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WIN: Asus Xtreme Global Summit Competition Week 1

Posted on 28th Jul 2009 at 11:14 by Alex Watson with 54 comments

Alex Watson
By now you’ve hopefully read all about the Asus Xtreme GlobalSummit competition we’re running, and marvelled at the excellent selection of hardware prizes on offer. Unlike most of the competitions we’ve run in the past, this one adds interesting experience to the mix – firstly, there’s an afternoon in London talking with Asus’ R&D team, playing games and tinkering with the latest hardware.

It’s also about communication. Asus has a great reputation for the design and innovation that goes into its motherboards, and the firm is keen to get the opinions of real enthusiasts (hence the blogging/forum posting part of the competition), and to give you a peek behind the scenes of the design and development process. Read on to find out more, and for your chance to win one of the first five tickets for the event!

Asus was founded in 1989 and has since grown into a behemoth that now sells 23 million motherboards year, and it means one in every 3 PCs in the world is using ASUS Motherboard. These range from simple, budget boards to the complex, heatsink wrapped overclocking monsters from the Republic of Gamers (RoG) range.

One of Asus’ Motherboard engineers – told us on a past visit to London that “making a basic motherboard is boring: you plug in a CPU, graphics card, RAM and you’re done. The fun part lies in how do you think of ways of making contributions to what the users can do with the board. Sure, we spend a lot of time to make sure the stability, the quality, the durability, the compatibility are all there – but we also have a huge amount of resources going into innovation. We’re not trailing anybody on innovation, but every single year, we’re still trying, just to see what can still be done.”

WIN: Asus Xtreme Global Summit Competition Week 1 Asus Xtreme Global Summit 1: Design Matters

Grand claims, but as we frequently observe in reviews, it can be tricky for motherboard manufacturers to come up with new ideas for their boards that do actually improve the design. Asus has recently had plenty of success, though – its designers spend a lot of time working on board layout, circuit design and material selection, which all contribute to overall performance, stability and overclocking abilities, As a result, both bit-tech and Custom PC have, over the years recommended multiple Asus motherboards. These are all factors which have helped boards such as the P6T Deluxe do well in reviews.

Recent models have also seen the introduction ‘Stack Cool 3+’, the fourth version of PCB cooling technology which Asus introduced in 2004. It involves extra PCB layers and use of copper in the board, and for better performance, the TurboV overclocking system. This software allows you to overclock from Windows, including adjusting voltages such as CPU PLL and DRAM voltages in 0.02v using software. Apparently this came about from engineers wanting to save time when overclocking in the lab testing the differences between various design iterations.

At first, it was just a tool the engineers used to speed up the overclocking process. It allowed them to overclock in the Windows OS without going back to the BIOS settings screen and rebooting the system. They found that the tool can help achieve even better overclocking performances. Without running system power on self tests and the Windows self test, the engineers found the boards could reach even higher frequencies. More functions were gradually added to TurboV, including a more friendly interface and customizable profiles.

TurboV has now been officially introduced as an ASUS motherboard utility. Combined with a specially-designed board and circuit layout, it has become stronger over time.

WIN WIN WIN! Now you’ve seen how Asus engineers have developed and designed new functions for their boards, we want to hear your ideas for a new feature that could be added to a motherboard. Together the bit-tech editorial team, Asus will select the five best ideas and those who submitted them will each win a ticket to the Asus Xtreme Global Summit in London on the 28th of August.

54 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Spiny 28th July 2009, 13:05 Quote
How about:

- An automated overclocking utility at the BIOS level with a built in soak test?
- Automatic BIOS backup for flashing
- Internet enable TurboV to share successfull hardware & overclock settings. Should make it easier for people to get a stable overclock more quickly.
- A quick boot manager menu for booting from different hard disks when you have multiple OSs on different discs.
flibblesan 28th July 2009, 13:33 Quote
hotkeys for switching overclocking profiles on the fly without using any additional programs. Either using the keyboard or button on the rear IO panel.
Shuflie 28th July 2009, 13:45 Quote
I would like to see an intelligent motherboard with onboard processor, memory and storage that could run an alternative start up mode and test the basic built in functions of the motherboard and attached memory and storage devices. This could probably be done using an ARM processor with a small ammount of seperate memory available to it running from a flash DOC module that had a custom linux operating system installed on it. Output to a proper monitor rather than a series of hard to decipher blinking LEDs would be preferable.
ffjason 28th July 2009, 13:54 Quote
I love the idea of overclocking in windows but remember having so many problems with it using the nForce 680 SLi chipset. I would rather not have the situation where if I set a setting too high in windows the system would boot to the windows loading screen and then BSOD when the software loaded. I would therefore say that the overclock should always have a backup setting if it crashes on the first try (if its automatic on startup).

In addition to that, forget the fancy "cool" looking interfaces which companies think overclockers want. Instead focus on getting a clear and detailed interface which is simple to use. Clarify what the settings mean with detailed help tips.

I've loaded up a few "overclocking" utilities which look cool but I actually found that the settings I wanted were too hard to find in the limited interface. Stick with the basics. If the users want to add skins allow them too! Please don't scare off new users by making the interface so far away from a standard window style that they don't know where to start and don't just list all the options you can change. A new user is going to have no idea what the CPU PLL or DRAM voltage settings do or why they would want to change them.

One last idea to avoid is automatic overclocking. It doesn't work and if it does it achieves minimal results. It is a waste of time to attempt it. On the other hand having a quick and easy way for users to share their results would be good. A .txt printout of the settings they have sucessfully used and detailed information about their setup could provide useful for others. Creating an online overclockers database for users to browse through could provide invaluable and I have never seen another manufacturer provide this before.

New features I would like to see would be:
1. In the BIOS, when choosing the hard drive to boot from, it would be nice to see the operating systems listed next to the hard drives (obviously mulitple os's might be necessary if the disk is partitioned).

