The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas isn't just about media players and mobile products, there are also core PC products on display, and it doesn't get any more 'core' than motherboards. In a way, the convention is an ideal stomping ground for Gigabyte, which loves to throw around fancy terms and tout highfalutin-sounding technologies, like "3D Power."
Nearly three out of four people rocking an Intel X79 system are sitting pretty on top of an Asus brand motherboard. That's the conclusion you can draw from the company's claim that its X79 series motherboards have gone on to grab a global market share of 70 percent of all boards built around Intel's enthusiast chipset, and it isn't the only one Asus says it's dominating.
Vin Diesel and the Fast and the Furious movie franchise helped popularize tricked out Civics and other modded imports, and maybe it was only a matter of time before it became vogue to sell motherboards sporting over-the-top eye candy. MSI continues with the aggressive motherboard theme that's become all the rage lately, but a peek at the company's new Big Bang XPower II mobo is all it takes to understand there's a serious board underneath all the fluff.
Pushing your PC to its limits has obvious inherent dangers; overclocking your CPU can definitely bust your rig if you push it too far. That being said, reasonable overclocking doesn’t actually carry too much risk – normally. Right before Christmas, one overclocker’s Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 mobo crashed, then burned (literally) in the midst of a lightweight stress test. After he posted the video on YouTube, Gigabyte looked into the problem, and apparently, it wasn’t a case of crap luck. Yesterday, Gigabyte’s Chinese branch announced the faulty CPU VRM is a widespread issue and recalled all GA-X79-UD3, GA-X79-UD5, GA-X79-UD7 and G1.Assassin 2 mobos. US users, meanwhile, get a critical BIOS update.
Getting a jump on CES in Las Vegas, MSI today announced a couple of new products, one of which is a do-everything front panel and the other is Voice Genie, the world's first voice control technology with system startup support without the need for a keyboard or mouse, MSI claims. Using just your vocal cords, MSI's Voice Genie allows you to start and shutdown your system, enable and disable OC Genie, open a Web browser, put your system to sleep, and wake it back up.
Want a little bit more Autobot in your PC’s life? While everybody was busy making a big deal out of Habro’s trademark lawsuit against the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime – ourselves included – another manufacturer quietly showed off some Transformer-related PC hardware of its own, and these components look like they may actually be licensed! Late last week, ASRock plopped concept pics of Optimus Prime- and Bumblebee-branded X79 mobos up on its Facebook page.
Here’s a product announcement that should come as a surprise to, well, no one. Ever since ASRock inked a deal with John “Fatal1ty” Wendel, the company’s been putting out Fatal1ty-branded mobos designed especially for PC gamers. There’s just one problem: the sole “Professional” board in the line is built for P67, not the top-of-the-line LGA 2011 socket. Don’t worry, Sandy Bridge-E/Fatal1ty lovers, you aren’t getting left in the cold; in fact, ASRock is apparently preparing to ship a Fatal1ty-branded X79 board sometime soon.
The Maximum PC ethos can be summed up in two words: MORE POWER! (Harder, better, faster, stronger would work, too, but that’s twice as many words – not exactly better.) MSI, it seems, heard our Tim Taylor-like grunting from afar. The company just released a modified version of its X79A-GD45 motherboard (which was only released a month ago, mind you) that includes twice the DIMM slots of the original. That means the X79A-GD45 (8D) includes a total of 8 DDR3 DIMM slots and can support up to a whopping 128GB of quad-channel RAM – because 64GB just isn’t enough.
Want to make the jump to LGA2011 and Sandy Bridge-E but don’t quite need all the bells and whistles of the DX79SI? Intel might just have the alternative motherboard for you. The company’s new DX79TO mobo is basically a stripped-down version of its bigger DX79SI brother with fewer bells and whistles. The question is, are the enthusiast-type buyers who are already making the jump to Intel’s latest and greatest chips willing to dump features for a modest price discount?
You can argue the Earth is flat or that man never really landed on the moon, but if you really want to avoid looking foolish, then don't tell anyone Intel is deliberately stalling USB 3.0 long enough for LightPeak to drive a stake in the competing transfer interface. Actually, Intel has long held that the two aren't really competitors at all, and putting its money where its mouth is, Intel went out and received SuperSpeed USB 3.0 certification for its upcoming 7 Series and C216 chipset families.