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.
We're not at the point where we need to worry about running multiple processors for gaming and daily computing chores, though if you're piecing together a workstation for some heavy lifting, that second socket might be more of a necessity than a luxury. If that's what you're after, be advised that Asus just announced its Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard, a dual-CPU socket mobo based on Intel's C612 chipset.
We've heard time and again that things are getting super competitive in the motherboard business. In terms of the top spot, there are really just two top-tier players, those being Asus and Gigabyte, and last we heard, Asus held a slight lead in shipments as the two companies head towards a photo finish. Not looking to leave anything to chance, it's being reported that Asus cut its motherboard pricing by up to 10 percent in order to keep its global market share.
Now that Haswell-E has finally arrived, have you started thinking about a new build? If so, you have plenty of options. In terms of motherboard choice, Asus today announced three X99 Series boards, including the X99-Deluxe, X99-A, and X-99 Pro. All three sport the latest LGA 2011-v3 socket for Haswell-E processors and feature DDR4 memory support, along with exclusive Asus technologies.
Hoping to build a small form factor (SFF) system around Intel's upcoming Haswell-E and X99 chipset launches? That seems to be the trendy thing these days, and you can bet motherboard vendors will step to the plate with smaller size motherboard options. These won't be chintzy slabs, either. EVGA posted a picture to Instagram showing off a small board built around the X99 chipset.