The Mushkin Redline series is engineered to provide magnificent reliability and low latency while utilizing impressive memory speeds well beyond the DDR4 standard. Each Mushkin kit undergoes a rigorous testing procedure to reduce the possibility of hardware failure and backed by a generous lifetime warranty. This gives the purchaser peace-of-mind and ensures their investment is protected. On another note, Mushkin use high-quality ICs to maximize performance by finding the perfect balance between frequency and latency.
Today we’re taking a detailed look at a 3000MHz 16GB quad channel kit which adopts Mushkin’s FrostByte heatsink design and features timings of 15-15-15-35. The memory’s impressive memory speed to latency ratio should result in exceptional numbers, and I expect to see it compare favourably against rival offerings.
Packaging and Accessories
The modules come in a stylish cardboard box which enhances the level of protection compared to traditional blister packs. Additionally, the small cut out allows you to see the memory in all its glory and increases your excitement during the unboxing process. It’s always great to see something a little unusual with memory packaging because the majority of kits take a fairly mundane approach to box design.
On the rear section, there’s a brief synopsis about the product’s reliability, and Mushkin’s commitment to providing excellent customer service.
A Closer Look
The memory’s primary colour is difficult to pinpoint as the red finish tends to lighten at certain angles. It’s really a cross between a dark red and pink, but once the modules are exposed to low-medium light conditions, they look like a typical red design. This unusual shading effect works superbly and makes the modules have a sense of character. I also really like the silver accent and subtle Mushkin branding which adds a sophisticated feel.
On another note, the distinctive shape on the heatspreaders stands out without detracting from the understated construction. Sadly, the green PCB doesn’t help matters and I’d much prefer to see a black PCB instead. Granted, this isn’t a major problem when the modules are installed, but it might irk some users wanting the perfect colour scheme, or using hefty LED illumination. Overall, the aesthetic design is excellent and should cater towards the mainstream gaming market rather nicely.
ASRock has just announced its latest socket LGA2011v3 motherboard addition, the X99M-Killer USB 3.1, tailored specifically for Intel’s Core i7 Haswell-E processors. It comes in a micro-ATX form factor, featuring two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports and a nice feature set.
The motherboard is said to have a 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS and an optional 4-pin Molex for powering it and all the components coupled to it. The X99M-Killer also has a 12-phase VRM for the CPU, having it wired to the four DDR4 DIMM slots in quad-channel support.
In terms of expansion slots, the motherboard comes with two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x4 electrical). Storage connectivity is provided via the 10 SATA-Express 10 Gb/s ports, one eSata 6 Gb/s and one Ultra M.2.
The X99M-Killer comes with the ASRock Purity Sound 2 onboard audio solution featuring a 115 dBA SNR Codec, audio-grade capacitors, a headphones amplifier and ground-layer isolation. Internet connectivity is provided via two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one driven by the Killer E2205 and one by the Intel i218-V controllers.
Aside from the two USB 3.1 prots, there are also six USB 3.0 connectors available (four in the rear and two by header) and two USB 2.0 ports, designed to connect a user’s keyboard and mouse. The motherboard also features a dual-BIOS with manual switching between two physical EEPROMs.
ASRock did not offer any details on the X99M-Killer USB 3.1 motherboard in terms of pricing or availability just yet.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
This is easily one of the greatest bits of technology we’ve seen this year, Haswell-E support on a Mini-ITX motherboard! That means all the ultra high-end performance you would associate with the new processors, suitable for everything from gaming to rendering workstations. What’s also exciting is that DDR4 is supported on this board, giving you even greater performance that makes this a very impressive solution for a compact workstation, with only one draw back, you’re limited to two memory slots.
Having two memory slots shouldn’t be an issue for many users, but given that one of the main benefits of Haswell-E systems is their impressive DDR4 capabilities, this cut-down design feels a little bit of a cut-back in comparison, which leaves us wondering if anything else has been cut back from the design; are you still going to get the full-fat experience and capabilities of the new Haswell-E hardware? We look forward to putting this board through its paces in a featured review in the very near future.
ASRock is launching its first X99 plus mini-ITX motherboard, the X99E-ITX/ac, at computer expo CeBIT later this month.
The Haswell-E-based board is small yet powerful, but sacrifices have been made in the name of size: it only supports dual-channel memory – a compromise to accommodate SATA ports and 40 PCIe lanes – and features only one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot.
Another space-saver is the use of the narrower LGA2011-3 socket, which is incompatible with most regular LGA2011-3 coolers, though ASRock is bundling a CPU cooler – a 2U server cooler – with the board for anyone struggling to find an appropriate fan to cool the 140w CPU. Fan controller tools are also bundled.
The X99E-ITX/ac boasts dual-stream 802.11ac WiFi, dual Intel network controllers, SATA express, and two type-A USB 3.1 ports, plus Ultra M.2, offering PCIe 3.0 x4 lanes for an M.2 slot.
ASRock are yet to announce price or a release date for the X99E-ITX/ac, though more details are expected to be revealed at CeBIT.