2. Dynamic BIOS pictures. Basically those annoying logo's which are set by default to come up instead of the post readout could be changed so that they had the text from the post come up over them giving the user a nice interface but with the necessary detail for those advanced users.

3. A battery meter for the BIOS battery. Just to give a rough estimate of how much life it has left.

4. Post-Code explanations. I'm not sure whether the ASUS boards have a post-code display but I've found them to be useful but frustrating. If you board won't boot and it is giving a post-code error you then need to find another PC to look up what the post code means. It would be nice if, upon the event of the error, a small message would be displayed on screen (obviously as long as its not a graphics error) with a detailed explanation of what that code means and possible fixes for it.

5. Generally just more detail regarding BIOS settings. An explanation that "this setting increases the CPU voltage" isnt very useful. However, "You can increase the CPU voltage with this settings. This would be used for achieving stability on very high overclocks" would be more useful. This is especially important on the more obscure settings.

6. BIOS consistency. It would be nice for manufacturers to agree on settings names. The same settings appear under many different names on different manufacturers boards. One standard set of BIOS settings wouldn't go amiss.

7. CPU coolers compatibility lists. It would be nice to know which CPU coolers work with your board. Though this may be the job of the cooler manufacturer it maybe wise for motherboard manufacturers to read up on the most recommended coolers and state that they work on their board. This will benefit cooler manufactures and motherboard manufacturers.
LT.BEECH 28th July 2009, 13:59 Quote
sofware that you type what hardware you hve into, or detects what hardware you have, and auomaticaly creates overclocking profiles
chocolateraisins 28th July 2009, 14:31 Quote
1. Replace Key parts of Copper with Gold, Gold is known for its better heat conductivity, and also electrical conductivity = increased speeds, and cools well

2. Greener design, using materials that do the same job, but are more environmentally friendly and can be readily recycled.

3. Effective design, and a cheap price too boot.
cjmUK 28th July 2009, 15:06 Quote
- Semi-automated overclocking tools:

Most people want a moderate stable overclock for day to day use. Having a BIOS that could incrementally test different parameter settings for the given hardware, with an option to set limits (or fix) various parameters (temp, voltages, mem speeds etc). It would be a good way of determining what your mobo would regard as a sensible configuration, which enthusiasts would naturally take further

- Import/Export Settings (might be already available for all I know)

I often see (and indeed seek) other peoples BIOS settings for similar or identical hardware. It would be nice to be able load and save these profiles from machine to machine. Obviously even 'identical' hardware can perform differently, so there would need to be checks and balances. An addition use would be as a backup in case of mobo failure. Many boards have the capability to store one or two profiles on-board; this idea extends that a little further.
Madness_3d 28th July 2009, 15:18 Quote
Customizable expansion slot layout
So that you can rearrange your PCI, PCI-E 16x, PCI-E 4x and PCI-E 1x slots on the motherboard, to best suit your hardware configuration. I.E. arranging so that your Dual Slot graphics card doesnt block off the only PCI slot you need for your X-Fi Card. This could be achievable by creating a dense LGA that contains pins for both PCI and up to 16x PCI-E. Then each connector would locate onto the slot, and route the pins it needs up to the top of the slot. It's quite easily achievable especially when you consider how much space there is between expansion slots.

OR for the hardcore bencher or tester, little feet underneath the board which pop down, to allow you to run and insert graphics cards without the need to run the board on top of a box.

Also For Modders, and people looking to build a colour co-ordinated system, Asus could manufacture new heatsinks in differing colours. If the idea of interchangable Expansion slots was carried out these two could have their colours changable. These could be sold at a premium to the Users who want them and would cement Asus' position as the No. 1 Manufacturer for High End Systems.

Asus could also follow on from the "Overclocked By" Tags on the Rampage II Extreme and have a LCD Poster replacing this, for the high end user to have a customisable internal display.

Also Asus could expand on their Fusion Heatsink and Expand this to the VRM cooling area.

Also an expansion of the OC-Palm, Secure Overclocking across multiple platforms, such as the Apple iPhone OS , Android OS etc. To allow people to see the voltage and temperature readings of their components on their handheld devices, while also being able to tweak overclocking settings.
Krikkit 28th July 2009, 15:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiny
How about:

- An automated overclocking utility at the BIOS level with a built in soak test?
- Automatic BIOS backup for flashing
- Internet enable TurboV to share successfull hardware & overclock settings. Should make it easier for people to get a stable overclock more quickly.
- A quick boot manager menu for booting from different hard disks when you have multiple OSs on different discs.

DFI's have the auto BIOS backup and the boot manager atm. The soak test would be good - some form of Prime95 built in like the NF4 boards that used to have memtest86 built in.

I'd quite like to see more mobo-controlled fan headers, better power cable placement and inboard USB ports for readyboost drives.

Another niceity would be the customizable slots, but that's just not a sensible option, how could you possibly route 16x PCI-e slots and control them throughout the board?

Using gold for parts of the conductive traces in the motherboard is all well and good, but it's hellishly expensive compared to copper and doesn't provide any benefit at all since it's less electrically conductive. Thermal conductivity is a moot point when you've got massively increased electrical resistance.
Xir 28th July 2009, 15:26 Quote
Mainly Asus's own old virtue: stability

Correct readouts on temperature monitor programs such as everest et al would be good. If it has to be a windows programme: keep it simple and small.

Gigabit ethernet should be standard even on the cheapest of boards by now.

