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Motherboards & Chipsets Articles

AMD A10-7850K, MSI R7 250 OC, MSI A88XM Gaming Review
Neoseeker's review of the AMD A10-7850K APU featuring the MSI R7 250 OC graphics card and MSI A88XM Gaming motherboard.

AMD Athlon 5350 & ASUS AM1I-A Review
AMD's Athlon CPU goes APU with the new Kabini-based Athlon 5350, designed to bring competitive computing for a low price.

Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH & Z77X-UP5 TH Motherboard Review
These Intel Z77 motherboards feature dual Thunderbolt ports to support a new generation of expansion devices.

ASRock Z77 OC Formula Review
ASRock had two keywords in mind when it designed the Z77 OC Formula, value and performance.

Sapphire Pure Black 990FX Motherboard Review
Sapphire gives a go at the AM3+ platform with the affordable but highly-connected Pure Black 990FX.

Motherboards & Chipsets News

HP CEO steps down due to sexual harassment charges [Update]

13 comments Chris Ledenican - 12:55pm (PST) Like Share

Leaving in disgrace, but with a golden parachute

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Hewlett-Packard's CEO Mark Hurd has stepped down due to a sexual harassment claim filed against him and the company. An internal investigation into the matter has begun -- Hurd was found to not only have violated the company's sexual harassment policy, but his actions were said to be in clear contrast to HP’s standard of business conduct. The details that have emerged on the matter since Hurd’s departure appear to make the situation far worse than originally reported.

According to the New York Times, Hurd had been filing false expense reports in order to hide an inappropriate relationship he was having with a contractor. In the report there was no mention of how long the affair had been going on or how much money was charged to the company. Executive vice president and general counsel Michael Holston said Hurd displayed “a profound lack of judgment.”

Even with Hurd being forced out of HP in disgrace, he is still set to receive a $50 million severance payout.

HP has named Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjack as its interim CEO, while a board committee has been tapped to search for a permanent replacement.

Update: When the news of Mark Hurd’s affair first broke, there was no mention of whom the HP contractor involved was. Well, we now know the woman in question is soft-core porn actress Jodie Fisher. Along with working in the porn industry, her credentials include being a contestant on NBC’s “Age of Love” and hosting an exercise infomercial.

Once it was revealed she was the HP contractor, Jodie Fisher released the statement below though her lawyer.

"Mark and I never had an affair or intimate sexual relationship. I first met Mark in 2007 when I interviewed for a contractor job at the company. At HP, I was under contract to work at high-level customer and executive summit events held around the country and abroad. I prepared for those events, worked very hard and enjoyed working for HP. I have resolved my claim with Mark privately, without litigation, and I do not intend to comment on it further."

Her comment of not having an affair with Hurd is contradictory to the news on the matter, but at this point whether the affair happened or not is irrelevant.

 
 

Surprise Mini-ITX MINIX 890GX-USB3 packs a lot of punch

2 comments Kevin Spiess - 3:19am (PST) Like Share

Mini-ITX motherboard with USB 3, core unlock feature, HD 4290 and more

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A motherboard maker that most North Americans probably haven't heard of -- J&W, based in Taiwan -- has just released a mini-ITX motherboard that is impressive for the amount of features they managed to cram aboard.

Built on an AMD 890GX chipset, the MINIX 890GX-USB3 has a lot of functionality for just a little device. As you might have guessed from the name, their is a USB 3.0 controller on board -- a feature that has only recently been appearing on ATX motherboards. In addition, the SB8590 south bridge has a 6Gpbs SATA (with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10) controller, and there is dual Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet controllers. Even my home P55 system currently doesn't have dual Ethernet controllers, so I am a bit jealous. 

The feature list includes the chipset's Radeon HD 4290 IGP, with 128MB of DDR3 side-port memory. If that isn't enough graphics punch for you, you can expand using the single PCIE x16 slot. Nice for an Mini-ITX board, you also get the choice of HDMI, DVI, or VGA outputs for thew integrated graphics. In addition, there is mini-PCIE slot which you could use for further expansion potential. And on-board audio, of course.

Sweetening the pot even further, the 890GX-USB3 is capable of core unlocking, so you can potentially get an extra core out your AM3 socket CPU. This is done not through the BIOS as is normally the case, but instead, through a Windows utility.

