2014 looks set to be a successful year for ASUS and Gigabyte according to industry sources. In the second quarter of this year Gigabyte and ASUS are expected to have shipped around 5.1 to 5.2 million of their own motherboards, by the third quarter that is set to rise to staggering six million units. The reason? Well apparently new demand is being driven by the PC DIY market after Intel’s new 9 Series chipset release and Devil’s Canyon Core i7 4790K processor. Devil’s Canyon and Z97 may be popular but the real star of the show is Intel’s Pentium G3258 “Anniversary Edition” unlocked and overclockable dual core processor. This processor is reported to already be driving significant demand for cheaper Intel motherboards based on the H97, H87, B85 and H81 chipsets. Motherboard vendors are optimistic that the G3258 will allow the markets to digest older inventories of H87, B85 and H81 motherboards so they can make way for newer Intel 9 series motherboards. Most motherboard vendors will reportedly achieve a 10-20% sequential growth in shipments in Q3 compared to Q2.
Digitimes reports that Intel’s new C2 stepping 8 Series (Z87/Z85/H87/H81/B85) Haswell motherboards will be available from September to consumers. The issue with the current C1 stepping is a design flaw with the USB 3.0 host controllers that caused connected USB devices through the USB 3.0 ports to improperly restart on resume from sleep state such as S3 suspend to RAM. This means users have to uplug and refit USB devices, a significant hassle if you are running USB storage devices via your USB 3.0 ports.
The issue came to light back in March, and we brought you the news, but it was too late to fix since it needed a hardware fix and motherboard vendors had already begun finalising the first wave of LGA 1150 motherboards. While the error is a minor one for some people it has been off-putting but you will only have to wait until September to pick up C2 revisions of the current Intel 8 Series motherboards. Of course users are advised to check with their retailer first if they are looking for a C2 revision as C1 revision stock are likely to remain in the retail channel until the end of the year.
With ASRock, ECS, Biostar and Gigabyte all introducing their own version of H87/B85/H81 overclocking it was only a matter of time but ASUS announced theirs. The BIOS updates allow K series Haswell CPUs, namely the Core i5 4670K and the Core i7 4770K, to have their multiplier adjusted on the H87/H81/B85 chipsets when using the new BIOS. ASUS have made the new BIOS updates made available at each of these links. If you have any of these motherboards you can update them to the latest BIOS to unlock overclocking:
In most cases I can see H87 and B85 motherboards being paired with a Core i5 4670K to make a cheaper gaming system. That said H87 and B85 motherboards tend to be 10-30% cheaper than their Z77 counterparts as Intel charges much less to its motherboard partners for H87/B85 chipsets than it does for Z77. Although that being said the i5 4670K is still substantially more expensive than the i5 3570K so making a cheap gaming system is best done on Ivy Bridge or using AMD’s FX processors and the 990FX chipset.
ASRock have just announced their latest mini-ITX motherboard. The ASRock H87E-ITX/ac is based on Intel’s fourth generation “Haswell” CPU platform, LGA 1150. It supports all LGA 1150 processors from the Haswell generation and given ASRock’s recently announced H87 overclocking BIOS update, this mini-ITX motherboard should allow for overclocking of K series CPUs like the Core i5 4670K and Core i7 4770K.
The main unique selling point is that ASRock are bundling 802.11.ac WLAN with the product, this is based on Intel’s i217V chipset and can provide a maximum theoretical throughput of 867 Mbps. Other features include a 4 Phase VRM for the CPU, 32GB of dual channel memory support, a PCIe 3.0 X16 slot and an mPCIe slot that’s already populated by that 802.11ac WLAN card. A wireless antenna is also provided which connects into the rear IO to provide the signal for the 802.11ac.
Connectivity is abundant with Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, six SATA III and a single eSATA (shared with one internal SATA slot), 8 channel audio based on Realtek ALC1150, optical SPDIF, four USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI. ASRock will ship this board from the end of this week. Pricing and availability is not yet available.
ECS, Biostar and ASRock have all released their H81/H87/B85 overclocking BIOS’ for K series CPUs. Yet it was only a matter of time before one of the other big boys in the motherboard market (Gigabyte/ASUS) came out with their own. Gigabyte have duly delivered and have announced a beta BIOS update for their B85 and H87 motherboards that will allow you to overclock Haswell LGA 1150 CPUs providing they are K Series and have an unlocked multiplier.
With so many motherboard vendors finding a way around this limitation so quickly we wonder whether Intel has authorised such a move to enhance their competitiveness with AMD in the low-end price segment of the market. The BIOS from Gigabyte is only in its beta form but if you are using a Core i5 4670K or Core i7 4770K with a Gigabyte B85/H87 motherboard, such as the B85-HD3 pictured above, then you can now tackle some overclocking by playing around with the base-clock multipliers.
BIOS updates will be available for download on the respective product pages of your Gigabyte H87/B85 motherboards at the Gigabyte website in the downloads tab.
We have now seen ASRock and ECS both announce H87/B85 overclocking with their new BIOS updates. They are now joined by Biostar who have also released a wave of BIOS updates for their motherboards to allow for non-Z series K overclocking. Intel’s H87 and B85 chipsets are not typically supportive of overclocking, even with unlocked K-series CPUs. With the support of overclocking of K-series CPUs on these non-Z chipsets Intel is now able to steal some of AMD’s thunder by offering cheap motherboards for overclocking.
The BIOS update they provide isn’t too revolutionary and offers a multiplier adjustment option which you can tweak if you have a K-Series CPU. Biostar will be rolling the update out for their H87/H81/B85 chipset motherboards over the coming months so if you’ve got a Biostar Haswell motherboard then be sure to check these BIOS updates out. Given that Biostar already offer some of the most affordable motherboards on the market this latest update will make getting a Haswell overclocked system even cheaper.