There has been a lot of confusion the past couple of weeks where it first was thought that Intel had pulled back the latest RSTe drivers, but in fact the were just listed wrong as they’re not working or intended to work with the X99 chipsets. There was also the false claim that the normal RST drivers wouldn’t support TRIM in RAID0 mode for SSDs, but Intel has rectified that statement and it should be fully working.
What however doesn’t work, or not as it should, are any SATA port beyond the first six. The X99 chipset supports up to ten SATA3 ports on paper and they also all work. But not for the Intel RST driver and in return this means that you can not setup a RAID over all ten ports. The last four will report as connected to a separate controller using the windows AHCI drivers instead of Intel’s RST.
There was already a similar problem with the previous X79 chipset and the integrated storage controller that lead to manufacturers completely redesigning their boards and reduce the SATA ports. Now it looks like history is repeating itself again and we might expect the same results.
Thanks to Heise for providing us with this information
During Intel’s X99 launch in early September one motherboard vendor was noticeably absent from the scene – ASRock. While we’re not sure as to the exact reason for ASRock’s delayed entry, they are now out in full force with an extensive top-to-bottom X99 product stack. Their range of products for Intel’s High-End Desktop (HEDT) platform span the usual three product segmentations: the OC, Fatal1ty and Extreme series. Whichever ASRock motherboard series consumers choose they will be greeted with a very high-end system due to the nature of Intel ‘s X99 chipset and Haswell-E processors. However, each series has been tailored for a specific type of user. The OC series, themed black and yellow, targets the performance junkie and enthusiastic overclocker with beefed up power phases and handy overclocking tools and buttons. The Fatal1ty series, themed black and red, targets gamers with improved quality audio hardware and Killer networking. The Extreme series, themed black and blue, is umbrella group within which today’s motherboard rests. The Extreme series doesn’t target any particular type of user: it is ASRock’s solid all-round motherboard. Consumers struggling to grapple with what that means in practice should equate the ASRock Extreme series to ASUS’s Channel series, Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable series and MSI’s Classic series. On the test bench today is ASRock’s X99 Extreme6 which sits above the X99 Extreme3, X99 Extreme4 and X99M Extreme4 but below the X99 Extreme6/ac, X99 WS and X99 Extreme11.
At first glance the X99 Extreme6 offers a very broad feature set that doesn’t stand out for anything specific, which is what you’d expect for the all-round Extreme series. ASRock provide no additional SATA III 6Gbps ports above the ten already integrated into the Intel X99 chipset, they’ve also decided to side-step the inclusion of a SATA Express port, instead opting for an enhanced “Ultra” M.2 port with 32 Gbps capabilities: 320% more than the default 10 Gbps M.2 port. Two areas where the X99 Extreme6 shines are in power componentry and networking. The ASRock Extreme6 features 12K rated capacitors, a 12 phase design and 60 amp rated power chokes, which are of a solid alloy design. On the networking side dual Gigabit LAN is provided by Intel and Qualcomm controllers with optional AC WiFi made available with the X99 Extreme6/ac for those users who desire it. Users who choose the non-AC model will be left with an unpopulated mini PCIe slot that is capable of supporting a wide variety of wireless networking combo cards.
Packaging and Accessories
The ASRock X99 Extreme6 is certified for up to 3-Way SLI so inside the box you will find 2 and 3-way SLI bridges. Other accessories include four SATA 6Gbps cables, two screws (one for securing mPCIe cards and the other for securing M.2 devices), a variety of documentation, a driver & utility DVD, ASRock case sticker and a SATA power adapter for using ASRock’s HDD Saver technology.
A Closer Look
The blue and black colour scheme ASRock use on their Exreme series is a refreshing break from the red and black repetition that is becoming so common. Once upon a time blue was the in-fashion colour scheme used by ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI, for those of you who can remember as far back as Z77. Now, MSI and ASRock are the only vendors equipping Blue.
Moving down to the bottom of the motherboard we find, from left to right, front panel audio, a TPM header, a Thunderbolt header, a COM port, a clear CMOS jumper, a BIOS switch, dual USB 2.0 headers, two system fan headers, a power button, a reset button and the front panel connectors.
Along the right side of the motherboard we find a USB 2.o port, 24 pin power connector, a pair of USB 3.0 headers and a fan header.
Down by the PCH heatsink there’s a block of 10 SATA III 6Gbps ports and a debug LED.
The CPU socket area reveals an impressive 12 phase VRM for enhanced overclocking potential.
The PCIe configuration supports three-way on 40 lane CPUs and two-way on the 28 lane i7 5820K. An “Ultra” M.2 port and mini PCIe slot are provided for extra connectivity options. Helpfully there’s also supplementary molex power and double slot spacing for multi-GPU configs.
ASRock implement the shielded Realtek ALC1150 audio codec onto an isolated PCB with advanced audio capacitors, this forms their Purity Sound 2 package.
At the top of the motherboard we see a nickel plated heatpipe adjoining the two CPU VRM heatsinks. An 8 pin EPS tucks in behind the primary VRM heatsink along with a pair of CPU fan headers, one 3 pin and another 4.
