hassan mujtaba
Hardware News Editor
2624 posts published
Diehard PC Gamer and Hardware Enthusiast. I mainly cover the Hardware and Gaming Section on WCCFtech.
ASUS Maximus VII Ranger render
Hardware

We recently reported in an article that ASUS would be breaking its NDA with Intel and would let publications post about their latest Z97 motherboards. Last week, we posted a major leak of ASUS Z97 motherboards but since it is official now, we are going to do a round-up of all ASUS Z97 chipset based motherboards that would be available in the upcoming month.ASUS Z97 Motherboards

ASUS Z97 Motherboard Round-Up – TUF, ROG, Classic Lineups

The first lineup we will detail is ASUS’s Z97 ROG motherboard lineup which includes ASUS’s Republic of Gamers branded products which are aimed towards enthusiasts, overclockers and gamers. The new motherboards from ASUS include some intresting features this round such as  Intel Ethernet, LAN Guard, GameFirst III, Supreme FX, Sonic Radar II, KeyBot, TrueVolt USB and Gamer’s Guardian which will come in handy for easier connectivity and accessibility. The ASUS Z97 motherboards ‘ROG’ lineup includes the following products which will be detailed below:

  • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Hero
  • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Gene
  • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Ranger
Inno3D-iChill-GTX-680-Sketch
Hardware

Yesterday, we reported that NVIDIA is planning to launch their flagship GeForce GTX Titan Z graphics card on 29th April. The GeForce GTX Titan Z would be NVIDIA’s latest dual-chip graphics solution featuring the mighty Kepler GK110 core architecture which has spanned an entire generation of GeForce graphics cards.Inno3D GeForce GTX Titan Z

Inno3D Preparing GeForce GTX Titan Z Beefy HerculeZ Cooler

Now if we go by NVIDIA’s history, their green-light program restricts manufacturers from adding or preparing custom designs of their own until NVIDIA allows. We saw the same trend with GeForce GTX 690 and the recent GeForce GTX Titan and Titan Black Edition graphics cards. Now we would suspected that the same trend would have followed with their upcoming GeForce GTX Titan Z graphics card but one manufacturer is preparing a new cooling scheme for the latest GeForce graphics card.

Inno3D who have developed some amazing cooling designs over the last few years, namely their HerculeZ cooler are once again preparing a massive new cooler which will be featured on the GeForce GTX Titan Z. It is unknown at the moment if the cooler will be shipped aside the reference GeForce GTX Titan Z graphics card or would really be assembled on the PCB when dispatched from the factory. Gigabyte and EVGA have shipped their WindForce and ACX coolers with various Titan and Titan Black edition cards so we suspect that Inno3D would also ship the cooler alongside the reference card but nevertheless, let’s head on and talk about the cooler itself.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z
Hardware

At GTC 2014, NVIDIA unveiled their most high-performance graphics card, the GeForce GTX Titan Z powered with the GK110 core architecture. During the announcement, NVIDIA didn’t confirm the launch schedule for their upcoming Goliath but GDM.OR.JP has revealed that NVIDIA’s next dual-chip performance card is set for launch on 29th April.NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z

NVIDIA Launches Dual-GK110 Powered GeForce GTX Titan Z on 29th April

Built with the same heart and DNA of NVIDIA’s GeForce Titan and Titan Black Edition, the GeForce GTX Titan Z is an engineering marvel with two chips under its hood that pack 7.1 billion transistors each. The GeForce GTX Titan Z will replace the GeForce GTX 690 boasting dual-GK110 cores compared to dual-GK104 cores on its predecessor. The GeForce GTX Titan Z will feature two GK110 cores with 5760 Cuda Cores, 448 TMUs and 96 ROPs. The card features a 384-bit x 2 bus which will run across a massive 12 GB VRAM. This is an impressive feature giving developers and games an unprecedented amount of VRAM for use. The memory is clocked at 7 GHz effective clock speed. The core clock speeds are not confirmed but the GeForce GTX Titan Z features a maximum single precision performance of 8 TFlops which is really impressive.