For Overclockers...dual BIOS, so even in the worst case you won't have to take out the ROM to have it flashed.
g3n3tiX 28th July 2009, 15:28 Quote
- Eco-friendly packaging (already partly done) but there might be ways to improve even more : for example, removing the individual plastic sealed bags for things like USB brackets, or not excessively printing shiny graphics on the box itself : as it's bought for what's inside, the features and "tick boxes" are not really needed (except for "real world" retailer versions, which could use the graphics). I don't really care about glossy pictures when I buy it online, knowing it will perform.
Thus, having cheaper packaging means cheaper price. And the environmental cost of printing is lessened.

- Improve the Splashtop software so that new programs can be installed, making a Linux-on-ssd with instant power-on. (maybe support for VLC and storage device mounting at least)

- 90 degrees rotated ATX connector !

What about that Marine Cool concept board ? I'd like to see it released ! (or at least the cooling technology behind it if it works well)
It looks AWESOME !

- Maybe more detailed BIOS entries (a better explanation of what the setting does, when we press a button)

And a bit more experimental :
- Some kind of WC loop pump connector, so the MB could monitor temps (it has them already) and control the WC flow/pump speed automatically. Also it could measure back the flow/water temp/... But I guess you'd some specialized hardware (norm ?standard ?) in order to achieve this.
andrew8200m 28th July 2009, 15:33 Quote
1, Jumpers on the motherboard that engage different user set bios options. EG 4 different OC profiles that can be engaged using a switch on the IO panel of the motherboard prior to system start.

2, Right angled 24pin and 8pin connectors on the motherboard to aid cable management.

3, 6pin a 8pin pcie connectors embedded into the motherboard so the graphics card runs entirely from the motherboard reducing cable clutter inside the PC. Similar to having the 24pin mb connector on the board. Having shorter "daughter" type cables running from a universal 8pin connector on the board to a 6pin and 6+2pin via this "daughter" cable.

4, Individual core temperatures for the CPU as a singular temp does not represent an accurate temp of the CPU.

5, For extreme overclockers, a plug in daughter board with extra caps installed and a digital variable resister to alter and adjust the resulting v-drop from overclocking under load. Resulting in a more stable and true power delivery.

6, Individual voltage adjustment for memory on alternate slots. eg slots 1,3,5 can be adjusted different to slots 2,4,6 in the event of different ram being used when current ram cannot be obtained anymore so an alternative which may have a different operational voltage can be used and set to correct working frequencys without causing issues with the previously installed units.

7, A universal layout with expansion slots eg.
-slot 1, pice 1x or 4x (for a sound card for instance).
-slot 2, pcie 16x (gpu 1)
-slot 3, pcie 1x or 4x. (incase use of single slot gpu)
-slot 4, pcie 16x (gpu 3)
-slot 5, pci (for older sound cards such as x-fi pci incase you dont go tripple gpu),
-slot 6, pcie 16x (gpu 2),
-slot 7, pice 16x incase you like to run folding at home on numerous single slot gpus.)
This was you can run tri-sli of you wish and run a sound card (slot 1), something that is very rare today. Keeping 3 slots free (2 slots if dual cooler) between gpu 1 and gpu 2 (if running 2 cards) will aid with card cooling which in turn should help with overclocking on air.

8, Move the southbridge as far up the board OR as far to the edge as possible so that GPUs do not cover them causing restricted air flow and excessive heat. and/or so they can have a water block fitted easily for ultimate cooling. The above should be enough to enable 3x gpu's for tri-sli and a sound card whilst also being able to water cool every possible available component that can be water cooled resulting in a truely epic layout for a motherboard.



Andy (andrew8200m)
Krikkit 28th July 2009, 15:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3n3tiX
*snip*

Some great ideas there - an OEM version with just a plain box printed with the model numbers and without bags and other crap - no driver CD included would be good too.

Another good idea is the 90' ATX connector - it's almost universally at the edge of the board these days anyway, why not just rotate it?
1ad7 28th July 2009, 15:53 Quote
Motherboards often suffer from layout issues, however 5 of the last 6 of my motherboards have been asus and each time the layout improves and while this is important its not a large market selling point. Your average consumer is not picky about layout as long as it all fits.

However I have another idea, similar to the 5 sec quick boot feature on my current board keep the internet access but add the ability to run Overclock testing tools. This way we can post and boot into this seperate os and partition and have access to the internet for help as well as things like Intel burn, prime 95, different memory stability testers etc. These tools could be included or support could just be added and we could include the files on the partition for the system. Although I have never used the quick boot feature this is a feature I would love, not just for the first system setup and overclock but I would likely use it any time I ran into a issue to diagnose the problem. I think this would appeal to a much wider range of individuals than any hardware change, while at the same time helping us enthusiast.
wuyanxu 28th July 2009, 16:08 Quote
1. BIOS fan controller that's similar to Abit's uGuru BIOS!
as soon as a board have this, im sold! been using Abit for a while and can't live without full fan control. can be marketed as an intelligent silent overclocking line of motherboards, who doesn't want a silent PC? who doesn't want an overclocked beast?
i now have a single PC that's silent in idle, fans only spin up when under load, that's what BIOS controlled fans give me. it's BIOS controlled so that hackintosh/Linux can still be as silent.

2. higher PWM coolers so that the exhaust case can can have more effect

1-2. in fact, can be a new line of motherboard: silent overclocker: larger PWM heatsinks, BIOS fan controls.

3. all right angled SATA connectors. latest few Asus LGA 1156 boards i've seen are not using right angled. ditch the PATA somewhere else, they are not important nowadays.

4. numeric LED read-outs on non-ROG boards (instead of nothing)

5. Linux based quickstart firmware system that allows quick internet access (i know you've already got this). the system can also have the ability to do overclocking with more graphical approach. (eg. port Windows tools to the quick start Linux)

6. boot menu in the embedded Linux. say: F12 to go into boot menu in the Linux, enter to go into Linux and up/down to select other HDD. this way, a more complex Linux can be loaded in the background.

