ASRock E3V5 WS (Intel C232) Super Alloy Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.

The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.

The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).

The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.

 

Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.

There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.

Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.

Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.

The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.

The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • Server-Grade LAN chip support
  • Supports the Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 Processor & 6th Generation Intel Core Processors (Socket 1151)
  • Supports DDR4 2133 & ECC UDIMM memory modules
  • 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 and 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), ELNA Audio Caps
  • 6 SATA3 and 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, 8.1 64-bit, 7 32-bit, 7 64-bit, Server 2012 R2 64-bit, Server 2012 64-bit, and Server 2008 R2 64-bit support

Packaging and Accessories

A quality motherboard also deserves a great look package, and the E3V5 WS got that. The front makes no secret about the boards power.

On the rear of the box, you will find a detailed photo of the motherboard itself as well as feature highlights and specifications.

Inside the box is a user manual, a driver disk, two SATA cables, and an IO shield besides the motherboard itself.

SuperMicro C7H170-M (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


SuperMicro might not be the most recognizable name among enthusiasts with the likes of MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte and other household brands being the logical choice for consumers. However, their pedigree is unparalleled when it comes to stability and creating the best server solutions available today. As a result, I’m always overjoyed to test any SuperMicro motherboard and see this level of expertise move into other markets. Slowly but surely, SuperMicro appears to be targeting the gaming audience and releasing visually appealing products with an impressive range of features.

Approximately two months ago, we reviewed the SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ and felt it offered excellent overclocking functionality for extreme usage scenarios. In contrast to this, today’s review sample is built on the H170 chipset which theoretically disables any chance of frequency boosts. However, recent evidence shows that BCLK overclocking can be attained on non-K series CPUs and H170 motherboards via a BIOS update. The C7H170-M has been proven to allow for BCLK adjustments and huge overclocking headroom using high-end cooling apparatus. Clearly, we’re not going to change our testing CPU to keep the results fair. Although, I’m fascinated to see the maximum frequency on a H170 motherboard and see how close it gets to traditional multiplier overclocks.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The SuperMicro C7H170-M comes in a gorgeous box which evokes a sense of luxury. Its design is simplistic while being extremely unusual and looks stylish. I’m incredibly fond of bold cut-out for the lettering which makes this particular product stand out.

On the rear, there is a detailed overview about the motherboard and its core specification.

The package is quite barebones and comes with a layout diagram, I/O shield, driver disk, M.2 screws and server-style SATA cables. Please note, the included technical sheet also helps with the rudimentary installation procedure. Although, it’s much less detailed than other vendors. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t pose a major problem, and I don’t expect the type of customer purchasing a SuperMicro product to have limited experience in system building.

MSI Z170 Motherboards Receive BIOS Update to Support Non-K Overclocking

Intel’s business strategy for some time has been to only offer an unlocked multiplier on higher end CPUs. While this makes the overclocking process extremely simple, it encourages the enthusiast user to spend more money to access any manual frequency boosts. However, professional overclocker Dhenzjhen managed to attain 4.6GHz on a locked multiplier Intel Core i3 6320. Not only that, this was achieved on the Supermicro H170 motherboard. This is remarkable because Intel’s H170 chipset theoretically doesn’t allow for any overclocking headroom whatsoever even with an K-series CPU. So how does this work?

The motherboard in question features a BIOS which allows for BCLK adjustments. Unlike the previous generation, BCLK isn’t linked to the PCI-E bus and any changes only impacts on the CPU, graphics and memory. There’s also a greater degree of accuracy when changing the CPU strap, and you no longer have to rely on 100MHZ, 125MHz and 167MHz. Without giving too much away, our review of the motherboard in question will be published soon and let’s just say the results are fascinating.

