Motherboard manufacturer Biostar today announced its latest addition to the Hi-Fi family, the B85Z5 motherboard operating on Intel's B85 chipset. The board is usable for 4th-Gen Intel CPUs using the 1150 socket. As with all B85 boards, Biostar's new unit will have somewhat locked overclocking functionality, making it a better partner to non-K SKU CPUs and business users.
During our visit to the MSI Suite at this year’s CES, we were pleased to find two things that we’ve been waiting on for a long time: USB 3.1 and the USB 3.1 type-C interface. The latter appeared on a soon-to-be available Z97A Gaming 6 motherboard. The receptacle is small and close in size to a micro USB connector. Its contacts are inside, mounted on a central piece of molded plastic. The difference between these contacts and those of a micro USB receptacle is that they appear on both sides of the central piece of plastic. This means that when you connect the cable to the receptacle, it works the first time, every time.
Motherboard selection is mercifully less intimidating than picking a laptop for gaming. With boards, we can establish a set of criteria and narrow down the selection immediately to something more manageable; lower prices than other components also make selection somewhat easier to mentally justify. Our criteria for motherboard selection typically includes consideration of socket type, form factor, ability to overclock, and chipset
We've previously published chipset guides for both AMD's latest chipsets and Intel's Haswell chipsets, each of which shows the differentiating features between various inter-platform options. This buyer's guide looks at the best gaming motherboards for Intel's Haswell and Devil's Canyon processors, then AMD's FM2+ platform. AM3+ is not considered in this guide, given its age and our decision to abandon the platform in PC build guides. We've also opted to exclude X99 motherboards from this guide, given the added complexity and entirely different architecture.
We'll start with tables, then cover the things to look for in a motherboard, and then move on to our selections for this season.
Welcome to another edition of our weekend hardware sales roundup. This weekend, we decided to get back to our low budget-minded roots. With the ongoing Great GM204 shortage of 2014 in full swing, I decided to focus on the best deals on low-budget video cards. We found three NVIDIA GPUs and one AMD GPU, as well as a great deal on an Intel upgrade bundle.
Welcome to another addition of our Weekly Hardware Sales round-up. This weekend, we found some sales on a trio of video cards (GTX 770, 750 Ti, and R9 270), a hard drive, and a motherboard.
The first of our more major X99 motherboard coverage comes bearing MSI’s dragon-engraved badge. Intel’s new platform and CPU officially launched on day one of PAX (where we got some video), bringing a new era of $1000 Extreme Series CPUs for professional development and enthusiast rigs. We saw ASUS’ X99 Deluxe board on day one, but didn’t get much of a chance to go in depth.
MSI, EVGA, and Gigabyte also have a presence at PAX Prime 2014, making for a firm hardware showcase at a typically gaming-oriented event. MSI’s booth hosted the X99S XPower AC board, the X99S Gaming 7, and the X99S SLI Plus. We took an extended look at the company’s X99S XPower AC motherboard, home to 5xPCI-e slots, the X99 chipset, M.2 SATA, SATA-e, and one of the biggest VRMs we’ve seen recently.
The show floor presence was much more vibrant for Intel at this year’s PAX Prime. When we visited the company at East, presentation was largely devoted to a few 700-series SSDs, some (very large) gaming notebooks, and that was about it. This event’s booth came equipped with Intel-branded lamp shades over the ceiling lights – a clear indication of the company’s technological progress.
Impressive light diffusion aside, Intel did have fairly exciting lineup of hardware to look at: The i7-5960X had its embargo officially lifted at 9AM PST and made an appearance at the show, ASUS has its new X99-Deluxe boards powering the booth, Alienware, Falcon Northwest, Maingear, and other shops have systems present, and there’s a clear push toward the DIY PC consumer. A huge step in the direction we all want to move.
Scott's taking a break this weekend for vacation, so I'll be filling-in for the regularly-scheduled hardware sales round-up. This weekend, we spotted an ASRock Z97 Extreme4 board marked down to $130, 27" Acer IPS panel for $195, and Tt eSports Poseidon Z keyboard for $70.
Flashing firmware used to be a sort-of haphazard process that often resulted in bricked motherboards. At least, that was my experience when working with pre-UEFI motherboards in a lab environment. The widespread adoption of UEFI in modern motherboards means that usability has been substantially improved, and with that in mind, flashing no longer requires a bootable CD with command prompt loaded.
This quick tutorial shows how to flash your firmware (update BIOS) using any modern ASUS board. We used an ASUS Crosshair V in this guide, but the steps apply to any other E-Z Flash-equipped board. Note that some modern board manufacturers (MSI and ASRock both included) will also allow BIOS flashing over ethernet or wireless connection, though USB is still the easiest and safest method.
To celebrate the middle of Summer (also known as "oh no, its almost time to start the back to school count-down clock"), we take a look at some items to make “homework” much more enjoyable. Our weekend sales round-up features the G710 mechanical keyboard for $120, a case from NZXT for only $55, the last-gen MSI Z87-G41 for $70, and a Mushkin 480GB SSD at $210. Keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts for all of our articles and additional sales throughout the week (and if you don't, we will hunt you down and force you to watch Killer Clowns From Outer Space -- you have been warned).
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