Four-Way Gigabyte P45 Motherboard Round-Up

Gigabyte is typically one of the most loyal Intel partners, when it comes to chipsets. While they don’t solely produce Intel motherboards, when Intel does release a new chipset, Gigabyte is almost always there to produce several products on any given chipset.  Most often, we’ll see low-end, mid-range, and high-end products, that are usually enough to satisfy the entire spectrum of the market. With Intel’s new P45 chipset though, Gigabyte has simply gone off the deep end. At the time of writing this, a quick scan at Gigabyte’s website reveals that the company is currently mass producing nine...

AMD 790GX Chipset Platform Launch

If you've been on top of the PC scene for any length of time, you probably know that whether by choice or necessity, AMD has taken a different tact as of late. Whereas the company was all about bigger, faster, and better during the Athlon's heyday, AMD is now more about touting the performance per dollar and value of their products.  While they may not have a CPU with the horsepower to compete in the benchmark war with Intel's $1000 behemoths, AMD's affordably priced Phenoms do offer good bang for the buck.The value conscious mentality that has permeated AMD's recent graphics card and processor...

Asus Maximus II Formula Intel P45 Motherboard

At first glance, Intel's technical documentation for the new P45 / G45 Express series chipsets, you'll note looks alarmingly similar to the previous generation P35 / G35 Express series that this new lineup of chipsets is meant to replace. As the P35 series was a rather successful architecture, this immediately struck us on a positive first note about the P45. The more we read on, the more we realized that the Intel P45 chipset shares many of the same features and attributes as Intel’s high-end X38 / X48 chipsets, just at a much lower price point. Initial...

Intel P45 / G45 Express Launch and Technology Preview

Today at Computex, Intel has officially launched their updated lineup of x45-series chipsets, which will likely be the last major mainstream chipset launch from Intel on the Core 2 platform as we know it today. The names and specifications of these products have been rumored and reported on for the past few months, although today everything is set in stone and products are beginning to hit the market. The products which are launching today will make up the lion’s share of Intel’s chipset lineup until their next generation high-end X58 chipset launches with the Core 2’s successor, codenamed Nehalem....

Asus P5Q Deluxe - P45 Chipset with DDR2

As many of you are no doubt aware, Intel is planning to officially release a new mainstream chipset in a few weeks, the P45.  From a feature standpoint, the new P45 is somewhat similar to last year's P35.  The P45, however, will have official support for PCI Express 2.0, with a more flexible lane configuration for multi-GPU graphics, and the chipset itself is being manufactured at 65nm as opposed to 90nm.  Using the more advanced process to build the chips should result in lower power consumption and lower operating temperatures as well.  The P45 will also be...

Gigabyte Does Spring Break In Taipei

Enthusiasts love high-end hardware, and when it comes to Intel chipsets, that means the X48 and X38 Express platforms. The 910GL Express sits at the polar opposite of the company’s lineup, shoring up sales of entry-level systems where price is the principal consideration. In between, you have a massive list of discrete and integrated chipsets with mainstream appeal. These are Intel’s best sellers—the platforms you can find in everything from sub-$100 value boards to $200+ prosumer offerings. The P35, in particular, is a solid win for Intel. From Gigabyte’s $75 P35-S3G to DFI’s $230 LanParty...

NVIDIA nForce 780a SLI Motherboard Round-Up

It is hard to believe that it has been almost two full years since NVIDIA released a new flagship chipset for the AMD platform.  Since the nForce 590i SLI's official release in May of 2006, NVIDIA has introduced a handful of mid-range and more affordable chipsets for the AMD-platform, but the 590i SLI was it at the high-end, despite AMD's release of their quad-core Phenom processors and competing 7-series chipsets. Early this year while out at CES, we told you about NVIDIA's plans to mix things up at the high-end of their AMD chipset line-up with the IGP-equipped nForce 780a SLI, but it has...

