Biostar A68N-5000

If you are anything like me then you most likely aren’t just limited to having a PC or two in your office, you most likely are using an HTPC or something similar at one or more televisions in your house. You could just pick up one of the many options available on the market right now, or you could put together something yourself. I’ve done this a few times in the past but over the past few years the prices for capable components have come down and let’s be honest, the performance requirements aren’t really going anywhere until 4k becomes a little cheaper. So today I’m going to take a look at a nice budget motherboard with a built in quad core AMD Fusion APU from Biostar. I don’t expect the A68N-5000 to be a hardcore gaming board, I’m really just curious how well it will handle simple tasks that an HTPC or small home server would require.

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MSI X99S MPower

When shopping for a new motherboard I’ve found that a lot of people tend to lean toward what you have had good experiences with in the past. For me I have a short list of companies that I tend to prefer in my personal rigs and MSI is on that list. When I covered the X99 launch I didn’t have the chance to check out their X99 offerings but today I finally do. They sent over the X99S MPower. It isn’t their highest end board but it is damn close. Now I can sit down and see how it compares to the competition. My previous experiences with MSI MPower boards have been good, but the X99 boards I have tested to date have been extremely good, will it be able to keep up? Let’s find out.

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EVGA X99 Classified

When EVGA announced their first Classified motherboard back with X58 I saved up my money so I could get one soon after its launch. The X58 Classified was one of the first mega high end motherboards on the market and it started a race to the top to see who could make the coolest motherboard possible while trying to pack in the highest overclocking headroom as possible. From then on EVGA has introduced Classified motherboards for each Intel chipset launched. They have even expanded into Classified GPUs as well! Well with the launch of X99 it wasn’t a big surprise that EVGA would be ready to go with their latest and greatest based on the new enthusiast chipset. Today I’m going to see how it compares to the other X99’s on the market and see just how far things have come from the X58 Classified that is still hanging on my office wall.  

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Asus X99 Deluxe

We can’t very well look at the i7-5960X from Intel and not do a motherboard review along with it right? As the first of what I  expect to be a list of X99 motherboards I will be covering, I wanted to use the X99 Deluxe first because Asus boards are always reliable and the software is perfect for keeping an eye on things when benchmarking the CPU. Asus went with a simpler name than on previous generations with the X99 Deluxe and they also went a little ham and changed up a lot with the new design. Let’s see what all changed, beyond the new white styling.

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MSI Devils Canyon Roundup

It’s amazing how quickly things can add up. A great example of this is just how many motherboards a company like MSI manufactures. Just on the Intel side of things, you have multiple chipsets and then from there they have an overclocking line, gaming line, and their general line. From there they still have to break things down by price and feature set. Just for the Intel Socket 1150 they have a whopping 67 motherboards listed on their website. With the launch of Devils Canyon CPUs I really wanted to take a look at a few of their boards to get an idea of what the different price points will get you. So today, I’m going to take a look at four different Gaming motherboards ranging in size from Mini ITX to full ATX. Three are Z97 boards but there is also their only B85 gaming model slipped in as well.  Combined with the Z97 Gaming 5 that I already took a look at, we should be able to get a good idea of what you should be looking at for your builds and why they have such a wide variety of motherboards.

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Asus Z97-A

With the Z87 launch, Asus made a few big changes with their mainstream motherboard line, the biggest being the change to the gold color scheme. That change came with a mixed response but the high quality and big feature set that Asus includes on all of their boards they were still very popular. With the Z97 launch, they have stuck with the gold theme but they have softened the color slightly to make it a little less polarizing. Today I will be taking a deeper look at the Z97-A, one of Asus’s mid ranged mainstream boards. I can’t wait to see what they changed for the Z97 launch and to see how the softer gold looks as well.

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MSI Z97 Gaming 5

Typically, Intel keeps their chipset launches timed with new CPUs but todays (official) launch of the Z997 chipset does not come with shiny new silicon from Intel. There are rumors of launch days for a Haswell refresh but as of now, there isn’t anything official. Even without new CPUs we can still take a look at the latest in motherboards. To start things off, today I will be taking a look at MSI’s Z97 Gaming 5. With their new naming scheme we can tell right away that this is a gaming motherboard (of course) and the 5 is their entry level full ATX board with a 7 and a 9 that will round out the line. I’m excited to see what has changed and what remained the same!

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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H

It seems nearly every motherboard manufacturer took the chance to change things up slightly when it came time for the Haswell launch. I didn’t have a chance to check out a board from Gigabyte at the launch but I did get one in recently, specifically their Z87X-UD4H. It’s not their highest end board, nor is it entry level. It should give us a good idea of what to expect from Gigabyte on the Z87 platform without breaking the bank. With its red styling, you can’t say it’s not a little eye catching, that’s for sure!

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Asus Z87 Gryphon and Armor Kit

titleAfter what feels like months of prepping, testing, photography, videos, and writing are finally reaching the end of our Haswell launch motherboard coverage and I think we may have saved the best for last. We haven’t covered one of Asus’s TUF Series of motherboards official although we do have one in our cooling test bench and we have seen countless boards in our reader’s rigs. So to finish things off we are going to take a look at Asus's new Micro ATX TUF Series Z87 Gryphon. Its smaller form factor is a first for the TUF line and I am very excited to see what the fuss has been about.

