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CPU & Motherboards
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Gigabyte X99-SLI Motherboard Review

Introduction We are starting to see more and more Intel X99 series motherboards hit the market. The X99 series wasn’t designed to be a budget series platform, but that doesn’t mean it can’t fit into other marketing segments as well. There are many users who don’t feel right spending $500+ on a motherboard, but are okay with something in between this price and the low-end/budget models. Now that this platform has had its time to mature, manufacturers are releasing a range of X99 motherboards to meet the demands of all types of consumers. We have a wide variety, from high end enthusiast boards to the more basic motherboards. Today, we have a chance to take a look at a Gigabyte X99 motherboard that meets “mid range” description perfectly: the Gigabyte X99-SLI. This motherboard is designed with quite a few bells and whistles, but with a more moderate price. Let’s dive in and take a closer look…   About Gigabyte: GIGABYTE was founded in 1986, establishing our uncontested position in continuous technological innovation. By focusing on key technologies and achieving strict quality standards, GIGABYTE has been regarded as an innovative and trusted motherboard leader in the globe. To keep pace in a rapidly changing world, we have offered a comprehensive product line covering Motherboards, Graphics Cards, PC Components, PC Peripherals, Laptops, Slate Devices, Desktop PCs, Network Communications, Servers and Mobile Phones. W...



Intel Skylake

INTEL Core i7-6700K Overclocked to 5.2 GHz on Air

Monday morning brings some pretty awesome news to the world of overclocking. The Chief Reporter at HKEPC recently posted on Facebook that Skylake was much funner to overclock than Broadwell after reaching 5.2 GHz with the flagship chip. The even more impressive news is that he did this on air. There’s a couple of considerations to take in with all of this but at the moment, this looks like some incredibly exciting news for overclocking enthusiasts who are considering the upgrade. This sounds pretty huge, but we need to consider a couple of factors before we take this as a guarantee of what’s to come. First of all, while the source seems like someone who’s very trusted in the hardware industry, it’s important to note that we don’t have any word on the specific cooling used or verification of stability. While an NH-D15 is considered air cooling, it isn’t the kind of accessible solution that everyone has. Also, we all know that while you may be able to boot into the OS, it doesn’t mean you can pass a stress test or even load a reasonably heavy application. The other bit of info missing is the core temp. While the temperature is said to be within specification, that doesn’t mean we want to see our core temps raising up above the 70’s all the time. However, these are just some considerations to keep in mind and since the source seems like a credible one, let’s get back to what makes this exciting. This is a 5.2 GHz...



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AMD Releases the A8-7670K APU

AMD has a new APU for us that looks like it will fit extremely well in a low budget gaming machine. Based on the slides, if you’re one of the many that is hopping on board to the ever growing MOBA genre, or just like to kill time on Roblox, then you may have found the perfect chip that won’t break the bank. Honestly, while I know many of us are just waiting for Zen, my only true complaint is how little we see these APUs in laptops. The reason I say this is I know plenty of kids who use their parents laptops for League of Legends, Minecraft and Roblox. If AMD could market chips like this as the perfect solution for the family laptop, especially since many families use the laptop as a slightly more mobile desktop anyways, I think they would be hitting the mark perfectly. As it is, this is still a very budget friendly solution for some decent gaming so check out the press release and slides below. New AMD A-Series Desktop Processors: Smart Choice for Everyday Computing, Powerful eSports Engine and Ready for Windows® 10 — New AMD A8-7670K APU delivers an excellent experience and value for today’s modern workloads and Microsoft® Windows® 10 support — SUNNYVALE, Calif. — July 20, 2015 — AMD (NASDAQ: AMD), the company whose technology helps power the Microsoft® Xbox One™ and the Sony® PlayStation 4™, today introduced the newest addition to its A-Series line of desktop processors. The A8-7670K APU provides a superb experience for Microsoft Windows 10...



