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Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 – mATX Gaming Muscle from Gigabyte

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 Introduction – Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 Gigabyte is a well-known name in the component industry and for good reason as they have made motherboards and graphics cards for a very long time. Among them some great boards such as the X58 OC board, some great P45 boards and I’m sure many more I’m not thinking of. For Z97 they have a multitude of offerings from their entry-level, their gaming series and finally their OC based variants which have extreme OC features based around being able to push the limits. Today we have in hand the Z97MX-Gaming 5 which is a mATX model board from the Gaming line and with this includes some very cool gaming based features to help make for a better overall gaming PC build and experience. The board comes in at a price of $117.99 on Newegg, this is at the time of writing and after some rebate deals we have seen ... Read More »

Gigabyte F2A88XN-WIFI: Mini-ITX Board for Kaveri (FM2+)

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Gigabyte’s F2A85XN-WIFI was one of the best mini-ITX board for the FM2 socket. With the release of the Kaveri (FM2+) APU, Gigabyte has updated their mini-ITX board with the latest A88X chipset. With the F2A88XN-WIFI, Gigabyte essentially retained the same overall design and the layout as the older board except it has swapped out the FM2 socket for the FM2+ so it will support AMD Kaveri and it has added support for 802.11ac. So if you are aiming to build a mini-ITX system with the latest AMD APU, you would probably want to check out this review for more information as to what the board has to offer. Board Layout    Visually, it would be hard to tell F2A88XN-WIFI apart from its younger sibling F2A85XN-WIFI as both boards sports exactly same layout to a T. If it were not for the different color CPU socket (black for the A88X and white ... Read More »

Gigabyte G1.Sniper A88X Review

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Gigabyte’s G1.Sniper has a long history of targeting toward gamers. The board is designed with features that gamers seek the most: better audio quality, better network performance, and better cooling for overclocking, Dating back to the first G1.Sniper, Gigabyte has released various models of the G1.Sniper series: 3, 5, and M5. What they all have in common is that they are all for Intel processors. The G1.Sniper A88X marks the first motherboard from Gigabyte that carries the G1.Sniper moniker for AMD APU. With Kaveri, AMD not only brings performance enhancement but also PCI Express 3.0 support along with other technologies such as TrueAudio, HSA, and hQ. As such, Gigabyte is betting that there are gamers who are looking to build a gaming PC without spending a lot of cash would be interested in pairing the AMD APU with their latest G1. Sniper A88X motherboard. Board Layout Shipped in the typical ... Read More »

ASUS X79 Deluxe Motherboard Review “Ground Up Redesign For Ivy-E”

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Introduction – ASUS X79 Deluxe We recently looked at the X79 refresh from the ROG line newly optimized for top tier performance with the new Ivy-E chips and well not everyone needs that level of extreme feature set and compatibility so ASUS stepped it down a notch in some of the more extreme LN2 and overclock areas to offer a more sensible board for enthusiasts users and arrives at our test bench today with the new X79 Deluxe. One thing to note is that while this is not an ROG board and may not have all of the LN2 bells and whistles straight on paper as you will see coming up this board is still very much packed to the gills with some pretty awesome features. One thing you will notice right off the bat is that ASUS basically now EOL the P9X79 Deluxe board in favor of ushering in ... Read More »

MSI Goes Mini! Z87I Gaming and GTX 760 Mini ITX Gaming Review!

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Introduction – MSI Z87I Gaming and GTX 760 Gaming Mini MSI’s gaming line has now seen a few entries for board and GPU models and this set I have to say is extremely interesting as these models are made for the very popular mini PC builds which are becoming very popular. Mini ITX systems are growing greatly in popularity as smaller systems become much more powerful and solutions like this are very interesting as it specially builds specific targeted models based around a small sized build. starting with a Z87 board with gaming feature sets and also a GTX 760 card which is a great price/performance model built to a size to fit within a super compact Mini ITX chassis.   The board comes in at a MSRP of $200.00 whereas the GTX 760 ITX model comes in at $269.99 both of which are rather reasonable when you consider some ... Read More »

