CPU & Motherboards
AMD's APU series market has really picked up pace over the last few years. The most recent updates to their current road map, included the new FM2+ socket A88X based chipset and the Kaveri Processor. This has really generated a great deal of interest with many of today's budget conscious consumers. However, with no updates to AMD's enthusiast FX series chip road map, AMD's APU series is really the only new technology we are seeing at the moment from its consumer line. With that said, we are excited to see that AMD is starting to put more budget friendly APU technology out in the market and we are going to shed some light on what to expect. Today we are looking at a very new low-budget APU inspired motherboard. It includes the Kabini SoC processor (which runs the Jaguar APU Cores) on a Radeon HD8000 series graphics base, and it does it all in a tight nit space. At the beginning of the year, ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) announced this Kabini SoC processing unit which houses an AMD A6-5200 CPU. It also includes a Radeon 8400 GPU all in a small mini-ITX form factor APU combo. Today we got our nitty gritty hands on this tiny power house to put it to the test. We are excited to see what this Quad Core A6-5200 APU can do. Before we jump into the details of the ECS KBN-I/5200 motherboard, lets take a look at ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems).
In the past several months, the push for Home Theater PC's (HTPC's for short) has started to grow wildly. The allure of a fully modular home theater machine that does more than just play your movies or music is simply too strong for many to resist, and rightfully so. Oftentimes the question we may ask is "What platform should I build a HTPC on?" The answers vary wildly based on individual hardware preferences. AMD seems to think that one of the best choices out there for the discerning HTPC enthusiast lies with their newest Kaveri APU. While there are many choices out there of associated hardware, with more on the way, Biostar has one now that appeals directly to the audiophile: the A88W Hi-Fi 3D. Designed with both a high-end isolated audio solution and potential for tuning an unlocked APU, this motherboard looks to be a very sensible choice for those who want a little bit from every buffet of tech; the question is, "does it deliver finely tuned notes for enthusiasts of all kinds, or does it fall flat?" We're here to find out just that.
Far too often we pay attention to the biggest and best boards on the market and overlook the ones that actually make up a large portion of the sales. Entry to mid range components are used by the majority system builders to do a specific function and to keep costs down. Today we will be looking at a board from ASRock that falls right into the Mid-Range market but does so without skimping on features. The Fatal1ty B85 Killer is directed right at system builders that are also hardcore gamers. The Fatal1ty series of products are made to address the desires of all gamers: quality audio, network lag and FPS. The B85 Killer is one of four new boards from ASRock to carry the Fatal1ty name.
Biostar has been in the motherboard business since the early 80's. While they were not always the preferred brand that enthusiasts turn to, they have definitely improved in this arena in the last few years. We saw a big improvement in their motherboard sector with the Z77 chipset launch. Now that Biostar has had this chance to improve today's newer chipset, we are going to be looking at a budget friendly chipset on the B85N-3D motherboard. This motherboard was developed on the mini-ITX platform, and, while this isn't Biostar's flagship motherboard, we are here today to put this Small Form Factor (SFF) motherboard to the test. The popularity of Small Form Factor motherboards has been on the rise, and Biostar's B85N-3D has been developed for customers looking for an HTPC or Media platform with a focus around 3D audio support. Will this motherboard be able to keep up with some of the high-end mainstream motherboards? Let's dive in and find out.
Introduction In the world of custom PC Building, consumers and builders frequently ask what the best motherboards are for Gaming PC Builds. While these are always valid questions, some folks are looking to build a high end rendering or workstation PC. The Z87 series chipset has plenty of options from the budget friendly models to enthusiast gaming motherboards; however, workstation motherboards are not as readily available. That changes today. We are going to be looking at a motherboard from ASUS, one of the few manufacturers who created a Z87 chipset based WS (workstation) motherboard to meet this niche market. We have the ASUS Z87 WS on our test bench, and we are going to put this baby to through the ringer. As an interesting aside, one of the few features of this motherboard which immediately caught our attention is the available support of Quad SLI and Crossfire with 4 PCIe slots available. Not many Z87 motherboards offer this out of the box. There are also tons of other features that we typically don’t see with your “typical” Z87 chipset motherboard. Does this bode well for this unique new board? Read on to find out! Let’s get the review started by talking about the 8 Series chipset, but first here’s a quick word about Asus: Origin of the Name “Asus” ASUS comes from the last four letters of Pegasus, the winged horse in Greek mythology that represents the inspiration of art and learning. ASUS embodies the strength, cre...
Introduction The X79 based chipset motherboards have been out for quite some time now and with the recent launch of Intel Ivy-Bridge E chips, Intel didn’t do much at this time to improve the chipset. Some will say it’s not needed and some will advise against this and say go for the new release of the Z87 based chipset. While the Z87 base chipset did have great improvements for the newly release Haswell chips, we still see a strong stand from the X79 chipset. Today, we are going to take a look at a board from ASUS that has given the X79 chipset a revision which will push the limits and take full use on Ivy-B E. This is the new ASUS P9X79-E WS motherboard. What does WS stand for? Well this is designed to be a workstation motherboard for those serious video encoders or server and workload crunching. Of course, it makes for a great enthusiast’s motherboard too. While this P9X79-E WS (workstation) motherboard is not as mainstream as some of the newer Z87 chipset based boards, ASUS has put together some unique touches to offer better performance and features. Let’s dive in a talk more about what this X79 chipset based board can do.