Now that this has been replicated by some vendors, it’s possible to enable identical functionality on other motherboards. Today, MSI announced their entire Z170 range will now support non-K series BCLK overclocking with a BIOS update. Here is a complete list of supported MSI Z170 models as of 18th of December:

Please note, the process does have some limitations. For example, you cannot overclock via this method and use the CPU’s iGPU. However, this isn’t a major problem as overclocking aficionados usually have a dedicated graphics card. On another note, the CPU’s EIST, C-states and Turbo Boost will all be disabled. Clearly, this isn’t recommended by Intel and they might refuse any warranty if you cause damage to the CPU. Although the likelihood of this happening, or Intel finding out is almost zero. Nevertheless, MSI rightfully included a disclaimer which reads:

“Overclocking Intel non-K CPUs is not officially supported by Intel and the BIOS versions created by MSI unlocking this option are all beta versions. Intel may choose to disable this option at any time. At no point MSI can be taken responsible for disabling overclocking for non-K CPUs.”

No-one currently knows how Intel will react, and I’m fairly sure they aren’t best pleased with this discovery. Despite this it’s a great development for consumers wanting to maximize their money when purchasing a CPU.

Please visit this page to access your motherboards BIOS update.

Gigabyte H170-HD3 (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


Intel’s Z170 platform is designed for enthusiasts utilizing incredibly fast DDR4 memory and large frequency boosts on K-series CPUs. In contrast to this, the H170 chipset caters more towards the budget-conscience consumer running a CPU at stock settings and modest DDR4 speeds. So what are the key differences between Z170 and H170? Firstly, H170 motherboards cannot support memory speeds in excess of 2133MHz and limited to a maximum of 16 PCIe lanes 3.0 lanes compared to 20 on Z170. Additionally, the HSIO Lanes have been reduced from 26 to 22 and theoretically, motherboards are restricted to a single X16 graphics slot. However, motherboard vendors can offer dual card setups via Crossfire. The only other notable change is a reduction in USB 3.0 ports from 10 to 8 which should be more than enough for the average user.

The first H170-based motherboard to arrive for review is the Gigabyte H170-HD3. This particular model incorporates a wealth of connectors including HDMI 1.4, DVI-D and D-Sub. On another note, the motherboard supports 2 way Crossfire, SATA Express an M.2 expansion port and ALC887 audio codec. Overall, the H170-HD3 is a great value package and I expect it to compare surprisingly well against the higher priced Z170 competition.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

Gigabyte adopts a fairly clean and understated box design which outlines the motherboard’s Ultra Durable qualities.

On the opposite side, there are a number of detailed pictures illustrating the motherboard’s connectivity options and 2-way Crossfire support. Furthermore, Gigabyte also provides a brief synopsis of the integrated Realtek ALC887 audio.

In terms of accessories, the product comes with an I/O shield, user’s manual, G Connector, case badge and two SATA cables. It’s always great to see the G Connector’s inclusion on budget models which makes the install process much more user-friendly.

Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


Intel’s latest Skylake architecture is built on the 14nm manufacturing process and designed to replace the previous generation, Haswell Refresh CPUs. However, the Core i7-6700K is currently a poor value proposition throughout Europe and costs upwards of £350. While the Z170 motherboards are an affordable proposition, some consumers are still waiting for CPU price cuts before considering making the switch. Furthermore, the i7-6700K is priced incredibly close to the X99-based Core i7 5820K which contains 6 cores and provides enhanced performance in multi-threaded workstation tasks.

Eventually, Skylake K-series CPUs should fall to reasonable pricing around the £250 mark and increase the sales of Z170 motherboards. The latest motherboard to arrive at eTeknix headquarters is the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH which supports 3-way SLI, Turbo B-Clock Tuning IC, SATA Express, USB 3.1 Type-C and 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 capable of powering dual 4K displays at 60Hz. Gigabyte’s engineering team has developed a feature-rich motherboard which utilizes the fastest connectivity options on the market. As a result, I expect it to perform remarkably well in every benchmark.

Packing and Accessories

The Z170X-UD5 TH is bundled in a visually appealing black and gold box which clearly displays the unit’s Thunderbolt 3 functionality.

On the rear, Gigabyte focused on the huge connectivity options and impressive speeds which come from Thunderbolt 3, and Intel’s USB 3.1 controller.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard comes with a user’s manual, installation guide, I/O shield, SLI bridge and driver disk.