The Black is Back! ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Echoes of AC/DC ring in my head as I came up with this title, and it took everything in me not to have about a thousand different “Back in black” references but I think we can survive a few. ASUS seems to reserve its “Black Edition” moniker for very special models as im sure some of you saw back when we got a chance to check out the Rampage III Black edition board based on the X58 chipset. That thing was a flat out beast and from looking at the specs on paper the Rampage IV Black edition is no different. Well we can say that in a manner of speaking as it looks to be a flat out beast but it is in terms entirely different as the technology on this board is seemingly light years ahead of the previous generation Black ... Read More »

Biostar Z87X 3D Motherboard Review

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Introduction – Biostar Z87X 3D Motherboard Biostar is one of those names you hear about but not as common as the “bigger” players in the component game but regardless of this they have a decent share in the more cost conscious market which is actually a very large segment to live in. Also on previous mainstream enthusiasts boards I have been rather impressed with the performance/price ratio the Biostar boards are able to pull in comparison to some of the higher priced competitors. Today we have Biostar’s top Z87 model which integrates their HiFi audio solution for a great audio experience should you use this for a multimedia or gaming board this one should be up for the task. The one thing that did surprise me is the lack of SLI support which means your talking single Nvidia card or crossfire depending upon your needs, but from what i have ... Read More »

MSI Z87M Gaming Micro ATX Motherboard Review

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Introduction – MSI Z87M Gaming MSI has already had a few entries of its gaming line for Z87 and now there is a third with the board we are looking at today the Z87M Gaming. This board is the mATX version for those looking for a smaller form factor gaming grade board. We have looked at the gaming series boards and they have proven quite capable while also offering a nice feature set at a great value.   The board comes in at a MSRP of $159.99, which is reasonably competitive but now lets take a look at the feature set and what this board has to offer which will making midsize gaming builders want to drop their dollars in this direction instead of any other option.   Features & Specifications Military Class Components When MSI puts military class components to the fire they are not joking as they come ... Read More »

Gigabyte GTX 780 Windforce OC

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Gigabyte GTX 780 Windforce OC When thinking graphics so many times names jump into out minds like EVGA, ASUS and whatnot but many times when you think about Gigabyte, graphics cards simply don’t jump to the forefront. Gigabyte is best known for their extensive motherboard offering while for some reason their graphics offerings have not always gotten all of the credit I think they deserve. The reason I say this as I have seen most of their models and while their products are sometimes less mentioned they do make some very good coolers and also some very nice custom PCB models. Here via the specs you can see that the Gigabyte model comes with a very high out of the box clock which gives it a definitive jump over the competition with over 1GHz boost clock where the ASUS we looked at recently only reached into the 941MHz in boost ... Read More »

ASUS Z87I-Deluxe Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Z87I-Deluxe ASUS while best known for the crazy features and designs on ROG boards they also do design some very impressive mainstream level boards much like the ITX offering we are looking at today. The Z87I-Deluxe is a highly featured ITX Z87 model that offers ASUS performance and features but at a much more modest price point than the higher end model Maximus VI Impact. The Mainstream line from ASUS tends to have very similar performance tuning but many times when it comes to the extreme tweaking options that is reserved for the ROG boards as that is their target market but anyone who has had experience with ASUS knows that ASUS offers similar overclocking capability from the top to bottom of the stack in relation to performance and general overclocking. And well to sum up what im trying to say I will just leave it as ... Read More »

ASUS Maximus VI Impact Mini ITX Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Maximus VI Impact The ASUS Z87 series is far from over as something we have today is something people have been asking for some time for ASUS to produce. Being as the PC world is going through a trend of smaller systems it started with lanBox style systems and mATX boards and now many are moving to even smaller mITX form factors. Today we have the Maximus VI Impact which is the first ROG mITX offering and I can honestly say just looking at the board and the features it offers if it all works as expected I could see this very much meeting or even exceeding the expectations of the groups of fans who have been asking for a ITX solution for high end gaming mini builds.   The Maximus VI Impact comes to market at $229.99 directly from Newegg at the time of writing which ... Read More »

