Upcoming Intel Based Motherboards from GIGABYTE, ASUS, MSI and ASRockby Ian Cutress on April 28, 2014 3:30 AM EST
ASRock’s New Products
The upcoming range from ASRock uses a striking blend of stand-out colors. Whereas other manufacturers are often seen mixing their colors with black, ASRock is adding an element of vibrancy. Based on the images that we have at our disposal, the mainstream line will start at the Extreme range, move through the Fatal1ty, ITX, and end with the OC Formula at the top.
First up, the Extreme4:
The Extreme4 comes in blue with what looks like 9 SATA ports and an M.2 slot. We see a USB 3.0 header, two removable BIOS chips, a TPM header, ‘Purity Sound 2’ (looks like an upgraded audio package) and Intel Ethernet. I am a little disappointed to see a 4-pin Molex connector in the middle of the board for additional PCIe power though.
Then the Extreme6:
Here are dual Intel NICs, along with what looks like 11 SATA ports, a mini-PCIe slot and two M.2 slots. One of these slots is called ‘Ultra M.2’, with the words ‘PCIe Gen3 x4’ next to it, suggesting that they are implementing an x4 M.2 slot for the faster devices. None of them are actually on the market yet. The Extreme6 has a slightly better positioning for the PCIe power 4-pin molex connector, but I would still prefer a SATA power or 6-pin PCIe.
Moving onto mini-ITX, the ITX/ac:
So while the box says M.2, there is no visible M.2 on the top of the motherboard. Given past experience with ASRock motherboards, they have probably relocated it to the bottom. However on the top they do have a SATA Express port and a mini-PCIe. These are unfortunately just inside the DRAM slots, meaning cables will have to go over large GPUs or memory to be equipped. The WiFi module is a 2T2R 802.11ac solution, and is combined with an Intel NIC. The 8-pin CPU power connector is in the middle of the motherboard, making cable routing a little frustrating.
For gamers, ASRock has the Fatal1ty Killer:
ASRock leaves its Fatal1ty range for features like the Atheros Killer E2200 NIC. The motherboard has four SATA ports, a SATA Express port and an M.2 port. We also get Purity Sound 2 here, which I would guess remains an ALC1150 codec underneath with improved filtering. The motherboard offers a single USB 3.0 header, and the rear IO has the USB gaming port from the previous Fatal1ty motherboard iterations.
Finally at the high end is the OC Formula:
The yellow for the OC Formula has changed slightly, especially on the heatsinks where it is a little more yellow. On the OC Formula ASRock has equipped it with on-the-fly adjustment buttons and voltage check points, along with more power phases. The quad PCIe layout seems devoid of a PLX chip, suggesting an x8/x4/x4 + x4 layout similar to the old Z87 OC Formula. Interesting enough there is a header onboard labeled ‘TB1’ suggesting Thunderbolt support. The motherboard also seems to have Purity Sound 2, a Killer E2200 NIC, an M.2 slot, nine SATA ports, a USB 3.0 header and a 4-pin molex for PCIe power.
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juhatus - Monday, April 28, 2014 - linkI can't wait for M.2 to rumble in on desktop-side, having and using it on Sony vaio pro 13 its just awesome that boot is "instant-on" in 7 seconds.
"One of these slots is called ‘Ultra M.2’, with the words ‘PCIe Gen3 x4’ next to it, suggesting that they are implementing an x4 M.2 slot for the faster devices."
Isnt there Samsung xp941 thats x4 M.2 also there are rumours about LSI M.2 Griffin.. (1.8Gb/s)
goinginstyle - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link"Gigabyte Black Edition" - Does Gigabyte have any original ideas at all? Besides the obvious color scheme ripoff of Asus ROG now they are copying their naming scheme also. ASRock's stuff looks like a crayon factory exploded.
ddriver - Monday, April 28, 2014 - linkIf you think asus invented black+red, you must have been living under a rock. Or "black edition" for that matter.
Flunk - Monday, April 28, 2014 - linkAsus was definitely one of the first companies putting crazy colors on their motherboards.
AznAnarchy99 - Monday, April 28, 2014 - linkYou obviously don't remember the DFI LanParty motherboards.
littlebitstrouds - Monday, April 28, 2014 - linkWho the heck argues about marketing schemes for million dollar companies? UUUUGH Gap just started a BOGO sale, but Old Navy did it first!
LordOfTheBoired - Monday, May 5, 2014 - linkBoth posers. Payless Shoes did the ORIGINAL BOGO, before it went mainstream.
Antronman - Monday, April 28, 2014 - linkThe black PCB design + Red slots and highlights design was originally used by ASUS.
The term "black edition" was originally coined by AMD.
The funniest part is that the gigabyte mobo isn't even close to being black, much like the Titan BE :P
nevertell - Monday, April 28, 2014 - linkWait, so you are arguing about the origin of such bland marketing terms as "black edition" ? And cutting each other's throat about the color scheme ? I understand that there could be some debate about the latter, but nobody can get a patent on a color scheme, and no one should be. The originality of the cosmetics is just a moot point, there is no such thing as original, when every motherboard model is made in thousands. Do you want the motherboards tailored to one's individual preferences, like Motorola is doing with the Moto X ? If you want it to be original, order the chips and build your own. As for the naming scheme, differentiation is better than just changing a single letter in the model code. Whilst you could argue that there are better phrases than "black edition", it's hardly the worst http://www.anandtech.com/show/7067/computex-2013-e...
I couldn't care any less about the colour scheme and name of a motherboard, I care only about the build quality and the functionality/features a certain board has.
Antronman - Monday, April 28, 2014 - linkNeither of which Gigabyte has plenty of.