Gigabyte Unveils AM3+ GA-990FX-Gaming Motherboard

AMD’s upcoming Zen architecture requires a new socket and supports DDR4 memory. This is the first socket change in almost five years and there hasn’t been many updates to the ageing AM3+ platform. However, in a surprise announcement, Gigabyte has just revealed the GA-990FX-Gaming motherboard which supports AMD AM3+ FX processors, and the older AM3 Phenom as well as the Athlon II.

Additionally, the motherboard can utilize a maximum capacity of 32GB 2000(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz DDR3 memory. There’s also a Killer E2201 LAN chip, Realtek ALC 1150 codec with TI Burr Brown OPA2134 operational amplifier, USB 3.1 with USB Type-C, UEFI DualBIOS Technology, 6x SATA 6Gb/s connectors and an M.2 connector.

On the rear I/O, we can see a PS/2 connector, single USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.1 Type-A, two USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, an RJ-45 port, optical S/PDIF connector and audio jacks. The motherboard provides a great deal of expansion slots and adopts a gamer-friendly red and black colour scheme. It will be fascinating to see how this performs compared to much older motherboards on the AM3+ platform, and we should be receiving a review sample from Gigabyte very soon.

GIGABYTE Launches New G1 GAMER PACKS

Gigabyte launched a new incentive that will give gamers more value and increased warranty as well as direct RMA process for customers of the G1 Gaming series motherboards. There are several different tiers that will provide different benefits based on what G1 Gamer product that you have purchased. The new service is, in all its simplicity, called the G1 GAMER PACKS.

A direct RMA process is one of the best things a company can offer and that’s something anyone who ever had to deal with stubborn shops can sign. The company behind the product is the natural partner to offer support when you have trouble as well as replace it if it can’t be fixed. Eliminating the middle man saves time, money, and nerves.

Customers that register their product newly purchased Gigabyte G1 motherboard will also get a longer warranty, up to 5-years, with express exchange service and replacement in advance option. On top of that, customers also get a cashback bonus when they upgrade this current motherboard to a successor in the future, making the upgrade quite a bit cheaper.

“The biggest wish for most gamers is to be the best and to have top grade PC Gaming hardware they can trust”. GIGABYTE takes care of these wishes with our new G1 Gamer Packs. Not only do we offer our customers a direct RMA service in case of possible hardware issue, we also offer G1 warranty extensions and the customer will also “receive a next-gen technology-bonus of up to £75 free!”, Timmy Huang, Western Europe Managing Director at GIGABYTE, explained the new service offensive.

For all the small print as well as registering for the G1 GAMER PACKS, you can visit the official Mini-Site here.

Testing Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 960 2GB Graphics Cards In SLI

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different, as we have 2 GeForce GTX 960’s ready for some testing. The first is the Asus STRIX GeForce GTX 960 (check out our review of that here) and the second is the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 (check out our review of that here). When striving for the best results, it is favourable to test 2 of the same models to allow for no variation in any clock speeds or variations in any integrated components. Fortunately, as these cards are both non-reference, we have some headroom for overclocking, which is sometimes not present in reference models.

In their dedicated reviews, you can see that both of these graphics cards are more than capable of running most feature games and benchmarking software at playable levels at 1440p. When tested at 4K resolution, both of these cards struggled and failed to wow us, so it will be interesting to see how these cards stack up against their single scores. This setup might be the favourable choice for some, as it is more budget friendly than splashing the cash on a pair of GTX 970’s or GTX 980’s, so let’s find out if it’s worth it!

We inserted both GTX 960 graphics cards onto our Core i7 5820K and X99-based test system, ensuring adequate spacing and that both have access to sufficient PCI-e bandwidth for SLI operation.

Due to both of these graphics cards having ample cooling capabilities in their own right, position isn’t really an issue. In this test, we have placed the Gigabyte G1 Gaming graphics card in the traditional ‘Hot Spot’ due to its far more substantial cooling solution.

As we saw in the dedicated reviews, thermal throttling isn’t an issue here. In fact, both of these cards have a passive running feature which allows for passive running under 65°c. It will be very interesting to see if these cards can run passively together, possibly even while playing slightly more demanding games.

