MotherboardsReviews

ASRock’s Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac – A New Direction

For some time, ASRock has been using the Fatal1ty branding on their high end products – a tie back to the days of old, where Quake was king, and bright, flashy branding was cool. However, Fatal1ty has given way to ASRock’s “Phantom Gaming” brand, with a much more subtle aesthetic. All black? Yes please! Beefy heatsinks? Yessir! First sighted on ASRock’s limited availability (unfortunately) GPU line, the Phantom Gaming brand has come to motherboards – slowly taking over the performance space within ASRock’s lineup. This particular model uses the Intel Z390 chipset – what Z370 should have been, but I digress. …
ReviewsSystems

ASRock’s Z370 DeskMini GTX1060 – Barebones Bonanza? (Part 2)

In part one of this article, we tore down and set up the ASRock DeskMini GTX1060, a Micro-STX based barebones system that comes with a MXM format GTX1060 6GB GPU. In this second part of the review, we will look more in depth, to gain a deeper understanding of the Deskmini GTX/RX Z370, and see what it is capable of. As a recap, the ASRock DeskMini GTX/RX Z370 is a well designed Micro-STX barebones system, that in part 1, gained my recommendation, and my conversion from M-ITX to Micro-STX for my personal preference. The design of the platform, as well …
ReviewsSystems

ASRock’s Z370 DeskMini GTX1060 – Barebones Bonanza? (Part 1)

When Craig reviewed ASRock’s B250 DeskMini GTX1080, we were impressed by the utter performance density offered by the platform. A GTX1080, with desktop GPU performance, in a box under 3 litres of volume. Today it’s my turn to look at a DeskMini GTX/RX model, albeit the next generation, based on Intel’s Z370 chipset. The ASRock DeskMini GTX/RX line is based on the Micro-STX form factor, a variation on the STX form factor originally launched by Intel as “5×5” a few years back. ASRock realised that by adding in a mere 2 inches in length (ugh… metric plz) meant that the …
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A Wild Gigabyte GA-Z270N-Gaming 5 Appears

James (Aibophobia) noted not a moment ago that Gigabyte had released the page for the GA-Z270N-Gaming 5 motherboard. This is a much awaited Z270 board, with a plethora of features and a ‘Phoenix‘ like aesthetic (which I love, personally!). The manufacturer lists the following features; Supports 7th/ 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 2 DIMMs Supports PCIe x16 slot bifurcation in 2×8 mode by riser card Fast USB 3.1 Gen 2 with USB Type-C™ and Type-A Support OC Touch Panel for Extreme Overclocking Ultra-Fast M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA interface Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready ALC1220 …
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ASUS 200-Series Boards Lineup

Alphabetical order! Next up in our motherboard roundup from the 200-Series launch is ASUS’s offering. Let’s see what they have for us! [mks_separator style=”blank” height=”2″] ROG STRIX Z270I Gaming This appears to be the only Mini-ITX offering that ASUS has in the 200-Series launch, but in it’s defence, it is fully featured. The main notable feature is a double-decker heatsink – enabling both your PCH and M.2 SSD to be cooled with a single heatsink! This board also includes the new USB 3.1 front panel connector… exciting times. The board also features Aura Sync RGB LED, 802.11ac WiFi, DDR4 4266 MHz, …
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Intel Core i5-7600K Tested, Negligible IPC Gains for Kaby Lake?