7. i think Asus already have this: onboard buttons for BIOS navigation, so when USB keyboard fails, no need to get a PS/2 one.


even if only number 1, 2, and 7 get into a motherboard. i'll buy it as soon as it hits retail.
i've been scared to move to USB keyboard for a while, and the lack of BIOS fan controls prevented me buying new platform (P45+q9450 and now x58+i7. waiting for LGA1156 to upgrade). the heatsink isn't necessary, but would be nice if the heatsink are cool to touch when mildly overclocked.
LT.BEECH 28th July 2009, 16:10 Quote
what asus could do is for the high end boards that people with large cases will buy is position the motherboard power connector is sit it parrallel with the board. as to aid in making the cabling neater
Krikkit 28th July 2009, 16:18 Quote
wuyanxu - surely the easiest way would be just to include a USB->PS/2 converter?
Xtrafresh 28th July 2009, 16:59 Quote
Oi, where to start! Oh, i know:

Cable routing
All the components in a PC keep evolving to look and cool better, and then we all screw up the looks and cooling performance again with all the cables. Getting your cabling right often involves elaborate sleeving and even self-manufacturing of cables. Impressive to read in worklogs, but very elegant it's not. Some suggestions for improvement:
  • Angled ATX and 8-pin (CPU) power connectors. Asus already does it on graphics cards, so why not on a motherboard? I can honestly say it would influence my buying decision. In fact, i wont care if you stop reading my post right now and pass this on to your designers, i'm having that much trouble to force the 24 cables through a decent 180-degree turn.
  • Quad and dual SATA connectors like those seen on some RAID cards. Those of use that use more then two SATA ports (one of HDD, one for ODD) will always be using the extra ports to power a RAID array or dual ODDs. A connector that could take a cable akin to this or this (disregard the SAS-functionality, i'm speaking of physical appearance) would be most helpful and give the board that extra sense of high-end application and desirability.
  • Fanconnectors on the underside of the board, at the edge, angled. Of all the cables running through the PC, i find fancables most fiddly. They are often installed dead last, and at that time there's just no more place to route the cable, especially if the connector is located in the middle of the board. At times i have been reallt frustrated with fan pinout placement, as it sometimes completely screws up a good job. Angled connectors at the bottom would be my saving grace.

Functionality
There's also some additional functionality that i'm eager to see in a motherboard.
  • A fancontroller. Why not? Just line up three or four fanheaders, and a row of pinouts for tempsensors, connect to a little controllerchip, and make the whole thing accessible onscreen through windows, and watch us modders fall all the way back in love with the PSOne screen mod again! It would be a unique selling point for high-end users, and thanks to the fact that you don't need any additional hardware apart from a few connectors and one chip, very cheap to add.
  • Hardware RAID support. This one will be expensive and complicated, i understand, but if pulled off, you will have a proper must-have on your hands for everybody that just shelled out on double SSDs. Dont go aiming for RAID-5 either, a chip that will draw all the performance out of a dual or four-way SSD-setup in RAID-0 would be every gamer's wet dream.

Crazy stuff
  • Aim for ITX, especially on mid-end P55. If Zotac can do a decent 775 board on ITX, i know you guys can do much better with the single-chip P55 platform. And yes, that's a direct challenge! I really am fond of the Gene boards, you are clearly on the way, but in my humble opinion, mATX is just the first step towards greatness (pun intended).
  • Colors. People are still raving over the "rather cool motherboard mod" thread. Though the mod in question is not particularly well-done, the effort of the original modder and the intensity of the following discussion shows how strongly people feel about the looks of their motherboard.
  • Crazy form factors. I would LOVE a round motherboard that could be the base for a sweet HTPC or a really long and thin motherboard with the RAM mounted on the back and length-wise placed PCIe slots. The crazier, the better! Ok, i admit, my imagination went wild there!

So, those are my suggestions, ordered from most realistic to most wild. I hope you like them enough to let me come to London and ramble on some more, or even better, just implement them! Much thanks for this competition to Bit and Asus.
CrapBag 28th July 2009, 17:29 Quote
Being able to re-orientate the AM2 mount would be of great use. I know I'm presently using an MSI board but the same problem seems to exist for Asus boards, although it wasn't an issue on my M2N-32 SLI

I have a Titan Fenrir and can only have it mounted so that the fan blows directly up or directly down which is no use in my case.

If there were pre drilled holes to allow the mount to be fitted in the other direction it would allow you to to use a cooler like this and be able to orientate it in the direction you want. I know this is more of an AMD failing due to choosing a mount that isn't symmetrical but I can't see it being too difficult to provide additional holes for mounting in the board.
wuyanxu 28th July 2009, 17:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
wuyanxu - surely the easiest way would be just to include a USB->PS/2 converter?
good point...... never seen one for keyboard so didn't know they exist.
Xtrafresh 28th July 2009, 17:38 Quote
They do, they came standard with a lot of motherboards when keyboards were first making the transition from PS/2 to USB. Check a local computer store, they should have tons of them laying about :)
KayinBlack 28th July 2009, 18:04 Quote
Boards that work? All the last ones I've purchased have not worked well, and most died spectacularly-including one that blew off a PCI-E slot.

MSI got it right with the GD-70's layout, a few extra toys on it would have been worth the price the ASUS was, but the bad layout and twitchy clocking pretty much made me run far away.
stoff3r 28th July 2009, 18:28 Quote
Make an universal interface for all expansion cards. I suggest PCI-express x16 for all the slots, and people can just plug in whatever they like in any order they like.

This suggestion also relies on standardisation amongst other manufacturers, and Intel is probably the one deciding this one, but hey... my $0.02 :P
tonpal 28th July 2009, 19:11 Quote
I would like to see a modular approach to motherboards with the motherboard itself forming a network of buses into which modules could be plugged to give the user the functionality he or she desired. A breakdown of the modules could be something like:
- CPU module
- memory module
- IDE/Sata module
- PCI/PCIE module
- USB/firewire module

A motherboard manufacturerer could offer a range of modules and users could configurer them to suit their needs.
Krikkit 28th July 2009, 20:20 Quote
That's a bit complicated isn't it?