If you haven't had a chance to play with a Mini-ITX motherboard, they are about the size of a personal size pizza, so this is a great deal to fit on such a small board. If J&W keeps this kind of thing up, the future looks bright for them.

The bad news is that it does not appear that J&W has much of a presence in North America. This should only appear in European  and Asian stores.

 
 

Foxconn orders massive nets to catch jumping factory workers

7 comments Kevin Spiess - 10:57am (PST) Like Share

12th jumper commits suicide

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Foxconn, the world's largest electronics manufacturer, continues to have more problem with workplace suicides. Just hours after a press conference held by company chairman Terry Gou on the matter of the bad publicity, a 12th worker, a 23-year-old, jumped to his death.  

It is generally believed that Foxconn does not treat workers much harsher than any other manufacturing company based in Shenzen, in southern China. However that is not saying much, with very long hours at very low wages, a workers' dormitory the leaves the employees in near isolation from the outside world, abusive managers, and six day work-weeks. 

While 12 suicides since January is a lot, this number is somewhat offset by the fact that Foxconn has over 400,000 workers.  If China's national statistics are accurate, the suicide rate at Foxconn is actually much less than the national average (source).    

At the press conference, Terry Gou said that the company was looking at how to improve the situation. In addition to planning to hire 70 staff psychologists, the company, incredibly, is planning to install 1.5 million square meters of netting around the workplace and dorms, to make it more difficult for employees to kill themselves on company property.  "Although this seems like a 'dumb' measure, at least it could save lives," Terry Guo was quoted as saying. 

At the press conference, Foxconn also came under fire for reportedly making factory workers sign a contract to promise that they wouldn't hurt themselves, and if they did, the contract forces them to relinquish the rights any of their family members have to sue the company for their suicides. If you like, you can read a translation of the contract over here.

(Note: Image above not from a Foxconn factory.)

 
 

AMD launches next phase of VISION technology

0 comments Carl Poirier - 5:32pm (PST) Like Share

Webcast is hosted on May 12 at 12:00 p.m. ET

You should have heard about "AMD VISION Technology", meant to simplify the process of buying a computer. The VISION idea has been featured in almost all Staples, Best Buy or FutureShop pamphlets since October 2009, so probably have heard of it somewhere along the way.

In the past few days, information was leaked about upcoming laptop processors from AMD. This matches well with AMD's forthcoming launch of its next phase of VISION Technology with lots of new products slated for launch over the following months. The refresh of its entire client platform portfolio as well as details on two new notebook and two new desktop platforms will be revealed live, May 12 at 12:00 PM ET, at:http://links.amd.com/VisionCast


Be sure not to miss that!

 
 

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra chip

4 comments Kevin Spiess - 11:13am (PST) Like Share

Has five PCIE slots

Asus is putting together a new very high-end enthusiast motherboard, the Crosshair IV Extreme.

This Socket AM3 motherboard is quite extreme indeed, with a grand total of five PCIE slots. In addition, a Lucid Hydra chip is used, so this allows you to use both AMD and NVDIA video cards at the same time, even though this is a 890FX chipset board. However, unfortuantely, like many motherboards with an abundance of PCIE slots, the slots look too close together to be able to fit in that many video cards -- you'd have to stick with single-slot cooler designs in order to use most of the slots, and there are hardly any high-end video cards these days with only single-slot coolers. 

In addition to the huge potential for GPU performance, you'll get USB 3.0 support, SATA 6Gbps, four DDR3 slots, and a bunch of on-board buttons used for overclocking, such as a core unlocker switch.

 
 

New round of Gigabyte OC challenge underway

0 comments Kevin Spiess - 11:04am (PST) Like Share

"OC Guru is you!"

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Gigabyte has teamed up with OC-tracking website HWBOT for a new round of their OC Guru is You! overclocking challenge. This OC event is wide open to entrants -- the only big deciding thing is that you have to be rocking specific, recent Gigabyte hardware. For this round of the contest, only folks with HD 5000 series video cards (but not HD 5800 or HD 5900's) and AMD Gigabyte motherboards can enter.

The competition features weekly motherboard prizes throughout May, and the top Vantage score will get you $1,500 USD. Other prizes include HD 5770 Super Overclock video cards.

