Friday, January 12, 2018

CES 2018 – Gigabyte AMD X470 Motherboard

CES is the first Electronics expo of the year, and 2018 promises to bring a couple of game-changers in the industry. One such product was presented by Gigabyte, and it’s the newest AMD X470 Motherboard designed to house the latest Ryzen processors that will hit the market in April later this year.

Features of the Gigabyte AMD X470 Motherboard

This is the first motherboard ever based on the AMD AM4 X470 chipset. It’s quite an improvement to their AX370 Gaming K7 motherboard. The entire system has been redesigned, and it should be able to cope with all AM4 socket processors.

On the first glimpse, the motherboard looks familiar because it has many features we’ve seen before. The motherboard has three PCIe x16 slots that can accommodate 16, 8, and 4 GB of RAM. You can also find 2 extra PCIe x1 slots. The space between the slots has been increased because of the issues people had with their GPUs on the previous MBs.

You can find two M.2 slots in between the PCIe slots. Both M.2 slots are fitted with heat sinks designed to keep everything working in a cool and controlled manner. The slots support both PCIe x4 3.0, and PCIe x4 2.0.

The DeBug code is located right next to the memory slots and the dual BIOS switches. On the back of the motherboard, you can find two USB 3.1 first generation internal headers, and two brand new USB 3.1 Gen2 internal connectors.

What’s New?

Perhaps the biggest improvement of the X470 MB is the VRM heatsinks that are added to lower the working temperature of the components. The previous MB generations featured solid block heatsinks that are also fine, but these new improvements give the product an old-school look that we appreciate. The VRM on the X470 is a 10+2 phase VRM system that’s controlled by the IR35201 PMW controller.

The bottom side of the board has one more large heatsink for the VRM, which keeps it even cooler when working. This is without a doubt one of the best gaming motherboards we’ve ever seen, and all of these heatsinks should make it possible for users to overclock their components substantially. The only problem you could have with this MB is with the spacing, because some coolers may be hard to fit.

The integrated rear I/O also has an old-school look that goes back 20 years. You’ll find all of the usual connectors like the 7.1 audio S/PDIF out, Two USB 3.1 Gen 1 DAC-UP ports, Ethernet connection, a power button and a CMOS button. When it comes to USB ports, there is one 3.1 GEN 2 and one Type-C port, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and a WIFI connector.

Check out this awesome video created by Bitwit:

What’s the Price?

Well, the price for the X470 MB is still kept secret from the public, but all of the features it holds makes us think that it’s going to cost around 250 dollars when it hits the stores later this year in April. All we have to do is wait for AMD to release the 400 chipset with new Ryzen processors.

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CES 2018 – Corsair Obsidian 500D

Corsair is without a doubt one of the most respected and trusted names in the PC industry. They are well-known for their tempered glass cases and other custom computer parts like coolers, mechanical keyboards, lapboards and so on.

CES is the first Electronics show of the year, and we were very interested in what Corsair has to show. The list of their products stood up to our expectations, but their best presentation goes to the Corsair Obsidian 500D tempered PC glass case.

Great design – Awesome Aesthetics

The new Corsair cases got everyone excited because they look like something you’d see in Sci-Fi movies. The cases feature the Carbide Series SPEC-OMEGA with tempered glass sides, a feature that turned everyone’s head as they passed through the busy Corsair stand.

The angular design elements are a trademark for the SPEC OMEGA PC case line, just like with ALPHA cases. The difference is in the fully opened tempered glass windows on the left side of the case. The entire side is opened from top to bottom, so you get a really nice view of the components inside. The bottom shroud has been removed completely, which improves airflow and makes the building process much simpler.

Check out this amazing video made by Linus Tech Tips:

Obsidian 500D as The Leading Act

The Obsidian 500D was presented in two different versions. Upon purchase, you can decide on how many tempered glass panels you want to have. It means that you can choose to get a version with three aluminum sides or one that has three tempered glass sides (both sides and the front).

The access to the components is super-easy because both versions feature hinged side panels that have magnets installed, so you can forget about those annoying screws. The three-sided tempered glass case is right up our alley; we can’t wait for it to hit the stores. The release date is still unknown, but the prices are speculated to be 149 dollars for the one-sided TG case, and you should prepare 249 bucks for the model with three tempered glass sides.

Other Products Presented by Corsair

  • Apart from these PC cases, Corsair also presented their newest wireless mechanical keyboard named K63. The keyboard features blue LEDs, which is not standard for Corsair, but the overall quality and the features are more than satisfying.

  • They also presented new H115i and H150i pro AIO coolers. They are ultra-quiet, and they come with an RGB controller. If you already own previous versions of these coolers, the remote will work, so you don’t need a new one.

