GIGABYTE Launches Two AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboards With A Twist

It came as quite a surprise when GIGABYTE first mentioned their new AMD socket AM3+ based motherboards about a month ago and quite a few people were shocked by this news. But there can be a lot of benefits in these two new AM3+ based GIGABYTE motherboards, benefits that some people might not have considered.

The most likely scenario for these new motherboards is probably one where the old motherboard has died or generally just starts to bug around. It is time for a replacement despite that the user might originally have intended to wait for one of the new CPU architectures such as Intel’s upcoming Extreme series or AMD’s own Zen-based series. You could buy an up to six years old motherboard and gain nothing, or you could get one of GIGABYTE’s new ones and get a lot of benefits from modern technology and advancements that have been made since the AM3+ socket was introduced in 2009.

The two new motherboards are the GA-990FX-Gaming and GA-970-Gaming that both got the GIGABYTE G1 Gaming treatment. They come with an M.2 connectors that can transfer with up to 10Gb/s on the 970-based board and 20Gb/s on the 990FX-based.

Both can utilize NVMe and SATA drives, but you naturally you won’t reap the full benefits of an NVMe drive with 10Gb/s speeds. It would still be great and the board is able to use these modern drives with the result being a much faster systems and one that takes less CPU usage than an equivalent SATA version.

GIGABYTE also added USB 3.1 and USB Type-C connectors to these motherboards, allowing you to use the newest peripherals too. This again allows you to move forward with all other aspects of your system while you wait for one of the new hot platforms to be released.

The bigger of the two boards comes with three PCI-Express x16 slots and the smaller only has two, but both support dual-graphics solutions and you can add up to 32GB DDR3 memory to both. Another nice touch on the PCI-Express slots is the use of the exclusive ultra durable metal shielding that will give the slots more durability.

Being boards in the G1 Gaming series, these boards also come with great network and audio solutions. The Audio is taken care of by an 115dBB SNR HD Audio system with built-in rear audio amplifier and high-quality audio capacitors as well as the Audio Noise Guard with Ambient LED Trace Path Lighting to prevent interference. The network connection is provided by a KillerNIC E2200 network controller.

GIGABYTE didn’t reveal any pricing or availability, but considering that they are launched now they should be available soon and the pricing should be close to the predecessors.

AMD Radeon R9 380 2GB CrossFireX Graphics Cards Review

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different, we are extremely keen to bring you the CrossFireX review of the recently released AMD Radeon R9 380 2GB graphics cards. In most consumers minds, the R9 380 2GB is just a rebranded R9 285 with slightly increased specifications and shiny new cooling designs. While this is the case, the matured manufacturing process has allowed AMD to reap every bit of performance from the Tonga GPU and then handed it to sub-vendors and given a boosted overclock.

In the test bench today, we have the ASUS STRIX R9 380 (review available here) and MSI Gaming R9 380 2GB (review coming soon). In the independent reviews, these cards proved that there was still some performance in the aging architecture, but didn’t give us the impression that this would be a viable upgrade option for those already with the R9 280 or R9 285 GPU’s.

We inserted both graphics cards onto our Core i7 5820K and X99-based test system, ensuring adequate spacing for optimum cooling and that both have access to sufficient PCI-e bandwidth for CrossFire operation. Due to the variations in the cards themselves such as power inputs and clock speeds, this isn’t an ideal scenario for CrossFireX; however, both GPU’s have been downclocked to as close as possible to each other to give the best possible results.

ASUS Announces TUF Trooper B85 Motherboard

ASUS’ Republic of Gamers division created a new motherboard that is something a little bit out of the ordinary, the new TUF Trooper B85 motherboard. The new Trooper is built around the B85 Express chipset and with an Intel LGA 1150 socket for the 4th and 5th generation Intel Core CPUs. It uses DDR3 memory of which it supports up to 16GB with the two DIMM slots. Being a TUF board it also comes with all the extra tested and reliable TUF components, and it also has support for Quad-GPU CrossFireX setups.

If you think that the motherboard looks a bit out of shape, then you aren’t wrong. The height is still the standard ATX form factor, but ASUS cut 64mm off the width of the board and moved the southbridge between the PCIe slots. Nothing looks cramped in there and there’s plenty of room for everything, so why not. The long design allows the use of more PCIe cards over a square design such as the mATX.

The TUF Trooper motherboard comes with six SATA ports where four of them are SATA3 and the last two are SATA2 ports. It has onboard headers for both USB 3.0 and 2.0 and also comes with two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 on the IO panel. The network is covered by an RJ45 gigabit ethernet connector powered by a Realtek 8111GR controller. Users who want a great sound aren’t left out either as the Trooper has an onboard and shielded 8-channel Realtek ALC887 HD codec.

The ASUS TUF series of motherboards isn’t just built with extra reliable components and tested rigorously, they also come with a row of exclusive features. The TUF Thermal Radar Core keeps track of all your components with more sensors than usual and allows for easy setup of your fan profiles. The TUF ESD Guards 2 is the second generation of protection against inadvertent electrostatic discharges when connectors are inserted into the IO panel and it’s been improved with a 30% better resistance over the previous generation.

The TUF LANGuard helps your network to keep a better and more stable network connection, which even improves the throughput with extra surface-mounted capacitors. The TUF Audio design keeps the sound pure with extra shielding that is LED-lit and uses a dedicated audio layer.

The Best Graphics Solution You Can Buy For Around £1000: Sapphire 295X2’s

Introduction and A Closer Look


The battle of performance is one key area for buying a high-end graphics card like the AMD Radeon 295X2 or Titan/Titan Black/Titan-Z from Nvidia, but for those with a sensible head on their shoulders, you have to factor in pricing, though as an impulse buy, you may not want to. It’s always been a tight margin between AMD and Nvidia on the extreme segment market, as they both know that a premium can be requested from the consumer, and those wanting the best of the best will quite happily delve into their pockets to have it, and will most likely get it in the ear from their partners shortly after.

AMD have been quite generous with their Radeon 295X2 mammoth, water-cooled, uber, dual GPU monster as of late with price cuts left, right and center. While MSI and other brands have taken some money off to give the consumer a better deal, we’re finding one brand who has taken price cuts to the extreme. Sapphire are a market leader and for a very good reason, and with the 295X2 selling at a staggeringly low £599 including VAT at Overclockers UK, we want to see exactly how much performance you get for this amazing price.

We’re not going to talk too much about the cards aesthetics or cooling performance, as we’ve done all of that around 9 months ago, and if you fancy a brush up, you can check out our fully fledged review of the card on its own here. For now, we’re going to jump straight into how two of these Goliath cards operate in CrossFire and if they really can offer extreme unrivalled performance for an amazing price.