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MSI Z87 MPower

titleThis weekend the first motherboard we took a look at was the MSI Z87-G45 Gaming, MSI’s lower priced gaming model. Along with the gaming product line they also have a line they are calling MPower that is focused more on the overclocking community and general enthusiasts. There are two models the Z87 M Power and the Z87 MPower Max, today I am going to dive in and take a look at the Z87 M Power. I’m excited to see what sets it apart from MSI’s gaming boards.

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Asus Z87 Pro and Asus Z87 Plus

titleWhen trying to think of a name for our look at Asus’s new Z87 mainstream motherboard options I went through countless bad jokes and Bond Goldmember comments. I came to the conclusion that much like Asus I would let the boards speak for themselves. Today we are going to take a look at the Asus Z87 Pro and Z87 Plus, both what they call Channel boards. In other words this is Asus’s standard lineup. In the past I have been extremely impressed with what Asus had to offer in their standard lineup; hopefully they can keep that up. Let’s see what they have to offer.

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MSI Z87-G45 Gaming

titleOur first look at a non-Intel Z87 motherboard today is the Z87-G45 Gaming from the folks over at MSI. With a gaming focus I am really excited to see what the board is all about. At a quick glance at both the packaging and the board itself it’s clear that MSI is going with the dragon theme that we saw on a few of their notebooks this year at CES. I’m curious if the MSI Z87-G45 Gaming will be on fire, or just fizzle out. Let’s take a closer look and find out!

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Asus Maximus V Formula

titleLet’s be honest, Asus has a whole product line full of good motherboards. So much that it really takes a special motherboard to stand out from the crowd. There has been one specific board that has stuck with me for the past year and a half though, back from when I took a visit to the Asus office and they pulled it out to show me. That motherboard would be the Maximus V Formula. I’m sure you are wondering what made it stand out, especially considering all of the motherboards we have in the office, including boards like the Rampage IV. Well I only have a limited amount of space in the opening; you will have to peek inside our review to find out.

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Asus Z77 Roundup

titleWhen doing all of our Ivy Bridge launch prep we spent a LOT of time benchmarking and testing a whole collection of boards. You guys have seen our reviews of the Intel and Gigabyte boards. When it came time to write about the four different Asus Z77 boards I realized that most of you are not going to want to read through a lot of information that we would cover over and over on each review. We decided to roundup all four of the boards and cover them together. This way we can get to the point a little quicker, saving you time, as well as giving us a chance to talk more about the differences between the variety of boards that we tested.

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ASUS P8 Z68-V/GEN3

titlePerhaps one of the most daunting tasks after making the decision that you do not wish to purchase an off-the-shelf computer is attempting to figure out which components go in the machine.  There are fun aspects, like the graphics card and processor, and then there are the not-so-fun aspects, like the motherboard (at least in my opinion).  Why do I think it is a whole lot of not fun?  There are so many out there to choose from, with all sorts of features.  When shopping you will likely come across the ASUS board that I am going to review today.  Arguably, it is one of the better all-around boards out there, with features like good integrated graphics and killer sound.  But to a gamer that generally does not mean squat.  Does the ASUS P8 Z68-V/GEN3 board have what it takes to function as a serious gaming component?  Read on to find out!

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Motherboard Sizing

titleWhen we got in a few oddly sized dual CPU motherboards from EVGA and Asus I posted up a few pictures on our forums and on Facebook. The problem was that even though they looked large there wasn’t any perspective. So we tossed in a couple other boards to give everyone a little perspective. This lead us to digging out even more motherboards to put together all of the standard motherboard sizes all together for everyone to be able to see the differences. Along with the picture we also have a breakdown on the dimensions of each size standard; I hope this helps everyone as some point. Sometimes it can be hard to understand all of the different motherboard sizes and how they all relate.

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Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H

titleZ77 boards come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and prices. Just about every manufacture has a whole lineup of boards covering the whole range to make sure you can find what you are looking for. Gigabyte is no different; they have a whole selection of boards that will fit your needs. Today we are taking a look at their Z77X-UD3H, one of their budget boards. It may not be a high end board but it is still packed with features. I am curious how it will perform now that the cat is out of the bag with Ivy Bridge. Let’s jump in and see what it’s all about.

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Intel DZ77GA-70K

titleNow that Intel has opened up the flood gates with Ivy Bridge we can finally take a full look at their latest chipset including testing with the i7-3770. When combining the two we get the latest CPU with the latest chipset and a load of new features. You can now take advantage of PCIe 3.0 along with USB 3.0 integrated into the chipset. We were very impressed with the DZ77GA-70K when we first took a look at it, let’s finally see how it performs!

 

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Asus Maximus Gene V Preview

titleNext in line for our Z77 previews is the Asus Republic of Gamers Maximus V Gene. The Maximus V Gene is the first of four boards Asus has announced for the Z77 chipset, and as you may have guessed from the Republic of Gamers association, it is engineered with the gaming enthusiast in mind. How will the changes Z77 has brought to the table complement those Asus has developed for the PC gamer? Read on!

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Gigabyte Z77ZX-UD3H Preview

titleThe second in a long list of Z77 previews we have for everyone is a board from our friends over at Gigabyte. Today we are taking a sneak peak at their Gigabyte z77x-ud3h, their entry level Z77 board. With similar features to the Intel board while keeping the price as low as possible there is a good chance this could be a great value for someone looking for good features at a great price.

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