The rear I/O offers a nice balance of connectivity: dual LAN, six USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, two USB 2.0 ports, a keyboard/mouse combo, six audio ports (5 analogue, 1 optical) and a clear CMOS button.
On the under-side we find easily serviceable screws which ensure that the heatsinks can easily be removed for water cooling.
It has been an exciting few months for PC enthusiasts. We’ve seen the arrival of Intel’s new flagship Haswell-E CPUs, high-performance DDR4 memory and Nvidia’s Maxwell GTX 980. Those three things combined have the potential to produce one hell of a system and that’s exactly what we have on our hands today with PC Specialist’s Vortex 440. The basis for this custom PC is Intel’s X99 platform paired up with some truly enthusiast-grade Kingston 3000MHz DDR4 memory, Intel’s six-core i7 5820K with a hefty overclock and Nvidia’s flagship GTX 980 graphics card. NZXT’s H440, which gives this system part of its name, keeps everything looking sleek and tidy. Corsair are in charge of power delivery with their new RM series 850W power supply, and cooling, with their tried-and-trusted H100i liquid CPU cooler. To appeal to gamers and speed-demons alike an SSD and HDD combination provides a good balance between system responsiveness and storage for games and other media. As you might expect the price you have to pay for all that hardware is fairly steep, £1599 to be exact, but as we’ll see later on this is surprisingly good value for money and gives you a lot of performance.
Warranty: 3 Year Labour, 1 Year Parts and 1 Month Collect & Return (upgrades available)
Price: £1599 as configured
Packaging & Accessories
Packaging may be an after-thought to many buyers but the packaging a system integrator chooses is crucial to the end user experience. Bad packaging equals a broken PC – not something you want to be faced with when buying a new PC. With that said I am pleased to report that PC Specialist’s Vortex 440 comes excellently packaged with soft cell foam and an adequately sized box.
Inside the system expanding foam ensures that the internal components aren’t dislodged during transit. In the past we have been sent a PC (from a system integrator I won’t name) who learnt the hard way that internal expanding foam is essential. When the system arrived the graphics card had ripped the PCIe slot off the motherboard , killing both the motherboard and the graphics card in the process.
The accessory box includes all of the documentation and manuals for all of the system components as well as motherboard, graphics card and PSU accessories. To inform users about their purchase PC Specialist provide a guide with their systems.
A Closer Look
The aesthetic characteristics of the Vortex 440 are dominated by the NZXT H440 which comes in red and black. PC Specialist put their own logo at the top of the front panel to give the case a bit of sneaky customisation.
The entire case is coated in a soft-touch black, the top I/O offers dual USB 2.0 and 3.0, audio ports and power/reset buttons.
The side reveals a beautiful window showing off the internal components. One thing that I noticed was that PC Specialist use a white motherboard when the case is red and black – strange huh? Especially considering the default NZXT H440 comes in black and white – the same colour scheme as the ASUS X99-S motherboard used. Personally I would like to see PC Specialist ship the system with the white H440 or use a red motherboard instead.
The back reveals the plentiful I/O of the ASUS X99-S and the Nvidia GTX 980. The rather large blank space on the rear I/O derives from the fact the ASUS X99-S is a cut-down version of the ASUS X99-A which has a WiFi antennae at that particular location.
The obverse side of the case is plain black lined with the red trim and some ventilation for the front fans.
The bottom of the case helpfully uses four non-slip rubber feet and a removable dust filter for easy system maintenance. Despite being one of the cheapest parts of the build, the case is probably the most important for determining the user-experience.
NZXT’s H440 was praised for its ability to make tidy builds thanks to the bottom PSU shroud and the PC Specialist Vortex 440 makes great use of this. Corsair’s RM850, which has all-black cables, and PC Specialist’s exemplary cable-management job results in a tidy build.
The drive for extreme performance is never-ending and the Haswell-E X99 hardware is no exception. ASRock already have some very impressive X99 motherboards on the market, but that hasn’t stopped them from revealing the world’s most powerful X99 motherboard; the ASRock X99 Extreme11.
The board is incredibly well equipped, with 18 SATA3 ports, that includes 10 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors which run via the Intel X99 chipset, with an additional SAS-3 12.0 Gb/s connectors running from the LSI SAS 3008 controller chip. ASRock have demonstrated data transfers of up to 6.1 GB/s with SSDs connected to these ports, wow! Then you also have the world’s fastest Ultra M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 slots, with each being capable of 2.8 GB/s.
Power delivery comes in the form of a 12 Power Phase Design, allowing your chip of choice to run harder and faster, while using less power and running cooler.
Need an ultra high-end graphics card setup for gaming, rendering or any other GPU intensive task? No problem, the ASRock 12 is equipped with 4-way PCIe Gen3 SLI/CrossFireX with full x16/16/16/16 speeds, this comes courtesy of two embedded PLX PEX 8747 bridge chips to keep everything running at full speed.