Intel Skylake

What to Make of the Leaked Skylake Performance Scores

INTEL’s new CPU lineup is getting closer and closer by the day, but some performance numbers have released to give us a early glimpse of what to expect performance wise. The Core i7 6700K will be the successor to the i7 4790K and it looks like the gains are following the trend we’ve been seeing from INTEL as of late. The gains on the CPU side of the architecture are pretty nominal with some of the more impressive gains coming form the built in graphics architecture. For PC enthusiasts, this isn’t good news considering built-in graphics isn’t a selling point for high-end systems, but there are a couple of considerations to ponder in determining how good Skylake will end up. The first important thing to realize is the i7 6700K is targeting multi-threaded applications more so than previous generations. This may not be a huge thing to many of us outside of the server market, but if things like DirectX 12 make good use of multi-threading in games, then the 6700K could be a more tempting offer to upgrade to. The other important factor is overclocking. This will be the first standard consumer chip (by standard consumer, I’m basically saying CPUs that aren’t Xeons or included in the X79 and X99 chipsets) that doesn’t include a stock heatsink. It looks like INTEL is marketing this chip more specifically to overclocking enthusiasts and as such, knows that after market cooling is a must. Since the new architecture design isn’t offering...



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INTEL Skylake Coming on the 5th of August, Awesome New Gigabyte Boards

Skylake’s been in the news for some time now. We’ve gotten to see some of the new features coming with the Z170 chipset, heard about INTEL aiming the high-end CPUs towards overclocking enthusiasts, and find out that everything was going to be releasing sometime towards the end of this year. Now, we have an official date for the launch of Skylake as well as some shots of some extremely impressive boards being released by GIGABYTE. August 5th is the official release date for the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6500K. There’ll be some other SKUs that launch as well, but the K series chips are the ones with the unlocked multipliers making overclocking a breeze. These chips have an incredibly modest 95W TDP rating that hopefully translates into some huge amounts of overclocking headroom. Currently, 5 GHz is the magic number that is incredibly difficult to reach for everyday use. While silicon is ultimately the limiting factor, we can hope that with some new architecture, we might get to see some higher overclock ceilings with normal cooling setups. Time will tell, but if new motherboards have any sway in the matter, then GIGABYTE plans on destroying overclocking records if their initial features live up to their appearance. I have to say, while GIGABYTE makes some good quality products, I feel like they got a little behind in the Z97 segment of motherboards. A lot of their boards didn’t seem to rank up as high as other boards. The VRM design hardly pushed pas...



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No Stock Cooler with Skylake? No Problem!

INTEL is deciding that their K-Series of Skylake chips will be shipping without any kind of cooling solution. I’m sure there are going to be some complaints because regardless, somebody will open the box and be upset that the stock cooler isn’t there. Overall, this is a good move and gives further nods to the idea that Skylake is being designed for overclockers. Currently, the two primary SKUs with unlocked multipliers launching are the Core i7 6700K and the Core i5 6600K. Both are rated at 95W TDP with the 6700 having 4 more threads and 2MB more Cache than the 6600K. With the low power rating, it’s possible that these chips will have quite a bit of overhead for enthusiasts to take advantage of. Considering that stock coolers are barely sufficient at factory clocks to begin with, INTEL is making it very clear that these are truly enthusiast level parts and that we have no right to expect insufficient cooling solutions just to get by. Honestly, this sounds like a good move on INTEL’s part. The only question that remains is if this will reflect in pricing. My best guess is it probably won’t, but it would be nice to see the i7 and i5 flagships release at an even $300 and $200 respectively. I’m not holding my breath and most enthusiasts plan on spending extra for good cooling anyways. On the other hand, with the new PCIe 3.0 lanes coming to the Z170 chipset, there could be some pretty intriguing performance increases once Skylake releases. ...



