BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


BIOSTAR might not be the most recognizable motherboard brand in western markets but their pedigree for creating reliable products is worthy of praise. When compared to MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS, the company struggles to entice consumers with unique aesthetic designs. Furthermore, the BIOS and software package has been sorely lacking and in dire need of change. Thankfully, BIOSTAR have acknowledged these criticisms and decided to forge a brand new range based upon a racing theme to please petrolheads with an avid interest in enthusiast hardware. Each RACING motherboard sports a chequered flag PCB and stylish LED illumination while introducing a new BIOS layout. Clearly, this is a major departure from BIOSTAR’s previous products which evoked a fairly mundane appearance.

The BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 is based on the mATX form factor and supports up to 64GB DDR4 with a maximum speed of 2133MHz. Intel’s H170 chipset blocks multiplier overclocking which means you have to resort to your processor’s default turbo frequency. Of course, there’s been some controversy surrounding BCLK overclocking on H170 and B150 motherboards to unofficially achieve boosts fairly close to traditional multiplier overclocking. Sadly, Intel has voiced their displeasure regarding this phenomenon and pressurized manufacturers to disable BCLK overclocking via a BIOS update. As a result, we have to rely on stock figures to determine the motherboard’s performance. Previously, I’ve seen some astounding results when it comes to storage with BIOSTAR products, and I’m interested to see if this trend continues.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

Here we can see the absolutely stunning packaging which contains a carbon fibre inspired cover and vibrant text. This coincides with the RACING focus and feels quite reminiscent of a luxury sports car’s interior.

On the opposite side, there’s a detailed diagram showing the motherboard’s layout and explanation of its unique selling features. Once again, this is presented a superb manner and makes you inquisitive about the product’s specification.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard includes a user’s manual, Vivid LED DJ instructions guide, SATA cables, driver disk, and I/O shield.

ASUSTOR Launches Entry-Level Quad-Core AS32 Series NAS

ASUSTOR announced the launch of two new economical entry-level multimedia NAS devices called the AS3202T and AS3204T. The difference between the two is the number of drives you can mount, either 2 or 4. The new AS32 Series is built around Intel’s latest Celeron 1.6GHz quad-core CPU that provides plenty of processing power for such units and they come with 2GB DDR3 dual-channel memory.

Besides being a great quad-core CPU for NAS usage, the systems also feature Intel’s AES-NI encryption instructions that allow the devices to support hardware encryption. This is something that gives a far better performance when dealing with encrypted drives than a software solution would.

The AS32 series also features a great graphics processing unit that allows you to use the NAS as a multimedia hub. You can connect the systems directly to a TV or monitor for direct playback without the use of other devices. Attach a keyboard and mouse or use an IR remote to stay in control of the system.

The ASUSTOR Portal App makes it easy and allows you to use the NAS to browse the web, change the configuration, use KODI and similar apps while the official ASUSTOR remote control completes the couch experience. Users can centrally store all of their digital multimedia on the NAS (photos, music, movies) and play it all back on demand, enjoying a comprehensive home multimedia experience.

The AS32 series doesn’t feature external drive bays, but still work with a toolless mounting system that allows you to easily install everything just by the use of thumbscrews. The exterior design uses the diamond pattern that we’ve seen before, for example on the AS1002T that we reviewed a little while ago.

“In order to provide better multimedia playback experience to consumers, we are launching the AS3202T and AS3204T tower model NAS devices which feature powerful performance,” said Johnny Chen, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. “When compared to the 31 series devices of the previous generation, the 32 series devices provide even more powerful graphics processing capabilities which allow for sharper imaging and smoother playback for all high definition multimedia.”

External storage can be connected to the three USB 3.0 ports on the AS32 series. One is located on the front for easier access and the other two are on the back next to the Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port and the HDMI 1.4a port.