If that’s not enough, the board also comes with a vast array of high-end features such as ASRock Super Alloy, support for Core i7 and Xeon 18 Core (LGA 2011-3), XXL Aluminium Alloy Heatsinks, Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps, 60A Power Chokes, Memory chokes, Ultra Dual-N MOSFETs. You’ll also find dual Intel Gigabit LAN with Teaming support, Purity Sound 2 plus audio with Nichicon Fine Gold SEries Audio capacitors, 8 DIMM slots for DDR4 quad channel EEC and UDIMM/RDIMM memory, with speeds of up to 3200+(OC) on up to 128GB.
This board is completely insane, if you’re trying to build your own supercomputer, this might be the best place to start.
Thank you ASRock for providing us with this information.
A short while ago we took Gigabyte’s X99 Gaming 5 motherboard to our test bench for a review. As the name suggests that particular motherboard was targeted at Gamers with its feature set and styling. Today we have with us a motherboard targeted at a broader X99 user-base than Gamers. The Gigabyte X99 UD4 is Gigabyte’s most affordable X99 offering but still retains all of the high performance features of the X99 platform.
At a fundamental level this board is very similar to the X99 Gaming 5 except the styling uses a different colour scheme, the audio has fewer features and uses a different codec and the Gigabit LAN is now Intel instead of Killer. Overclocking capabilities and features are similar – both boards feature high quality 6 phase designs with International Rectifier PWM controls and there are no onboard buttons or any read-off points. Overclocking buttons and features are reserved for higher end SKUs like the X99 SOC-FORCE.
This board still boasts support for up to 8 DDR4 modules, 4-Way GPU configurations, up to 10 SATA III devices or 8 SATA III devices and a SATA Express device and there’s even dual M.2 ports for more storage and optional WiFi/Bluetooth combo cards. The Gigabyte X99 UD4 will undoubtedly be a popular motherboard for Gigabyte just like how their X79-UD5 model was in the last generation. Let’s now take a detailed look at this motherboard’s specifications:
Packaging and Accessories
The X99 UD4 comes in one of the smallest boxes I’ve seen for an X99 motherboard. The branding is Gigabyte’s mainstream “Ultra Durable” series, remember Gigabyte’s other two SKUs are the Gaming line and the Overclocking line.
Around the back we find a really in-depth motherboard analysis focusing on features, performance and the quality of the components used in this board’s construction.
Accessories are modest for an X99 platform board. As Nvidia SLI certification requires there’s a range of 2, 3 and 4 Way SLI bridges and also a 2-Way AMD CrossFire bridge. Remember AMD’s newest GPU SKUs do not require bridges anymore as the XDMA “bridge-less” feature was implemented. Four braided SATA cables, a rear I/O and a power adapter cable make up the rest of the accessories.
Moving onto the mundane inclusions and we find some basic documentation and a driver/utility disc.
Asus have revealed the X99-E WS, their latest Compact Electronics Bay (CEB) workstation motherboard. The board features the new Intel X99 chipset and comes loaded with features that will make it a popular choice with professional and enthusiast users. The X99-E WS comes equipped with support for the latest range of Intel CPUs, four-way PCI Express 3.0 x16 graphics card support for both AMD and Nvidia based cards and 8 x DDR4 slots capable of holding up to 64GB of 2133MHz (up to 3200 O.C.).
Like all premium Asus boards, the X99-E WS is equipped with a wide range of features such as Driver-MOSFET, Beat Thermal Chokes II, 12K capacitors, ProCool connector and more to help ensure reliable performance from the motherboard. Storage options include M.2 x4, Asus PIKE II I/O kit expansion, ThunderboltEX II expansion cards, 2 x SATA Express 6Gbit/s and 8 x SATA 6Gb/s.
There are currently no details on price, but with such an extensive set of features we can be certain that it won’t be cheap.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
I’m not a fan of what Alienware do, to my mind they’re the Bose of the computer world, selling massively overpriced products that are more show than go, especially when compared to the newer system integrators that are doing more for less. Yet with all that said and done, I can’t help but take not of their new Area 51 system!
The chassis on this system is very unique, looking unlike anything I’ve seen on a PC before, in fact it looks like more like a stasis pod, I’m half expecting the front to flip up and Master Chief to step out of it.
Alienware call this the “triad case” and while it does look unique, they say it has been designed to vent warm air upwards and out of the case. The rest of the case is fitted with little extras such as built-in handles and LED lighting while the power comes from a choice of Haswell-E CPUs, DDR4, 1500W PSUs a whole lot more, prices start at a lot of money and get out of hand incredibly quickly.
Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.
The Intel Core i7 5960X, codename Haswell-E, is probably 2014’s worst kept secret. As I am writing this review the full specifications, pricing and pictures of just about every X99 board in existence have already been made public and the NDA is still a few days off. Product launches like this make me wonder what purpose NDAs even serve when they appear to not be worth the paper they are written on. Anyway, politics aside, today we can present your our Intel Core i7 5960X review – at least pretend to be surprised! Intel’s High End Desktop Platform is about to get its first core upgrade since the transition from X48 to X58 when Intel made the leap from 4 to 6 cores, that occurred in 2010. Nearly 4 years later and Intel’s HEDT is making the shift from 6 cores to 8 cores with Haswell-E.