And...no cheating! You'll have to follow the regular HWBOT OC score submission policy.

If you are interested, you can go over here for more details, or over here if you rather go Facebook-style.

Watch out for laser-breathing robots!

 
 

MSI's high-end XPower X58 motherboard features six PCIE slots

1 comments Kevin Spiess - 11:27am (PST) Like Share

Look at all these slots

Micro-Star International has been coming up some high-end offerings lately, with the feature-rich two recent Trinergy and Fuzion Big Bang P55 series motherboards, but the company is not about to stop there: the most recent addition to their showcase is the new XPower X58 motherboard.

Most notably this high-end gaming motherboard has a grand total of six PCIE slots so if you like having a whole flock of video cards, this motherboard could be for you. Four-way CrossFireX perhaps?

Overclockers will certainly be served with sixteen "Military Class" DrMOS phases and high quality capacitors that are fed with a normal 24-pin ATX connector, in addition to a crazy pair of 8-pin CPU 12V power connectors and 6-pin PCIE power connector. That's potential for a whole lot of voltage.

In addition you get a two-character LED readout, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gpbs, MSI's auto-overclocking 'OCGenie' feature,  a "Quantum Wave" high-definition audio card with THX and EAX, and substantial cooling with MSI's "Superpipes" (pictured above).

These are the first pictures of this new product but it's not ready to go to market yet -- expect it sometime around late May. But don't expect the XPower X58 will be cheap.

 
 

ECS putting together a mini-ITX H55 motherboard

5 comments Kevin Spiess - 11:37am (PST) Like Share

Little thing

ECS isn't a well known for mini-ITX motherboards -- but they are planning to jump into this market with a new mini-ITX product.

The "H55H-I" will use the H55 chipset. Like most ECS products, it is aimed at the more budget-minded hardware enthusiats.

If you haven't had your hands on an mini-ITX motherboard before, it is hard to tell from the photo just as small these are. It takes a lot of engineering to cram all that stuff on such a PCB.

The H55H-I is designed for <85W Clarkdale CPUs. You can pop a Lynnfield in there, but it is not recommended, as there might not be be enough voltage to keep the processor happy.

The H55H-I features four SATA ports, one eSATA port, two DDR3 slots, one 16x PCI-E slot, HDMI and DVI graphics outputs if you are using the on-chip GPU of your Core i3/Core i5.

 
 

Some details emerge on Intel's next chipset offering, Q67

1 comments Kevin Spiess - 11:03am (PST) Like Share

Series 6...hello!

A few details concerning one of Intel's new 6 series chipsets, the Q67, has turned up. The Q67 will be aimed mostly at business folks looking to get in early with Intel's Sandy Bridge -- which are a generation of upcoming 32nm quad and dual cores with clock speeds around 3GHz, 8MB cache, on-die GPU, and HyperThreading.

The Q67 will have a LGA 1155 socket for these new chips. We can expect 14 USB 2.0 ports, and six SATA ports by default. Two of these SATA ports are super-speed 6GB/sec ports, while the others are today's standard SATA2 ports, supporting 3GB/sec. Utilizing the graphics capabilites of the Sandy Bridge CPUs, the Q67 chipset will support two displays. In addition, there will be support for a PCIe 8X slot if you wanted to add a video card. 

A Q65 will be coming out around the same time as well -- it is pretty much the same chipset, just with reduced features, such as only one 6GB/s SATA port.

All this new fun stuff is due sometime in Q1 of 2011.
 

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Asus preps Rampage III Extreme for launch

3 comments Kevin Spiess - 12:36pm (PST) Like Share

X58 motherboard

Asus likes to keep things as extreme as possible, so they are just putting the finishing touches on the Rampage III Extreme, which is a new high-end performance X58 Core i5/i7 motherboard.

So, what do we have here? Well you have the typical triple-channel DDR3 support, and the soon-typical support for USB 3.0.

What isn't so typical is the grand total of four PCI-E slots. This motherboard should support both CrossFire and SLI so if high-end gaming is your thing, the Rampage III Extreme may be one possible contender for your consideration.

What is always so pretty cool -- though perhaps more cool than useful -- is that you can overclock this motherboard from your phone, using Bluetooth. Pretty nifty!

No price has been released, but that, along with the availability of the board, should be finalized very soon.

 
 
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