SFF.Network Many 200-Series Motherboards Leaked ahead of CES

With Intel's Kaby Lake soon to be released, many motherboard manufacturers are gearing up for their Intel chipset 200-series lineup. Although new features over the 100-series are limited, this did not keep board manufacturers from innovating and trying to bring something unique to the table.

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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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One use case is to have a 250GB/500GB Samsung 960 Pro for OS and scratch disk and then a large, slower, but cheaper drive in the other slot for bulk storage.

Or similarly, one Optane drive and one storage drive whenever that thing finally releases.
 

iFreilicht

FlexATX Authority
Feb 28, 2015
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Why do people care about thunderbolt 3 so much? Isn't it a very new tech that is largely used by Apple anyway?

Thunderbolt 3 opens up possibilities unheard of before and is extremely future-proof. You get external PCIe 3.0 x4 with it, so external devices can range from audio interfaces to PCIe SSDs, network interfaces and even GPUs. Many non-Apple laptops are starting to adopt it as well, so support is much wider range than for Thunderbolt 1 and 2.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
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So this was one of the things I asked Raja specifically about. The reason for the M.2 riser goes as this: this is an overclocking board intended to support liquid helium cooling down past -250 degrees. Therefore, you have to be careful with component placement, and they wanted to keep the M.2 cards off of the board. The use of a DIMM slot solves several problems: first, the number of I/O pins let them do straight traces to support two M.2 cards without the need for quick switches; next, the position of it lets them use, as double duty, the memory cooling fans as fans for the M.2 cards; DDR3 slots are dirt cheap, so it is inexpensive; and finally Raja noted that the feature has generated a fair amount of marketing buzz.

So I respect the design decision. Could they have done something else? Sure, but it is an interesting solution to the problem.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Interesting. I still think putting M.2 slots on the rear of the board would be a better option, as they wouldn't be affected by LN2/Helium I would think. Not as flashy though!
 

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King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
774
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Well, this is supposed to be a benching board...They probably want to be able to put it on the bench and have access to everything from the top. The could have potentially used their vertical M.2 mounts they had with the Deluxe boards, but those would be quite a bit taller than the memory modules they are trying to cool simultaneously.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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Very good point. Vertical m.2 is pretty weird lookin!

 

Rusty McFot

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Jan 4, 2017
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I'm seriously torn now between the Asus Strix and the Asrock Mini ITX boards.... To thunderbolt or not to thunderbolt. That is the question.

I'm leaning towards the Asus though. I have a NAS on a network to move around large movies and the like. USB 3.1 is probably all the speed I need for external 2.5" SSDs.

Maybe what Aibohphobia would be the best option for me, two drives. One for OS and one for my Steam library. Nice small footprint. Especially to fit in the M1, whenever that arrives.....
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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Maybe what Aibohphobia would be the best option for me, two drives. One for OS and one for my Steam library. Nice small footprint. Especially to fit in the M1, whenever that arrives.....

On the other hand the M1 can easily hold a 2.5" drive or two. Unless you're one of those insane people putting dual 240mm rads in it :p
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
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Turns out the 'third' RAM slot is for this accessory: https://www.techpowerup.com/229448/asus-dimm-2-is-an-m-2-riser-card

In other words, one of the dumber ways I've seen to implement M.2
I personally like the multiple use-case of the DDR3 slot (troubleshooting overclock or dual M.2) but that adapter though:



Were they trying to one-up the upper limit to those already obscenely large RAM modules ? I also don't get the tall Z-height on those M.2 sockets and the need for them to be parallel on the opposite sides.

TL;DR
My efficiency-o-meter went into the red with the adapter board.
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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What!? DIMM slots being used for M.2 adapters? How did I not know about this until now?
 

BirdofPrey

Standards Guru
Sep 3, 2015
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That'll be amusing in hindsight if the next memory format is a serial bus architecture and they decide to go with M.2 for the form factor.
 

CubanLegend

Steely-Eyed NVFlash Man
Dec 23, 2016
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NCIX looks to be the first reputable seller to have the ASUS Strix up for sale

http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=AS2222193789

Ordered it along with 960 EVO 250GB and this RAM kit

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820232393

Gonna go beautifully in silver/black S4 Mini.
I wouldnt necesarily say its up for sale, they pretty much just put up a preorder for it, but you pay upfront. XD I'll wait for a US Amazon/Newegg page.

On another note, where did you manage to score a 960EVO? I've had my 250gb 960 EVO on backorder from B&H for like 2 weeks now. they seem to be out of stock EVERYWHERE... Can't wait tho, it's gonna be my boot/OS drive on my ASUS z270i STRIX, and the 256gb Intel600P as a drive for games i want to load fast. Gotta love that dual M.2, I'd rather have that, then USB c with thunderbolt 3.
 

Phuncz

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On another note, where did you manage to score a 960EVO? I've had my 250gb 960 EVO on backorder from B&H for like 2 weeks now. they seem to be out of stock EVERYWHERE...
I'm seeing the same thing over here. The Samsung 950 Pro was also not available immediately, but this is taking longer than expected.
Production issues or prioritizing OEM maybe ?
 

Phuncz

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Ah yes, the Samsung Note 7 fiasco resulting in other smartphone models increased production, needing NAND chips unexpectedly. I was hoping it would be over by now.
 
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