest FM2 motherboards only became truly apparent with the release of the Kaveri line of APUs in January 2014. Add to that the recent release of AMD drivers supporting the Mantle API, and the FM2+ motherboards start to make sense. Benchmark Reviews has the AMD A10-7850K APU and a couple of FM2+ motherboards on hand. This article is dedicated to reviewing the ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ Motherboard to discover what sets it apart from the rest of the FM2+ crowd.
ASUS tries to cover all the bases in the enthusiast market, and their TUF series motherboards are aimed at those who prize toughness and stability. Built with military-spec capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs, and features such as extra ESD (electrostatic discharge) resistance, the Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 motherboard also includes ASUS’ unique Thermal Armor system and a custom processor to monitor the board’s voltages and temperatures, which is part of the Thermal Radar 2 system. Of course it also includes features common to their other motherboards such as the Digi+ fully digital power system and their best-in-class UEFI BIOS to control it all. A five-year warranty tops it all off.
ASUS really pulls away from their competition with digital power control for memory and processor, utilizing up to 16 power phases to ensure absolute precision stability. All hardware points are controlled by Dual Intelligent Processors 5, which consists of DIGI+ Power Control, TPU, EPU, Turbo App, and Fan Xpert. ASUS Z97-DELUXE and Z97-PRO models feature dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac (a/b/g/n/ac) and BlueTooth 4.0 wireless functionality. In this article Benchmark Reviews showcases the ASUS Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC) motherboard, and reveals the many hardware features packed onto this mainstream channel desktop board while showing off overclocking performance.
With Intel being the sole supplier of chipsets for their processors, all motherboards with the same CPU and supporting chipset will provide pretty much the same performance at stock settings. Vendors strive to distinguish their products with additional features, which can be as disparate as a clever new BIOS or entirely new hardware capabilities grafted on via custom or third-party silicon. From a performance perspective, ASUS has historically added value with enhancements to standard interfaces, such as their accelerated USB 3.0, and hardware and software features that make overclocking easier, even for the novice. With the Z97-DELUXE they’ve even added entirely new high speed interfaces: M.2 and SATA Express. If you’re looking for a future-proof board for your next rig, this could be it.
Where ASUS really pulls away from their competition is with digital power control for memory and processor, utilizing up to 16 power phases to ensure absolute precision stability. All hardware points are controlled by Dual Intelligent Processors 5, which consists of DIGI+ Power Control, TPU, EPU, Turbo App, and Fan Xpert. ASUS Z97-DELUXE and Z97-PRO models feature dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac (a/b/g/n/ac) and BlueTooth 4.0 wireless functionality. In this article Benchmark Reviews showcases the ASUS Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC) motherboard, and reveals the many hardware features packed onto this mainstream channel desktop board.
With the new Kaveri APUs out in full force, the Mantle API being used for high-profile games like Battlefield 4, and HSA finally coming into its own, FM2+ motherboards are all over the place. The A88X chipset paired with an FM2+ APU is a solid platform all by itself, but manufacturers have to spice things up in order to sell motherboards. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the ASUS A88X-Pro FM2+ Motherboard.
It seems full-sized ATX systems are becoming less relevant every day. Increasing GPU horsepower diminishes the need for expensive multi-GPU setups; onboard sound has become good enough for all but serious audiophiles, and inexpensive 8GB DIMMs mean that two DIMM slots is plenty. The ASUS Z87I-Deluxe LGA1150 mini-ITX motherboard is the latest in ASUS’ new line of enthusiast mini-ITX motherboards. If you haven’t considered a mini-ITX build, maybe it’s time you should.
How many new features can you cram onto a motherboard that are both useful and innovative? ASUS is the expert at doing this, and their history of innovations is long: the custom EPU and TPU processors; intelligent fan control, the ability to update your BIOS on a board with no CPU and RAM installed, and so forth. The Z87-Deluxe/Dual LGA1150 motherboard shows that ASUS is not content to rest on its laurels. With new features like Near Field Communications and 802.11ac support, this motherboard has it all.
Small form factor PC’s have been gaining a lot of momentum and favor with hardware enthusiasts and hardcore gamers these past couple of years. Since more features are integrated into the CPU in recent releases, it means more real estate has been made on ITX form factor motherboards for extras that may well have not fit previously. With the release of Intel Haswell CPU’s and Z87 chipset, motherboard vendors are now more than ever able to condense the features of a full size ATX motherboard into the ITX form factor without much (if any) sacrifice. See for yourself, take a look at an average Z68 or Z77 ATX motherboard and you will start to notice just how much space isn’t occupied. In this article Benchmark Reviews takes an in-depth look at the ASRock Z87E-ITX motherboard, reporting back on special features and performance as well as giving a visual commentary on the aesthetics of this tiny beast.
Until a few years ago, Intel motherboards were, well, boring: reliable, sure, and well-made, but without any really interesting features that would appeal to enthusiasts. That started changing around the time of the Z68 chipset, and although Intel has announced they’ll stop manufacturing desktop motherboards in the near future, the Z87-based DZ78KLT-75K makes a good swan song.
ASUS’ newest TUF motherboards are built on Intel’s new Z87 chipset, for the new Haswell-based LGA 1150 CPUs. The TUF line emphasizes reliability and durability rather than a cornucopia of consumer features or the ability to reach heroic overclocking levels. Can an enthusiast love the SABERTOOTH Z87? Benchmark Reviews checks this board out to see what makes it special enough to include in your next rig.
It’s new Intel CPU time, and with the switch to the LGA1150 socket comes a slew of new motherboards. Today we have an interesting item: the ASUS Z87 GRYPHON mATX motherboard. What makes the GRYPHON interesting is that it’s the first micro-ATX member of ASUS’ TUF family of motherboards. Let’s see if this tiny motherboard can hold up the TUF banner.
Intel’s new Haswell CPUs bring with them a new socket, LGA1150, and a new supporting chipset, the Z87. MSI’s new Z87 MPower MAX motherboard is the first of third-party Intel Z87-Express desktop motherboard we’ve had the opportunity to test. As a member of MSI’s “MPOWER” motherboards, the full-sized ATX motherboard is a high-end product stuffed with features aimed at enthusiasts and gamers. Let’s take a look at it!
Intel’s Haswell CPU’s and Z87 motherboards may well be just around the corner, but that hasn’t stopped MSI from releasing another line of Z77 motherboards. With this new line of motherboards MSI are aiming at the gaming scene, and have a bold new color scheme and heatsink design to match. We are used to seeing either yellow or blue theme motherboards from MSI but this new ‘gaming’ line-up breaks that mould. Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the mid range MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING LGA1155 Motherboard (P/N 911-7752-19S) in this article. The MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING motherboard supports 3rd Gen & 2nd Gen Intel CPU’s designed for the LGA115x socket, and DDR3 speeds up to 3000MHz (OC). Not much separates motherboards with the same chipset these days, so extras like a KILLER E2200 NIC, Creative Sound Blaster Cinema sound and PCI Express Gen 3 expansion slots aim to make sure you have a high quality experience with this latest offering from MSI.