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Elitegroup launches new mini-STX Motherboard

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Taiwan based, Elitegroup announced that it has worked closely with Intel to develop its new mini-STX Motherboard, ECS H110S-2P. The mini-STX motherboard is smaller than the mini-ITX and with a reduced layout on the printed circuit board (PCB) and H110S-2P maintain various features of the previous board but on a smaller scale.

The ECS H110S-2P holds the philosophy of “Less is more” to make things easier, and created the smallest motherboard form factor in the market, but still promises to provide users great flexibility thanks to its plethora of ports. In terms of input/output (I/O), it has GbE LAN, 802.11AC/BT 4.0, SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0 Type-C, RS232 Port and Intel Dual-channel technology. With the various ports supported, ECS’s new products provide users with great flexibility to handle any task.

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Review: ASUS TUF Gaming Motherboard B660-Plus WiFi D4

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The new ASUS TUF Gaming B660-Plus WiFi D4 motherboard is a capable mid-range option that takes all the essential elements of the latest 12th Gen Intel processors and provides you with an ATX motherboard that is game-ready. It is aimed at those planning to upgrade their PCs with new Alder Lake CPUs while maintaining DDR4 memory at a good price.

The motherboard also comes with a 10 + 1 phase VRM and an Intel Socket LGA1700 for 12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, and Celeron processors. It also comes with three M.2 PCIe 4.0 slots that support high-end SSDs, and one PCIe 5.0 slot.

Inside the packaging, you get the Asus TUF Gaming B660-Plus WiFi D4 motherboard, two SATA 6Gb/s cables, one ASUS Wi-Fi moving antenna, two M.2 rubber packages, one M.2 SSD screw package, one support DVD, one TUF Certification card, and one user guide. Since ASUS knows this motherboard will be used for gaming setups, it covers everything when it comes to the cooling capability of the motherboard.

There’s an enlarged VRM heatsink included that covers the VRMs and chokes to improve heat dissipation. You also get an enlarged PCH heatsink, that maximises performance and heat dissipation.

In addition, the three M.2 slots also come with dedicated heatsinks, which keep M.2 SSDs at optimal operating temperatures to ensure consistent performance and reliability. TUF GAMING B660 motherboards also feature comprehensive fan controls that can be configured via the Fan Xpert 4 utility or the ASUS UEFI BIOS.

The B660-Plus WiFi D4 motherboard supports WiFi 6 wireless networking standard, which is compatible with the 802.11ax standard and pushes theoretical peak bandwidth up to 2.4 Gbps. There’s also a 2.5 Gb Ethernet onboard that gives your wired connection a boost with speeds that are up to 2.5x faster than standard Ethernet connections.

There are four DIMM slots onboard, each of which supports a maximum capacity of 128GB of DDR4 memory. In terms of display ports, you get one DisplayPort 1.4 that supports 4K@60Hz, and an HDMI 2.1 port that supports 4K@60Hz. There are also four SATA 6Gb/s ports on the motherboard.

In terms of USB ports, there are a total of six ports on the rear. This includes one USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 port, one USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, three USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, and one USB Type-A 2.0 port. On the front, you get a total of seven ports which include one USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 header that supports an additional of two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, and two USB 2.0 headers that support an additional four USB 2.0 ports.

For audio, you get the Realtek 7.1 Surround Sound High Definition Audio CODEC, which supports up to 24-Bit/192 kHz playback. The motherboard also comes with all sorts of ASUS TUF Protection features including ESD Guards, TUF LANGuard, Safeslot, and so on. The motherboard also supports AURA Sync which lets you jazz your build-up a bit.

In order to check the overall performance of the motherboard, we tested it against a few games such as The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, GTA V. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Watch Dogs: Legion. We experienced consistent performance across the board. The ASUS TUF Gaming Motherboard B660-Plus WiFi D4 is a very capable mid-ranger if you are looking to upgrade your PC setup on a strict budget.

With the ASUS TUF Gaming Motherboard B660-Plus WiFi D4, you will have a high-quality base for a gaming PC of almost any complexity. However, you may have to do without the possibility of overclocking the CPU and allowing you to install not more than one video card on the setup. For a price of AED 899.99, the ASUS TUF Gaming Motherboard B660-Plus WiFi D4 motherboard is truly worth the investment.

