Apparently budget board means legacy support. That’s what we inferred from Asus’s P8Z77-V board, which has a quaint PS/2 port and not one, but two PCI slots. Don’t think that means Asus cheaped out on more modern amenities, though. Although there’s no eSATA or FireWire, Asus includes some truly compelling features such as onboard Wi-Fi, an Intel LAN controller, incredibly fast USB 3.0, and a revamped Fan Xpert 2.
Watch out, Atom CPUs and AMD APUs, there's a new contender vying for the attention of small box HTPC enthusiasts: Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 processor. Wait, what? Isn't that a mobile processor? Theoretically, but that hasn't stopped Kontron from creating the world's first mini-ITX Tegra 3 processor, complete with an itty bitty footprint and an equally itty bitty 7W power requirement.
If you’ve been thinking about building a new Ivy Bridge system, you’ve no doubt been drowning yourself in X79 reviews over the past few weeks. If you fit that description, Intel has one more board that should catch the attention of anyone who plans to build a high end rig. The DX79SR Extreme edition will be positioned above the DX79SI and DX79TO, and will carry a price tag and feature set to match.
"Finally, now the meat of the systems are starting to come out," Maximum PC reader I Jedi exhaled in the comments of our earlier article about the new Biostar TZ77XE4 Motherboard. If he only knew how right he was: since the Biostar news went live, a bevy of companies have announced new 7-series-supporting mobos of their own, including ASRock, MSI and Gigabyte.
It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that EVGA would be launching something in the 7 series to serve the influx of new Ivy Bridge upgraders, and Techpowerup got a sneak peak at what they have in mind. They didn’t name the board per say, but from the looks of the photo above, the Z77 FTW would be a safe guess.
The board appears to feature four DDR3 memory slots, five PCI-Express x16 slots, and while it’s not confirmed, it is suspected at least two of these will be PCIe 3.0. Always welcome additions include PCIe disable switches, a debug LED, angled 24-pin ATX power input, and CMOS reset button just in-case you get in over your head while overclocking.
True performance enthusiasts have had a very difficult choice this past year. Go for maximum core and thread count using an older core microarchitecture, or cheap out and get almost the same (or better) performance in most apps and games using the mainstream Sandy Bridge chip.
That, in a nutshell, has been the enthusiasts’ dilemma ever since Intel introduced the Sandy Bridge chip in January 2011. Well those days are behind us now that Intel has finally, finally released its Sandy Bridge-E (for Enthusiast) chip. With one simple chip—the new 3.3GHz Core i7-3960X—Intel has neatly folded up all those worries and put them into a nice little blue box stamped with the Intel logo.
Gigabyte lead the initial charge with early support for boot drivers bigger than 2.2TB, but while others worked on fixing this with UEFI implementations, they instead kept plugging away on the bios. The company claimed to be using a “HybridEFI”, but let’s be clear here. HybridEFI is a marketing term; it actually has nothing to do with EFI as we know it. When asked about the obvious oversight, Gigabyte claimed they wanted to do it right, and we finally have a chance to see what they have in mind.
Sometimes, Maximum PCs can be minimum PCs. Bigger isn’t always better. Gigabyte is giving love to the little guys with their new mini-ITX HTPC motherboard, gracefully named the A75N-USB3. As you may have guessed from the name, it’s based around AMD’s A75 Fusion chipset and packs in four speedy USB 3.0 ports, but that’s not all.
Intel unintentionally put OEM system builders in a bad spot when the chip maker disclosed a design flaw in its 6-series chipset for the Sandy Bridge platform. OEMs were left scrambling to make the situation right with customers, whether it meant extending warranties, bypassing the buggy SATA ports by offering to install a free PCI-E SATA add-in card, or delaying builds until Intel is able to ship out a new batch of boards with a corrected chipset. The latter option means waiting until April, so Intel has come up with a different solution.
To the PC doubters and doomsayers throughout the land, we have but one thing to say. You are incorrect. Misguided. Flat-out wrong. As we started to investigate the technologies, products, and processors that will appear in PCs and related devices in the year ahead, we realized that, from this moment on, our beloved Personal Computer is more important and more relevant than ever.
It’s not that the times aren’t changing. They most assuredly are, and the infusion of so many new platforms and usage models into the home and the personal-computing equation is concentrating a lot of power and flexibility in our hands.