You've got to get some kind of motherboard form factor that can support such modular forms and a chipset that can cope with modular weirdness - from running one cpu, one memory and something like 6 storage modules to one cpu one storage and 6 memory modules...
deltaworld 28th July 2009, 20:20 Quote
This is more to do with the customer overall satisfaction experience rather on the board, but I would like to see Asus improve their UK RMA procedure and turn around as my experience with a bad P5K Premium board is a 28 day RMA return that cost me £25 to return the board which had to get shipped to Czech. If there could be a shorter turn around so that the board be returned to the user in a shorter time frame, Ideally in less than a week and posting it to a centre locally where they didnt have to ship it abroad for repairs.

Also on board implementation and I know this has been mentioned before but to have a set of tools similar to Orthos or P95 that extensively test the stability of the motherboard for overclockers and if the motherboard fails the overclock then there would be an automatic fine tune feature where the board would intelligently increase one of the voltages systematically and retest until it automatically finds the most optimum heat to voltage power performance as well as being stable. In a way where it replicates what an experienced overclocker would do to get to the most optimum overclock setting.

In regards to collecting a large enough database of overclock settings but have a system where it vets the settings to being stable e.g. if the system has been running for 3 Hours+ on load and not failed a built in test then it qualifies as a stable oc.. Then build an index of suitable components and analyse that with the components and revisions and VIDs of processors to recommend what overclock that could easily work for you out of the box.

Drop PATA, PS/2 and FLOPPY.. there is no need for them anymore

I also liked the previously suggested BIOS controlled fans that would automatically adjust to the amount of heat generated and the amount of load the pc gets.

Also build and come up with a universal standard for motherboards for laptops. Something similar to how the ATX standard has become such a standard for desktops and ITX for media PC's we need ASUS to come up with PC builder's dream and come up with a new standard LTX 'Laptop TX' for custom built laptops, that is not proprietary and other board manufacturers and component manufacturers can create on this standard to bring the price of effective moddable and customisable laptops to the pc builder.
tonpal 28th July 2009, 21:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
That's a bit complicated isn't it?

You've got to get some kind of motherboard form factor that can support such modular forms and a chipset that can cope with modular weirdness - from running one cpu, one memory and something like 6 storage modules to one cpu one storage and 6 memory modules...

You are probably right.

With a bit of imagination I am sure something could be engineered to fit into an ATX case. Creating a flexible bus or set of buses would be even more of a challenge.

We weren't meant to be too constrained by reality were we.
perplekks45 28th July 2009, 21:30 Quote
There are so many things to add to mainboards but one of the main things [no pun intended] has to be EFI. I mean how long have we been waiting for this already?!

Other than that I'd like to have some kind of cheap flash memory soldered to the board. And not just to the high-end boards but the middle segment as well.

I'll give this a good night of sleep and come up with more ideas tomorrow.
FaSMaN 28th July 2009, 21:35 Quote
Online overclocking database with Bios integration.

Its fairly easy to do in windows have a small application that on request uploads your current bios setting as well as CPU information (type,frequency, manufacture date) as well as other hardware info like RAM info etc...

The app will then download a top list that you can browse and compare with you current setup :)

Now for the Tricky part:

Bios Integration

A few kilobytes of the bios will have to be allocated for this or maybe a eeprom.

The app will then look for the closest matching specs to your own pc including CPU manufacture date ,stepping etc... and write the gathered info the the eeprom or bios.

Now when setting up your bios it will display this information gathered from the database example,when setting your FSB, and multiplier:

Current FSB: 800mhz {1300/1600}
Multiplier: 8x {8x/7x}

What this would mean is your current FSB is at 800mhz, the averidge according to the database is 1300mhz and the highest ever recorded was 1600mhz (yea these figures are 100% made up), and because this is from the database and is a very close match to your own CPU you then know what to work with, for instance they clue that the highest clock rate ever achieved on this processor was done by dropping the multiplier down to 7 instead of 8, you can the try and match that :P, very useful indeed and because its in the bios you don't have to boot to windows to check.
Slizza 28th July 2009, 21:40 Quote
I would like to see upgradable and interchangable heatsinks for the boards (perhaps a range made available)
So you could select/swap out and buy/upgrade the heatsinks to suit your own tastes.
Would be great if Asus had a range of heatsinks available that could fit on multiple boards.
Kamikaze-X 28th July 2009, 22:26 Quote
i would love a very simple but very effective addition to a modern motherboard that has been bugging me for a long time- manual fan speed controllers in the form of small potentionometors or on/on switches built onto the motherboard, or even the back panel that are adjustable on the fly- fan controllers are ugly (usually) and cause a lot of cabling nightmares.

also, i would like asus engineers to take into consideration that as hardware becomes hotter running and power hungry, more fans are required, with the preferred method for attaching extra fans being the motherboard, so at least 4 fan headers should be provided, with connectors that are close to where the fans would be positioned to enable cable tidying.
JonWortley 28th July 2009, 22:37 Quote
Good ideas there.... my shot(s)

1. Some holes in the motherboard so I can route temp sensors , EPS12v, front panel audio etc round the back and through without messing up airflow. Don't have to be too big!

2. A warning about or option to load default BIOS settings rather than just doing it after a timeout (I hit the power button whilst installing a fan and just turned it off, bios thought over clocking had failed I presume) and messing up my windows install and breaking my raid set etc.

