An early look at an Intel 9-Series motherboard from Asus
The motherboard market's been whittled down to a handful of players, one of which includes Asus, a top tier mobo maker. Always on the front lines of what's new and emerging, Asus has begun sending out samples of its forthcoming Z97-A motherboard based on Intel's new 9 Series chipset (Z97 in this case, obviously), which will support Intel's refreshed Haswell processor line.
This board is prepped and primed to break world records
MSI is throwing extreme overclockers a mighty big bone in the form of a motherboard. The company's upcoming Z97 XPower AC mobo will feature a "Delid Die Guard" that's measured to specification and designed to protect the CPU core on processors that no longer have an integrated heat spreader (IHS). In case you're unfamiliar, the IHS is that giant metal slab that covers the top of your processor. It's there to pull heat off of the CPU core, which is then transferred to a heatsink with a bit of thermal goo in between to fill in the microscopic nooks and crannies.
It's going to be an exciting summer for power users. Assuming all goes to plan and that leaked information turns out to be accurate, you can expect Intel to launch its Haswell-E hardware in June, along with its X99 "Wellsburg" chipset. Details of the forthcoming chipset have found their way online ahead of the chipset's release, which among other things will support DDR4 memory.
The only board in the world with a single LGA 2011 socket
Home networking demands seem to be increasing by the day -- 4K video streaming, anyone? -- which might explain why Gigabyte is launching a single LGA 2011 socket motherboard featuring an integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN controller. It's the worlds first motherboard to sport just one LGA 2011 socket, a move we suppose could help drive the price down while still offering home users 10GbE.
The first AM1-socket based SoC motherboards from Asus
AMD said there were several planned motherboard releases based on its recently announced AM1 platform, and true to form, they're starting to trickle out. Some of the first are from Asus, which just announced the AM1M-A and AM1I-A, a pair of small form factor (SFF) motherboards built to take advantage of AMD's AM1-socketed System-on-Chip (SoC) Athlon and Sempron series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs).
With our lab coats donned, our test benches primed, and our benchmarks at the ready, we look for answers to nine of the most burning performance-related questions
If there’s one thing that defines the Maximum PC ethos, it’s an obsession with Lab-testing. What better way to discern a product’s performance capabilities, or judge the value of an upgrade, or simply settle a heated office debate? This month, we focus our obsession on several of the major questions on the minds of enthusiasts. Is liquid cooling always more effective than air? Should serious gamers demand PCIe 3.0? When it comes to RAM, are higher clocks better? On the surface, the answers might seem obvious. But, as far as we’re concerned, nothing is for certain until it’s put to the test. We’re talking tests that isolate a subsystem and measure results using real-world workloads. Indeed, we not only want to know if a particular technology or piece of hardware is truly superior, but also by how much. After all, we’re spending our hard-earned skrilla on this gear, so we want our purchases to make real-world sense. Over the next several pages, we put some of the most pressing PC-related questions to the test. If you’re ready for the answers, read on.
Note: This article was originally featured in the October 2013 issue of the magazine
Details on MSI's version of new J1800-based motherboards
While several manufacturers have already put forth announcements about new J1800-based motherboards, MSI is now throwing its hat into the ring with the J1800I, a Mini-ITX board packing an Intel Celeron J1800 CPU.
MSI is in a tight race with ASRock to become the third largest motherboard maker behind heavyweights Asus and Gigabyte. ASRock took a slight lead in 2013, but looking ahead, MSI is expected to leapfrog into the No. 3 spot with 8 million motherboard shipments. Either way, system builders will have plenty of MSI motherboards to sift through in 2014, several of which we had a chance to glimpse at CES.
Things you need to know to become a PC hardware expert
Knowledge is power, and when it comes to PCs that’s especially true, because only by knowing how your components’ specs actually affect performance can you get the maximum power you need for the type of computing you do—and avoid being seduced by features that sound impressive on the box but won’t do squat to improve your experience. Knowing your stuff has other benefits, too. An in-depth understanding of what makes all your parts tick enables you to better troubleshoot problems, upgrade in ways that make sense, and converse with other nerds in your own secret language. Turn the page to begin your crash course in PC spec-speak.
Note: This article was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
Motherboard shopping used to be like buying a Model T—you could buy any color you wanted as long it was black. Today, we have a serious Nerd World problem in the dizzying array of motherboard choices, with Asus offering no less than 10 Z87 boards just in its “standard” line, at prices that range from ultra-budget to luxury.
Note: This review was originally featured in the October 2013 issue of the magazine.