XFX nForce 630i GeForce 7150 Motherboard

As enthusiasts, we aren't too fond of the idea of running a PC with integrated video. Like many of you, we prefer a discreet video card for the performance benefits, even if it has to be an entry-level solution. Despite that fact, though, most of the monitors in homes and offices across the world are connected to IGPs, and not to dedicated video cards. We love the latest flagship graphics cards as much as the next enthusiast, but we aren't completely impractical. We realize that integrated video is more than sufficient for the majority of users who spend 99% of their time surfing...

ASUS M3A78-EMH HDMI AMD 780G Motherboard

AMD made it very clear in our sneak peek at the 780G integrated chipset and Athlon X2 4850e processor that its platform aspirations were coming to pass. Not only did the company introduce a complementary hardware ecosystem, complete with processor, chipset, and graphics solution, but it succeeded in trumping the best effort of its principal rival. Intel’s G35 simply couldn’t keep up with the 780G’s alacrity in gaming and video decoding.   The 780G chipset demonstrated somewhat playable frame rates—a boast most built-in GPUs cannot make. We heard grumblings that the built-in Radeon HD...

MSI P35 Platinum Combo Intel P35 Motherboard

DDR3 is the future of desktop PC memory in the near term, no question about it.  Nonetheless, the transition to the next level of memory technology will be a gradual one, much like we saw when we advanced from DDR to DDR2.  With higher latencies and higher price tags, the argument for migrating to DDR3 in its current state isn't a strong one, but as the technology matures, that argument will become increasingly strong as the benefits and costs of DDR3 become more tangilble and affordable.One issue facing system builders today is how to approach a new build if they...

NVIDIA nForce 790i SLI Ultra and GeForce 9800 GX2

Way back in late 2006, NVIDIA simultaneously unveiled a new flagship GPU and desktop chipset that became the foundation of what NVIDIA was calling the "ultimate gaming platform".  At the time, the combination of a pair of GeForce 8800 GTX graphics cards and an nForce 680i SLI-based motherboard was clearly the most powerful hardware combo available for gamers.  And here we are, nearly a year and a half later in early 2008, and still that combo is tough to beat; truly a testament to NVIDIA's engineering abilities and execution.Since the introduction of that version of NVIDIA's ultimate...

Asus Striker II Formula nForce 780i Motherboard

When ASUS unveiled their Republic of Gamers (ROG) series of products, they stated their mission clearly: "deliver the most innovative and best performing PC solutions to enhance the usage experience for power users".  There's a lot in that statement to live up to, but ASUS was confident in their abilities.  Over the years that we have covered many of their products, and we've seen a fair share of hardware that performed at or exceeded our expectations.  Thus, when NVIDIA upped the core-logic ante last year with the introduction of the 780i chipset, one of the first boards we...

AMD 780G Chipset and Athlon X2 4850e Preview

We generally don’t use integrated graphics. You might not use integrated graphics. But there are more motherboards with integrated graphics sold than discrete cards, according to data published last year by Jon Peddie Research. That means you probably have friends and family buying systems with built-in graphics engines. Guess what happens when the work day is done and you take them into battle with you through a little Enemy Territory or Company of Heroes?  Poor performance likely gets them killed over and over. Talk about a real bummer. We're WoW junkies ourselves, and you...

Intel Skulltrail Unleashed: Core 2 Extreme QX9775 x 2

  Intel started slowly leaking information about an ultra high-end enthusiast platform dubbed Skulltrail at right about the same time that AMD’s now defunct QuadFX platform was set to be released.  Over time we learned that Skulltrail, like QuadFX, would be a dual-socket platform that could accommodate a pair of Intel’s fastest quad-core processors, for a grand total of eight execution cores in one desktop system.  But other details regarding the platform were somewhat scarce to say the least. As time progressed, however, Intel was more and more forthright with information regarding...

MSI K9A2 Platinum AMD 790FX Motherboard

In mid-Q4 2007, AMD released their 790FX, 790X and 770 chipsets, the final pieces required to complete their Spider platform.  As the backbone of the new platform, the 700 series chipsets were designed with new feature sets to take full advantage of the Phenom processor's capabilities.  With up to 42 PCI Express lanes, support for four-way graphics, and lower power consumption then previous chipsets, AMD delivered a competitive new chipset to back their new CPUs and graphics cards.In November, we took a detailed look at the Spider platform coupled with a Phenom...