3: USB / firewire etc headers at the edge of the board

4: A seperate, optional(?) daughterboard with all little low bandwidth connectors on it? USB, system/case panel stuff, audio etc so you can gently pull it out and sort out a little cable job rather than using tweezers / forceps and a torch.
PaulGreyhead 28th July 2009, 23:14 Quote
How about a small, good quality screen or even a touch screen display, which could be placed on a desk (for example it could sit in front of a keyboard, so it would need to look good too). The screen would be connected to the motherboard, and would be able to show any voltage on the board, clock settings, mem settings, all temperatures etc etc. Maybe scroll through different screens showing sections like temps, then one for voltages and currents, CPU settings, memory settings, fan speeds etc.
Using a touch screen you could set it up to show fan speeds, and also enable the speeds to be changed from the screen.
Have an overclocking section where the user can choose settings, which would be implemented after a restart. Or something!

Forgot to mention above, I'd like a percentage please if you put this into production :)
g3n3tiX 28th July 2009, 23:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGreyhead
How about a small, good quality screen or even a touch screen display, which could be placed on a desk (for example it could sit in front of a keyboard, so it would need to look good too). The screen would be connected to the motherboard, and would be able to show any voltage on the board, clock settings, mem settings, all temperatures etc etc. Maybe scroll through different screens showing sections like temps, then one for voltages and currents, CPU settings, memory settings, fan speeds etc.
Using a touch screen you could set it up to show fan speeds, and also enable the speeds to be changed from the screen.
Have an overclocking section where the user can choose settings, which would be implemented after a restart. Or something!

Asus already has this, lookup the OC Palm. Small colour screen, used to manage overclocking and monitoring voltages.

EDIT : 500th post !
PaulGreyhead 28th July 2009, 23:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3n3tiX
Asus already has this, lookup the OC Palm. Small colour screen, used to manage overclocking and monitoring voltages.

EDIT : 500th post !

Ah poop! :(
I knew it was a good idea though

Thanks for letting me know.
Argonaut123 29th July 2009, 00:10 Quote
Jumpers
I would like bigger sized jumpers that are in easily accessible places as I get sick of having to use tweezers and then hunting around the case for when I drop them. I would like them brightly coloured so I find them quickly. If they can't be bigger in size they could had a groove around the circumference for the tweezers to grip, meaning it will be less likely to drop them when removing/replacing them.
Kiytan 29th July 2009, 00:36 Quote
A little jumper-button combo, to act as a reset and power switch, so we can more easily test motherboards out of the cases without either having to hook it up to the case which is fiddly and annoying at the best of times, or find something metal to stick between the power pins ;)
Rocket_Knight64 29th July 2009, 00:39 Quote
1) Full hardware fan control and software:
Fully programmable fan control linked to components internal sensors for all fan headers would be an absolute godsend. But it also has to have the software to back it up.

I’d use the mCubed tBalancer and its control software as a standard. Maybe even have one fan header specified for pump control? With the extra space the P55 affords it would be the perfect thing to fill the Northbridge’s place. The RoG boards already have temp probe jacks as well so it would fit well.

2) Improved control software:
Much of the bundled manufacturer’s software with motherboards is terrible. It usually bloated with a useless, garish interface and very narrow in its scope. Even then they usually just don’t work.

I see that TurboV has gone a ways addressing this but I’d still say that AMD Overdrive is the benchmark here. Simple, comprehensive, lightweight and no garish interface. You could even use CPU-ID as a start point. This would tie in perfectly with the hardware fan control.

3) Heatsinks and cooling that account for tower CPU coolers:
On higher end boards, it’s almost certain that there will be a large tower style CPU heatsink or waterblock on it. Chipset and power cooling that took this into account would be very nice. I’d say DFI and EVGA lead the way here.

Special mention must be made of the previewed Maximus III Formula and it ‘NB’ heatsink. It blocks the very useful top 1x slot. Why would you do this while the P6T Deluxe accounts for it?

4) Energy saving that works while overclocking:
I suppose this links in with the better hardware monitoring and control software. Would be nice if it could link in with GFX power too.

If it's all put together properly having a hotkey that switches between user definable profiles of hardware, power and fans on the fly would be sweet (eg, monster overclock > 24/7 overclock > hi-def vid viewing > web-browsing).

5) No onboard audio on high end boards:
Supply a discount voucher for a Xonar instead (with a bigger discount for higher end cards). They are far superior to onboard and anyone who buys a high end motherboard is probably a gamer and has their own anyway.

Removing the FD and IDE ports would be nice too. I boubt anyone going for this kind of hardware still uses them. Win7 will probably render XP obsolete so the FDD wont be needed for RAID anymore.

6) Some kind of integrated rear IO backplate:
They are damn annoying to install and take out. Sometimes they don’t even line up well.

7) 'Apps store' for Express Gate:
Express Gate was a feature with huge potential for HTPC’s but flopped because of the closed platform and limited functionality. Maybe an iPhone ‘apps store’ style certification process could be made to develop the platform while alleviating the security risks?
There could be a BIOS option to boot straight to Express Gate or normally press a F-key on POST.

===

Angled ATX connectors are a neat idea too. ;)
Krikkit 29th July 2009, 00:55 Quote
From the suggestions some of you guys are coming up with, maybe you should buy DFI boards... :p

One request I would make is to continue the looks of the Maximus II line, I remember seeing the Formula and just being totally awestruck.
Natima 29th July 2009, 02:54 Quote
How about a feature that dynamically learns/stores settings of failed and successful overclocks - which it can then use to figure out way's of making the OC stable and give you recommendations on what setting to change and how to change it.
Zoon 29th July 2009, 11:56 Quote
I'm not really interested in the prize but I'd like to make a couple suggestions anyway.

What it boils down to is customisation.

Say I had three PCs, all using the same motherboard from Asus, one set up as a basic file server with a slow cpu bit of ram and lots of SATA drives, another as a media centre with a VIVO gfx and a silent cooling setup, and another set up as a gaming PC.

