GIGABYTE, Intel and Corsair Press Update June 2016

For those of us that were not fortunate enough to attend Computex 2016, Gigabyte, Intel and Corsair held a private press event.  At this event, they went over many of the items that were shown at Computex, but also provided us a few new pieces of information. NAPA Summer Press Event GIGABYTE As always, Gigabyte is listening to the enthusiast market and releasing new models of their popular motherboard line-up with the latest features. With the release of Intels 10-core i7 Exteme Edition processor, they have updated their x99 motherboard line-up with three new models, while the more mainstream Z170 line-up has recently received two new models. Each of these feature a range of advanced features. [caption id="attachment_183642" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Gigabyte New Motherboards Gigabyte New X99 and Z170 Motherboards[/caption] The new Designare line include Ambient Surround LED technology to light up various sections of the motherboard with RGB capable LED’s. In addition, the RGB LED’s are software controllable with their Ambient LED Application, which can also control certain third-party RGB LED strips through an on-board header allowing the colors to be synchronized. [gallery ids="183687,183691,183690,183688,183689"] That is just one of the many enhancements Gigabyte has done to their latest motherboards, here is a quick rundown on the various features you can find on select models: In addition to motherboard updates, Gigabyte is also working on a couple new full system solutions. The BRIX Gaming UHD is expected to launch before the end of 2016, and should have a starting price point of around $1,299 depending on the particular configuration. This is a mini gaming system capable of 4K video playback and will utilize the Nvidia 950 GPU for it’s GPU power. [gallery ids="183648,183649,183647"] Compared to what we saw half a year ago at CES 2016, it is safe to say that the Brix Gaming UHD has been completely revamped (see below)! Gigabyte Brix Skylake Gaming PC The BRIX isn’t the only full PC that Gigabyte is prepping for release. They are entering the full-size gaming PC market with the Gigabyte PC. It is designed to be a user upgradable PC with a socketed CPU, full size DDR4, and standard storage options. That’s not all that it is capable of, it will also support a full length GPU inside the system. When it launches “soon” (rumor is August / September) you can expect it to start around $1,500, of course the final price will depend on the components. [caption id="attachment_183643" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Gigabyte PC Gigabyte PC[/caption] As we all know, NVIDIA has recently released their latest GPU the 1080. Gigabyte has a range of graphics cards designed for all segments of the enthusiast lineup. The Founder Edition is the base reference design, while the WindoForce OC begins implementing Gigabyte’s technology. The 1080 G1 Gaming is the standard 3-fan WindForce GPU. At the high end, we have the 1080 Xtreme Gaming. This is where Gigabyte is implementing their latest features. [caption id="attachment_183644" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Gigabyte 1080 GPU Lineup Gigabyte NVIDIA 1080 GPU Lineup[/caption] Gigabyte's 1080 Xtreme Gaming model has many of the features that you would expect from any NVIDIA 1080 graphics card.  However, to make it the Xtreme Gaming model Gigabyte has increased some of the clock speeds which in turn has a few other minor changes as well.  Taking a look at the Core Clock speed, Gigabyte takes it from the Founder's Edition base 1607MHz and the boost of 1733MHz to 1759MHz and 1898MHz in Gaming mode.  Memory clock speed also increases from 10,000MHz to 10,211MHz.  This boost from the Xtreme Gaming's Gaming mode provides between 3.6% and 7.3% increase in performance, according to Gigabyte.  The OC mode on the Xtreme Gaming can increase that above 10%!  Gigabyte also decided to manually underclock the Xtreme Gaming to match the Founder's Edition, and it still showed a very slight improvement, especially when it came to temperatures (due to the newly redesigned stacked WindForce cooler). [gallery ids="183694,183695"] Just taking a look at Gigabyte’s presentation we can begin to see some of these new features. This includes a newly redesigned WindForce Cooling solution that includes 3 100mm fans in a stacked orientation. This eliminates the deadspace between the standard 80mm fans, which also increase airflow across the heatsink, providing around 10% higher cooling performance over the previous 80mm fan design. Of course putting fans in a stacked configuration, the card does become a bit thicker, taking up 2.5 slots rather than the “normal” 2 slot design. [caption id="attachment_183655" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Gigabyte 1080 WindForce Gigabyte 1080 Stacked WindForce[/caption] While we’re discussing the fans, Gigabyte has also redesigned the fans, giving the fan blades dual angle, allowing them increase the air flow, and making it easier for the fan blades to overlap. Next, the redesigned fans also utilize a double ball bearing to potentially increase the lifespan of the fans and GPU; not to mention that ball bearing fans have better heat endurance and efficiency over sleeved bearings. [gallery ids="183650,183652,183653,183651"] The top edge of the GPU heatsink shroud has also been redesigned with LED lighting both on the top edge and the front of the graphics card. As RGB lighting is popular right now, Gigabyte has implemented RGB LED’s providing up to 16.8 million color combinations though their Xtreme Engine Utility. Perhaps one of the more important features is their new “Fan Stop” indicator. Automatically stopping the GPU fans isn’t new, Gigabyte has been doing this for years. However, users never can tell if their fans are spinning or not without taking a good look. The new “Fan Stop” indicator lights up whenever the fans are not spinning! While many might feel this is unnecessary, I personally like this feature. In addition, with certain Gigabyte mothers that implement the Surround RGB LED lighting, Gigabyte is working synch the GPU RGB and the motherboards RGB lighting to match and have the same lighting effects. [caption id="attachment_183645" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Gigabyte NVIDIA 1080 Xtreme Gaming Models Gigabyte NVIDIA 1080 Xtreme Gaming Models[/caption] The 1080 Xtreme Gaming graphics card will be available in two different types of packaging. The first is the basic edition which includes just the graphics card, this package is expected to retail at $679.99. The second is the Premium Edition, with a retail of $699.99. The Premium Edition will include additional add-ons, such as an exciting XMP300 mouse pad, VR Link 5.25” device bay add-on, a VR-Link expansion slot bracket, and a newly designed SLI Bridge, designed specifically for the 1080 Xtreme Gaming GPU. Both editions of the card will also come with an extended 4 year warranty (once registered). [caption id="attachment_183654" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Gigabyte 1080 SLI Bridge Gigabyte 1080 SLI Bridge[/caption] The new Gigabyte SLI bridge is designed for the expanded width of the 1080 Xtreme Gaming GPU. Instead of going with a boring flexible SLI bridge, Gigabyte has gone with a nice sturdy solid SLI bridge that also implements a lighted Gigabyte Xtreme Gaming logo with several different lighting effects.


