Gigabyte H55M-S2H Motherboard

February 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Components, Motherboards, Reviews, Spotlight

Today, we take a look at the Gigabyte H55M-S2H motherboard today which is based on the recently released Intel H55 chipset. The H55 chipset is more-or-less, the P55 chipset with integrated graphics along with a few more additions such as Remote PC Assist, Quiet System Technology and Anti-theft/Identity Protect Technologies. Other key features that Gigabyte adds to this motherboard include:

  • Innovative Smart 6 technology for smarter PC management
  • AutoGreen technology Greening your PC via Bluetooth cellphone
  • Patented DualBIOS™ technology delivering highest level failure protection
  • Easy BIOS setting for GPU overclocking
  • Supports 6 devices without the need for drivers to be installed before being fully operational
  • Meet European Union EuP(Energy-using Products) requirement

Packaging

The Gigabyte H55M-S2H motherboard comes in a small box with an S on the front, signifying that it’s- er,  part of the S series from Gigabyte. Inside the box we found manuals, an IDE cable, 2x SATA cable, CD Driver and I/O back panel Shield.

ECS A785GM-M Motherboard Review

December 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Motherboards, Reviews, Spotlight

Elitegroup Computer Systems have been in the computer business since 1987. ECS became the first motherboard manufacturer based in Taiwan to be listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The latest in the Black Series range of motherboards is the A785GM-M. It is based on the AMD 785G chipset with 140W Phenom II processor (Socket AM3) support. The A785GM-M integrates the ATI Radeon HD 4200 graphics IGP, which includes AMD Hybrid Crossfire technology and DirectX 10.1 capabilities.

With HDMI output and 7.1 channel audio output, we find out if this micro-ATX board could be an excellent board to build your HTPC.

Full Specs at ECS’ Website

Packaging

The motherboard comes in a standard box but ECS has added some nice artwork and bits of information.

The package includes a driver CD, Jiffy CD, manuals, 4x Sata cables, I/O Shield and IDE cable.

MSI 785GM-E65 Motherboard Review

December 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Components, Motherboards, Reviews, Spotlight

Microstar International (MSI) is a leading manufacturer of quality computer components ranging from motherboards to graphics cards and laptops. This Taiwanese company has been in business since 1986 and has earned a good reputation for quality and excellence especially for its motherboards, one of which we will be reviewing today.

The MSI 785GM-E65 is based on the AMD 785G chipset and suports the new AM3 socket based Phenom II CPUs along with DDR3-1333. It comes equipped with 128MB DDR3 1333MHz IGP boost memory to accelerate onboard VGA 3D performance along with support for Hybrid Corssfire. For full specifications, please check MSI’s website.

The Packaging

MSI’s box art for this motherboard is standard and rather plain which isn’t surprising. The 785GM-E65 is a no frills motherboard yet with a decent amount of features that are listed on the box to attract and inform potential buyers.

msi-785gm_01

Inside the box there’s a user’s manual, an overclocking guide manual, an IDE cable, a SATA cable, a DVD driver disc, a 4-pin molex to SATA power cable and an I/O rear panel shield.

msi-785gm_02

ASUS P7P55D Deluxe Motherboard

November 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Motherboards, Reviews, Spotlight

Asus is a leading manufacturer in the computer industry with a reputation for producing high quality products that have helped this Taiwanese-based company reach the top of its industry. Asus motherboards and video cards are very popular among regular users and overclocking enthusiasts alike and so are there laptops and LCD monitors.  Today we take a look at another feature packed motherboard by Asus, the P7P55D Deluxe.

Highlighted Features

  • Intel LGA1156 Platform / Intel® P55 Express Chipset
  • TurboV EVO / TurboV Remote
  • ASUS 24 Hybrid Phase Design
  • Quad-GPU SLI & Quad-GPU CrossFireX Support!
  • ASUS Drive Xpert
  • MemOK!

For a full list of specifications and features, please visit ASUS’ website Packaging Asus packed the motherboard inside a blue box highlighting its feature-rich details under the front flap.

asusp55d_01

Inside the box we found a manual, 1x IDE cable, 1x I/O Rear panel shield, 1x Driver disc, 4x SATA cables, 1x Crossfire Dongle, 1x Asus Badge sticker, 1x PCI bracket that holds 2x USB ports and Firewire, 1x Asus Q-Connector and the TurboV Remote.

asusp55d_02

Before we get into the motherboard, we thought we would take a look at the TurboV Remote that comes with this motherboard.

asusp55d_03

The TurboV is a wired remote that connects to the motherboard and is routed out the back of the I/O panel. It includes A, B and C profile buttons, a power button, a +/- button for under and overclocking and manual and auto mode buttons.

asusp55d_04

On the backside it has a very handy Clear CMOS Button just in case.

