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Z97 Close Up: Gigabyte and Asus ROG boards

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lancer778544 2nd May 2014, 08:28 Quote
Aria have listed a load of Gigabyte Z97 and H97 boards on their site. May be useful to gauge pricing?
Combatus 2nd May 2014, 09:02 Quote
Thanks lancer778544 - I've added an addendum to the article with prices for the boards we looked at.
Corky42 2nd May 2014, 09:39 Quote
More a question than anything, but what does have Intel have to gain by not allowing press and manufacturers to publish full blown reviews. Once they are in the supply chain i don't see what they have to gain by holding out on us.
Combatus 2nd May 2014, 10:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
More a question than anything, but what does have Intel have to gain by not allowing press and manufacturers to publish full blown reviews. Once they are in the supply chain i don't see what they have to gain by holding out on us.

I does seem a bit odd but normally we get NDAs weeks, even months in advance so we can plan for them. Believe me, it's usually deeply unpleasant if an NDA gets brought forward as it usually means working through the night to get an article done in time when you hadn't factored it in to your schedule yet. It's probably the same on the manufacturer side of things too so while the boards are pre-ordered and most review sites now have previews, this is only because a couple of board manufacturers decided to jump the gun - it still makes sense to stick with the original NDA if you see what I mean?
captain caveman 2nd May 2014, 10:26 Quote
Over the years i have purchased quite a few ASUS ROG motherboards, but with he omission of sata express, my next series of new builds will be from another brand
Dogbert666 2nd May 2014, 11:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain caveman
Over the years i have purchased quite a few ASUS ROG motherboards, but with he omission of sata express, my next series of new builds will be from another brand

That's interesting since SATA Express is in its infancy. What benefits do you think it has over M.2?
captain caveman 2nd May 2014, 12:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbert666
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain caveman
Over the years i have purchased quite a few ASUS ROG motherboards, but with he omission of sata express, my next series of new builds will be from another brand

That's interesting since SATA Express is in its infancy. What benefits do you think it has over M.2?

your quote is correct and the truth is as yet i dont know the benefits other than 10gb speed advantage , but if new standard exists why not go with it and why purchase something that maybe redundant within the year
IanW 2nd May 2014, 12:40 Quote
@Dogbert666 - Unlike M.2, SATA Express is sort of backwards compatable.

2 standard SATA cables can be attached to one SATA Express port, meaning that until SATA Express lands, we can still use current issue SATA drives.

See:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SATA_Express
Corky42 2nd May 2014, 12:52 Quote
I have not seen one manufacturer implement a good SATAe/SATA configuration yet, i envisioned boards with no normal SATA ports, just 3-4 SATAe ports.

EDIT: And AFAIK both M.2 and SATAe are initially only offering one PCIe lane, so i think we will only be able to use either one M.2 or one SATAe drive :(
Dogbert666 2nd May 2014, 17:07 Quote
I'm well aware about the SATA Express connection and its backwards compatibility, but my question was about what advantage SATA Express brings over M.2. I need to be careful about how much I say about how Z97 is implementing the two standards because of NDAs, but they both run at the same speeds. And the backwards compatibility thing doesn't apply as an advantage because if you wanted to use standard SATA 6Gbps ports, the ROG boards have plenty of them anyway. I just thought captain caveman's comment was interesting - I guess we have to wait and see what devices come to the SATA Express form factors. In terms of speed though, there's no difference between the two, at least not here.
cdb 2nd May 2014, 18:09 Quote
Does anyone use pci slots anymore?
Corky42 2nd May 2014, 18:11 Quote
Yea from what i gather if you want the faster speeds you are going to have to buy a new drive, either a M.2 or a SATAe drive, from what i can tell reading about pre-NDA leaks they both use the same controller (if that is the right word)

Obviously nothing can be confirmed until after the NDA, but from what i understand both connector types use the same controller that uses two PCIe gen 2 lanes for a total maximum of 1Gb/s