Both of the graphics cards we have here are non-reference, they have a higher base clock as standard compared to a reference design card. We will have to match these cards clock speeds of both core and memory to try to closely match them and to give the best results.

 

Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 2GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction and A Closer Look


The GeForce GTX 960, NVIDIA’s newest graphics card iteration, has caused quite a stir in recent weeks. The release of the cards were delayed, bringing the actual release of these models to over 4 months later than their big brothers, the GTX 970/980. Research surveys taken from Steam has revealed that around 66% of gamers still use the equivalent of a GTX 660 or lower; this card will offer a simple plug and play upgrade with performance increases of up to 60%. The GTX 960 utilises the same Maxwell process technology that the rest of the GTX 900 family uses. This series has brought more performance with lower power requirements and in the form of the GTX 960, it has dropped all the way down to 120w while only using a single 6-pin power connector. Along with a lower power consumption, the new Maxwell process brings MFAA (Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing), an exclusive for the GTX 900 family, this feature can deliver a 30% performance boost while maintaining the high quality detail we demand while gaming, ideal for gaming at high resolutions.

The version we have here is the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960. It features a revamped Windforce cooler, giving it a premium look and hopefully premium performance. Changing the plastic shroud to metal and an additional metal back plate to support the behemoth heatsink contained within; they have also changed the fan fin design to increase airflow by as much as 23% and reducing noise to under 20 decibels.

Gigabyte have given this new addition the same overclocking treatment as the GTX 970/980, giving it a 10% base and boost overclock to 1241 MHz and 1304 MHz respectively and increasing the TDP to 160W compared to the 120W standard, but with a 6-phase power design to balance load and to reduce temperatures, while also increasing product life. This increase power and 6-phase power design allows for higher stable overclocks and no throttling in intensive benchmarking sessions.

The packaging follows the same design as the other G1 Gaming series boxes with the key features along the bottom and the dominant Gigabyte ‘Eye’ logo giving additional colour alongside the NVIDIA green. Contents include a Quick start guide, driver disc and 2x molex to 6-pin GPU power adapter cables.

This card has a very demanding presence, measuring in at 312mm in length, it may prove a tight squeeze into some of the smaller cases such as the Corsair 250D. The brushed metal shroud with black opaque fan fins gives the impression that this card is here to do the business with no fancy gimmicks.

Along the bottom, we can get a first glimpse of the heatsink and see the size of the PCB, a fair size longer than its competitors. The shroud hugs the heatsink around the sides, with well-placed cut-outs to allow for increased airflow, while keeping the card rigid.

At the end of the card, you can see the protruding ends of the 4x 6mm copper heatpipes. The backplate here bends up to almost meet the shroud, maximising the dissipation of the hot air from the fans.

Looking down onto the top of the card, you get a better feel for the size of it. Matching the length of the rest of the G1 Gaming series, this will have no issue handling those intense factory overclocks. We see here the iconic ‘Windforce’ Logo which illuminates blue when powered on. This particular model has the ability to run passively under less intense gaming sessions and general use. On each side of the ‘Windforce’ Logo, there are 2 additional logos; ‘Stop’ and ‘Silent’ which also illuminate when the card is running passively. You can also see the additional 6-pin power connection that works towards the 6-phase power design.

The back of the card follows suit to the other G1 Gaming styles. Mirrored cutouts aid rear ventilation and cooling of some of the rear mounted components. There is also a laser etched ‘G1 Gaming’ Logo and Gigabyte ‘Eye’ Logo, upside down, but that would appear the correct way up when mounted in a standard case.

Here you can see the vast array of outputs. 1x DVI-I, 1x DVI-D, 3x DisplayPort 1.2 and 1x HDMI 2.0. The HDMI port is able to support 4k resolutions at 60Hz. Used in certain configurations, you can utilise Gigabytes own ‘Flex Display Technology’. The technology allows the use of up to 4 monitors for multi-monitor displays. The easiest way of achieving this would be to use both DVI outputs, 1 x Display port and the HDMI port, but other configurations are available.

