It’s no secret that we haven’t exactly had great love for Intel’s motherboards of late. Heck, we once openly wondered why the hell Intel even bothered to make enthusiast boards anymore.
Intel’s LGA1156 DP55KG, aka Kingsberg, board doesn’t erase all of our misgivings, but it does make us think that Intel is at least trying rather than phoning it in.
Take the SATA-port placement. Most enthusiast boards use forward-facing SATA ports to get around today’s honking-big graphics cards. But Intel’s X48 and X58 boards had all SATA ports pointing straight up. It was as though Intel was in denial over the size and importance of today’s GPUs. The DP55KG finally remedies that flaw by aiming all eight SATA ports forward. Want more proof that Intel is learning? The DP55KG even includes an Intel-branded SLI bridge—something we thought we’d never see.
Other nice enthusiast touches include a surface-mounted power-on switch and a decorative skull backlit by blue LEDs. Even cooler, the skull’s eyes are lit by red LEDs that indicate drive access. We also like the PCI-E slots Intel selected. The slot size corresponds to the signaling, so you can easily figure out that the x4 slot is x4, and the x8 is x8. Those same slots, however, also accept a full-length physical x16 card. Most boards use full-length x16 physical slots with x4 or x8 electrical plumbing, which leaves you guessing about which is which.
How is that motherboard makers can cram all kinds of innovative technologies onto a motherboard and serve up marketing bullets that will have buyers thinking they're investing in a little slice of Heaven, yet when it comes to naming their creations, all that creativity goes out the window? To quote Bill Belichick, "It is what it is." In any event, meet the newest member of MSI's P55 motherboard family, the P55-GD85.
Built around Intel's P55 chipset, MSI's newest addition brings official support for Intel's 32nm Core i3/i5/i7 processors. It also comes equipped with support for SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0, the latter of which will probably prove more useful during the board's lifespan.
To make sure the board squeezes out every last bit of bandwidth, MSI tossed in a PLX PCI-E bridge chip "to multiply the PCI-E bandwidth as well as most effective distribution when using the functions of SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 functions."
Other features include four DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB of DDR3-2133(OC) memory, a pair of PCI-E x16 ports, two PCI-E x1 ports, an IDE port, seven SATA II ports, two SATA 3 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Firewire, eSATA, and various other odds and ends.
No word yet on price or availability, though if we had to guess, we'd say "soon" and about "$220 street."
Biostar today announced the release of its mainstream TH55B HD motherboard, which the company claims balances competitive pricing with "outstanding" overclocking performance.
The TH55B HD is a mATX board decked out with a black PCB, 5-phase X.D.C. solid state power design, high-end Japanese capacitors, and other manufacturing tidbits that have become buzzwords among enthusiasts.
Probably more meaningful to most is the inclusion of 4 DDR3 memory slots with support for 16GB of memory at up to 2000MHz (OC), a full-speed PCI-E x16 port, PCI-E x1 port, two standard PCI ports, 6 SATA 2.0 ports, and "Power" and "Restart" hotkeys. It also boasts HDMI, DVI, and VGA ports.
Worried that Asus might start to turn a blind eye to the motherboard market as it shifts focus to netbooks, e-books, and other Eee-devices? Don't fret, the company has no intention of abandoning mobos, not anytime soon, anyway.
On the contrary, Chewei Lin, VP of Asus' open platform business, says he expects his company to ship 25 million motherboards in 2010. That's a lot of boards, 20 percent more than the 21 million units Asus shipped in 2009.
Asus expects to ship 5 million motherboards in the first quarter alone, driven largely by recovering demand from Europe and the Lunar New Year demand from China. In the second quarter, Asus expects to do a little better and ship 6 million boards, giving the company a total of 11 million units for the first half of the year, leaving 14 million to be shipped in the second half.
Relatively few of these will be equipped with USB 3.0, however. The reason? High costs, Lin says.
MSI has upgraded its product line, offering its second “Big Bang” branded motherboard, the Big Bang-Fuzion. MSI's announcement informs us the Fuzion follows the “great success of the surpassing Big Bang-Trinergy powered by nForce 200 SLI processor.” [sic]
While MSI touts the features of the Fuzion with marketing jargon like “eopchal technology,” “flexible upgradability”, and “near-linear gaming performance”, its announcement is absent any real information--like actual specifications. Luckily, there’s Google. Piecing together bits and pieces from about the Internet, the Fuzion has an LGA1156 socket, capable of supporting Intel’s Core i3/i5/i7 processors, and the Pentium G6950. It uses the Intel P55 chipset, has 3 PCI Express x16 slots, supports SLI and ATI Crossfire and something called Hydra N-, A- and X-modes, a PCI E1 slot with a QuantumWave audio card, and 2 PCI slots. From the looks of it, you’ll only get USB 2.0. It will support 16 GB of 2300+ Mhz DDR3 dual channel memory in four slots.
