They say that competition is good for the soul, and they are right. In just about any area you can think of having a little competition makes you better at what you do. In the computer world this is especially noticeable when it comes to motherboards, even more so now that companies like Intel and AMD control the chipsets and their features. The push now comes down to performance tuning (at a very fine level) overclocking an additional features to entice the consumer into picking up a new motherboard. We have had a couple of Z97 based boards in the lab recently, but all have been from the same company. Now we have one in from Gigabyte in the form of the Z97MX Gaming 5. Let’s take a look and see if competition has driven Gigabyte to a higher standard.
passwords stolen thanks to a BMC chip with a fairly serious Universal Plug-n-Play feature. According to security researcher Zachary Wikholm, there is s a flaw in the IPMI BIOS on the WPCM450 BMC (Baseboard Management Controller) that Supermicro uses on their boards (with the exception of very newest ones).
As Intel moves more and more core components to their CPU we are seeing an interesting shift in motherboard design. The manufacturers are all realizing that the performance difference between them are narrowing. The days of seeing a massive difference in benchmark scores are almost gone. However, instead of just pushing out a bunch of cookie cutter boards some motherboard makers are looking for new ways to differentiate their boards. Asus is one of these makers and we will be taking a look at a board that has more than a few departures from the normal motherboard design philosophy. This is the Asus Z97-A. So without too much more delay, let’s dive in and see what Asus has given us.
The small form factor crowd has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Every day on Facebook or some other spot on the internet you will see some pretty impressive builds with tiny motherboards stuffed in them. However, one of the things that has always seemed to be missing I full chipset support. Most of the time you can find mini-ITX boards running business or consumer chipsets. Fortunately, this trend has been changing and we are seeing more powerful boards hitting the market. We have one of these newer boards in the lab in the form of the Asus Z97I Plus. This Z97 chipset based board is intended to put all the power and features of larger boards into a tiny package. Let’s see how well Asus does at reaching this goal.
Currently on the market there are a variety of cloud solutions, and the company Kloudian Systems Inc. consider that their solution is much better compared to all others. Kloudian's Orbweb.ME allows you to easily connect all your smart devices with your computer, and creates an easy way of accessing your data.
The new MSI motherboard labeled Z87 MPower MAX, based on the Z87 chipset comes with a support for Intel Core, Pentium and Celeron processors of the fourth generation in LGA1150 package.
Gigabyte decided to fulfil increasing demands for higher data transfer speed and today announed official certification of Dual Port Thunderbolt 2 technology which will be implemented in their GIGABYTE Z87X-UD7 TH model motherboard. This technology will allow speeds of up to 20 Gb/s which is 4 times as much as USB 3.0 is offering and twice as much as the regular Thunderbolt. The new controller is codenamed "Falcon Ridge" and allows simultaneous data transfer across two channels per port.
Gigabyte is not a company to be left out of any market and they are certainly keeping pace in the motherboard arena. They are one of the companies that not only leads sales, but also helps to drive innovation and performance standards. We have had many Gigabyte motherboards in the lab and almost without exception they have been great performers. Gigabyte has also been able to learn from their mistakes and from feedback, whether it is from consumers or the press. So where does this leave Gigabyte in the Z87 market? Well we happen to have a Z87X-UD3H in the lab, so let’s take a look and see.
So now that we have covered the design and features of the Asus Z87-Expert it is time to dive into how well the board performs. Asus has always been a company that talks up the performance that their products are capable of and, from our initial look, we can understand this. Asus is one of the companies that drives the market in terms of how to build a motherboard and the components used to squeeze as much performance as possible out of them. So with that in mind let’s just how well the Z87-Expert does perform when on the bench.
With the launch of Intel’s Haswell there was the normal shift to a new chipset. This is Intel’s Z87 chipset and everyone rushed to get their version of this new chipset out onto the market. Many of the boards that reached consumers were just rehashes of boards that were already on the market with the Z77 chipset, but with the bonus of improved performance under Haswell. So with that in mind we have Asus’ Z87-Expert up on the test bench to see just how it stacks up to the older Z77 boards running Ivy Bridge. Let’s dive in.