Price: AED 899.99

ASUS TUF Gaming Motherboard B660-Plus WiFi D4 AED 899.99
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

In order to check the overall performance of the motherboard, we tested it against a few games such as The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, GTA V. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Watch Dogs: Legion. We experienced consistent performance across the board. The ASUS TUF Gaming Motherboard B660-Plus WiFi D4 is a very capable mid-ranger if you are looking to upgrade your PC setup on a strict budget.

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Preview: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi Motherboard

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Quick on the heels of Intel announcing their latest 12th Gen Alder Lake chips, ASUS has announced its new ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi Motherboard. Intel’s 12th Gen desktop processors usher in a new era of the company’s chips, lead by the flagship Core i9-12900K CPU, which Intel claims is the world’s best gaming processor.

Alder Lake will need a motherboard built on Intel’s newly announced Z690 chipset, which adds more modern conveniences such as Wi-Fi 6E support and faster USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 data transfer. Intel is using a new LGA 1700 socket here, so you may even need a new cooler or slightly updated standoffs from the manufacturer.

Intel is also heavily pushing Windows 11 as a key part of its Alder Lake lineup, noting that it’s worked with Microsoft to optimize its Intel Thread Director software to better manage tasks across threads when using the new OS.

ASUS sent us the new ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi Motherboard for a test drive and in this article, we will be previewing the motherboard. The ASUS Z690 platform, which covers ROG Maximus to the ROG Strix, TUF Gaming, ProArt, and Prime motherboards, are built to support the new 12th Gen Intel Core processors that feature up to 16 cores and 24 threads.

The ASUS Z690 motherboard series delivers standard-defining performance for Intel processors with power delivery and a wide range of cooling options. Featuring DDR5 memory modules and extensive support for PCIe 5.0 devices, the series supports the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors. ASUS’ Z690 motherboards also include an exclusive new overclocking technology called ASUS Enhanced Memory Profile (AEMP), offering blistering-fast DDR5 performance in just a few clicks.

ASUS has also included something with Z690 motherboards, which will make your life easier when it comes to removing the graphics card from the motherboard. The company calls it the PCIe Slot Q-Release. This feature allows users to easily remove a graphics card installed in the primary PCIe 5.0 slot on a Z690-based motherboard.

According to the documentation provided by ASUS, it “unlocks the first PCIe slot’s security latch with one tap, greatly simplifying the process of detaching a PCIe card.” While you won’t be switching out graphics cards on a daily basis, it is still good to know that ASUS has put some thought into this, especially for reviewers like us, who are constantly swapping out graphics cards to run benchmarks.

In terms of processor support, this motherboard supports Intel Socket LGA1700 for 12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, and Celeron Processors. It also supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0. You also get four DIMM slots that can support a maximum of 128GB of DDR5 memory at 6400(OC), 6200(OC), 6000(OC), 5800(OC), 5600(OC), 5400(OC), 5200(OC), 5000(OC), and 4800 Non-ECC, un-buffered memory.

When it comes to ports, you get one DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.1. You also get a total of 12 USB ports on the rear, which include one USB 3.2 Type-C Gen 2×2 port, two USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 2 ports, one USB 3.2 Type-C Gen 2 port, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and four USB 2.0 Type-A ports. On the front, you get one USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C connector, one USB 3.2 Gen 1, and two USB 2.0 headers that support an additional four USB 2.0 ports.

ASUS Z690 motherboards are also equipped with up to two PCIe 5.0 slots ideal for video cards. Select models even feature an onboard PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot or a bundled ROG Hyper M.2 card. The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi Motherboard, for instance, comes with a bundled ROG Hyper M.2 card.

You also get three M.2 slots onboard, which includes one M.2 2242-22110 (PCIe5.0 x4), one M.2 2242-22110 (PCIe4.0 x4), and one M.2 2242-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 and SATA). You also get two M.2 slots on the bundled ROG Hyper M.2 Card, which includes two M.2 2242-22110 (PCIe4.0 x4).

There’s also a specially illuminated acrylic display on the I/O cover that gives the illusion that the circuit board is visible beneath an RGB ROG logo. Each motherboard within the ASUS Z690 series features built-in Windows 11 support, with mounting holes that are compatible with CPU coolers designed for either LGA 1200 or the new LGA 1700 socket.