Gigabyte also includes a G Connector to easily conect front panel headers, SATA cables and Rear I/O dust covers. These covers should prolong the rear connector’s lifespan as dust build-up can cause damage over time.

ASRock Releases Dual DDR3/DDR4 B150M Combo-G Motherboard

Every time there has been a change to a new DDR standard, motherboard manufacturers have often retained some models that continue to use the older ram specification. This time around, we’re getting a number of boards with dual support, being compatible with both DDR3 and DDR4. Today ASRock has quietly launched their B150M Combo-G motherboard with support for both DDR3/3L and DDR4 ram with Intel’s latest Skylake LGA1551 platform.

Based off the budget B150 chipset, the mATX board boats all of the usual modern features. Despite not being an overclocking board, there are six digital phases for power along with high-quality solid state inductors. Gigabit LAN is provided via an Intel chip while audio is provided by a Realtek ALC887 Audio Codec with ELNA capacitors. For expansion cards, 2 PCIe x16 slots are provided but the 2nd one comes from the chipset. Rounding off the features, we have up to 6 USB 3.0 ports along with full electrical surge protection.

Along with the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi H170Z3, the B150M Combo-G will be one of the better choices for those hoping to retain their DDR3 ram. As noted earlier, both 1.5v and 1.65v DDR3 should work with Skylake just fine and having DDR4 support as well means that a future upgrade to newer ram is possible. Unfortunately, both DDR3 and DDR4 cannot work at the same time and that is unlikely to change.

ASUS Shows off Maximus VIII Extreme Motherboard

ASUS has shown off their newest consumer flagship motherboard ahead of the official launch, the ROG Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard. The new Maximus VIII Extreme is naturally built for Skylake and the LGA 1151 socket and comes with Intel’s Z170 chipset. The ROG colour scheme has been changed from the old black and red into the new orange, silver and black theme that we’ve already seen on the ROG Matrix GTX 980Ti Platinum graphics card.

The new ROG Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard should provide everything an enthusiast wants. You get four PCIe Gen 3 x16 slots where three are wired to the CPU and the last is wired to the PCH. The ATX sized motherboard comes with the usual four memory slots and requires almost normal power connectivity. You’ll need a 24-pin ATX, an 8-pin, and a 4-pin EPS connector to hook up this beauty.

The motherboard doesn’t lack anything in the area of storage or connectivity. Besides the eight SATA3 ports, you also get an SFF-8639 U.2 connector for NVMe drives with up to 32Gbps, an M.2 32Gbps slot, and two SATA-Express 16Gbps connectors. Onboard is also Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.0 for you to connect to the world with.

One shouldn’t forget the onboard sound either, as it isn’t a low-budget one on this board. ASUS added the SupremeFX audio solution that comes with a front-panel unit for easy access and connectivity.

Thank You TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

PC Specialist Azure (LGA 1151) Gaming PC Review

Introduction


PC Specialist has an illustrious reputation for creating some of the most reliable and thought-provoking builds in the custom PC industry. Their latest creation, code-named Azure, is based on Intel’s brand new Z170 chipset and includes the flagship, i7-6700K Skylake processor (review here). While the CPU has a stock clock of 4.0GHz, there is ample headroom for a hefty overclock with assistance from the Corsair 240mm liquid-cooling solution. PC Specialist opted for the Asus Z170-A motherboard (review here) which offers excellent voltage regulation, dynamic fan control and an intuitive BIOS interface. Only the best components are used throughout, such as NVIDIA’s top-tier GTX 980Ti graphics card and Kingston’s HyperX Predator 3000MHz DDR4 memory.

In terms of storage, the Azure is bundled with a 480GB SSD boot drive and 2TB mechanical for data storage purposes. The PC is powered by an 850W Corsair RM power supply and neatly presented in the Corsair 780T case. Previously, we reviewed the X99-based Vortex 440 which performed superbly and exceeded our expectations. Therefore, I’m hoping the Azure will be cool, quiet and leading the benchmark figures whilst retailing at a respectable £1499 price point.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The chassis arrived in a gargantuan box and contains precautionary labels to prevent the courier from adopting a haphazard approach. I was genuinely surprised with the box’s size which provides superb protection during transit. The packaging itself also utilizes a thick grade of cardboard and encompasses the case to withstand any sudden impact.