BIOSTAR Releases N3150NH Mini ATX Motherboard

BIOSTAR Releases N3150NH – A Mini-ATX Board with Embedded Value   June 22nd, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan – BIOSTAR is offering the N3150NH motherboard with the on-board Intel® N3150 1.6G Quad-core processor, using a Mini-ATX form factor with a size of 17x17cm, builders are able to make creative designs for many different uses that fit into small enclosures. The N3150NH boards comes with the Intel® Celeron N3150 1.6G Quad-core processor with turbo boost up to 2.08G already installed and it supports up to 8GB Memory for DDR3L-1600 OR 16GB Memory for DDR3L-1066. With the integrated GPU, watching HD content and playing games is no sweat. Expansion includes 1 PCI-E 2.0 slot. Indeed, the N3150NH board is ready for building all kinds of multimedia systems with its HDMI and analog VGA-out, and high definition audio with the Realtek ALC662 6 Channel HD Audio chip.   LAN networking is covered by the Realtek RTL8111H – 10/100/1000 controller and being a BIOSTAR board it has the Smart Speed LAN feature. SmartSpeedLAN is a free software application which monitors and manages your PC’s network behavior. With user-friendly GUI, it allows you to select and prioritize different types of network traffic, including gaming, media streaming, communications or web surfing. You can also set any specific applications, choosing to prioritize or block accordingly. SmartSpeedLAN can feature automatic management options that use adaptive networking intelligence to ensure that you are...



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INTEL Skylake De-lidded, Bad Wolf

It’s time to give ourselves a message through space and time so that we can head over to INTEL and save overclocking (Doctor Who reference for those who have no idea what I’m talking about). Maybe the dilemma isn’t that serious, but if a fuzzy photo is to be believed, then the Skylake processors might be continuing some of the overclocking problems from the past. KitGuru revlealed a shot of a de-lidded Skylake CPU and it looks like INTEL is going to keep using thermal compound instead of soldering. The photo is pretty fuzzy so it’s impossible to verify this claim. The other problem is we’re still a couple months out from the release of Skylake so there could be a couple of possible explanations for this that could be resolved by the time of the official releases. In case you don’t remember, INTEL began using thermal paste with both the i7-3770K and i7-4770K. Of course, overclockers justifiably pointed out that the thermal paste would not be as effective at heat transfer as a soldered lid. The thermal paste was slightly improved with the i7-4790K, but Skylake has already been provisioned to be a good overclocking CPU. Enthusiast hoped that at least the high-end chips would be soldered to the lid again in order to have the best thermal transfer, which would help unlock the highest overclocks. Take this all with a grain of salt for right now but at the moment, this doesn’t look very promising. Overall, this isn’t going to be...



BIOSTAR showcases Skylake Motherboard Z170X at Computex

BIOSTAR showcases Gaming Z170X Intel Skylake Motherboard at Computex – Available this August   June 12th, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan – At this year’s Computex trade show in Taipei, BIOSTAR showcased upcoming Intel 100 series chipset motherboards, gaming oriented motherboards and VGA cards as well as mini PCs designed for Karaoke and IPC Embedded solutions.     BIOSTAR “Gaming Z170X” motherboard turned out to be the star product this year at Computex. Based on the Intel Z170 chipset with support for Intel’s Skylake CPU and DDR4 memory, the kit comes with BIOSTAR’s Gaming Commander Box, Gaming Armor design, on-board USB 3.1 Type C connector and Dual GbE LAN (Intel & Killer) along with PCIe M.2, SATA Express and Touch OC. Also on display were the Intel 100 series chipset based motherboards Z170, H170, B150 that support the 6th Gen Intel® Core™ Processor family (codenamed Skylake).     The Gaming Z170X has two LAN connectors, with the most popular Killer LAN and Intel LAN chips. With Dual GbE LAN, the primary advantage is doubling bandwidth from 1G to 2G, and with two high-speed gigabit networks plus zero packet delay that provides super high data transmission efficiency. Another major advantage is “Load Balancing”, it allows a gamer to attach both network adapters to a single network. It will therefore support the aggregation “teaming” function by merging the two connections to support multiple aggregation modes....