Somehow (it’s funny how these things happen isn’t it?), a possible production unit of the next generation i5 processor has been leaked to a tech website. In this case, PCOnline has obtained a unit of the upcoming Intel Core i5-7600K, a 3.8GHz, quad core Kaby Lake processor. The i5-7600K has a 4.20 GHz max Turbo Boost frequency, and 6 MB of L3 cache. Like all its predecessors, it lacks HyperThreading. The i5-7600K succeeds the current i5-6600K, and could be positioned around the US$250 price-point in Intel’s product-stack. [mks_separator style=”blank” height=”2″] I quote, from TechPowerup; In its review of the Core i5-7600K, …
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BIOSTAR’s H110MD PRO Motherboard Released

Adding to BIOSTAR’s ‘PRO’ line of motherboards (all of the capslock!), the H110MD PRO is a Flex-ATX motherboard with Intel’s socket 1151 and the H110 chipset. As part of the PRO series motherboard range, BIOSTAR claims the BIOSTAR H110MD PRO boasts improved stability and durability for improved reliability. The BIOSTAR H110MD PRO supports 6th-generation Intel Core processors and uses the H110 chipset and can run up to 16GB of DDR3L 1600. The BIOSTAR H110MD Pro motherboard has an MSRP of $54.99. See more here. [mks_separator style=”blank” height=”2″] Thoughts? Discuss them in the forum.
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Intel’s 5×5 is Making a Comeback

A while back, Intel previewed it’s 5×5 form factor, designed to be smaller than M-ITX. New boards and cases have been released for the form factor, with a new name – Mini-STX. At CES, ASRock discussed its upcoming H110M-STX Mini PC that will use the form factor. The chassis ASRock specified for this new mini-PC measured 155 x 155 x 80 mm (L x W x H), 1.9 litres. Although SFF PCs of this size are relatively common (Intel NUC, Gigabyte Brix, etc), they are almost entirely built with soldered CPUs and GPUs and can’t be upgraded beyond changing the memory …
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Gigabyte Launches the GA-X150M-Plus WS… and Forgets the Rear IO?

One of the weirder boards to be launched at CES this year is Gigabyte’s GA-X150M-Plus WS. This microATX motherboard features socket 1151 with the Intel C232 chipset (which Gigabyte has decided to call X150 for some unknown reason), dual DDR4 DIMM slots and a high quality audio solution. Also featured is a Realtek GbE LAN chipset, which supports cFosSpeed, a network traffic management application which Gigabyte claims to help improve network latency, maintain low ping times to delivery better responsiveness in a crowded LAN environments. Gigabyte also states that the Realtek GbE NIC consumes significant less power when it’s in idle state …
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CRYORIG Responds to the Skylake Cooler Mounting Pressure Saga

CRYORIG: “08.12.15 Taipei, Taiwan – We at CRYORIG have the following information and statement to make, regarding the recent news and discussion regarding damaged PCB’s on Skylake CPU’s, which many in the industry believe is caused by abnormal heatsink mounting pressure during transportation of the PC system. First of all we want to assure users of CRYORIG products that currently no CRYORIG heatsinks have displayed this problem, either through media reports, third party sales channels or internal testing. CRYORIG heatsinks are fully compatible with socket 1151 processors, and follow specifications set forth by CPU manufacturers. But as a note of …
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Reports That High Pressure Heatsinks Can Damage Skylake

Intel’s new Skylake processors are in the news again, and not for a good reason. According to PCGamesHardware.de, high pressure or mass coolers could damage the CPU package and/or socket. As you can see in the image above, the substrate of the processor package is significantly thinner, and being made of glass fibre (as are most PCBs), it can flex significantly more than the previous, thicker, packages. The pressure of a hefty cooler could push the CPU package into the socket and damage the pins! The fact that Intel’s Skylake processors do not ship with a stock cooler may exacerbate …
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Shuttle’s New Skylake Barebones – The SH170R6

The new Shuttle XPC SH170R6 has appeared on the Shuttle website and supports Intel Skylake platform technology. This new model supports the latest 6th generation LGA 1151 95W processors. With Core i3/i5/i7 processors built-in graphics core, the SH170R6 is able to support 4k/Ultra HD video playback. At the rear of the SH170R6, one HDMI ports and two DisplayPorts are present to support three independent displays. The SH170R6 also features one PCI-E x16 slot and one PCI-E x4, allowing for installation of dual slot graphics cards, video surveillance cards, RAID cards, and more. No word on Crossfire though – and SLI isn’t available …