Greeting an Affordable Z170A-X1/3.1 Mainboard from ASRock

ASRock is known for developing high-quality hardware components for a relatively affordable price. Thence, its latest Z170A-X1/3.1 ATX mainboard is not an exception, since its price tag does not go beyond $100. In order to cheapen the prime cost, the manufacturer backed away SATA Express & M.2 connectors, limiting the PCB by six SATA III 6 Gb/sec ports.



To add, instead of a modern 8-channel audio controller it incorporated a well-known Realtek ALC892 item. The other boons of modernity remained unchanged. Thus, ASRock took Intel Z170 top chipset as the basis for the motherboard. The chipset is targeting the latest Intel Skylake CPUs for Socket LGA1151. The PCB accommodates 4 DIMM slots for dual-channel DDR4-3466 MHz RAM (up to 64 GB max. capacity).


Graphics facilities are ensured thanks to a pair of PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, although there are three more PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots for the connection of other items. Network options are entrusted to gigabit Intel I219V LAN …

Meet New Gigabyte G1 Gaming Motherboards on Intel 9th Series Chipsets

Gigabyte has officially introduced a new line of motherboards based on the innovative Intel Z97/H97 chipsets. The G1 Gaming series features a traditional black-and-red PCB design and is supposed to cooperate with Intel Core CPUs (4th and 5th generation). Far and by, the series counts thirteen models of varied formats (ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX), with varied functional. Such a variety will help gamers of different levels to select an optimal model so far as the price and facilities are concerned.



Indeed, each motherboard boasts a singular set of facilities, although there are some common to all 13 models specifications:

— support for Multi-GPU technologies, i.e. Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFireX;

— availability of SATA Express connector with 10 Gb/sec bandwidth;

— integration of high-speed M.2 port with up to 10 Gb/sec bandwidth;

— availability of two external ports for a stable output voltage: Gigabyte USB DAC-UP;

— implementation of high-efficiency network …

Thermalright Readies Le Grand Macho Passive Cooler

Thermalright decided to gladden all devotees of ultra-quiet PC systems by designing an efficient passive cooler – Le Grand Macho. This is a conventional tower cooler, supporting new and outdated CPUs of up to 95 W TDP. Hence, the greenhorn is compatible with Intel LGA 775/115x/1366/2011/2011-3 as well as AMD FM2/FM2+/FM1/AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+ platforms.



Initially, Thermalright Le Grand Macho is void of any fan; nonetheless, its framework presupposes the installation of one or two high-efficiency fans (120/140 mm), which are able to cope with 300-watt CPUs.


The cooler consists of a nickel-plated base, seven heatpipes and a voluminous aluminum heatsink with 35 fins. The latter come with perforations which counteract air between the plates with low air resistance. The base features a convex-shaped contact surface (that optimizes cooling efficiency) and is perfectly polished. Seven 6-mm heatpipes are solidly integrated into the base, ensuring ideal heat dissipation.


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