What’s special about Haswell-E apart from the increased core count? Well the X99 platform Haswell-E brings support for DDR4, SATA Express and M.2 (just like Z97 offers), up to 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes and of course 8 core CPUs. If you’re in the market for an upgrade this certainly isn’t going to be cheap, new memory, new storage drives, a new CPU, probably a new power supply…..but I digress. Let’s dive straight into the goodness of the Core i7 5960X. Today we are chucking it on a brand new test system, powered by Gigabyte’s X99 Gaming 5 X99 motherboard and 32GB of Crucial’s fresh-off-the-production line DDR4-2133.
Comparing Intel’s Core i7 5960X to the Core i7 4960X and Core i7 3960X shows some striking similarities. They obviously all share the LGA 2011 package but there are subtle differences. Notably the Core i7 5960X uses a different integrated heat spreader design to the other two.
Moving on over to the rear of the CPU and we actually see a steady decline in the number of built in components. The transition to each newer CPU decreases the number of transistors and other components but we also see an increase in the number of pins. You can see this by comparing the size of the green spacing on the 3960X to the 5960X.
Being a new CPU with a new memory controller this is not compatible with X79 despite still being a LGA 2011 package. Haswell-E takes the LGA 2011-3 package while Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E takes the LGA 2011 package. To prevent people putting the wrong CPUs in the wrong boards Intel has changed the locking points on the CPUs as you can see below.
Intel’s Core i7 5960X comes with a 3GHz base frequency and up to 3.5 GHz with turbo. There’s also native DDR4 support for 2133MHz memory but we are hearing 3000MHz and more is possible with a little bit of tweaking. The other notable thing is a beefy 20MB of shared L3 cache, the most we’ve ever seen on a consumer Intel processor.
Looking at the processor die we can see that it is very different to Haswell for two main reasons: there are 4 more cores and there are no integrated graphics. The new memory controller offers support for only DDR4, there’s no DDR4 and DDR3 combo support like some of our readers may remember on the AMD AM2+ platform.
Intel’s main audience for the Core i7 5XXX series are existing HEDT customers, whether they be X79 or X58. Comparing to X79 Haswell-E and the new X99 chipset brings more cache, more cores, more PCIe lanes, a higher TDP, a different socket, more SATA ports, Thunderbolt support and BCLK overclocking support from the chipset, a feature we also saw moving from Ivy Bridge to Haswell on the mainstream platform.
Like Intel’s previous Extreme Edition CPUs the Core i7 5960X has that $1000 price tag while the Core i7 5930K and 5820K come in for much cheaper. Unlike with Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E going for the 5930K no longer gives you all the performance of the 5960X for less money, the Core i7 5930K has two less cores. The Core i7 5820K also offers less PCIe lanes than the 5930K so each CPU has its own functional purpose: the model separation is better.
We have managed to get our hands on an exclusive picture of Gigabyte’s upcoming GA-X99-UD5 WiFi motherboard, pictured above. This motherboard will be part of Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable line for X99 meaning it has the black and orange colour scheme with some silver & grey accenting. Strangely the Gigabyte X99-UD5 WiFi is virtually identical to the flagship Ultra Durable motherboard the X99-UD7 WiFi. We’ve already had a look at that board and the similarities are striking. From further studying we have been able to confirm that there are a few noticeable differences between the two:
Gigabyte’s UD5 WiFi sports a FastBoot and OC button which the UD7 WiFi does not have
Gigabyte’s UD5 WiFi lacks a USB DAC port on the rear I/O which the UD7 WiFi has
Gigabyte’s UD5 WiFi loses a connecting heat pipe between the top heatsink and the PCH heatsink which the UD7 WiFi has
Those four things aside we can say that for all intents and purposes the two boards are more or less identical. This isn’t a bad thing because it means you can get a UD7-quality motherboard for the price of a UD5. However, it does pose a few problems for consumers when it comes to differentiating between the two.
Some of the features about Gigabyte’s X99-UD5 that can be seen from the board include:
4 Way SLI and CrossFire support, bandwidth will vary by CPUs as we know the Core i7 5820K has 28 PCIe lanes compared to the 40 PCIe lanes on the Core i7 5930K and 5960X
Dual M.2 connectors which appear to be stacked vertically
802.11 AC WiFI which is dual band and likely includes Bluetooth
10 SATA III ports of which four are shared with dual SATA Express ports
Gigabyte’s flagship overclocking board, the X99 SOC-Force, has already been revealed and looks like an absolute treat for overclockers and enthusiasts. What about for users who aren’t so focused on overclocking and want a more rounded feature set for overall use? For those types of users Gigabyte has their flagship X99 UD7 WiFi. It has just about everything an X99 user could want including a bucket load of overclocking features borrowed from the X99 SOC-Force. On the audio side Gigabyte have implemented their Amp-Up package which includes an isolated PCB and audio-grade electrolytic capacitors which is likely powered by Realtek’s ALC1150 codec – currently the best audio codec available to motherboard vendors. Gigabyte have opted for a WiFi implementation as the name of the product suggests and this is likely to be an 802.11 AC WiFi solution – probably Intel powered. Those things aside the board is very similar to the X99 G1 Gaming WiFi bar the fact this one opts for the black and orange Ultra Durable colour scheme. I also believe this board has Intel powered Network Interface Controllers whereas the G1 Gaming WiFi may have Killer NICs to tweak the features more towards the gaming audience.
