It’s a little difficult to review MSI’s new Fusion-based E350IA-E45. Normally, our motherboard reviews consider the CPU as an adjunct to the board since consumers may populate the board with one of numerous CPUs.
That’s not so with the Mini-ITX MSI E350IA-E45 which, as its name implies, incorporates AMD’s brand new 1.6GHz E-350 with AMD’s Radeon HD 6310 graphics part soldered to the board, so you better be happy with the CPU you get.
Remember when you could buy a high-end AMD motherboard for around a C-note? You have to think all the way back to the Barton glory days, when the Asus A7N8X Deluxe and Abit NF7-S v2 dominated any talk of bang-for-buck ratios. But that was a long time ago, and if you want a top-of-the-line motherboard today, you're looking at spending north of $200, particularly if you're invested with Intel. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like mobo prices are coming down anytime soon, and in fact they may be on the rise.
Maybe someone told MSI to put its money where its mouth is at, because that's exactly what the hardware maker did. If you're at all familiar with MSI's graphics cards and motherboards, then you've undoubtedly seen MSI pimping supposed "Military Class" components, like highly-conductive polymerized capacitors (Hi-c CAP), Super Ferrite Choke (SFC), and other fancy terms. But is MSI blowing a bunch of hot air?
MSI added another all-in-one (AIO) PC to its Wind Top lineup today, the AE2050. Boasting a 20-inch high-definition 16:9 display (1600x900 resolution) with optional multi-touch panel, the AE2050 swings AMD's way with a dual-core E-350 processor (1.6GHz), AMD A50M chipset, and Radeon HD 6310 discrete graphics.
There's a new version of MSI's Afterburner graphics card overclocking software available for download, version 2.1.0. New to this version is support for the latest Nvidia GeForce 500 and AMD Radeon HD 6000 series of videocards, as well as a new "Predator" in-game video capture function. Why it's called Predator is anyone's guess, but nomenclature aside, you can now use MSI's overclocking utility to capture awesome game sequences and upload them to YouTube.
We'll assume you're up to speed on the whole Sandy Bridge situation that's been covered at length here and elsewhere on the Web, but when new boards do start rolling off the assembly line, how can you be sure you're getting the newest revision? With regards to MSI, the company plans to slap a B3 revision sticker on updated P67 and H67 motherboards. There's another way you can ensure you don't get stuck with old inventory.
If you subscribe the motto that air is for breathing, not for cooling, then MSI's new N580GTX HydroGen is exactly the type of videocard that should float your water cooling boat. MSI ditched the reference air cooling solution and replaced it with its own proprietary HydroGen all-copper waterblock. The rest is up to you. Stick it in your water cooled rig, pop the tubes on the in/outlets, turn on the pump, and enjoy seeing those temps drop by as much as 24C over that of Billy's reference card.
There’s good news and bad news for Intel lovers. The bad news is for folks who just bought a motherboard using the LGA1156 socket: Yup, it’s obsolete already. The good news: The LGA1155 motherboards using Intel’s performance P67 chipset are swimming with improvements such as native SATA 6Gb/s support, front-panel USB 3.0 headers, and UEFI. The biggest change, of course, is support for Intel’s new line of Sandy Bridge CPUs. These second-generation Core ix processors are not only fast, they’re cheap and overclock like hell. To find a suitable home for your new Sandy Bridge chip, we gathered up boards from old foes MSI and Asus to see whose next-gen motherboard deserves the honor.
Hit the jump for the reviews and an exclusive video look at all the boards!
It's probably not fair to call ASRock an underdog anymore, if it ever was. Asus gave birth to ASRock back in 2002 with the intent of going toe-to-toe with ECS and other vendors in the entry-level market. Here we are nearly a decade later and ASRock is now the third largest motherboard maker in the world, DigiTimes says.
ASRock shipped 8 million of its own branded motherboards in 2010, leapfrogging both ECS and MSI to take third place, albeit a somewhat distant one.
Ahead of ASRock is Gigabyte, which shipped around 18 million of its own branded boards in 2010. And up in first place is who else but Asus, which missed its goal of shipping 25 million boards last year but retained the top spot by cranking out 21.6 million mobos.
Getting back to ASRock, the company has been able to attract a following by offering big feature-sets for comparatively low prices. The company also isn't afraid to take design risks, as it first did with its 939Dual-SATA board back in the day. This inexpensive board was the first to combine both an AGP and PCI-E port on the same board without introducing a significant performance penalty.
MSI just announced the North American availability of its new GT680R notebook, which is the company's first gaming laptop built around Intel's recently launched Sandy Bridge platform.
This 15.6-inch notebook packs an Intel Core i7 2630QM processor clocked at 2.0GHz, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 1TB of storage space by way of two 500GB hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration, Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M graphics, DVD writer, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 7-in-1 memory card reader, Windows Home Premium 64-bit, and a 9-cell battery.
Also present is MSI's Turbo Drive Engine (TDE) technology, which allows for software overclocking of the CPU and GPU, USB 3.0, HDMI, and a built-in webcam.