Next Generation Intel Preview – Featuring Asus and Gigabyte
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Looking around the black PCB we see that it uses socket 1150 with support for upcoming Intel CPUs and this socket has 15µ gold plated pins (standard is 5µ). Gigabyte have built in a CPU fan/pump header which is designed for full speed operation on watercoolers and backed it with a 2nd header for dual fan cooling. Then we have power circuitry heatsinks which feature G1/4 threaded fittings.
Gigabyte Dual BIOS makes an appearance on this board allowing us to recover from any issues such as overclocking too far and 100% digital controllers are present for CPU and memory power delivery. Mixed with the 10000 hour certified solid state capacitors (DuraBlack, manufactured by Nippon Chemi-con) and onboard Debug LED and power/reset buttons (inc CMOS) we get a suite of features which offer stability, recoverability and performance options.
Down on the bottom left corner of the board we find our PCIe slots which run through 16x, 1x, 16x, 1x, 16x, 1x and 16x. Two of the 16x slots are PCIe 3.0 full spec, two are PCIe 3.0 8x. Then, as with their last generation boards, Gigabyte add enhanced audio features to this generation. The enhanced audio features start with the Creative Sound Core 3D audio processor and its gold plated shielding (and software suite) then continues with swappable OP-AMP (with gain boost). LED trace lighting is again present and Gigabyte opt for MUSE ES acoustic capacitors (Nichicon bi-polarized).
Looking further round the board Gigabyte opt for 10 SATA 6GB/s ports on this product and add to that a SATA Express port for next gen storage requirements (10GB/s).
Moving up the PCB we find the first of our power connectors (SATA and 24-pin) which combine with the 8-pin connector in the top left corner. Around the DIMM area (4x slots, Dual Channel, 32GB) we find onboard power/reset, debug LED and a USB 3.0 header along with voltage read points.
Then turning round to the back panel we find PS/2, 2x USB 2.0, 6x USB 3.0 and optical audio. The 3.5mm audio ports along with DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort are all gold plated and then we have two LAN options. One is Intel based and one is Killer E2200 with access to a tuning suite in Windows. Gigabyte also add an additional feature for audio enthusiasts in this area, USB DAC-UP which offers noise free power delivery over USB to an external Digital-to-Analog convertor.
What else is worth noting? In addition to the latest mouse/keyboard GUI BIOS Gigabyte support Chromium OS (including from USB drives) and we get the latest edition of App Centre. App Centre allows us to use Gigabytes software tools to tweak, maintain and monitor our board including remote access to our system (Home Cloud), control from our mobile device (Remote /Remote OC) and even some little additions like auto-lock of our system when it detects our phone has gone out of range. Game Controller adds sniper mode and keyboard/mouse response time tuning along with macro functions and Smart Switch brings back the classic Start menu experience to Windows 8/8.1.
So that is our first detailed look at the features offered by the next gen Intel based boards. The two featured here will be covered again (performance) at the expiry of Intel’s NDA which we are adhering to today… even if others are not. So check back soon for that.