Intel's Sandy Bridge-E is the talk of the town right now, but let's not forget about another little chip maker named Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Sapphire certainly hasn't forgotten about AMD, nor has it blanked out on how to build a high end motherboard. Proving both is Sapphire's new Pure Black 990FX board with support for the latest AMD processors.
It's hard to believe, but it's been a whole decade since VIA created the Mini-ITX form factor with the launch of its Mini-ITX VT6010. The rest is ongoing history, but what's really cool is how VIA is celebrating the occasion. It's doing so with the launch of its "Small is Beautiful: 10 Years of Mini-ITX" eBook, and while that might seem like a ho-hum read at first, it's not often that we're given an inside glimpse of things straight from the source.
Wait, wait, wait just a minute, isn't the Killer E2100 Network Processing Unit a product of Bigfoot Networks? It most certainly is, but what many people don't know is that Qualcomm Atheros somewhat quietly scooped Bigfoot up a couple of months ago, a purchase that made sense considering Bigfoot was using Qualcomm hardware anyway and tweaking it with their own software. In any event, Qualcomm Atheros is now fully in charge and the company really wants to get the word out that its Killer E2100 NIC is integrated and available in new Gigabyte G1.Assassin 2 motherboards based on Intel's X79 Express chipset. So does Gigabyte.
In preparation for Intel's upcoming 22nm processor refresh, Biostar wants to get the word out that each and every one of its 6 Series motherboards fully support native PCI-E Gen. 3 when paired with chipzilla's next generation Ivy Bridge CPUs. According to Biostar, each board is able to pass the signal test of PCI-E Gen. 3 technology without any hardware changes, unlike at least one other board maker who was accused of having "fake" PCI-E Gen. 3 support.
VIA announced the immediate availability of its new VE-900 Mini-ITX motherboard and is hoping it will appeal to DIY enthusiasts aiming to put together a stylish home desktop or media center PC. The tiny board measures 17cm x 17cm and pairs a VIA Nano X2 dual-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz with the VIA VX900 unified all-in-one media system processor (MSP).
VIA just rolled out what the company claims is the industry's first ever dual-core Pico-ITX motherboard. The VIA EPIA-P900 packs a dual-core VIA Eden X2 1GHz x86 processor and VIA VX900H Media System Processor into the smallest commercialized form factor there is. The result is a pint-sized system that's capable of advanced multitasking and multimedia chores, including "flawless" Full HD video rendering.
Woe is you if your hard drive gives up the ghost, and not just because of the hassle involved with restoring data from your backups (because you are backing up your files, right?). The other reason it sucks to lose a hard drive right now is because recent flooding in Thailand hit HDD makers pretty hard, resulting in a shortage, which itself has resulted in higher prices. Unfortantely, the trickle down effect doesn't stop there.
We're not entirely sure what it is with the sudden propensity towards artillery themed heatsinks with respect to Intel's X79 chipset, only that it seems to be a popular motif. We saw it first with Gigabyte's G1.Assassin 2 X79 motherboard in the form of a pistol-shaped heatsink, and here again as a fake ammo belt on MSI's upcoming Big Bang XPower II X79 motherboard.
Gigabyte has come up with a way to make its UEFI BIOS interface even easier to navigate while simultaneously jumping on the 3D bandwagon, but not in the way you think. In reality, Gigabyte's 3D BIOS technology is a fancy way of navigating your motherboard's BIOS with an isometric graphical view of the board and all of its parts, and it's actually pretty cool.
Say what you want about Biostar, just don't accuse the company of lacking excitement over Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge-E launch. In fact, we'd wager Biostar's just as excited as we are, hence the giddy tagline pimping its TPower X79 motherboard as "The most powerful motherboard on the planet." Benchmarks will bear out whether or not that's true, but in the meantime, here's what we know about Biostar's newest slice of silicon.