ASUS Maximus VI Formula Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Maximus  VI Formula The Z87 lineup has moved along quickly and now we have had a few months to let things settle and the platform is still getting new boards trickling in like a few I got here just recently one of them being the one I have today. The new Maximus VI Formula which carries with it many cool toys and features among its bag of tricks which the formula always seems to carry. While the Extreme board in ROG line is always seen as the upper echelon of performance and features I think more real world features or should I say usable features always seem to be on the Formula things such as awesome audio solutions and the like which are more beneficial to the gamer while the Extreme has always had extreme overclocking centric feature sets which will still work as a gaming board ... Read More »

Gigabyte Z87X-OC

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 Introduction – Gigabyte Z87X-OC Well we are now many boards deep into the Z87 line and now we got a new fun toy from the team over at Gigabyte. This is one of the OC Series boards, and yes I did say one of them as there are two different OC model boards the Z87X-OC and the Z87X-OC Force. The Z87X-OC Force is a full 4 Way sli and Crossfire model designed for overclocking and using a bridge chip to allow more PCIe lane availability to allow 4 Way SLI function. The board we have today is the Z87X-OC which omits the bridge chip and Liquid cooled VRM area in favor of a much more affordable cost. The tradeoff however does mean you give up the ability to run more than two way SLI or Quad SLI with two dual GPU cards, but since AMD does not limit crossfire to ... Read More »

MSI Z87 Mpower Motherboard

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Introduction – MSI Z87 Mpower MSI was quick to let a flurry of boards hit the market including the new “Gaming” line but for those enthusiasts who want something to help push the limits there’s no better solution form the MSI camp than the Mpower/Xpower series. We have already shows the wild Xpower board now were gonna show you the more tame Mpower model Xpower has always been the top end balls to the walls overclocker but for most maybe they dont need all of the features that the Xpower offers and this is where the Xpower fits in as it has some major overclocking muscle built in with a little less feature count to offer a more reasonable price point to match many enthusiasts users budgets.       The board comes in at a price of $234.99 on Newegg. This places it at 200 dollars below the Xpower so ... Read More »

MSI Z87-G45 Gaming Motherboard review

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Introduction – MSI Z87-G45 Gaming MSI stormed the market as of recent with the introduction of their gaming series and also offered a new level of segmentation to their lineup that previously simply was not there. By adding the Gaming series there now is a set boundary as to which product is targeted at which audience which is excellent to deliver a clear message to customers. So now with their standard boards being the mainstream line, then Gaming for gamer/midrange enthusiasts and Mpower/Xpower being the upper echelon of the performance segment carrying boards more targeted toward the overclocker and performance centric market. Today I am looking at the second and more value oriented  of the Z87 Gaming series boards the MSI Z87 G45 Gaming, and this very much like the GD65 I had looked at recently carries many of the same design philosophies here so lets take a look a ... Read More »

Gigabyte GA-F2A85XN-WIFI (A85X Mini-ITX) Motherboard

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Gigabyte GA-F2A85XN-WIFI (A85X Mini-ITX) Motherboard   With only 17cm x 17 cm of area to work with, available real estate limits what manufacturers can put on a mini-ITX motherboard. However, for the Gigabyte GA-F2A85XN-WIFI, Gigabyte has done a very good job at offering what users need the most. The F2A85XN-WIFI does not come with a lot of the bells and whistles that we find on gaming boards or extreme overclocking boards. However, Gigabyte is able to pack in quite a lot of extra features, including DualBIOS, a WiFi card, Bluetooth, and plenty of USB and SATA ports on such a tiny board.   The F2A85XN-WIFI comes in the typical cardboard box. Inside we see the motherboard is placed on top of the box and underneath the board is where the accessories are located. There is not much includes with the board: we get the usual driver disk, a utility disk, ... Read More »

ASUS Maximus VI Hero Z87 Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Maximus  VI Hero The Z87 series keeps on trucking along and with this ASUS offers yet another ROG piece to the game with the newly released Maximus VI HERO. The Hero looks very much like a Formula from the Z77 line but without the WiFi or the Liquid cooled VRM and knowing now all of the different models available through the ROG line I am very interested in the innovations included in this board and where exactly it falls into the stack in terms of ROG Z87′s. Looking at the general overview you can see it has the select VRM features and Supreme FX Audio but lets dig a little deeper into what exactly is the Maximus VI HERO.   The Maximus VI HERO comes to market with a street price of $189.99 directly from Newegg at the time of writing. This price places the HERO in ... Read More »