An image of an upcoming ASUS X99 motherboard has been leaked into the public domain just ahead of the X99 platform launch that is speculated to be on August 29th. The image is of the ASUS X99 DELUXE which is the first time ASUS have released a white and black motherboard as a consumer product. For those who can remember back to Computex in June we did actually see the ASUS TUF Sabranco Z97 white and black motherboard but ASUS have still yet to release that particular board.
The ASUS X9 DELUXE is rumoured to have an 8 phase DIGI+ VRM design which powers the Haswell-E compatible LGA 2011-3 socket. Ten SATA III and two SATA Express make up the storage options for users. The ASUS X99 DELUXE includes a staggering five PCIe 3.0 X16 lanes and a single X4 lane meaning there’s bucket loads of multi expansion card options for users. Other nifty features include dual gigabit LAN, 7.1 channel HD audio, AC WiFi and the ASUS Crystal Sound 2 audio implementation.
Expect more details to be revealed at launch. The source is reporting that retail pricing will be around $350 USD.
Just yesterday ASRock’s beastly X99 OC Formula motherboard was unveiled and now it’s the turn of their Professional motherboard. The ASRock X99 Professional board is part of ASRock’s Fatal1ty series of motherboards designed for gamers. The funny thing is the ASRock X99 Professional is virtually identical to the X99 OC Formula board designed for overclockers. It has the same storage configuration of dual M.2 and 10 SATA III ports, it has the same PCI Express configuration of Quad SLI/CFX support, it has the same Purity Sound 2 implementation and it has the same Rear I/O configuration.
So what are the differences? Well, firstly it has the cliché red and black colour scheme that is becoming so mainstream for gaming boards. Secondly, it offers Killer E2200 networking instead of Intel Gigabit as the Killer E2200 is preferred by gamers. Thirdly, the rear two USB 2.0 ports are special “Fatal1ty” ports on the X99 Professional board meaning higher polling rates and lower latency for peripheral devices. However, those three things aside the boards are pretty much identical.
Expect pricing and availability details to arrive towards the end of this month.
We always knew Haswell-E wasn’t going to be cheap. If Intel’s six core i7 4960X was priced at $1000 on launch, then how much more would an eight core i7 5960X cost? According to the latest retail pricing that’s showed up at a Polish retailer it will actually be about the same – which has surprised me a lot. We can expect a price of €955.22, or 3996 Polish Zloty. At the same site we also saw the Core i7 4960X for 3957 Polish Zloty, which is €945, so the pricing of the Core i7 5960X looks to be virtually identical to its predecessor.
For those who want pricing in other currencies you have to consider that Poland has a VAT rate of 23%, pretty much identical to the UK’s 20% VAT rate. Therefore UK pricing should be around £760 (which is identical to what the Core i7 4960X currently sells for), while American pricing should be around $1000 when you adjust for VAT – most American states don’t pay sales tax. If you’re in an American state that does pay sales tax then expect to pay $1100-1200. There’s also going to be some variation based on reseller, distributor and retailer overheads but the general message is: expect pricing to be similar to the Core i7 4960X – $1000 MSRP.
Anandtech have managed to nab themselves some exclusive pictures of ASRock’s flagship X99 overclocking series motherboard. The first standout thing is the design: the black and yellow colour scheme is very brave but I think it works very well – it is great to see something that is not red and black! The headline overclocking feature is the 1300W capability of the CPU socket which we’ve already covered, that 1300W is provided by 12 phases so that’s 108.3 watts per phase. Anandtech’s Ian Cuttress claims that LN2 users have been known to push up to 700W with previous platforms, such as X79, so it is possible Haswell-E could get close to 1000W given the extra 2 cores – although we’ll have to wait and see what happens once the Core i7 5960X is launched.
Fancy power delivery features aside and the rest of the board is pretty standard X99. In other words, it has just about everything: 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, dual M.2 slots (no SATA Express), four PCIe 3.0 X16 slots, 10 USB 3.0 ports and dual Gigabit controllers. We can also see ASRock’s Purity Sound 2 implementation which probably includes Realtek’s ALC1150 codec. Interestingly there’s a half-heigh mini PCIe slot next to the sound which can probably be used for a WiFi/Bluetooth combo card although we aren’t sure if this is included as standard.
In terms of overclocking features there is a superhydrophobic conformal coating for moisture protection (useful for protecting against LN2-induced condensation), there’s also frequency change buttons, voltage check points, PCIE disable switches, LN2 mode swithc and a slow-mode switch. The Clear CMOS switch is on the rear I/O (as shown below). Expect pricing to be around the $400 mark, maybe more. Stay tuned for more X99 news as we edge closer to the launch!