Once opened, the case is revealed and cushioned by a cloth cover to stop accidental scratches from occurring. If the case was packaged without any padding, the chassis could rub against the box and become damaged. This is especially true with delicate windowed side panels.

From another angle, we can see the flexible foam supports which add a great deal of rigidity and keeps the case perfectly aligned. I have to commend PC Specialist for using some of the strongest foam inserts I’ve ever seen. For example, I intentionally bent the inserts to see if they would snap under pressure, but they withstood this rigorous testing procedure rather well.

The accessories are bundled in a lovely Welcome Pack which evokes a professional feel from the presentation alone.

Included in the Welcome Pack is a setup guide, component documentation, driver disks, extra SSD mounts, power cables, and much more! Everything is separated into segments which makes it easier to find specific parts.

The accessories can be easily stored away in the original packaging and has enough room to house future purchases such as a DisplayPort cable. While the box is too large to fit in a small drawer, it does prevent you from losing any accessories and keeps everything in a neat package.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Intel i7 6700K ES Skylake Pictured and Tested Again

While Intel may have some of the best CPUs around, they still can’t keep people from leaking information. Today we bring a series of tests done on an i7 6700K Engineering Sample which is compared to the i7 4790K, i7 5820K, and Xeon E3 1231 v3. The test platform appears to be a Gigabyte LGA1151 Z170 motherboard with DDR4 given the presence of a Turbo B-Clock module.

In synthetics, we see the 6700K pulling just ahead of he i7 4790K, besting it in 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Firestrike, though falling behind in Fritz. In single threaded tests like Photoshop CC and WinRAR 4.2, the 6700K and 4790K managed to place ahead of the 5820K though the 6700K score the same as the 4790K in WinRAR. As we’ve seen before, Skylake places just better in Cinebench R15.

In dGPU gaming, the i7 6700K manages to pull ahead of the other chips in every game tested. Generally, Haswell seems to hold its own pretty well, only losing by a few frames in GTA V, Sleeping Dogs, Far Cry 4 and Metro 2033. A weird anomaly did appear in Project CARS, with the 6700K managing to push well past both the 4790K and 5820K. It will be interesting to see if the same results play out on release day and what are the exact reasons it does so well in that game.

Overall, the benchmarks show that Skylake will be very much an incremental upgrade on the CPU side of things. In some ways, the additional chipset PCIE lanes and other platform changes like the removal of the FIVR, improved iGPU and DDR4 are more interesting. Unless one needs to be on the bleeding edge of CPU power, there will be little need to upgrade for those on Sandy Bridge and later. You can find more of our Skylake coverage and other leaked benchmarks here.

Thank you PConline for providing us with this information

Leaked Skylake Slides Suggest Focus on iGPU

More Skylake details have leaked out ahead of its August launch and this time around, we’re being treated to what appears to be official Intel slides. Once again, it seems like Intel is emphasizing the iGPU side of things though we do see that Intel expects some decent IPC gains for the CPU.

According to Intel, Skylake will bring IPC improvements of 10% to single threaded operations and 20% to multithreaded tasks. The single-threaded performance increase does seem to fall in the range we’ve seen from some leaked benchmarks which have put IPC improvements at about 8-11%. 10% is probably closer to a best case scenario all things being equal. The 20% on the multithreaded side of things also matches up with what we known, with leaked benchmarks showing strong improvements in multi-threaded efficiency and Hyper-Threading.

Real benefits from 14nm also show for the mobile side of things, with the increased power efficiency allowing much better CPU and iGPU performance for the low power Y SKUs. Intel is claiming about 30% improvement in battery life, which given that the CPU and iGPU only contribute a portion, is pretty amazing. A lot of value added features like better touch, audio, video and camera features are also being included. Overall, it looks like Intel is selling Skylake as an incremental improvement for desktops users but brings much more to mobile users.

