The doctor tackles Proprietary Connectors, Gremlins, PCIe Lanes, and more
Hey Doc, I currently have an Asus M5A99X Evo R2.0 running dual XFX Radeon 7970 Black Editions in CrossFireX. That's dual–PCIe 2.0 x8 mode. Would the new Asus Sabertooth 990FX/Gen3 R2.0 give me any advantage in gaming? I mostly play first-person shooters like Far Cry 3, Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed 3, and the like. I searched the web and it’s a toss-up for little to no gain. Also, will the Sabertooth actually run dual-x16 in the PCIe 3.0 slots? I've read conflicting reports on the net. AMD fanboys want to know the truth!
Note: This feature was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Combined mobo shipments from Asus and Gigabyte likely to top 43 million units in 2013
Two top tier motherboard makers, Asus and Gigabyte, are fighting for the shipment crown, and while it looks like Asus will emerge the winner, it's become a fairly narrow race at the top. Gigabyte helped close the gap by shipping six million motherboards in the third quarter of this year and is expected to ship at least five million more mobos in the fourth quarter, bringing its total to 21 million units in 2013 (or more).
Flagship board also features dual Thunderbolt ports
At times an unsung hero in the motherboard market, ASRock has picked up its game in the past year or so and has begun kicking out some high-end silicon at tempting price points. Clearly ASRock is interested in the enthusiast sector these days, and if you need proof of that, just spy a glance at its new Z87 Extreme 11 /TB20 motherboard that it's showing off at IDF 2013 in San Francisco.
The Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of products from Asus rarely disappoints, and though we'll reserve judgement until we have to time to play with the company's new Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard, this thing looks like another winner, both on paper and in pictures. As the model name suggests, Asus blacked out the motherboard, save for a spattering of red and silver throughout.
Slumping PC sales or not, Gigabyte is gunning for a personal record
You can hardly go a week without reading about how the traditional PC market is in a slump, that computer sales are down, and how mobile devices like tablets and smartphones represent the next frontier. We say hogwash to that latter part -- try editing a batch of RAW camera files on your iPad in a timely manner, for example -- but lest there be any doubt that PCs are still very much relevant, Gigabyte is on pace to ship more motherboards in Q3 than it ever has before in the same quarter.
Asus claims its new Z87-Deluxe Quad motherboard is the world's first slice of silicon certified by Intel with Thunderbolt 2 technology. Not only does it feature certification for the latest Thunderbolt spec, but it has two Thunderbolt 2 ports, which together allow for up to 12 simultaneously connected devices. Each port is capable of up to a 20Gbit/s transfer rate, and both are backwards compatible with first generation Thunderbolt devices.
In anticipation of AMD's upcoming Kaveri launch, Gigabyte announced a line of new FM2+ motherboards, including a new addition to its G1-Killer range of gaming motherboards, the G1.Sniper A88X. According to Gigabyte, the A88X is the the company's first bona fide gaming motherboard for AMD users, though that's not the only unique thing about this board. It also sports some special audio characteristics.
When vendors previewed the first X79 motherboards in 2011, we were floored by the boatload of SATA ports. Rather than the wimpy six SATA ports (only two of which were SATA 6Gb/s) Intel chipsets usually gave us, the X79 was a he-man’s chipset with a heaping serving of 12 ports.
Note: This review was originally featured in the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
Is the PC market in a slump? That's all we keep hearing about from market research firms, but over here on the do-it-yourself (DIY) side, there's plenty to be excited about. We have new Haswell processors to play with (or Richland if you're rolling with AMD), and AMD and Nvidia continue to try and one-up each other with faster graphics cards and beefier bundles. Now is a great time to be in the market for a new build, and Gigabyte expects to cash in.
If you subscribe to the philosophy that big things come in little packages, you'll love hearing about Zotac's new H87-ITX Wi-Fi motherboard, a tiny slice of silicon designed for Intel's 4th Generation Core processor family (Haswell). It's a mini-ITX board for small form factor (SFF) builds, yet is capable of running Intel's newest processors and up to four SATA 6Gbps drives, plus a spot for an mSATA drive.