MSI P55-GD65 Motherboard

October 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Components, CPUs/Memory Modules, Motherboards, Reviews

With Intel’s launch of the Lynnfield LGA1156 based Core i7 and i5 processors and the P55 chipset accompanying it, a range of motherboards is expected and we’re looking at one such board today- the MSI P55-GD65.

The board reviewed today is supported by a variety of the usual overclocking features, including MSI’s Xtreme Speed Overclocking technology, a trio of different features called OC Genie (world’s first auto Overclocking processor button), SuperPipe (8mm heat pipe for better cooling), and DrMOS.

Specifications:

CPU Support: Intel Lynnfield processor in the LGA 1156 Package
Base clock : 133MHz
Chipset: P55 Chipset
Memory Support: 4 DDR3 DIMMs Support DDR3 2133(OC)/2000(OC)/1600(OC)/1333/1066 DRAM (16GB MAX), Supports Dual-Channel mode.
LAN: Supports Dual LAN (10/100/1000) by Realtek RTL8111DL
IEEE 1394 (optional): chipset integrated by VIA VT6315N, transfer rate is up to 400Mbps
Audio: Chip Integrated by Realtek ALC889 (True Blu-Ray Audio)/ ALC888S
IDE: 1 IDE port by JMicron JMB363 supports ULTRA DMA 66/100/133
SATA: 6x SATA ports by Intel P55, 1x SATA(7) by JMicron JMB363, 1 ESATA/USB COMBO port (Back panel ) by JMicron JMB363
RAID: SATA(1-6) support Intel Matrix Storage Technology (AHCI/RAID 0/1/5/10) by Intel P55

Packaging

msip55gd65_01

MSI packages the P55 inside an orange/white box .

msip55gd65_02

Inside the box we found some manuals , DVD Driver and DVD manual, 4x SATA cables, 2x pin to SATA power cable, IDE cable and FDD cable.

msip55gd65_03

Essentials include the I/O Rear panel shield, Crossfire bridge, SLI bridge dongles, PCI USB Bracket and MSI Q-Connecter.

AMD Phenom II X4 955 CPU

October 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Components, CPUs/Memory Modules, Reviews

This one slipped through the cracks while we were doing a bit of site re-designing and not getting much sleep. The AMD Phenom X4 955 is based on AMD’s AM3 socket that was revealed some time back, featuring DDR3 support.

phenom955_cpu

When the 955 was released, it was AMD’s flagship CPU running four cores at 3.2GHz but has since been replaced by the 965 that runs at 3.4GHz. Both these CPUs are “Black Edition” meaning they’re multiplier unlocked and overclocking friendly. A 6MB L3 cache is present onboard that has a Northbridge speed of 2.0GHz. Lastly, the TDP is 125W which is a bit higher that we would’ve liked. The following is a CPU-Z screenshot

phenom955_cpuz2

Lets get on with the benchmarks using our standrad testbed made up of Corsair DDR3-1333 and an nVidia GeForce GTX 280. This CPU was benched on the ASUS CrossHair III motherboard. We’ve compared the 955 to the older 940 by AMD as well as the Core i7 920 and QX9650 CPUs from Intel

Breaking the 20k Mark in 3DMark Vantage

As this is my first blog, I thought of posting about something extreme, so here goes:

It all started with me wanting to build a system with Crossfire capabilities so I could run a Crossfire setup anytime with any ATI card- I admit, I am fan of their cards. The reason I prefer working more with ATI cards than NVIDIA is simply because I have a water cooling setup with two Dangerden Maze 5 GPU blocks connected in the loop. This block can be mounted on an ATI X800 GTO, 1900XT, 1900XTX, 2900XT, HD 3850 , 3870, 4850, 4870 and the 4890. Basically, the water block is compatible with almost all ATI cards due to the positioning of the four mounting holes around the GPU staying unchanged throughout the years.

No_sink

This is very much unlike NVIDIA, where almost each generation or series of cards has its own uniquely sized holes, making it hard to upgrade.

Having said that, let’s take a look at my gaming rig’s specifications:
• CPU: Intel QX 9770 Extreme Edition
• Motherboard: Asus Maximus Extreme X38
• GPU: 2x Asus EAH4890 with Voltage Tweak
• RAM: 2x Corsair CM3X1024-1800C7DHX + 2xOCZ OCZ3P16001G
• Sound card: Creative Xtreme Music
• PSU: Enermax Galaxy 1000w
• Hard Drive: 2x Seagate 320GB @ RAID0
• OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-Bit SP2

Before making any changes to my system, I first removed the heatsink from both 4890s and installed only the red heatsink with the fan on it and mounted the Dangerden Maze 5 GPU block. I saw temperatures of approximately 30° C at idle and around 40° C at load.