Just a week ago ASRock revealed to us that they had been able to enable overclocking of K series CPUs on the H87 and B85 chipsets. These are chipsets that typically do not allow for overclocking even with K series CPUs that have unlocked multipliers. Now ECS are following their lead and announcing something similar, while I’ve already heard that Gigabyte are preparing the feature too and no doubt other motherboard vendors will all follow suit.
What is slighty different about ECS’ announcement is that they mention H81 too in addition to H87 and B85. ECS have not allotted any particular name to this feature but what it does is pretty clear cut and that is it allows you to adjust the multiplier of an unlocked processor on non-Z chipsets, aka not Z87. ECS’ BIOS now offers an option to adjust the CPU multiplier within the BIOS and again this should allow for gaming systems to be build on a much tighter budget because H81/H87/B85 motherboards can be picked up for much cheaper than their Z87 Haswell counterparts.
The belief that only the highest end chipset motherboards can overclocked has be common place. In fact during Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge Core series Intel processor generations all the low end chipsets did not support overclocking. However, ASRock show that something has changed with Haswell and they are demonstrating overclocking of K Series CPUs on H87 and B85 Haswell chipsets. As far as I am aware ASRock are the only motherboard vendor who offer overclocking of K Series CPUs on H87 and B85 motherboards and this is a pretty cool development in my opinion.
ASRock’s Fatal1ty H87 motherboard is the first to allow for such Haswell overclocking using ASRock’s “Non-Z OC” feature which is placed within their UEFI BIOS. If you already have a Fatal1ty H87 Performance motherboard then ASRock are providing a new BIOS update with the Non-Z OC feature. I am certainly hoping that more motherboard vendors take this feature on and offer overclocking because if it can hit mainstream H87 and B85 motherboards then we could easily see budget Intel gaming systems become more affordable as you can pick up B85 and H87 motherboards for around 30% cheaper than the cheapest Z87 motherboards. Of course if it only comes with the Fatal1ty H87 motherboard then it is a kind-of pointless feature and this motherboard is a lot more expensive than many Z87 motherboards.
Mini ITX motherboards are all the rage these days and as far as I am aware MSI have been a bit late to the Mini ITX party, up until now that is. MSI have released a new Mini-ITX motherboard for the LGA 1150 socket that will be available with Z87, B85 or H87 chipsets. Like most mini-ITX motherboards connectivity is limited to one PCI Express slot and two DIMM slots because of the compact form factor. Yet you can still run a Core i7 4770K Haswell chip on this motherboard with a pair of high spec DDR3 DIMMs in dual channel and a power single GPU graphics card like a GTX Titan.
Naturally each chipset caters for something different so Z87 will be ideal for mini gaming rigs, H87 for media PCs and HTPCs and B85 for compact low power office systems. This MSI Mini ITX motherboard will support all Haswell LGA 1150 CPUs from the entry level Celeron to the highest spec Core i7. There are four SATA ports provided, whether they are SATA III or SATA II will depend on the chipset as far as I am aware. MSI appear to have integrated a wireless card into their mini ITX motherboard. Other features like Military Class 4, OC Genie 4 (for Z87 only), 4K UHD support and USB DAC power are all supported.
ASRock have rapidly become one of the most premium and desired of all the motherboard vendors in a relatively short space of time. Since P67 ASRock have really upped their game producing some of the best looking, most featured packed and good value for money motherboards on the market. If these latest “leaked” images of the ASRock Haswell motherboard series are to be believed then this fantastic trend looks set to continue.
According to the leaked source ASRock will be producing three series of motherboards for Haswell; Extreme, OC Formula and Fatal1ty. All Extreme and OC branded motherboards will use the Z87 chipset while one of the two Fatal1ty series motherboards will use H87 and the other Z87. The H87 one is branded as performance while the Z87 one as professional. All models marked with a “/ac” will carry integrated 802.11.ac network Wi-Fi chips.
As you can see ASRock is continuing its OC Formula motherboard series, created first for Z77, with Z87 using that excellent yellow and black colour scheme.
Revealed slides of the ASRock Extreme6 Z87 motherboard show it will be opting for what appears to be dual Intel Ethernet.
As mentioned above the Fatal1ty series is going to be delivered with two variants, the H87 Performance model and the Z87 Professional model.
What are your thoughts on the looks of, and models available in, the new ASRock Haswell motherboard line up?
Around a month ago we brought you the news of what we thought would be Intel’s last ever motherboard, the DZ87KLT-75K. After Intel talked about exiting from the motherboard business we genuinely thought that was going to be the last motherboard and that’s what everyone else thought too. Not to mention the fact Intel made no attempts at refuting the claims of its exit from the business.
Now it appears that Intel actually has another four motherboards coming in addition to that one. Unfortunately there is nothing in the way of pictures but here are the full specifications of the other four Intel motherboards they are going to be releasing for the upcoming Haswell LGA 1150 platform:
vPro with AMT 9.0 / Identity Protection / Anti-theft Technology / Smart Response / Rapid Storage Technology (RAID 0/1/5/10)
1 PCIe 3.0 x16 slot + 1 PCIe 2.0 x1 + 2 PCI
6 SATA 6Gb/s (one via mSATA)
6 USB 2.0 + 8 USB 3.0 + Parallel/Serial Port + PS/2
DisplayPort + DVI-D + Analog D-SUB
Naturally how good these motherboards are is going to be very dependent on their price, their performance and how they look. All three of those things remain unknown but if previous Intel motherboards are anything to go by then the performance and looks will be both be pretty good, while the pricing is normally a little bit on the high side but that’s the price you pay for an Intel warranty and Intel reliability (hence why their SSDs cost so much more than everyone elses).
What are your thoughts on these new motherboards from Intel?