  • The newest Dark Core RGB MM1000 Qi Wireless gaming mouse was presented together with the keyboard. The mouse has similar specs as the new Hyperflux line launched by Razor. In fact, it beats it in some categories, taking the leading place at this year’s CES.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

CES 2018 – Intel CPUs with AMD Graphics are here

ASRock AB350 GAMING K4 FATAL1TY AM4 Review

When it comes to motherboards, the AM4 models are what everyone is talking about – these chipsets will be homes to new Ryzen processors made by the AMD. Like with all other PC components, there are cheap and not-so-cheap motherboards – today, we’re going to take a look at one of the more affordable models, the ASRock AB350 GAMING K4 FATAL1TY. This board targets the gamers with lower budgets, as it doesn’t have a multi GPU-capability but still offers some really interesting features. Let’s find out if this thing is worth your money!

Specifications

  • Chipset – AMD B350

  • CPU Socket – 6+3 phase VRM

  • Memory – 4 DIMMs, DDR4 Dual Channel, up to 64Gb

  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 Type-C, 7x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0

  • Audio – Realtek ALC892

Features of ASRock AB350 GAMING K4 FATAL1TY

Like many other products of the FATAL1TY line, this motherboard also ships in a glossy box that features a combination of red and black colors. The thing that reveals that this is a budget model is the number of included accessories – there are not so many of them. Along the motherboard, you’re only getting a basic IO shield and two SATA cables, as well as the documentation and a case sticker.

ASRock AB350 GAMING K4 FATAL1TY connectivity
The motherboard itself also combines red and black, which has always been a proven formula when it comes to the gaming market. The model uses steel plating to strengthen the primary PCIe slot. A red LED lighting can be found under the heatsink, and you can control it via the OS software – but not change its color. The 4-pin RGB headers are positioned in the board’s upper-right corner.

When it comes to RAM, the ASRock AB350 features four DIMM slots that are compatible with the dual channel DDR4 sticks. You can expand it up to 64GB, which is pretty generous in this price category. The manufacturer claims that the memory frequency support stands at 3200MHz+ via the overclocking process.

The power delivery system is managed by an Intersil ISL95712 PWM, which is assisted by two drivers for the SOC components and one for the CPU components. The six phases of the CPU are made out of M4336 MOSFET and SM4337’s – the model uses them to spread the CPU’s load across all elements. This will also contribute to better handling of Ryzen’s eight cores.

ASRock AB350 GAMING K4 FATAL1TY product image
The heatsink solution of this model is quite decent, although it looks a bit small. The lack of size is, fortunately, made up by the intelligent design that’s very effective and should keep the board cool and at reasonable temperature levels. We didn’t like the push-pin mounting approach, as it causes a limited appliance of pressure to FETs which has an adverse effect on the cooling performance.

The ASRock AB350 comes with six SATA 6Gbps ports, with four of these routing from the B350 chipset and two being powered by the ASM1061 chipset. The model mixes them together when it comes to color and mounting location. There’s no U.2 on this model, but there’s a USB 3.0 (5Gbps) header sitting on the right edge. There are also two M.2 slots, which is pretty surprising for a board in this price segment.

The PCIe slot is steel-reinforced and fed by Gen-3 lanes (16 of them) directly from the CPU, and dedicated to your graphics card. Unfortunately, there’s no SLI support here, but you can use CrossFire if you’re willing to risk your second card’s performance due to the restrictive bandwidth that will be sent to it.

The audio solution of this motherboard is based on Realtek’s ALC892, which is a bit old but still quite cost-effective.

What’s wrong with it?

We didn’t like the fact that the overclocking performance of this model is restricted by the limiting UEFI options and the poor voltage accuracy. Also, some users probably won’t be happy with the lack of a 10Gbps 3.1 Second Generation port, even though this is a budget model.

Pros and Cons of the ASRock AB350 GAMING K4 FATAL1TY

PROS

  • Smart routing of PCI-Express 3.0 x4 Lane
  • USB Type-C connector
  • Usable with CrossFire
  • Two M.2 ports – surprising for this price segment
  • Two RGB headers
  • Works well with 3200MHz Flare X memory

CONS

  • Restricted overclocking performance
  • No 10Gbps Gen-2 USB 3.1

Conclusion

For the price that it comes at, the ASRock AB350 is an excellent option. We really liked the fact that this board comes with some features that are quite uncommon in this price segment – like the secondary PCI-Express slot and two M.2 connectors. It faces fierce competition from the Tomahawk model (made by MSI) but still presents a good choice if you’d like to save some money. If the restrictive overclocking performance isn’t something you really care about, go for this motherboard – you won’t regret it.

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