Z97 OC Formula
Hardware

ASRock’s Z97 motherboards have finally been exposed a few weeks prior to their launch next early next month with Intel 9-Series platform. The ASRock Z97 motherboards lineup is the fourth product line we will be detailing today, in addition to the several Z97 product lines from ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte which have been pictured over the past weeks.ASRock Z97 Motherboards OC Formula

ASRock Z97 Motherboards – OC and FATAL1TY Boards Pictured

ASRock’s Z97 motherboards will fall into three tiers, the OC boards will be geared towards overclockers who need the best performance with new design schemes and powerful VRM designs. The FATAL1TY series is ASRock’s long running product line which are the feature packed yet low cost offerings. These boards slightly resemble the Z97 Gaming lineups from MSI and Gigabyte. The classic series would be aimed towards everyone moving on the Z97 platform with design schemes and price ranges that make them an attractive product line. ASRock’s Z97 boards include the following:

  • ASRock Z97 OC Formula
  • ASRock Z97 Extreme 6
  • ASRock Z97 Extreme 4
  • ASRock FATAL1TY Z97X Killer
  • ASRock FATAL1TY Z97 Killer
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SOC Force Z97 Motherboards
Hardware

Gigabyte has unveiled their upcoming Z97 motherboards which will include their top tier Gaming G1 and OC Force products aimed towards gamers and overclocking enthusiasts in the respective order. The Gaming line from Gigabyte is a new addition to their motherboard lineups which will be focused towards gamers while oc series would be built for overclocking in mind.Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SOC Force Z97 Motherboards

Gigabyte  Z97 Motherboards – OC and Gamer Boards Pictured

The Gigabyte Z97 motherboards exposed belong to two separate lineups, the OC series motherboards are built for enthusiasts and overclocks who want the best performance from the product. Built with high quality and an Ultra Durable design, the motherboard features several overclocking goodies which will be detailed in the article moving onwards. The G1 lineup as you may remember is part of Gigabyte’s own gaming tier products and has been renamed to simply Gaming which includes the flagship G1 Black Edition motherboard.

  • Gigabyte GA-Z97X-G1 Gaming Wi-Fi Black Edition
  • Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SOC Force
asus_logo
Hardware

With the ASUS ROG and TUF Z97 motherboards detailed, what remains is their Legacy lineup which include their long running Deluxe series and Workstation series boards. The ASUS Z97 Workstation while not aimed specifically for consumers is the most feature rich product of the series followed by the Z97 Deluxe.ASUS Z97 Motherboards

ASUS Z97 Motherboards – Legacy Lineup Pictured and Detailed

So the third and last lineup we will detail is ASUS’s Z97 TUF Legacy motherboard lineup which are aimed towards enthusiasts, overclockers and budget users. Built with top of the line components and feature packed, the line-up is aimed towards all performance users and gamers including enthusiasts. The new motherboards from ASUS include some interesting features this round such as  Intel Ethernet, LAN Guard, DIGI+ Power Control, Turbo App, Turbo LAN, Crystal Sound 2, HomeCloud (802.11ac B/G/N) and an interesting new design scheme for next-gen Intel platform. The ASUS Z97 motherboards ‘Legacy’ lineup includes the following products which will be detailed below:

  • ASUS Z97-WS
  • ASUS Z97-Deluxe
  • ASUS Z97I-Pro
  • ASUS Z97-Pro
  • ASUS Z97-A
ASUS TUF Logo
Hardware

While you must have enjoyed feasting your eyes on ASUS ROG Z97 motherboards, you’ll also enjoy the sight of their TUF series which has been updated with new products. In addition to the Sabertooth MARK 1, we’re also going to show you the MARK 2 and Gryphon motherboards in all their glory.ASUS Z97 TUF Motherboards

ASUS Z97 Motherboards – TUF Lineup Pictured and Detailed

The second lineup we will detail is ASUS’s Z97 TUF “The Ultimate Force” motherboard lineup which are aimed towards enthusiasts, overclockers. Built with top of the line Military Grade Components, the Z97 TUF series will include longer and stable performance and take overclocking to the next step. The new motherboards from ASUS include some interesting features this round such as  Intel Ethernet, LAN Guard, TUF Components, DIGI+ Power Control and the latest TUF Frontier thermal shield and barrier for additional cooling and stability to the board layout. The ASUS Z97 motherboards ‘TUF’ lineup includes the following products which will be detailed below:

  • ASUS Sabertooth Z97 MARK 1
  • ASUS Sabertooth Z97 MARK 2
  • ASUS Gryphon Z97
Asus-Rog
Hardware

Yesterday, we showed you few of the upcoming Z97 motherboards from ASUS which include their ROG, TUF and Legacy tier products. Today, we have managed to find pictures of the entire motherboard lineup from the same event along with more detailed information.ASUS Z97 Motherboards Complete

ASUS Z97 Motherboards – ROG Lineup Pictured and Detailed

The first lineup we will detail is ASUS’s Z97 ROG motherboard lineup which includes ASUS’s Republic of Gamers branded products which are aimed towards enthusiasts, overclockers and gamers. The new motherboards from ASUS include some intresting features this round such as  Intel Ethernet, LAN Guard, GameFirst III, Supreme FX, Sonic Radar II, KeyBot, TrueVolt USB and Gamer’s Guardian which will come in handy for easier connectivity and accessibility. The ASUS Z97 motherboards ‘ROG’ lineup includes the following products which will be detailed below:

  • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Hero
  • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Gene
  • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Ranger
asus_logo
Hardware

ASUS Z97 motherboard lineup has been leaked which include their upcoming Z97 ROG, Sabertooth and Legacy series products. We also have details regarding the features which ASUS’s next generation Z97 motherboards feature for gamers and overclockers.ASUS Z97 Motherboards

ASUS Z97 Motherboard Unveiled – ROG Maximus, Sabertooth and Deluxe Boards

The ASUS Z97 motherboards lineup includes a total of 6 new leaked products which range in different tiers. Starting with the flagship ROG (Republic of Gamers) overclocking lineup which includes three motherboards:

  • ASUS Maximus VII Hero
  • ASUS Maximus VII Gene
  • ASUS Maximus VII Ranger
nvidia-geforce-gtx-logo
Hardware

NVIDIA may very well be preparing their Maxwell based GM204 GPU as spotted in a leak posted by Videocardz. The leak which shows shipment data from Zauba.com (via 3DCenter) lists several GPUs along with their naming codes which means that NVIDIA may be currently testing their next generation graphics processing units.NVIDIA Maxwell

NVIDIA Maxwell GM204 GPU Spotted In The Wild, Kepler GK210 In Works

The first chip spotted is the GM204 GPU which is based on NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. How do we know if its based on Maxwell architecture? Simple, the naming scheme and the ‘M’ moniker which is used to represent the specific architecture of the chip is used for the Maxwell generation of GPUs, e.g. GM107 (GeForce Maxwell), GK 104 (GeForce Kepler, GF104 (GeForce Fermi). The chip is codenamed GM204-GB3-256 which is pretty interesting since it brings up some speculation, the 256 at the end could mean a 256-bit bus interface which might seem true since NVIDIA’s GM204 predecessor, the GK104 featured a 256-bit bus or it could just be one of those odd naming schemes (GK104-225-A2).

It is not confirmed what process would the GeForce Maxwell GM204 GPU would be based on but if the card is planned for launch in early 2H 2014 then we will be looking at a 28nm architecture otherwise we will most likely see 20nm Maxwell GPUs. We recently reported how AMD is going to stick with 28nm across their products this year so they same may be true for NVIDIA. Both companies can wait and perfect their 20nm GPUs for launch next year. The new Maxwell cards would be released as the GeForce 800 series as reported several times before since the GeForce 700 series is over crowded with several GK110 chips. The first two GPUs, presumably the GTX 880 and GTX 870 could both be based on the GM204 GPU but that remains to be seen until officially confirmed. NVIDIA did release their first GeForce Kepler cards on the GM104 architecture and only launched their higher performance GK110 a year later as the GeForce GTX Titan and now we have a lineup that has several GK110 cards.

AMD logo
Hardware

During their quarterly earnings call for Q1 2014, AMD revealed that they would stick with 28nm across all their products as opposed to 20nm which is the process reserved for their future products. Many have their eyes on AMD’s next generation of graphics cards which will feature new and improved 20nm process technology but we have to wait a bit more to see those GPUs in action.AMD 20nm

AMD To Stick With 28nm Across All Products This Year

Lisa Su (Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Business Units at AMD) revealed that their graphics and semi-custom business products are both on 28nm. We have seen several 28nm products across AMD graphics and processors designs which include the Radeon R9 and Radeon R7 series for graphics while Steamroller, Jaguar powering AMD’s processors and accelerated processing units. The transcript of the session can be seen below:

Lisa Su – SVP and General Manager of Global Business Units

Sure, Chris. So let me take that and give you a little bit of our thinking.

So in terms of product and technology selection, certainly we need to be at the leading-edge of the technology roadmap. So what we’ve said in the past is certainly this year all of our products are in 28-nanometer across both, you know, graphics client and our semi-custom business. We are, you know, actively in the design phase for 20-nanometer and that will come to production. And then clearly we’ll go to FinFET. So that would be the progression of it.

Lisa Su – SVP and General Manager of Global Business Units

David, I think what I said earlier sort of what we’re doing in terms of technology strategy, we are 28 this year, we have 20-nanometer in design, and then FinFET thereafter. So that’s the overall product portfolio. via Seeking Alpha

MSI_Logo_600x600_2_o
Hardware

MSI has revealed the pictures of their next generation XPOWER AC and MPOWER MAX AC motherboards which will feature built-in water cooling solutions. The pictures teased by MSI on their Facebook page showcase a new and improved design scheme for the flagship 9-Series chipset based XPOWER and MPOWER motherboards which will be aimed directly towards overclocking enthusiasts while the gaming lineup will be focused towards gamers.MSI XPOWER AC

MSI’s Next Generation XPOWER AC and MPOWER MAX AC Motherboards Pictured

Now, we have talked a lot regarding the MSI 9-Series motherboard lineups over the past few weeks since they have been releasing teasers on their Facebook page and even displayed some prototypes of their Next Gen chipset motherboards during CeBIT 2014. Well those were just prototypes and we couldn’t really make up as to exactly what features do these new boards support. From the few teaser images, we did make up that the new boards will come with interesting design and new features V-Check Points 2, OC Engine, Military Class IV components, Delid Die Guard (XPOWER AC), M.2 interface, Audio Boost 2 and last but not least, new design schemes.