If you are one of those who would like to venture into endless customisation and aesthetics, the Z690 series brings all-new visuals such as the AniMe Matrix display that features mini programmable RGB LEDs to show off personal style with custom lighting designs, unique animations, and live audio visualizations, as well as striking designs that evoke sci-fi worlds from cyberpunk to aerospace exploration.

– Photography by Ranbir Sen

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Review: ASUS ProArt B550-Creator Motherboard

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ASUS’ ProArt series has been known for years for quality products aimed at content creators. The company recently announced the new ProArt B550-Creator motherboard, which supports the latest AMD Ryzen series of processors. The motherboard speeds up jobs such as 3D rendering and video post-production, in addition to working with and sharing large files.

In terms of design, the B550-Creator borrows design cues from its earlier iterations such as the ASUS ProArt Z490-Creator 10G, keeping the overall design simplistic with straight lines provided by a pair of rectangular M.2 and an L-shaped power delivery heatsink. The B550-Creator is also the first AMD AM4 motherboard and it benefits from Intel’s updated Thunderbolt 4 controller. You also get 12+2 phase power delivery and dual 2.5 GbE networking.

Keeping in line with its minimalist design, the motherboard also does not come with any integrated RGB LED lighting. In terms of connectivity options, the B550-Creator comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two Intel 2.5G Ethernet, and four USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. Each of these Thunderbolt 4 ports delivers up to 40 Gbps of bidirectional bandwidth for the latest high-speed devices and drives. Thunderbolt 4 also supports up to two external 4K UHD displays or one 8K display.

Other ports on the motherboard include a PS/2 combo port, a DisplayPort In connector, an HDMI port, a collection of USB ports, and audio I/O. There is also an 8-pin EPS and 4-pin ATX CPU ProCool II power input combo that provides all the power your processor would ever need.

The motherboard also comes with four DDR4 memory slots for up to 128GB of memory, a pair of M.2 slots using the Asus Q-latch install  system (PCIe 4.0 x4), three PCIe x16 and two PCIe x1 expansion slots, four SATA ports, and Realtek’s ALC1220A premium audio solution. You also get a BIOS Flashback Button which can help with troubleshooting along with the Asus QLED POST system.

The AM4 socket on the motherboard can take in AMD Ryzen 5000 Series, 4000 G-Series, and 3000 Series desktop processors. In terms of performance, the B550-Creator delivers, irrespective of whether the job at hand is video editing, rendering, compiling, or even batch conversions. Since the B550-Creator comes packed with teamed power stages through the use of a 12+2 VRM design and ProCool II power connectors, you get all the power required for the B550-Creator. Meanwhile, two large VRM multi finned/ridged heatsinks, keep the VRM cool.

The B550-Creator also comes with an isolated audio codec, the ALC 1220A featuring shielding, audio-grade capacitors, and an integrated amplifier. Hence, you get a high-quality audio experience, when listening to music, watching movies, and so on. Furthermore, ASUS’ AiNoise Canceling feature helps in improving audio quality by filtering out noises and distractions whether it be on your mic or incoming audio.

The ProArt Creator Hub on the other hand offers a clean and modern UI for monitoring and management while also offering integration for calibration with ASUS ProArt monitors. In addition, it also simplifies workflows with convenient features such as Task Grouping.

You can also assign multiple apps to a group and launch them simultaneously. You also get some hardware features such as a pre-mounted IO shield, ASUS M.2 Q-Latch for simple and tool-free M.2 installation, QLED for quick visual POST troubleshooting, and more.

If you are a content creator who needs ultra-fast USB and Thunderbolt connectivity alongside stable and reliable operation, good overall performance under trying conditions, and a boatload of connectivity options, the B550-Creator is the one for you. The ASUS ProArt B550-Creator Motherboard is thus, highly recommended.

Price: $299

ASUS ProArt B550-Creator Motherboard $299
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The AM4 socket on the motherboard can take in AMD Ryzen 5000 Series, 4000 G-Series, and 3000 Series desktop processors. In terms of performance, the B550-Creator delivers, irrespective of whether the job at hand is video editing, rendering, compiling, or even batch conversions.

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