Thank you FanlessTech for providing us with this information

More LGA 1151 Motherboards Pictured – GIGABYTE Z170-SOC Force Revealed

After we’ve seen some MSI, ASRock, and BIOSTAR Z170 motherboards, we now have some pictures from Gigabyte. This time, we have the  GIGABYTE Z170-SOC Force based on Intel’s upcoming LGA 1151. As part of the OC or overclocking lineup, the familiar orange theme is back along with a number of overclocking specific features. Along with the usual voltage measurement modules, we have a host of OC control buttons, a 24-phase VRM, 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, 4-pin ATX, and 6-pin PCIe power connectors and a VRM heatsink that is all ready for liquid cooling.

For more normal features, the board support two USB 3.1 ports, of which one is shared with a type-C port. Regular USB 3.0 gets a total of 8 ports (4 of which are by header) along with a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports, of which two are near the SATA ports. A total of 3 M.2 slots, 3 SATA-Express 16Gb/s and 8 SATA 6Gb/s connectors are there for your storage needs. For even faster connectivity, there are 4 PCIE x16 slots (x16/NC/NC/x4 or x8/NC/x8/x4 or x8/x4/x4/x4) and three PCI-Express 3.0 x1 are provided. DDR4 and shielded audio PCB section also make an appearance.

Overall, while being an OC focused board, the SOC Force still carries the connectivity of most high-end gaming boards. If there is any glaring issue, it’s that the orange looks a bit faded and washed-out, though that might just be the lighting/camera. With the removal of FIVR for Skylake, the motherboard returns to the forefront of CPU overclocking, meaning those wanting to hit 5.2Ghz or even 6.5Ghz would do well to invest in a good board.

Thank you ZoLKoRn for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of ZoLKoRn

Intel Skylake i7 6700K Performance Leaked Again Along with Discrete GPU 3DMark

Given the sheer amount of leaks coming out, Intel’s Skylake should be just around the corner. Today, we have more i7 6700K benchmarks to share, this time compared on an MSI board vs an i7 4790K. While the MSI board is not one those fancy schmancy ones leaked earlier, the MSI Z170A Gaming Pro does bundle a number of newer features like Turbo M.2, Lan Protect, Game Boost and of course LGA 1151 and DDR4.

Starting right off the bat, both chips are stock clocked so the i7 6700K 5.2Ghz and later 6.3Ghz overclocks don’t apply. Despite a small 200mhz speed advantage at full boost, the i7 6700K manages to pull ahead in most tasks, albeit slightly at about 3% faster overall. Taking the clock speed into account, that gives an IPC boost of about 8%, which is about par given the jump from Ivy Bridge to Haswell. When driving a dGPU. Skylake stretches its lead a bit more, posting a 6% improvement that means an IPC gain of 11% once you consider the clock speed deficit.

There were a few anomalies with WinRAR posting mixed results, with the 6700K pulling ahead in multi-thread but dropped behind in single-thread. This also holds true for 3DMark Firestrike Ultra, with mixed scores there as well. While these issues could be caused by unfinished drivers, the more likely cause is run to run variation. It’s also important to note that motherboards do play a role in performance, but that is something hard to quantify across generations. Overall, the tests do point out to yet another standard release for Intel with a decent but still minor boost in IPC, with real world overclocking remaining the big unknown. Stay tuned for more coverage as we near the August launch.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information 

Images courtesy of WCCFTech

More Reports Point to Intel i7-6700K Arrival in Q3 2015

Earlier we brought you a report on Intel’s planned launch for unlocked Skylake at Gamescom in August. Now another source is pointing to a Q3 2015 launch as well, making it seem very likely that the chips will arrive then. According to the source, Intel will probably release i7-6700K before IDF 2015 which starts August 18th, solidifying a launch date at Gamescom two weeks prior. Given that Broadwell just launched last month, Intel ahs a tight schedule for CPUs coming out.