So let’s get on with the OC 9-Series Motherboard lineup from MSI which includes a total of 6 motherboards listed below:

  • MSI XPOWER AC
  • MSI MPOWER MAX AC
  • MSI MPOWER
Intel Haswell Refresh
Hardware

The retail prices of Intel’s upcoming Haswell Refresh processors have been revealed by Computerbase which show variants ranging from the top $303 US Core i7-4790 to the entry tier Celeron G1840T which will cost $42 US. Intel’s Haswell Refresh processors will launch on 10th of May and would be available for both Mobile and Desktop consumer platforms.Intel Haswell Refresh

Intel Haswell Refresh Desktop and Mobile Processors Prices Confirmed

Intel initially launched their fourth generation Haswell processors in June 2013 at Computex. The processors featured the latest 22nm core 3D Tri-gate transistors technology which improved the IPC and efficiency by a decent amount of Ivy Bridge. The upcoming Haswell Refresh processors are no different then these featuring bumped up clock speeds and more SKU design schemes such as low TDP and low power variants available at similar price points.

A total of 26 desktop processors have started shipping to retailers across the globe and  would be available for sale in the upcoming days prior to their official launch planned for next month. The Core i7-4790 will be the flagship processor of the Haswell Refresh lineup and the first 22nm consumer CPU to obtain clock frequency of 4 GHz. It will feature 4 cores and 8 threads. The Core i7-4790 will also be available in ‘S’ and ‘T’ variants which will retail at the same price of $303 US but will feature lower clock speeds since they are aimed towards low TDP and low power platforms. Other models include Core i7-4785T, Core i5-4690, Core i5-4590, Core i5-4460, Core i3-4360, Core i3-4350, Core i3-4150 and several Pentium and Celeron variants all of which would be available in “T” and “S” variants.

Encore 8
Gadgets

Toshiba Encore 8 Tablet Review

The Toshiba Encore 8 is one of the latest tablet PC featuring Intel’s Bay-Trail-T Atom processor. The tablet is aimed towards mainstream users and costs around the $299 range which is a steep price when compared against the competition.

As an Intel Tablet, it should be no doubt that the hardware it features is also made by Intel itself. Under the hood, the Encore 8 packs a Atom Z3740 (Bay-Trail-T) processor which is a Quad core CPU clocked at an impressive 1.86 GHz and coupled with the powerful Intel HD 4000 graphics chip.

The 8 Inch tablet sports a IPS display panel which boasts a resolution of 1280×800 enabled with 5 point multi-touch capability. The 8 inch panel is more than enough for any tablet and provides enough room for easy and accessible maneuverability across the screen. Before we go into the details, You can see the specifications listed below:

MSI-Z97-Gaming-9-AC-Motherboard-635x397
Hardware

Today, we have a interesting leak regarding MSI’s upcoming gaming 9-Series motherboard lineup which is expected to launch next month. As you all may have noticed from our reports, Intel will launch their next-gen 9-Series chip-set on 11th May which will include the latest Haswell Refresh processors and the new 9-Series boards which will debut on the same date.MSI-Zxx-Gaming-9-AC-Motherboard 9-Series

MSI 9-Series Motherboard Gaming Lineup Leaked – Includes 6 Board

Now, we have talked a lot regarding the MSI 9-Series motherboard lineups over the past few weeks since they have been releasing teasers on their Facebook page and even displayed some prototypes of their Next Gen chipset motherboards during CeBIT 2014. Well those were just prototypes and we couldn’t really make up as to exactly what features do these new boards support. From the few teaser images, we did make up that the new boards will come with interesting design and new features V-Check Points 2, OC Engine, Military Class IV components, Delid Die Guard (XPOWER AC), M.2 interface, Audio Boost 2 and last but not least, new design schemes. Well, today we have the entire 9-Series motherboard lineup for you to feast your eyes upon which are detailed below. Do note that these 9-Series chipset based boards listed below are the Gaming tier boards from MSI and we are yet to see their overclocking (MPOWER/XPOWER) and legacy lineup which will be unveiled a few days prior to launch.

So let’s get on with the Gaming 9-Series Motherboard lineup from MSI which includes a total of 6 motherboards listed below:



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