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.
If you're looking to upgrade to Haswell, you'll need a new 1150 socket motherboard to go along with it. Luckily today's top deal from Newegg is the ASrock Z87 Extreme6 LGA 1150 mobo which will support Intel's new processor. The deal is running for $175 with free shipping (normally $190) and you'll get 8GB of Crucial memory free with purchase.
Click the "Read More" button for other mobo deals.
I found nestled in my inbox this morning a note from Asus saying it's getting ready to introduce an "even more advanced version of SupremeFX on the upcoming Formula" board built for Haswell. Along with the note, Asus attached a teaser photo marking the recent evolution of SupremeFX (versions III and IV), leaving the world to wonder what it has in store for the next release. Care to venture a guess?
Before self-contained liquid cooling solutions (LCS) became mainstream, water cooling enthusiasts would march over to places like Danger Den (R.I.P.) and order custom parts, fit them together, and then pray to Poseidon that he'd have mercy against leaks. Back then, water cooling aficionados sure could have used a board like any of ASRock's new specially coated 8 Series mobos. Using a layer of "Comformal Coating," ASRock says its treated mobos aren't afraid to get wet, a trait the company hopes the professional overclocking crowd will embrace.
The Mainstream tech media declared the PC dead—yet again—and enthusiasts had a full-on freak-out when rumors surfaced thatIntel intended to dump socketed processors within two years. You can read the details of the story here, but let it be known far and wide, Intel will support socketed processors for the “foreseeable future.” AMD, likewise, had already taken the pledge, saying it would be offering socketed CPUs, too.
Note: This column originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.