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Best of Computex 2015

Computer hardware news is getting pretty stagnant as of late. It’s not that there isn’t new things coming out, it’s just most of the releases I’ve been seeing are hardly more that a slight revamp of what’s already out. That being said though, there are still some components that can turn heads and Computex brought us some intriguing devices that I feel are worth some honorable mentions. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 5 releases in components from Computex 2015. #5 LEPA EXllusion240 It’s going to be pretty apparent why this unit is last on the list. There isn’t very much that separates this unit from just about any other AIO on the market. The ability to add custom dye to the coolant is a neat feature, but isn’t anything revolutionary. The EXllusion240 may be expandable, but I haven’t seen anything that officially confirms that. The only thing that caught my eye is the massive 400w + TDP rating. That’s a huge thresh hold and while other coolers brag about great cooling performance, very few put a number like that on it. We’ll have to wait for some reviews to see how well LEPA lives up to it’s claims, but when all else fails, I would gladly like to break my previous records. http://www.lepatek.com/eng/newscontent/93/ #4 INTEL Z170 Motherboards For the last few generations, INTEL has been giving us minor improvements that involve fairly hefty price tags. About the only notable f...



BIOSTAR Z97X Motherboard Certified for Windows 10

BIOSTAR’S Z97X Gaming Motherboard is first Intel Z97 Motherboard to be Certified for Windows™ 10 June 4th, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan – BIOSTAR’s latest high-end gaming board, the Gaming Z97X, is the first Intel Z97 based motherboard to be certified for Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system. The Gaming Z97X is the first complete gaming motherboard designed by BIOSTAR from the ground up. The Gaming Z97X is an ATX form factor board that comes with key features such as USB 3.1, three PCI Express 3.0×16 slots, PCIe M.2 support, Dual GbE LAN and BIOSTAR exclusive Super Hi-Fi Audio technology and support for DisplayPort. The on-board HDMI supports 4K and 2K resolutions. There is also the introduction of the SATA Express Connector which supports both SATA and PCIe storage solutions giving maximum data transfer speed of up to 10Gb/s. BIOSTAR is proud to work with partners like Microsoft and Intel to be the first to bring high-end motherboards like the Gaming Z97X certified for Windows™ 10. For more on the Gaming Z97X go to: http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/introduction.php?S_ID=784 About BIOSTAR BIOSTAR is a manufacturer dedicated to the production of motherboards, graphics cards and industrial computing systems. Since its establishment in 1986, the BIOSTAR GROUP has become a major motherboard supplier in the PC industry. In order to pursue continuous growth, BIOSTAR has invested heavily in acquiring the physical and human resources to excel at research and dev...



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Gigabyte X99-UD3P Motherboard Review

Introduction The X99 chipset has now had a little bit of time to mature. During its initial launch Gigabyte sent us the X99-UD4 motherboard for review. The X99-UD4 took home our Great Hardware Award for its simple aesthetics along with a solid performance to value. Now that we are six months into the release of the X99 chipset, we are seeing more motherboards become available at a much more affordable price. Today, we are going to be looking at one of these motherboards that offer a similar performance to the X99-UD4 in a more simplified package and price. We introduce to you the Gigabyte X99-UD3P. Aesthetically, the Gigabyte X99-UD3P is very similar to the UD4 motherboard with some obvious changes. As we continue here, we are going to take a closer look at the Giagbyte X99-UD3P to see exactly what those differences are. Before we do that, let’s move forward and talk about Gigabyte.   About Gigabyte: GIGABYTE was founded in 1986, establishing our uncontested position in continuous technological innovation. By focusing on key technologies and achieving strict quality standards, GIGABYTE has been regarded as an innovative and trusted motherboard leader in the globe. To keep pace in a rapidly changing world, we have offered a comprehensive product line covering Motherboards, Graphics Cards, PC Components, PC Peripherals, Laptops, Slate Devices, Desktop PCs, Network Communications, Servers and Mobile Phones. We are dedicated to building up a full-range digital life,...