I'd want three pretty close but different BIOS set ups for this.

For the file server with rapidly changing disk requirements, I would find it useful to have a boot device menu pop up.

On the others, short boot time would be the priority.

Instead of different manufacturers picking what they think is the best options to give people on the boot menu (eg press DEL to enter setup etc) have it totally customisable.

Examples:

- Have people choose if they want to run a memory test each boot. They might not and I doubt its REQUIRED each and every time, no matter how fast it goes.
- Why redetect my SATA/PATA devices each time and give me a summary?
- Allow people to show/hide shortcut keys for "EZ Flash", BIOS, bootable device summary
- Allow people to select ALWAYS go to a bootable device summary with an optional countdown to the first device

Having said that, if they do already offer any of these, just shoot me now. My P5KC doesn't so I thought it valid :)
cyrilthefish 29th July 2009, 15:12 Quote
How about integrating some flash memory on the motherboard and loading it with the motherboard drivers?
(i do a similar thing with an old SD card kept in my card reader at all times and it's very handy)
And if you were being really sneaky, you could add an option for it to emulate a sata driver floppy drive for older OS's ;)

If you did the above, (with a little portion of it set read-only maybe) you could also use it to store a backup bios file with keyboard shortcut to use that if the main bios fails as well as using it it to store bios overclocking profiles.

My M2N32 SLI has most of those features there already, but putting the flash onboard would be more tidy :)

Regarding layout, please bear in mind a lot of graphics cards are double slot cards when designing motherboards

the layout on mine is:
<pcie x16> - (graphics card)
<pcie x4> (blocked by graphics card)
<pci> (unused)
<pcie x16> (pcie x4 raid card)
<more pci slots> (unused)

imho the pcie x4 slot was horribly placed :)

I'd echo the request for more right-angled connectors that others mentioned too
Ending Credits 29th July 2009, 16:03 Quote
An acrylic motherboard cover.

(Would be hard to find a way to attach it to the motherboard and it'd be very hard to find a layout that more than 50-60% of people could use but I think it'd look fantastic.)

Also having tried, in vain, to find a CPU-Z like tool for Ubuntu (I'm a linux noob), an in-bios stress program and benchmark might be quite usefull.

EDIT: I'm not 18 so this isn't an entry really but I'd like to see these both implemented anyway
Matticus 30th July 2009, 03:05 Quote
Damn most of the awesome ideas have been said, and then I stopped reading, so these might have been too.

Swappable "covers" for slots, the slot remains much the same as a traditional slot but with some way of having sleek covers for colour coding your board to your mod.

Instead of making all the connectors 90 degrees, include some 90 degree connectors. So you could plug in your sata/ide/atx connectors either the normal way, or use the 90 degree bend so they go off the side of the board.

Some sort of quick boot linux based OS for media/internet/overclock test.

Edit: Nearly forgot, a hybrid fan speed controller. The fans can be attached to the motherboard (hopefully in a discreet location), and a fan speed controller can be added to the front drive bays, which is connected to the motherboard. This could either be as simple as knobs to control the fans within parameters set in the bios for each fan/area, or just full controllable, the motherboard can kick in if the fans have been set too low. This could also go the extra step of outputting information such as fan speed or cpu speed and anything you like.
lord_moggo 31st July 2009, 17:54 Quote
I haven't read all of the above comments, hope none of these have been mentioned:

1) Clearly state the number of setups that can be made with the 16x PCIe ports. I look for one quality in a motherboard and ONE ONLY, what is the lowest PCIe port that supports 16x . I look for motherboards that can run setups like (off-off-16x) or (off-16x-off) because it leads to 17*C lower temperatures on the GPU and significant noise reductions. Yes, I am not kidding. This has resulted in me once buying a 50$ motherboard and another time a 250$ one, simply because it is soo hard to find out what the motherboards can handle and when I find one, I buy it no amtter the cost. Please, I don't care if I win, just CLEARLY STATE on the box what PCIe 16x setups the motherboard supports, this doesn't even involve any hardware or software modifications, it is simply stating a fact that you hopefully already know. If you don't want to, please just answer my mail to your support: does ANY of your motherboards support running the PCIe port located the furthest down in 16x lanes.

Try it out for yourselves, the advantages are HUGE! On most motherboards there is even some PCB below the lowest PCI slot which means that GPUs with dual slot coolers won't cover anything!

2) Make a sata powercable with several sata powerports located about 4cm apart

3) Remove the floppy port, it is obsolete. The PS2 port is however NOT OBSOLETE! Sometimes when the BIOS fails it cannot take any input from an USB keyboard and if you don't have a PS2 port and PS2 keyboard your motherboard is permanently broken.

4) Make some adjustable molexconnectors on the motherboard. It shouldn't be too hard to enable them to output 3.3V ; 5V ; 12V or any combination of these like 7V or 8.3V seen as they are all already supplied by the atx connector from the PSU... You could even make them adjustable so that they change depending on the CPU temperature or other factors or triggers.
Advantages:
< Adjustable cooling, not only for PWM fans as they sound more than their non-PWM counterparts but for other fans, peltiers and watercooling.
< Modular feature, you may allow several different voltages, more options and more triggers on your high-end boards.
< (Adjustable lights dependent on the CPU temperature, some people might enjoy this)

5) This is probably the hardest one to achieve but seen as you seem unable to move the ramslots as you haven't done it yet, could you perhaps tilt the ramslots a little? This would enable larger CPU coolers and a 10-20 degree difference would make quite the difference at the top of the ram...

