Once the Game Developers Conference (GDC) comes to an end, attention will turn to PAX East, which takes place in Boston from March 6–8. That means even more product announcements, though some companies are too excited to wait. One of them is MSI, which is bringing an "arsenal of new gaming products" to PAX East, including its Z97A Gaming 6 motherboard and a pair of all-in-one PCs.
Biostar's been making a concerted effort to gain a reputation as a high-end hardware player, and it's doing it by releasing boards with enthusiast grade and sometimes unique feature-sets. We saw it last summer with the release of the TD85, a motherboard with half a dozen PCI-E slots intended for Bitcoin miners, and more recently with the Hi-F iZ97Z7. Continuing the trend, Biostar today launched the first in a new line of gaming hardware, the Gaming Z97X motherboard with USB 3.1 support.
Here's the thing, folks -- if you want to protect your PC from lightning strikes and other electrical surges, plug it into a UPS backup power supply with built-in surge protection. For added caution, shut down and unplug your PC during lightning storms. And if you're super paranoid about your LAN port giving up the ghost, well, you'll be happy to know that Biostar has your back and will begin integrating a chip into its motherboards to strengthen electrical stability.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is just around the corner and, if some recent reports are to be believed, so is the announcement of a new generation of Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) range of pint-sized PC kits and boards. A bunch of images said to show next-generation NUC units quietly appeared on Intel’s own website late last month, where they sat unnoticed until the folks over at ComputerBase.de stumbled on them a few days back.
If you've always wanted a hybrid workstation motherboard with four LAN ports, ASRock today has answered the call. A former subsidiary of Asus, ASRock today announced its X99 WS-E/10GB motherboard with dual Intel 10G BASE-T LAN ports powered by an Intel X540 Ethernet controller chip, plus dual Intel gigabit LAN ports powered by a pair of Intel I210AT Ethernet controller chips.
You'd be surprised at how many OEM motherboards in pre-built systems come from ECS, but be that as it may, it still isn't a company most would associate with high-end computing. ECS appears to want to change that perception, hence the creation of its "L337 Gaming" high-end gaming motherboard series. The latest addition to the L337 Gaming line is the ECS Z97I-Drone, which is essentially a mini-ITX version of the company's Z97-Machine.
We've seen our share of colorful motherboards with loud designs that scream, "Hey, look at me!" They're typically aimed at gamers, overclockers, and enthusiasts in general, and so is MSI's Z97S SLI Krait Edition motherboard, though it's an attention-getter for a different reason. Rather than draw eyeballs with flashing LEDs and a range of colors, MSI opted for a classy black and white scheme.
We've already mentioned that Asus and Gigabyte may engage each other in a price of war of sorts as each one attempts to ship more motherboards than the other. However, weaker than expected demand in China combined with soft retail channel orders ahead of the country's National Day holidays are likely to cause both companies to fall short of their shipment goals. As a result, Asus and Gigabyte might be even more aggressive with motherboard price cuts than previously anticipated.
Quick, blurt our the first brand that comes to mind when you think about high-end motherboards. Did you say Biostar? Lies! We would have accepted several brand names, though Biostar isn't one that's typically associated with premium boards (to be fair, the company has released a few top dwellers). We don't know if that's going to change, and apparently neither does Biostar, which "launched the first development of what might become a possible series of high-end gaming boards." That's how Biostar describes its new Hi-Fi Z97Z7 motherboard. Might? Possible? C'mon Biostar, if you're going to play with the big boys, you need to bring a barrel of confidence with you!
A suppy chain leak may have led to patent infringement
It's said that all is fair in love and war, but in the motherboard war that's currently taking place, some companies may have went too far. That's the reported opinion of Asus, anyway, Apparently Asus thinks competing motherboard makers infringed on pending patents related to its OC Socket technology found in boards based on Intel's X99 chipset for Haswell-E. Asus developed its OC Socket technology in-house.