Gigabyte G1.Gaming H81 Motherboard Revealed

If you’re on the market for an entry-level micro-ATX motherboard, then today is a good day. The new Gigabyte G1.Gaming may not pack waves of ultra high-end features, but for those on a tighter budget, it packs more than enough features to get a good gaming rig off the ground.

Equipped with the modest H81 chipset, the board is almost identical to the older H81M-WW motherboard. The big changes would be that there’s a second PCIe 2.0 x1 slot instead of a legacy PCI, and the PCH heatsink is a nicer design. The board comes equipped with the ALC892 CODEC for onboard audio, audio-grade electrolytic capacitors and a ground-layer isolation.

It comes equipped with a good quality Intel gigabit Ethernet controller, not the cheaper Realtek ones that are featured on the older H81M-WW motherboard.

There are no details on pricing just yet, but since this board has been stripped back to the bare essentials, we would expect it to be fiercely competitive.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 Motherboard Preview

With Intel’s new chipset and 4th generation processors almost upon us, you’ll find the eTeknix team working doubly hard to bring you the latest and greatest content before and during the launch, but this comes with its hiccups to say the least. With a constant new set of BIOS updates being handed to us almost daily, we are vigorously testing away, and trying to tease our readers with some visuals at the same time which is where we see ourselves today.

We wanted to show our readers a bit of an insight into some of the boards that we’re getting a chance to work with, and to talk about their features and aesthetics, while not breaking Intel NDA and getting the whip for being naughty. This is why we have a huge set of previews being released over the next coming days, showing you exactly that, while focussing mainly on the design and style among some features that are non-Intel related.

Next up in the preview arena we find the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5; a micro-ATX form factor motherboard which is set to pack a punch, like its predecessor did with the Z77 chipset. For those not wanting to skimp all out on the fully-fledged G1.Sniper 5, a micro-ATX board has been developed to give users the power and features of a true gaming board branded under the G1-Skiller series, without losing out on any of the beneficial traits that we expect within this range.

Following on from the G1.Sniper M3, we find the M5 keeping with the colour scheme and design of the Sniper range with a black PCB and green accented components ranging from the DIMM slots to the PCI-Express lanes, even to the heatsinks.Design wise, we see the same branding being used and from attending a MSI event in London, MSI plan to release more models within the MPOWER range, offering different price points depending on the users needs.

For a small form factor board, the M5 certainly isn’t lacking cooling potential with two heatsinks around the CPU socket area, providing sufficient cooling to those wishing to push the boundaries of the new 4th generation processors from Intel.

A small, low-profile heatsink covers over the new Intel chipset, while still allowing larger PCI-Express expansion cards room within your system. The G1-Killer branding is present here, showing you that this board means business.

For those wanting a full look around the board, checking out its design and feature list, we have produced a video preview just for you, where we take a close look at the board in a lot more detail, while trying not to give anything away in terms of benchmarks and performance.

 [youtube]http://youtu.be/-DJJGbSiC5s[/youtube]

I’ve always liked the G1-Killer range of boards, though never were a big fan of the bullets and other similar design ploys, but Gigabyte have clearly cleaned up their act and have gone down a more serious route with the G1.Sniper M5 and have opted for a simple yet effective design and have still managed to chuck on a load of features despite its micro-ATX form factor.

Now smaller components seem to be getting a lot of hype lately especially with small form factor chassis being released to the market like the BitFenix Prodigy among others, which opens up a huge pathway for mini-ITX and Micro-ATX boards, which finds the likes of Gigabyte producing more products for these markets, which is where we find the M5 suitably placed. The thing I honestly love from a personal point of view is that they still manage to include key features that we’re all used to such as improved audio, three PCI-Express x16 lanes, and overclocking technology that is generally found on higher-spec full ATX form factor products.

In summary, this is one of the boards that I’m most excited about, and that’s purely down to previous experience with the G1.Sniper M3 that seemed to keep wanting to push in terms of performance and overclockability and had no flaws whatsoever, while still maintaining a small footprint with thanks to its form factor. From a design point of view, the M5 is a personal favourite of mine and with a shiny green watercooling kit, we think modders are going to love the colour scheme and the form factor will allow for some really cool looking systems, so all we have to wait on now is to see if the performance matches this high quality of design that we’ve seen today.