What has me bummed is that (supposedly) the 1GB/s bandwidth is shared between both M.2 and SATAe so no matter what drives are used, or if RAID 0 is used we can't exceed this 1Gb/s I only hope that future boards either use more PCIe gen 2 lanes, or use PCIe gen 3 for higher bandwidth.
Dogbert666 2nd May 2014, 18:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Yea from what i gather if you want the faster speeds you are going to have to buy a new drive, either a M.2 or a SATAe drive, from what i can tell reading about pre-NDA leaks they both use the same controller (if that is the right word)

Obviously nothing can be confirmed until after the NDA, but from what i understand both connector types use the same controller that uses two PCIe gen 2 lanes for a total maximum of 1Gb/s

What has me bummed is that (supposedly) the 1GB/s bandwidth is shared between both M.2 and SATAe so no matter what drives are used, or if RAID 0 is used we can't exceed this 1Gb/s I only hope that future boards either use more PCIe gen 2 lanes, or use PCIe gen 3 for higher bandwidth.

*resists urge to comment further* - honestly I probably could and it would be fine, but you never know. I'll try to make sure this issue is made clear in our Z97 coverage on May 11th. You're pretty much on the money though ;)
IvanIvanovich 2nd May 2014, 19:10 Quote
I think satae will be a dead end. There are no advantages at all over m2 and it has a major con of needlessly bulky connection. Obviously only ssd will take advantage of such speed so there is really no need to stick to hdd form factors when it can be a small pcb directly attached to the motherboard.

I wish motherboard manufacturer would stop putting vga dsubs on motherboards. Who uses vga anymore?
Corky42 2nd May 2014, 19:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IvanIvanovich
I think satae will be a dead end. There are no advantages at all over m2 and it has a major con of needlessly bulky connection. Obviously only ssd will take advantage of such speed so there is really no need to stick to hdd form factors when it can be a small pcb directly attached to the motherboard.
But what are we going to do if we want more than one M.2 drive ?
IvanIvanovich 2nd May 2014, 23:04 Quote
Just like with msata... you accept that there is only one slot for that on a motherboard. For my primary gaming system I only have a single ssd for some time now so for me there is no downsides. Large ssd is still not cost effective for mass storage, especially not multiple large ssd. So for most they are still likely to use some large traditional hdd there and would be irrelevant anyway.
SchizoFrog 3rd May 2014, 06:54 Quote
I don't agree with the 'if new standard exists why not go with it?' approach at all and part of the reason was mentioned later in the same sentence, 'why purchase something that maybe redundant within the year?'. Levels of adoption of technology standards vary and always have, there have been numerous cases where a standard is set only for the industry to adopt a competing standard and not always for the better technology advantage, most often cost plays a heavy part... (VHS v BetaMax... HD-DVD v BluRay... etc).
Thunderbolt has been a standard for long enough and yet there are very few implementations of it in use today and it is very, very expensive for what it does. It is a very risky business for manufacturers yto back new tech. Costs are high and that increases the overall cost of the product which always ends up being passed on to the end customer. Look at the two most recent Mini-ITX gaming boards from ASUS and MSI, ASUS has an excellent pedigree on many fronts but MSI came at it from a different angle by ticking most of the same boxes but while keeping cost significantly lower and by all reports the MSI board ended up being far more popular regardless of the drawbacks, layout, for example.
In short, I am very happy that some of these choices are taken away from me and that new tech and standards are brought in bit by bit as I certainly don't want to pay £200-£300 for a board that has all the bells and whistles that will never get used for one reason or another, only to look back a year later and realise that I could have spent £100 for a board that did exactly what I needed it to.
Panos 3rd May 2014, 08:24 Quote
Is it me, or the X99 platform is more exciting? These are just are Z87 refresh.
Corky42 3rd May 2014, 08:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IvanIvanovich
Just like with msata... you accept that there is only one slot for that on a motherboard. For my primary gaming system I only have a single ssd for some time now so for me there is no downsides. Large ssd is still not cost effective for mass storage, especially not multiple large ssd. So for most they are still likely to use some large traditional hdd there and would be irrelevant anyway.