Thx for your time, I actually don't care much about the price, just that problem #1 gets solved so PM me, email me or just answer the question to your support about this issue.
lord_moggo 31st July 2009, 17:57 Quote
I screwed up the bold text, any way to edit your comment at bit tech?
edit: found it
edit2: is there a way to edit the post without going into the forums, when you post using the quick comment if you understand me?
perplekks45 31st July 2009, 18:41 Quote
Nope, you can't edit posts on the comments page.
pistol_pete 1st August 2009, 12:04 Quote
Haven't read the rest of this thread, but... I'd like optional angled connectors.

Many boards now have built in 90 degrees sata connectors - why not leave them in the plane of the board, and have an optional connector that plugs straight onto them (either in sets of two, or as a whole 6/8) that turns 90 degrees? This would be more flexible for people cable-tidying.

Similarly for the power connections, especially the 24 pin ATX power, a 90 degree connector to point it towards the edge of the board would aid cable tidying... and for the USB and front panel connections.

These would be simple and cheap (like the Q-connect at the moment), and optional if they're not best for your case layout.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v349/infinityland/connect.jpg
tuaamin13 1st August 2009, 17:55 Quote
Wow I like that Q-Connect-like SATA adapter. I was going to say I really liked the Q-Connects, it helps on figuring out the connectors without referring to the manual.

I would really like some better help. PLL voltage. What is that? I probably have to boot up my machine, go online, and double check before I adjust it. Oh wait, one value should be within .5 of VDIMM? Man, I wish I remembered that name. Motherboard info would be super (something like press ? for additional help if you can't fit it on the right side), but even info in the manual would be an improvement.

Dual BIOS would be a nice improvement on all boards.

I would want more stylistic heatsinks. The RoG heatsinks are gorgeous, I would like to see some better styling on the boards right under RoG (I know nobody cares about the $50 boards)

More streamlined tools. I've got an Asus board at work that has the energy savings utility where it tells you how much CO2 you've produced. The UI is a little heavy. Overclocking utilities that work consistently would be good. EVGA did a very good job with their E-Leet utility.

One last thing: More Linux support!
At work we bought a P6T6 v1 board since it had SAS, plus a bunch of PCIe 16x slots. However, the SAS at time of release didn't work in RHEL! I saw some iffy reports of people getting it to work in Ubuntu (some alpha release), but I needed stable. We still ended up buying near 40 boards, but we're using SATA and not SAS like we wanted.

Several of our boards had issues with sound in Linux until a few updates later. Is it so hard to use a Linux compatible chipset? I can go down http://www.linux-tested.com/ and everything will work in Red Hat, except for sound.

I don't care about the utilities (though that would be very nice!) but I want chipset compatibility with stable boards, especially one targeted at Workstation users. Supermicro does this very well but they primarily have server boards.
Thatguy119 2nd August 2009, 13:29 Quote
Got a few points:

1. As many people have said, right angled 24 pin and 8 pin power connectors. Try and have them next to each other so you don’t have to have so many holes for cable management.

2. Try and position all the ports for wires coming into and out of the board near each other, so, for each example, the front case connectors are all right next to each other instead of across the whole bottom of the board, with the other connectors along three sides.

3. More colour co-ordinated boards. Boards like the bloodrage, MSI ecliplse plus, and the EVGA SLI LE are selling due to the fact that they look good in cases. High level boards are the ones that are going into very good mods and people often go with other manufacturers other than ASUS because ASUS's boards, although they don’t exactly look bad, they don’t really look amazingly co-ordinated and planned like some others.
andrew8200m 3rd August 2009, 03:48 Quote
My final entry suggestion...

The 8 pin and 24 pin atx mobo connectors could come as 6" units in the box with built in surge protection to protect the motherboard from any power spikes. You can get these for graphics cards so I don't see why they arnt possible to make for motherboard connectors. A premium of £15-20 on top of a high end board would be worth the money if you could guarentee protecting it from any un planned power cuts. Saves spending loads of exenpensive surge protectors and would also protect your pc from a psu failure which a standard surge protector wouldn't.


Andy
skunkmunkey 3rd August 2009, 21:01 Quote
how about a board that comes in layers/sections?

Ie a layer for cpu & chipset, layer for memory slots and a layer for all other stuff. This could be good in many ways, for a start it would be good for itx style case mods and would certainly make routing cables easy. Cases could also be compartmentalised much more efficiently too. If you happened to have an accident and blow your board you could replace only the relevant parts.

When upgrading you could replace the ram slots (for when ddr4 is inevitably released) or the cpu socket for your new cpu and think of the crazy folding farms you could build by adding PCIE slots.
bigkingfun 6th August 2009, 19:05 Quote
The ExpressGate have got some real potential.
The idea of being able to download programs/extensions/plug-ins is also great. Just remember to model it on the one Mozilla built for FF instead of Apple where they seem to control which user-made programs can be uploaded.

Since the ExpressGate is Linux based, linux programs could be used in ExpressGate?
I know the onboard memory dedicated to EG is limited, but turning a onboard USB header into two USB connectors could solve this.
If users want to download programs, all the have to do is buy a cheap USB stick and plug that sucka in.

Also, please make EG able to be used as a media center. I would like it to use VLC player to access my NAS video collection.
Hi-def video-output is ofcourse a must for media centers, hi-def sound-output would also be very welcome (optical?).
Functionality is primary, looks secondary.
One of the internal USB plugs could even be hosting a TV-tuner?

Others feel free to steal my ideas, since I live in Denmark!
ThunderBob 11th August 2009, 10:33 Quote
How about a heat sensitive Motherboard?

You know the sort of thing....Changes color as it gets hotter/colder.

Starts Black then goes blue then as it gets hotter to red.

Would be interesting to see what parts of the mobo are getting hottest and whether your cooling is working in ya case.

Ya board goes completely red then its 'Oh c**p' need more cooling time.

Black/blue withe a little red......Yay! my cooling works ;)

This would also work for fittings instead of the motherboard. Heatsinks etc all coated with a heat sensitive coating.
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