The unique feature of the Fuzion is the Lucid Hydra chip. The Hydra allows a mixing of graphics cards, which means you don’t have to use twins when cobbling together a dual card system. You can even mix SLI and CrossFire GPUs (or so it's promised).
The Fuzion will only run with Windows Vista and 7--XP is a no go.
MSI says the board will be available mid-January. The Guru of 3D says you can expect a price of about $389.
The new motherboards will support Intel’s latest Core i3 and Core i5 processors, in addition to the Core i7. Most all have four DDR3 DIMM sockets, supporting dual-channel memory up to 2133+ Mhz. All will have onboard VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports, and four will offer Gigabyte’s high performance digital DisplayPort, which delivers up to 10.8 Gbps of bandwidth over standard cables, allowing for fast refresh rates and greater color depths. And all will offer a pair of rear panel USB 3.0 ports.
These motherboards are now available through a number of online retailers. Sorry, but no pricing information was offered.
Motherboard makers are wasting no time pumping out products built around Intel's new H57 and H55 Express chipsets, and that includes EVGA, who just announced three new boards built around the new platform.
Both the H55 (123-CD-E635-KR) and H57 (123-CD-E637-KR) are full sized ATX mobos and both come with four DDR3 slots supporting up to 16GB of memory running at 1333MHz+. So what exactly separates the two? The H57 comes with a whopping 14 USB ports and two PCI-E x1 slots, while the H55 boasts a still impressive 12 USB 2.0 ports and one PCI-E x16 slot.
Finally, there's the H55-V (111-CD-E630-TR) mATX board. This one also comes with four DDR3 slots and features 12 USB ports. No Firewire or IDE connector, though.
Both the H55 and H55-V are available now for $170 and $100, respectively. No word yet on price or availability for the H57.
Coinciding with the launch of Intel's next-gen 32nm Clarkdale processors and H55 chipset, Biostar this week announced three new boards built around the freshly minted platform, including the TH55 XE, TH55 HD, and TH55B HD.
The TH55 XE stands out as a mATX mobo designed with a "stylish black PCB" in a segment typically neglected in the aesthetics department. Biostar says it serves up support for Clarkdale Core i5/i3/Pentium 45/32nm series chips. It also comes with all solid caps, a 7-phase CPU power supply, and a Japan made PSE capacitor for better heat dissipation.
Other features include four memory slots with support for dual-channel DDR3-2000, a single PCI-E x16 slot, PCI-E x1, two PCI slots, 8-channel audio, and HDMI.
The TH55 HD also shares the same mATX form factor and black PCB design, though memory support tops out at DDR3-1800. Same deal with the TH55B HD, except it also drops down to a 5-phase power design.
In the days leading up to CES, EVGA's big attraction has been photo'd, spec'd, and drooled over. After all, it's hard not to salivate at the prospect of running two LGA 1366 processors on a single motherboard, but there's even more here to lust over.
EVGA's server hybrid board also comes equipped with no less than seven PCI-E x16 slots, all decked out in red. Naturally, the board also supports both USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s. But unlike your standard-fare LGA 1366 mobo, EVGA's dual-slot monster includes 12 DDR3 memory slots (that's six for each processor) and two NF200 SLI bridge chips.
Having been finalized for awhile now, the USB 3.0 spec has lost some of the glitz and glamor that accompany new technology announcements, but it's not all old news just yet. On the contrary, Gigabyte has taken to thumping its chest over its GA-P55A-UD3 becoming "the world's first motherboard to pass USB-IF (Universal Serial Bus-Implementers Forum) certification," paving the way for the company to plaster the SuperSpeed USB logo on its product.
Gigabyte claims its GA-P55A-UD3 "underwent strict compliance and product quality testing from the USB-IF" before receiving its certification. The mobo maker also said several other models with onboard USB 3.0 are currently being tested and are expected to pass certification within the next couple of weeks.
In addition to onboard USB 3.0, the GA-P55A-UD3 also boasts SATA 6Gb/s support, a 2-ounce copper PCB leading to lower temps and better power efficiency, DDR3-2000+ support, CrossFireX support, and several other features.