NVIDIA Hybrid SLI and nForce 700a Chipsets

NVIDIA is the sort of company that can and will capitalize on opportunities quickly, whether it be market or product related, or something as simple as logistics.  As such, in traditional fashion, with the huge insurgence of press and media swooping down on the never-ending sensory overload that is the city of Las Vegas and the CES show, NVIDIA took the opportunity to arrange an editor's day just prior to the opening day of CES.  With a venue like this and a captive audience to boot it's a proverbial no-brainer and so we convened at the New York-New York hotel and casino for an update...

NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI Arrives

The nForce 680i SLI has been at the top of NVIDIA’s chipset product stack for well over a year now, which seems like an eternity in this day and age of accelerated product cycles.  Although still a top-notch performer, and arguably the best choice for gamers looking to put together a system with multiple GPUs, the nForce 680i SLI is getting a bit long in the tooth.  This is most evident when you consider that current 680i SLI motherboards don’t properly support Intel’s sought after 45nm Penryn-derived processors.  Technically, the chipset supports the CPUs, but a circuit level issue...

Asus Maximus Extreme and P5E3 Premium

In preparation for the impending arrival of Intel’s more affordable 45nm quad-core Yorkfield and dual-core Wolfdale processors, motherboard manufacturers have been readying a slew of new products to properly support the CPUs.  Many of these motherboard products are based on Intel’s recent chipset offerings, including the X38 and brand new X48.  We’ve already shown you a few X38-based motherboards and explained what the X48 brings to the table in previous articles.  Today we’ll be taking a look at a couple of new motherboards based on these two chipsets, courtesy of Asus. Asus is...

AMD Hybrid CrossFire Sneak Peek

Prior to holding its Financial Analyst Day in New York City, AMD showed off some new CrossFire-related technology to a few select members of the press.  What we saw was AMD’s Hybrid CrossFire and its associated hardware, which marries next-generation integrated graphics processors (IGP) and entry-level discreet graphics cards for increased performance and functionality.  Please note, however, that “Hybrid CrossFire” may not be the official name of this platform when it is made available sometime in early to mid Q108. If you’re a regular reader of HotHardware, you already know what CrossFire...

MSI P6N Diamond - NV680i with X-Fi Audio

Not too far back, there was a time when it was inconceivable that a motherboard had anything other than a green or mustard colored PCB that had a few sockets for the CPU and DIMMs, maybe a hard drive connector or two, and a floppy drive connection.  Keyboards and mice were typically PS/2 based, although a COM port sufficed for those still attached to their serial mice, and the list of input/output options were quite few.  The late 90's brought about the rise of the Universal Serial Bus, a new standard for interfacing with devices intended to retire legacy serial and parallel...

AMD Spider Platform - Phenom, 790FX, RV670

  A few days ago, AMD officially unveiled their RV670 GPU, the chip at the heart of the ATI Radeon HD 3800 series of graphics cards.  Just in case you missed it on the day of the launch, our coverage of the new Radeon HD 3870 and HD 3850 cards is available right here.  While we did thoroughly explain the RV670’s architecture and explored its performance in that article, we did not tell you that the new Radeon HD 3800 series is but one part of an entirely new platform from AMD dubbed “Spider”.The rest of the Spider platform is comprised of not only new desktop processors, but core...

Intel X38 Express Chipset Debuts

It has been quite some time since Intel launched a desktop chipset targeted squarely at power users and PC enthusiasts.  Of course, the P965 and current P35 have both been very well received by motherboard manufactures and the enthusiast community, but these chipsets were actually designed for the upper-mainstream space.  In fact, the 975X Express, which launched almost two years ago, was the last desktop chipset Intel specifically marketed for enthusiasts. With today’s launch, however, the Intel desktop chipset line-up gets a new flagship.  To lay the foundation for the upcoming...

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