EVGA may be a fairly small player when it comes to motherboards but they are never one to miss the launch of a high-end Intel platform, at the end of the day its enthusiasts that make up the bread and butter of EVGA’s customer-base. With X99 EVGA is planning the launch of a few motherboards such as a high-end Classified model, rumoured to cost around $400, and a FTW model. Catering to the small form factor market EVGA will also be releasing a micro-ATX X99 motherboard, pictured above.
The EVGA X99 Micro offers a 10 phase CPU VRM, four DDR4 slots, onboard power & reset buttons, a debug LED, six SATA III ports, three PCIe 3.0 X16 slots, a variety of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well as an mSATA port near the CMOS battery. The expected price point for the EVGA X99 Micro is rumoured to be $250 which isn’t bad considering how expensive DDR4 kits and Haswell-E CPUs will be. No doubt this board will be popular for LAN rigs built inside micro-ATX cases like the BitFenix Prodigy M and Corsair Carbide Air 240.
If the MSI X99S XPower AC motherboard is a little too expensive and feature packed for your liking then MSI will also be offering another OC series board that is a few notches down. THE X99S MPower motherboard is an ATX X99 based motherboard with a 12 phase digital power PWM design. High quality audio using MSI’s Audio Boost components and the Realtek ALC1150 codec is present as well as abundant storage connectivity: 8 SATA III ports, one SATA Express port and an M.2 port. Being an OC series board there a variety of switches to play around with such as base clock switches, an OC Engine button and a diagnostic LED for troubleshooting.
WCCFTech claim a price of under $400 for the board which uses MSI’s yellow and black colour scheme. The fairly modest range of connectivity and features (by the standard of MSI’s other X99 boards) leaves some scope for them to release an MPower Max model in the future, although MSI would have to be careful to differentiate that from the feature packed X99S XPower AC.
Be sure to check out some of the other MSI X99 motherboards that have been shown off in the past few days:
ASRock is preparing to go all out for extreme Haswell-E overclocking with their X99 OC Formula motherboard. According to an image they posted up on their Facebook page the OC Formula X99 motherboard will boast a 12 phase VRM that is capable of pumping 1300W through the CPU – if the CPU can survive that much. The VRM should boast high quality components such as ASRock’s Super Alloy package while the VRM controls and tuning will have been influenced by famous in-house overclock Nick Shih. Like all ASRock’s OC Series motherboards the yellow and black colour scheme is the order of the day while you can expect the entire board to be brimming with overclocking features.
ASRock will be using a variety of high quality power components including dual-stack MOSFETs (DSM), Multiple Filter Caps ( includes DIP solid caps, POSCAPs and MLCC) and Premium Alloy Chokes that offer 70% less current loss than iron powder chokes. ASRock have revealed many of their other X99 motherboards in the past few days, be sure to check those out below if you are interested:
The run-up to the launch of Intel’s X99 Haswell-E platform continues and this time it is more MSI motherboards on the menu for a bit of pre-NDA showing off. We’ve already seen the MSI X99S XPOWER AC and the MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC but now it is time for two more X99 boards from MSI. Up first and pictured above is the MSI X99S SLI Plus motherboard. Like the SLI Plus boards on the Z97 platform this board will be more wallet friendly than the XPower and high-end Gaming series boards. It features an 8 phase PWM power delivery system with MSI’s Military Class IV component set. 8 DDR4 slots give you adequate memory capabilities while 10 SATA III 6Gbps ports and a SATA express port give you bucket loads of storage option, there’s even an M.2 port on there. As the name suggests SLI and Crossfire are supported, the board is optimised for dual GPU operation in terms of its spacing. The all-black colour scheme is a nice break from the monotonous red & black we seem to see on just about every board.
Talking about monotonous red and black and MSI have actually done a good job to keep their red and black design looking fairly distinct from the likes of ASUS, ASRock and Gigabyte. Being a Gaming series board we find the usual combo of high quality ALC1150 based audio on an isolated PCB with a Killer E2200 NIC for the LAN. The Gaming 7 x99 board ditches the WiFi AC solution present on the gaming 9 which should help keep the cost down. That aside the X99S Gaming 7 is very similar to the X99S SLI Plus except with a few extra gaming features and the Gaming Series styling. Pricing and availability is still to be announced.
Many companies have teased and presented us with their new X99 motherboards and DDR4 memory kits the past weeks, and with the impending release of Intel’s newest platform on the 29th, but this time we get real-world close-up photos of the beautiful new Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5 motherboard.
This motherboard belongs to the gaming series and is made in the familiar red and black coloured theme. Half the memory slots are grey instead of black, to easy distinquish them, but otherwise the entire mainboard is black. The heatsinks have the red ‘racing stripes’ and some text and logos.
The Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5 motherboard is based on a LGA2011-3 socket and supports HAswell-E processors. The memory banks are four channel DDR4 slots.