ASUS Z87-PRO Motheboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Z87-PRO ASUS along with its ROG boards also released the more mainstream channel series of boards one of which we actually looked at already in the Z87-A. The color seems to be the big topic in the community and for good reason since ECS did a similar gold coloring on the heatsinks and components for Z77 and it did not go over well but ASUS decided to throw their hat into the ring with the god coloring in an apparent effort to symbolize the “Gold Standard” and while I’ve never been a big fan of gold I do think in the right system it could look nice or in a build where a window and appearance are not as important as the function. For me its all about performance but I think that also has to do with my inherent inability to make a pretty system so ... Read More »

ASUS Z87-A Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Z87-A When new chipset launches happen all of the attention is given to the big boys of the group or the high end behemoth that is the top clocking boards. All the while, there is a whole bunch of other boards that may not have all of the bells and whistles or the LN2 overclocking trickery, but are just as capable when being put to the test in a high end gaming rig. Many enthusiasts can be some what snobbish when it comes to hardware, us included. We want the biggest, the baddest, and the best. The only problem is that the best comes with a hefty price tag, so we like to look at what mainstream performers can offer. Some of these boards hold huge promise for even a nice overclocked rig. Today we are looking at the ASUS Z87-A board which is one of the ... Read More »

Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H Motherboard Review

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 Introduction – Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H   Just a short time ago we looked at the Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H and now we grabbed up its little brother, the UD3H. This board offers similar feature sets as the UD4H but a little more on the value side which means it will omit small bells and whistles to keep it on the lighter side of the pricing equation. The board comes in at a price of $159.99 on Newegg, placing it among some of the least expensive boards on the market and with that any feature is a huge advantage since many of the boards at this price point are down to the very basic to ensure the best competitiveness at the value price point. Features & Specifications Ultra Durable 5 Plus Gigabyte has been marketing the Ultra Durable line for awhile and many things have changed as more solid components and technologies have made ... Read More »

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Motherboard

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 Introduction – Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H   Gigabyte has been making boards forever and honestly, it has been up and down along the cycle. It seems like every board manufacturer has its good and bad times, and Gigabyte seems to have been going through a bit of a rough patch. With that said, we must say that the Z87 Gigabyte has come out swinging and actually impressed us greatly. It has great aesthetics by offering various colors and designs even in their standard channel or mainstream offerings. Some of our previous suggestions seem to have been received, as they have improved upon their UEFI BIOS, as well as a few other things. The board comes in at a price of $189.99 on Newegg, which is quite competitive to other boards on the market, but also since its head to head with many other offerings means it really has to be something special ... Read More »

MSI Z87 Xpower Motherboard

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MSI just jumped into the extreme Haswell game with the recent release of the Z87 Xpower, today we have one in hand, so let’s see what this beast has to offer. Related posts: MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING Motherboard Review With Intel’s new chipset introduction it was only a matter of time till we had... ASUS Maximus VI Extreme Z87 Motherboard Review   With the intro of Z87 we knew it would not be long until we... Intel Core i7 4770K: Haswell and the Z87 Chipset Intel’s newest offering to the upper mainstream platform is here with the new Haswell. The... Read More »

MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING Motherboard Review

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With Intel’s new chipset introduction it was only a matter of time till we had the new boards from MSI. Now that we have it, let’s see what you get with the new Z87-GD65 Gaming! Related posts: ASUS Maximus VI Extreme Z87 Motherboard Review   With the intro of Z87 we knew it would not be long until we... MSI GTX 770 Gaming   MSI has hit the GTX 770 scene and it has come out swinging with... Read More »

ASUS Maximus VI Extreme Z87 Motherboard Review

  With the intro of Z87 we knew it would not be long until we started seeing the ROG boards rolling out and first up we have the Maximus VI Extreme which is the top of the line when it comes to ASUS innovation. Now let’s see exactly what it has to offer. No related posts. Read More »