As reported earlier the i7-6700K will feature a core clock of 4Ghz stock with a relatively small turbo to 4.2Ghz. The Skylake chip will also use DDR4 or DDR3L and the standard 8MB cache used by most mainstream i7s. As shown in leaked images, there will be no Crystalwell eDRAM cache, no solder but most importantly, the VRM will be moved back to the LGA 1151 motherboard. The VRM change alone will be worth moving to a new socket for overclockers. We also know that the chip will not come with a stock cooler which isn’t much of a loss given that it can’t handle any overclocking. Hopefully, Intel will pass on the savings for removing the cooler.

Given that rumours are suggesting plenty of 10nm delays, the i7 6700K will likely be a long-lasting chip. It’s hard to tell at this point if the rumoured Kaby Lake refresh in 2016 will include a replacement for the i7 -6700K though given potential competition from AMD’s Zen, Intel probably has one planned. With the chip se to arrive in little over a month, stay tuned for more information as we’ll be sure to bring it to you.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Intel Unlocked Skylake Launch Date Revealed

Hardwareluxx is reporting that Intel will be releasing its first Skylake processors sometime between August 6th and 9th. Intel is timing the release of the i7-6700K and i5-6600K to be in line with Gamescom which also falls on the previously mentioned dates. As unlocked processors, both the 6700K and the 6600K will likely be targeted towards gamers and overclockers, making the Gamescom timing understanding. Other Skylake chips will launch later in August.

Both chips will be the first of Intel’s 14nm chips based on the new Skylake architecture. Skylake will move the VRM off the CPU package and back on to the motherboard, likely reducing the heat given off the CPU package and improving overclockability. DDR4 will also be standard but DDR3L may also be supported. That will be dependent on the new LGA 1151 motherboards and Z170 chipset for unlocked chips. Other notable additions are the new AVX512 instructions, Thunderbolt 3, 20 PCIE 3.0 lanes and L4 eDRAM cache.

The chips run at 3.5/3.9Ghz and 4.0/4.2Ghz for the i5 and i7 respectively. While a bit slower than the current Devil’s Canyon chips, the L4 eDRAM and other architecture improvements should boost performance overall. At 95W, the new chips are suggested to have a 9% IPC gain from leaked benchmarks. As we near this rumoured launch date, more information is likely to be released so stay tuned!

Thank you HardwareLUXX for providing us with this information

ASRock Z170 Motherboards Pictured Ahead of Launch

Ahead of next week’s Computex in Taiwan, ASRock has released pictures of their latest motherboard. Based around Intel’s next-generation 100 series chipset for Skylake, the Z170 will be the top platform for the mainstream segment. The pictures show the Z170 Gaming K6 and the Z170 Extreme 7 in their full glory along with Intel’s LGA 1151.

For the Gaming K6, it’s quite obviously targeted towards gamers with the red and black aesthetic most OEMs are using with their gaming products. Branding remains the same with the Fatal1ty line with the name etched on the board but not in the model. M.2 slot resides pretty much where we have come to expect as well as the now prevalent SATA Express along with the SATA 3 ports. As expected DDR4 is used for the 4 DIMM slots.

The Extreme 7, targetting a more enthusiast audience comes with the industry standard black and gold theme. In line with it’s with enthusiast status, the Extreme 7 comes with not 1 but 3 M.2 slots. Being based on Z170, not all of the M.2 and PCIE slots can be used at the same time. Another differentiator also appears to be two removable BIOS chips, great for eliminating risk when messing with the firmware.

Both boards tout key features offered by Z170, mainly the 20 PCIE 3.0 lanes which is particularly useful for the Extreme 7 with it’s 4 x16 slots. Both boards are expected to feature Realtek ALC 1150 onboard audio, branded Purity Sound 3 with prominent EMI shielding. As high-end boards, both also offer onboard buttons and BIOS code readouts. The large number of USB 3 ports are also prominent with Z170, coming standard with the chipset. With Biostar having also teased their Z170 board, Skylake is sure to be right around the corner.