A 6-phase PWM design is feeding power to the CPU.
The chipset heatsink has LED light build in, but users can disconnect it from the motherboard if they don’t wish to have it turned on.
The Haswell-E processor supports 40 PCI-E 3.0 channels and X99 supports up to 5×8 configuration. Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5 motherboard features four PCI-E x16 slots, support CF and SLI multi-card interconnect and has an additional three PCI-E x1 slots.
Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5 motherboard also features a 10Gbps M.2 interface and a mini PCI-E interface. This gives plenty of possibilities for the new generation of Solid State drives and wireless modules.
The X99 chipset provides a 10x SATA 6Gbps interface. The Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5 motherboard splits the configurations into six SATA 6Gbps and two SATA-Express connections. The two SATA-Express can also be treated as four SATA 6Gbps connections, making the total number ten.
On the rear IO panel we see two PS2 connectors for mouse and keyboard, four USB 2.0 and six USB 3.0 ports, a RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port for the onboard KillerNIC as well as audio connections. At the end it also has a shim to hold two antennas.
Being a real Gaming motherboard it doesn’t just come with the KillerNIC network card, it also features the Gigabyte AMP-UP audio technology that won’t fail you. In addition to using the innovative Sound Core3D sound card. they also used professional bipolar audio capacitors and with support for interchangeable amplifier chip.
And finally a shot of the accessories . This board comes well packed in this area with both soft and hard multi-GPU bridges along with the usual parts.
Thank you Expreview for providing us with this information.
There are just two weeks left until Haswell-E and the Intel X99 chipset becomes available and already there is a nice selection of motherboard products creeping up ready for launch day. One of the latest is this new ASRock board, which is obviously built around the upcoming X99 chipset and designed for workstation level X99 systems.
The board features the LGA2011 socket, Super Alloy technology for massive aluminium alloy heatsinks, premium alloy chokes, dual-stack MOSFET and 12k platinum capacitors. There are eight DDR4 slots to allow up to 128GB of RAM, ten SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, an Ultra M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 connector and six PCIe x16 slots with SLI and CrossFire support.
Not content with all that, the board also features dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet, Purity Sound 2 7.1 channel audio, one eSATA port, four USB 3.0 connectors and a debut LED.
Unfortunately there are no details on price just yet, but you can bet that with flagship levels of specifications like this, it isn’t going to be cheap.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
The final release date for the upcoming Intel Core i7 HEDT (High-End Desktop) processors, which go by the codename Haswell-E. The new chips will also launch along side the new Intel X99 Express chipset, and we now know that you’ll be able to get your hands on the new hardware on August 29th.
The platform will bring support for DDR4 memory modules to the consumer market, something that has certainly been a long time coming.
The Cire i7 Haswell E includes three parts, two six-core and one eight-core models will be available at launch.
The top model will be the 5960X which features eight cores, HyperThreading for 16 logical CPUs, 20MB of L3 cache, a 3.0 GHz clock speed and a price tag in excess of $1000 (ouch).
Next we have the i7-5930K which features six cores, HyperThreading, 15MB L3 cache, a 3.5 GHz clock speed and is expected to cost between $500 and $750.
Finally the i7-4820K, another six-core model but it’s specifications remain unclear, but it is expected to be priced between $350 and $450.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
MSI are one of the top motherboard manufacturers around, so imagine my excitement when they decided to show off a teaser for their next-gen motherboard. The new board comes with support for the flagship socket LGA 2011-2, bringing support for the latest and greatest upcoming Intel CPUs such as the Core i7 HAswell-E processors. Not only will new processors be added to the mix, but also support for DDR4 memory interfaces.
The new board goes by the name X99S Gaming 9 AC, and of course that suggests that it will be running on the new Intel X99 Express chipset.
Their are eight DDR4 DIMM slots, allowing for quad-channel DDR 4 memory setups, five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots with the ability to drive up to 4-way SLI and CrossFireX.
Storage is taken care of by at least one M.2 slots and SATA Express ports, eight SATA 6GB/s ports, more than enough for any high end system.
Connectivity features 802.11 ac WLAN, Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet, eight or more USB 3.0 ports and more.
Obviously expect this board to feature a massive array of overclocking features, this is a flagship motherboard after all and while its performance details remain a mystery, expect great thing and an equally grand price tag.
We expect more details will appear over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more information.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
The first major consumer platform to support DDR4 memory will be Intel’s Haswell-E with the X99 chipset and LGA2011-3 socket. According to the most recent rumours Intel’s X99 is expected as soon as September 14th, but possibly earlier. In response to that ADATA have released a series of Premier memory designed for use with Intel’s X99 platform. The new modules come with speeds of 2133MHz in an unbuffered DIMM format, according to the specifications these are 4GB modules offered in kits of up to 8 modules. These DDR4 kits should operate with 1.2 volts and should have a fair amount of overclocking headroom. Pricing for ADATA’s kit wasn’t announced, but recently we have seen 16GB DDR4 kits selling for around $350, so don’t expect these to be cheap!