Yes the majority of people only use one SSD for the system drive, so having one M.2 connector on the board is probably no biggie. The problem i have is with the way manufacturers have implemented SATAe, i have already said it but having both types of SATA connections on a board (standard and SATA Express) seems like they missed the point of SATAe.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panos
Is it me, or the X99 platform is more exciting? These are just are Z87 refresh.
Yea the Z97 does seem a bit lack luster, almost like a test bed for how well M.2 and SATAe will be received. When is X99 due ?
faugusztin 3rd May 2014, 11:13 Quote
I don't even mind some boards not having SATA Express... What i am starting to be totally annoyed with is Intel and their limited PCIe lanes. Take ANY Z97 board from ASUS, and you will find stuff like :
Quote:
*1 The PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (PCIEX4_3) shares bandwith with PCIe 2.0 x1 and M.2 slot. The default setting is Auto Mode, which automatically optimizes the system bandwidth. If you install a PCIe 2.0 x4 device, the system will automatically detect and disable PCIe 2.0 x1 and M.2 slot.
*2 The PCIe 2.0 x1 slots (PCIEX1_1/2/3) will be disabled when PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (PCIEX4_3 ) operates under x4 speed or M.2 mode."

So you got an physical x16/electrical x4 slot, but you need to take care not to use it for anything else than x1 card, otherwise you will lose the M.2 and another PCI-E slot. I had a similar issue on the Z77 board, where i could use two PCI-E x1 devices, one PCI-E x4 device or the additional SATA3 controller, but not all 3 of them. :(

Intel, in the next generation of consumer CPU add at least another 5-10 PCI-E lanes, pretty please :D.
Corky42 3rd May 2014, 12:20 Quote
From my limited understanding X79 (LGA 2011) and upwards have 40 lanes available, but how the board manufacture divides those up between the different slots and/or devices can differ a great deal.

EDIT: The extra pins on LGA 2011 are used for the extra lanes.
And AFAIK the rest have 16 lanes, although I'm none to sure on that :?
jrs77 3rd May 2014, 12:37 Quote
I took a look at the two new mITX boards from Gigabyte and they unfortunately moved the CPU-socket into the middle of the board and the SATA-connectors away from the side into the middle of the board aswell.

This makes these boards pretty useless now for aircooling with big top-blowers like the Thermalright AXP-100 and AXP-200, as the cooler will portrude the board and block the SATA-connectors.
faugusztin 3rd May 2014, 12:37 Quote
Sure, S2011 has more PCI-E lanes... But on other side doesn't have IGP, which is important to a typical user too.

My point was that the current amount PCI-E lanes on S115x are slowly becoming a problem even for board manufacturers, because there are simply not enough for them even for their own onboard chips.

@jrs77: on other side it will make them an ideal solution for coolers like NH-L12.
Corky42 3rd May 2014, 13:02 Quote
Yea i totally agree the 16 lanes are becoming a problem, one that doesn't seem to be going away until Intel transition the non enthusiast chips/sockets to higher pin counts.
jrs77 3rd May 2014, 13:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
@jrs77: on other side it will make them an ideal solution for coolers like NH-L12.

Yeah, but it totally destroys the option for tiny and silently aircooled workstations.

For comparison...

With standard mITX socket-position found on most Z77, Z87 intel or Gigabyte boards

http://forums.bit-tech.net/picture.php?albumid=2484&pictureid=37511

and with centered socket-position found on Z77, Z87 AsRock or Asus boards and now the Z97 Gigabyte boards

http://forums.bit-tech.net/picture.php?albumid=2484&pictureid=37515

If we wanted to build a small workstation with a powerful and silent top-blower like the AXP-200 that fits into a 200x200x100mm enclosure (no GPU and using a picoPSU for example), that's not possible anymore :(
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