Intel Core i7 4770K: Haswell and the Z87 Chipset

Intel’s newest offering to the upper mainstream platform is here with the new Haswell. The new i7 4770K and Intel DZ87KLT-75K will show us Intel’s vision for moving the industry forward with better technology and performance. Related posts: Powercolor HD 7870 Myst Edition Powercolor has been a lesser-seen name in the GPU market but their primary focus is... Read More »

ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z

ASUS has been all the rage with its Z77 models, from the most basic to the more extravagant ROG series. Today we look at the AMD side of things with the new revision of the Crosshair V Formula. No related posts. Read More »

ASUS Maximus V Extreme

ASUS has some amazing Z77 offerings especially in the ROG lineup. We have already looked at the Maximus V Gene and the Maximus V Formula, both of which were amazing overclockers with loads of features. Today we have the Extreme variant which is the very top model for the ASUS ROG lineup. It carries many features such as the OCKey and VGA Hotwire. Keep reading to see exactly what this board offers! No related posts. Read More »

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Motherboard

  GIGABYTE builds motherboards for pretty much every type of user, from the extreme high end board to the more basic and straightforward mainstream boards. We were able to pick up the Z77X-UP7 from GIGABYTE. Let’s take a look at how this top-end board performs. No related posts. Read More »

MSI Big Bang Z77 MPower

  MSI has been around the motherboard market for a very long time, and like many of the players nowadays, is really pushing the overclocking ability on both its motherboard and graphics card lineups. The Big Bang series of MPower boards are built around the idea of being highly overclockable and enthusiast-targeted. Today we look at what the MSI Big Bang Z77 MPower board and what it has to offer. No related posts. Read More »

ASUS Maximus V Formula

ASUS hit the market hard with the little board that packed a big punch. Now they’ve released the bigger brother of that board: the Maximus V Formula, and the Maximus V Extreme is following shortly. Let’s check out the Maximus V Formula and see what it has to offer. No related posts. Read More »

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP5 TH

    GIGABYTE was not long behind the release of Intel’s Thunderbolt, and quickly instituted the new technology on desktop boards. One of their first entries in the Z77 line with included Thunderbolt is the Z77X-UP5 TH. So far, it looks like a great product with dual-Thunderbolt, allowing for up to 12 devices. Let’s see if the board can perform as well as its specs say. No related posts. Read More »

ASUS P8Z77 WS

  ASUS has hit the Z77 playing field with amazing force and their P8Z77 WS looks to be an utterly amazing and very capable offering.  4 Way SLI server grade stability and features add up to one hell of an amazing looking board on paper. Can it perform as well as its specs claim? No related posts. Read More »

Biostar TPower TZ77XE4

Biostar has recently been pushing its way into the enthusiasts offerings, and with the new TPower TZ77XE4, they have introduced a board designed for overclocking. Knowing the TPower line’s capabilities and excellent value we should be in for one hell of a show. No related posts. Read More »

GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 Motherboard

GIGABYTE now has a second entry into the G1.Killer series for the Z77 lineup. Needless to say, when we look at a gaming board, we expect the appearance to scare the competition away, and the power to back it up. Does the G1.Sniper 3 deliver? Let’s take a look. No related posts. Read More »

ASUS P8Z77-V Premium

    ASUS has pushed many new models onto the playing field with Z77, and with the P8Z77-V Premium, we now see the first solution Intel-certified for Thunderbolt, along with many other technical and feature advances that push ASUS even further in the forefront for the Z77 offerings. No related posts. Read More »

ASUS Maximus V Gene

ASUS jumped into the Z77 chipset head first with many models and of course a ROG offering in the Maximus V Gene. Let’s see if small size can still deliver big performance and features. No related posts. Read More »

Gigabyte Sniper M3 Review

Gigabytes G1 series is a premier gaming/performance offering and with the Sniper M3 it is a mATX highly featured gaming board. Lets see exactly what it has to offer. No related posts. Read More »

GIGABYTE Z77X-UD3H

The GIGABYTE Z77X-UD3H includes a litany of features including USB 3.0, mSATA, and more. It would be a great addition to a mainstream Ivy Bridge system. No related posts. Read More »

Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe Motherboard

Asus has splashed many offerings into the Z77 playing field and today we are looking at the P8Z77-V Deluxe, with a high feature count and performance. No related posts. Read More »

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