Intel’s Skylake Gets Detailed: Z170 “100 Series” Chipset in Mid 2015

Intel’s Broadwell CPUs will continue the shelf-life of Intel’s Z97 and H97 platforms as Intel migrates from the current Haswell CPU architecture next year. Broadwell will arrive on the Intel performance and Mainstream platforms next year, that’s on the Z97 and H97 chipsets and this is expected to occur in Q2 of 2015. However, we won’t just be seeing Broadwell in Q2 of 2015 because according to the latest leaked Intel Roadmap Intel will also offer Skylake shortly after, something we heard about a few weeks back. Skylake will arrive on all Intel platform segments shortly after Broadwell and will take Intel’s chipset family into the new “100” series. Unlike Broadwell and the 9 series which are only offered in the consumer performance and mainstream segments, Skylake and the 100 series will be offered across the entire Intel range of chipsets.

The specifications of Intel’s upcoming chipsets can be seen above. As we see they are not too different to the 8 and 9 series boards; Z87 and Z97 also offer 6 SATA III and 20 PCIe lanes for example. Intel has increased the USB 3.0 count and also the SATA Express and M.2 capabilities of the 100 series. It is important to remember that 100 series motherboards and Skylake CPUs will not be compatible with anything from the 8/9 series or Haswell/Broadwell. Skylake, which are Intel’s sixth generation Core Series CPUs, will utilise a new LGA 1151 socket and they will also have the ability to run DDR3 or DDR4 memory depending on the configuration. Expect exciting things in 2015 from Intel if these rumours are anything to go by!

Source: VR-Zone

Images courtesy of VR-Zone

More Details On Intel Skylake Revealed: 14nm, DDR4, Low TDPs

Intel is supposed to be launching their Skylake platform at some stage in 2015. Skylake will succeed Broadwell and it will be a “tock” in the Intel Tick-Tock model as it maintains the same 14nm process node but opts for a new microarchitecture. Skylake will bring DDR4 memory support and an improved graphics processing unit. There will be four variations of Skylake: U and Y series CPUs for ultra low power devices such as tablets and ultrabooks. H series CPUs for high performance mobile and all-in-one form factors and finally the S series which is for traditional socketed desktop CPUs.

Intel’s U and Y series CPUs will integrate the PCH on-die, so are effectively SoCs, Intel’s H and S series CPUs will require an external PCH, or chipset. The H and S series CPUs now communicate with the PCH over DMI 3.0, instead of the current DMI 2.0, and they will be dual channel CPUs. The U and Y series CPUs will be single channel. In terms of core counts the U and Y CPUs will have 2 cores and support LPDDR3 memory  up to 1600MHz. The Y parts have GT2 graphics with a 4W TDP and the U parts GT2 graphics with a 15W TDP. There will also be “special” versions of the U series CPUs that come with 64MB of eDRAM and better GT3 graphics, these have 15 and 28W TDPs.

Moving onto the all-important H and S series parts now, the H series CPUs will have 4 cores with GT2 or GT4e graphics. The GT2 parts have 35 and 45W TDPs while the GT4e parts have 45W TDPs and 128MB of eDRAM cache. Unlike the U and Y series parts the H series parts have full support for DDR4 memory up to 2133MHz. The S parts, which are the desktop socketed CPUs, are offered in dual and quad core models as expected. The dual core models come with GT2 graphics and in 35 or 65W parts. The quad core models come with GT2 or GT4e graphics, except they get 64MB not 128MB of eDRAM.The TDP for these parts will be 35W and 65W but there will also be some 95W TDP parts with GT2 graphics. Presumably these will be the high-end enthusiast skews because there is no reason to give them anything other than basic entry-level GT2 graphics as most people will not use them. These S series parts will support DDR4 2133 but some of them will also support DDR3L and DDR3L-RS to allow for compact and SFF systems to be built.

The H, U and Y series CPUs will all be produced in soldered BGA packages – some are rumoured to have configurable TDPs. The S series CPUs come in the LGA 1151 package and are socketed.

Source: CPU-World

Image courtesy of VR-Zone