BIOSTAR announces support for AMD’s FM2+ “Godavari” APU

BIOSTAR Offers support on New AMD FM2+ “Godavari” APU  May 11th, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan – With AMD’s launch of the FM2+ “Godavari” class of APUs today, Biostar has been in preparation of a complete series of mainboards for the supporting chipsets such as the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A88W 3D, Hi-Fi A70U3P and Hi-Fi A68U3P. To make upgrading even easier, these boards also have backwards support for previous generation FM2+ / FM2 APUs. These new Godavari AMD APUs are AMD socket FM2+ and will feature an upgraded CPU and GPU architecture. The new Godavari APU are part of the Kaveri-Refresh platform which is aimed to re-fresh the current Kaveri APUs with the new 8000 series branding utilizing the x86 Steamroller core and GCN graphics architecture. The BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A88W 3D, Hi-Fi A70U3P and Hi-Fi A68U3P all have features such as onboard LAN, PCI Express 3.0 x16, SATA 6Gb/s, and USB 3.0. And with BIOSTAR’s enhancements to these new FM2+ boards users will enjoy mainboards that excel in additional areas of BIOSTAR expertise such as the BIOSTAR Audio+, Video+, Speed+, Protection+, Durability+ and DIY+. For more info on BIOSTAR’s AMD motherboards go to: http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/socket.php?S_ID=21 About BIOSTAR BIOSTAR is a manufacturer dedicated to the production of motherboards, graphics cards and industrial computing systems. Since its establishment in 1986, the BIOSTAR GROUP has become a major motherboard supplier in the PC industry. In order to pursue continuous gr...



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AMD FX 8320E Processor Review

Introduction The AMD FX Series processors are a few years old now and we haven’t seen any really big changes with AMD’s road map for these aging chips. Going back down memory lane a bit, during AMD’s original launch of the Bulldozer FX 8150, many of us had high expectations for AMD’s Piledriver architecture. Unfortunately, the 8 core 32nm processor didn’t match up to the marketing hype, and many folks saw it as a huge failure. Despite that, the engineering behind the architecture was actually a good idea, but the “ecosystem,” as some have put it, just wasn’t ready for AMD’s leap into this territory. Many of today’s applications and software just weren’t designed to adapt to the architecture’s full potential. AMD quickly re-positioned themselves and focused on competing with Intel’s mid-range line up based on price to performance. Shortly after the FX 8150, AMD pushed out their “slightly” revised processor, the FX 8320/8350, which was intended for its flagship AMD line up based on the Vishera platform. The FX 8350 was a little better received and took a strong market hold with solid price to performance, and held its ground for some time. Unfortunately, the platform was not what we would call “new,” and with Intel’s Tick Tock pushing ever forward, AMD again was left behind again. In reality, AMD hasn’t really released a new processor in a little over 2 years...



BIOSTAR releases the Hi-Fi B85S1 Motherboard

BIOSTAR brings out the Small but Powerful Hi-Fi B85S1 Motherboard April 20th, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan – The newest motherboard based on Intel B85 single chip architecture by BIOSTAR is ready to work hard, play hard and fit in. The Hi-Fi B85S1 supports Intel’s 4th generation Core i7 and Core i5 processors in the 1150 package and is value designed in a Micro ATX form factor with 2 channel DDR3 slots for 16GB, enough to handle any modern computing requirements and be usable in small or tight spaces. BIOSTAR’s Hi-Fi B85S1 delivers a business-rich option at a value price compared to the other companies. The Hi-Fi B85S1 features BIOSTAR innovative Hi-Fi technology, a built-in powerful headphone amplifier and Super LAN Surge Protection which enhances Ethernet protections. Being an Intel B85 chipset based system, it comes with features like Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST), for faster system boot and shorter application load time, and Intel® Small Business Advantage (Intel® SBA), which delivers business-centric security protection, such as after-hours virus scans and data backup, and blocks recognition of unwanted USB drives and Intel’s Smart Connect Technology. The BIOSTAR Hi-Fi B85S1 also perfectly fills entertainment needs with support for Direct3D 11.1 and HDMI. It has Blu-ray audio and provides a higher audio output of 24 bit/ 192KHz rather than 16 bit/48KHz from typical motherboards. In addition, the Hi-Fi B85S1 is the first to embed the “Double Hi...






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