GPU

I started to benchmark my setup with the default settings to see what the score would be, and the result was a total score of 15755, comprising of 17011 as the GPU Score and 12899 as the CPU Score with 3Dmark Vantage.

default
Validation: http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dmv=1374498

It’s actually pretty impressive considering the setup is faster than a single 4870X2 or two 4870 cards, on default settings. So I chose to overclock the GPU’s first and kept the CPU at stock. To do that I used Rivatuner v2.24 with a registry hack to enable overclocking on the 4890 with Voltage adjusting.

After hours of tuning to see what the optimum voltage setting would be with best clock speed so I don’t throttle the GPU and bring down the scores, I managed to stick with 1.5v on the GPU running at 1050MHz and 1200MHz on memory. I managed to obtain a total score of 17342 Mark, comprising of 19393 GPU Score and 13165 CPU score, so that’s an extra 1587 points achieved by simply overclocking the GPU’s.

GPU OC
Validation: http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dmv=1374525

But I wasn’t done yet; I still had the Qx9770 CPU to overclock, so I went back to the BIOS to adjust the multiplier to 10x, FSB to 425 and CPU Voltage to 1.62500v, after which CPU showed 1.52v in the Windows screen. RAM speed was set to 1700MHz by running it at1.94v which enabled the Quad core CPU to run fully stable at 4250MHz. This is despite the X38 motherboard limiting me- I’ve tested the same CPU on the Asus Rampage Extreme and managed to gain a stable 4.4GHz.

Anyway, I benchmarked the setup and I was left with 19983 Mark on Vantage which made me go crazy as I was only 17 marks shy of hitting 20k, so I restarted the setup, went back to Windows, but this time, I cleaned unnecessary applications using the Task Manager and increased the memory speed on both of the 4890’s to 1210MHz. I started 3Dmark Vantage and closed my eyes, hoping to cross the 20k score…

Once 3Dmark Vantage had completed, I opened my eyes to see the 20124 Mark on the screen with 21406 on GPU score and 17057 on CPU score which made me ecstatic!

GPU OC CPU OC

Now I am ranked #9 in 3Dmark Vantage with Performance settings along with 4890 Cards among the rest of the benchmarks! Validation: http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dmv=1381652

OCZ DDR3 PC3-12800 Platinum LV Triple Channel

August 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Components, CPUs/Memory Modules, Reviews

Since the launch of Intel’s Core i7 line of CPUs and X58 chipset, memory manufacturers have released a number of kits designed to take advantage of the CPU and chipset’s triple channel memory technology. Today we take a look on OCZ’s 6GB Platinum memory triple channel kit which runs at CL-7 clocks with low voltage.

Specifications

• Memory Speed: 1600MHz DDR3
• Memory Clocks: 7-7-7-24(CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)
• Heatspreader type: Platinum Z3 XTC heatspreader
• Rated Voltage: 1.65v
• Warranty: Lifetime warranty

ocz-pc3-12800_ram1 ocz-pc3-12800_ram2

Packaging

ocz-pc3-12800_1

OCZ packed the modules in a transparent blue box that shows off the modules.

ocz-pc3-12800_2

Inside the kit we found an instruction manual and, of course, the three memory modules.

Intel Core i7 975 EE

July 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Components, CPUs/Memory Modules, Reviews

Today we take a look at the Core i7 975 CPU- a replacement for Intel’s previous flagship desktop CPU, the Core i7 965. It has a clock speed of 3.33GHz, which is a tad bit higher than 965’s 3.2GHz and belongs to the Extremely Expensive, I mean, Extreme Edition Club, which gives you the privilege of having its multiplier unlocked. Here is what CPU-Z shows us about the CPU

corei7_975_cpuz

No real surprises here- we’re still on Bloomfield and still on the same socket (not something we could possibly say for the upcoming i5 platform). All that has changed from the 965 is the multiplier up from 24x to 25x and a new stepping. Lets find out how the Core i7 975 compares to other CPUs such as the 965 as well as AMD’s Phenom II.

We’ve used the ASUS Rampage II Extreme motherboard with DDR3 for Intel CPUs while the AMD platform was benched with DDR2 and on an ASUS 790GX chipset based board. Both platforms had the GTX280 as their VGA card and a 1000W Corsair PSU.

ASUS Crosshair III Formula

July 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Components, Motherboards, Reviews

The Crosshair III Formula is the third addition to Asus’ Crosshair line and packs new ROG technology. How did it fare? Lets start off by looking at some of main features of this board

• AMD AM3 CPU support

• AMD 790FX/SB750

• DDR3 1600(O.C.)

• MemOK!

• CPU Level Up

• SupremeFX X-Fi

A full list of specifications can be found on the ASUS website.

Packaging

crosshair3_01

The Crosshair III’s box isn’t quite in your face despite its red finish but it’s still easy to identify as a ROG product.

crosshair3_02

Inside the box we found 6x SATA cables, an IDE Cable, the Asus LCD poster, ROG case badge, a user manual, a DVD driver disc, an I/O Back Panel shield, the Asus Q-Connecter and a PCI bracket that holds two USB and Firewire ports.

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