Corsair has been a leading manufacturer of memory for many years. There are around 380 XMP certified DDR4 kits, which Corsair has 250 of them. Not to mention that Corsair claims to have the fastest XMP certified DDR4 kits up to 4133MHz, and they are continually working on going faster. So it should come as no surprise when Corsair introduces new DDR4 memory kits with advanced features. For their latest memory, they have just released the Vengeance LED DDR4 memory modules with Red or White LED's.  These are available in speeds up to 3466MHz and feature Corsairs 10 layer PCB with hand screened IC's for optimal speed and overclocking capability.  Both the new redesigned heatsink and LED design was designed in house by Corsair.  These are currently available for purchase at various outlets.  For those that utilize Corsair Link, they are working on syncing the LED's on the Vengeance LED DDR4 memory. [caption id="attachment_183684" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Vengeance LED DDR4 Corsair Vengeance LED DDR4[/caption] The higher end Dominator Platinum is also receiving the Special Edition treatment with a new static LED light bar, and minimalistic heatsink.  These new modules will be limited to 500 units for both the Blackout and Chrome editions.  No word on pricing or availability on them, but keep your eyes open. [caption id="attachment_183685" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Dominator Platinum SE Corsair Dominator Platinum Special Edition[/caption] Right now, fans pose an obstacle for users, you have to choose between High Airflow or Static Pressure fans depending on the situation.  High Airflow for standard open cooling, and Static Pressure are commonly used for CPU coolers and radiators.  Corsair has their new ML fans that allows a single fan to work for both situations.  Their new ML fans uses Magnetic Leviation bearings that keeps the fan from coming into contact with the bearing, creating very little friction which reduces noise level at high speeds.  These new fans are capable of 400 - 2,400 RPM with PWM control and will be available in 120mm and 140mm sizes.  For those that like LED's, these new fans are available with Red, White or Blue LED's.  They are a little more expensive than normal fans, starting at around $24.49, increasing in price for size and LED's.   [gallery ids="183682,183683"] Back at the begining of the year, we took a look at the Corsair Carbide 400Q, the silent version of their popular 400C.  Both of them were available in only black versions, Corsair has watched the DIY community and has seen the popularity of white components increase.  So they have decided to offer the 400C in a white edition, which will have a small $10 price premium over the current black 400C. [caption id="attachment_183681" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide 400C White Corsair Carbide 400C White[/caption] In addition to the white Carbide 400C, they are also going to offer a limited edition white 1000W power supply that would look great inside a white case. [caption id="attachment_183686" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Corsair Carbide 400C White and PSU Corsair Carbide 400C White and White PSU[/caption] A few other little bits of information they were able to provide is that if you utilize their Cue software, version 2 will be out very soon which has many improvements and enhancements.  On the case side, they are investigating the possibility of offering case add-ons and upgrades to different lines, there is no certainty they will do this, just something they are watching the DIY community to gauge interest.


Intel has estimated that there are approximately 1.2 Billion gamers worldwide, which typically spends close to $90 Billion on gaming hardware annually. With VR increasing in popularity, the need for advanced gaming platforms is increasing as well. The Intel platform is designed to handle the workload of VR with their latest generation of i5 and i7 processors. In addition, Intel is working with the many software developers to help enable them to use the processors to their fullest by increasing the CPU workload and hyper-threading capabilities. [caption id="attachment_183641" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Intel June 2016 Intel June 2016 Gaming Platforms[/caption] With this in mind, Intel has a range of CPU that make an ideal VR system starting with their Quad-core i5 systems up to their latest 10-core i7. For their latest CPU, they have their first 10-core processor with the Intel i7 Exteme Edition (i7-6950X). In addition to the high core count, it also enables Intel Turbo Boost Max Techology 3.0 which increases single threaded usage by more than 15%. For those looking for information on Intels next generation processors, we are hearing that the first mobile solutions based on Kaby Lake will be available late this year, with an expected full launch the first part of 2017, possibly at CES 2017. We would like to think Gigabyte, Intel and Corsair for holding a private event to update us on their latest products and provide us some hands-on time with the hardware.  We look forward to working with them to take a closer look at these exciting new products.