The NAS naturally come with ASUSTOR’s ADM operating system that’s both easy to use and setup. There is no need for complex installation and the devices can be setup with just a three steps. This makes it a great NAS for beginners as it’s budget friendly, easy to install, and still powerful.

Besides the default function, the functionality can be expanded with a large variety of add-on applications that can be installed directly from the built-in app central. There are mobile companion apps too for users that want to access their storage on the go and through the comfort of their smart devices.

Currently, ADM version 2.5.4 is the latest official version of the operating system, but the ADM 2.6 beta is available too and thereby we can expect the full version of this to be released soon too. The latest ADM 2.6 beta includes upgrades to ASUSTOR Portal web applications by increasing YouTube 1080p playback performance and support for a rich variety of streaming video sites such as Netflix, MetaCafe, US Stream, Vimeo, Youkou, Tudou and more.

Key Features for the AS3202T and AS3204T

  • Intel Celeron 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (Automatic Overclocking to 2.24GHz)
  • RAID 1 Read Speed of up to 112+MB/s and Write Speed of up to 110+ MB/s
  • 2GB Built-in Dual-Channel DDR3L High-Speed Memory
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet Port
  • Front of Device: 1 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port
  • Back of Device: 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4b Port
  • Infrared Receiver
  • Supports RAID Volume Management Single, JBOD, RAID 0/1 (AS3202T)
  • Supports RAID Volume Management Single, JBOD, RAID 0/1/5/6/10 (AS3204T)
  • Supports Seamless System Migration
  • Supports Largest Capacity Hard Disks on the Market (8TB)
  • Supports Intel AES-NI Hardware Encryption Engine

Gigabyte Unveils EL-20-3700-32GB IoT Gateway Solution

Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is the next big thing in the digital revolution. To say it as simple as possible, IoT basically connects devices with each other and the internet in order to provide the data where it’s needed. We see a lot of new hardware being released in this sector and while some are completely new and independent, others bridge the gap between old-school legacy devices and the new IoT devices.

Gigabyte’s new EL-20-3700-32GB Intel Bear Ridge IoT Gateway Solution is just such a device as it will allow companies to connect sense, filters, process, analyzing and actuation while securing and managing machines and data. It supports onboarding, monitoring, diagnostics, and remote control of devices that otherwise would be unconnected.

It is built with an Intel Pentium N3700 Processor that is based on the Airmont microarchitecture and it’s Intel’s leading tri-gate 14nm process. The System on a Chip quad-core processor is designed to be very power effective and can drive both computing and graphics performance with a maximum power envelope of just 6W.

Besides the N3700 CPU, the EL-20-3700-32GB offers 32GB eMMC flash memory and two SO-DIMM DDR3 slots for up to 8GB 1600MHz memory. It sports two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports powered by a Realtek RTL8111HS controller and four USB 3.0 ports. The two HDMI ports can handle resolutions up to 4K and the unit also features surround sound via a Realtek ALC255 controller.

Other options include one Full-size Mini-PCIe slot for 3G module or mSATA storage and one Half-size Mini-PCIe slot for the pre-installed WiFi+BT module. Speaking of which, the module is an Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 3160 which supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Further, you’ll find an SDXC card slot and three user-configurable LEDs, and a micro-USB connector with OTG support. The full unit will be unveiled and presented at the Embedded World in Nuremberg in a couple of weeks.

Feature Highlights

  • Intel Pentium processor N3700
  • 2 x SO-DIMM DDR3L slots
  • 2 x GbE LAN ports (Realtek RTL8111HS)
  • 32GB onboard eMMC memory
  • 1 x mSATA slot
  • 1 x SDCX card slot
  • 1 x SIM card slot

Should you want to build the unit into a more enclosed space and not have it as a standalone unit, then Gigabyte also offers the motherboard on its own and the IoT board can be found under the product name MZBSWFP.

The Gigabyte EL-20-3700-32GB will be available at AVnet after it has been officially launched at Embedded World.