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Motherboards Reviews

We have definitely reviewed our fair share of socket FM2+ motherboards over the past few months, especially since AMD’s recent release of the Kaveri APU family. Today, MSI checks in with their latest socket FM2+ A88X chipset motherboard – The A88X-G45 Gaming. MSI has the gaming crowd in its cross hairs with the release of this motherboard, and first impressions show a fully loaded offering with many unique enhancements. As you’ll see during the review, the board looks absolutely stunning and has many of the high level features gamers and PC enthusiasts look for. Looks and features only tell part of the story though, so let’s get the MSI A88X-G45 Gaming motherboard on our workbench and find out how it performs.

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Small form factor (SFF) gaming PCs have exploded in popularity recently. Valve has even released their own SteamOS that turns PCs into console-esque gaming machines, which has prompted a rise of the Steam Machine or Steam Box from many manufacturers in the pre-built PC business. MSI has a couple of products that are designed specifically to fit into the SFF gaming PC segment, the Z87I GAMING AC motherboard and the GTX 760 GAMING ITX graphics card. They look to be a great core for a DIY Steam Machine or even just an everyday SFF PC.

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As we discovered during our AMD Kaveri APU review, building a system around an AMD APU has several advantages over the competition. This holds especially true on the iGPU side of things where the on die R7 graphics provide a performance level that is a marked improvement from its predecessors. Getting the most from these APUs requires a motherboard that’s up to the task, and Gigabyte thinks they have an answer with their F2A88X-UP4 socket FM2+ motherboard.

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Since the Haswell release, which feels like many moons ago now, we have reviewed several Z87 based boards. Up for torture today is a larger, high-end board, the EVGA Z87 Classified. This board is made to do anything from sit there and look pretty, which it does well I may add, to the ability to handle the extreme cold of Liquid Nitrogen overclocking. Read on to see some of what EVGA has done to their flagship Z87 board!

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Gigabyte’s G1-Killer series motherboards bring a unique set of features coupled with a distinctive look, which makes them stand out in a crowd. We’ve already reviewed the G1. Sniper AMD offering and came away impressed with its performance, features, and rock solid stability. This time around, we move over to the Intel side and have a look at the G1. Sniper Z87. Armed with a discrete-like Creative audio solution and all the features the Z87 chipset offers, the G1. Sniper Z87 certainly looks good on paper. Let’s get to work and find out how this board stacks up!

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The phrase “top of the line” can often be a loosely used term when describing a product. In the case of the Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard, ASUS makes no bones about it being just that. There have been several improvements made to enhance this X79 based board since the the Rampage IV Extreme was released a little over a year ago. Most importantly perhaps is the optimized design to fully support the new Ivy Bridge-E socket 2011 processors. As is the case with anything ASUS slaps the ROG name on, you can expect an enormous amount of features and great aesthetics to top it off. Initial impressions tell a story of much more than a simple X79 refresh going on here, so let’s check it out!

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As the release date for AMD’s new Kaveri APU inches closer, we are beginning to see a lot of AMD socket FM2+/A88X chipset motherboards hitting the market. The A88X chipset brings support for the new Kaveri APUs, and it looks like the majority of manufacturers will be ready with supporting motherboards. Today, we’ll be looking at a Kaveri-ready offering from Gigabyte… The G1. Sniper A88X to be exact. Gigabyte claims they’ve had a lot of customers asking for an AMD solution to be added to their popular G1-Killer Gaming series of motherboards. Gigabyte listened to their customers and took it a step further by adding their AMP-UP audio technology. So, let’s dive into this newest member of the G1-Killer family and see what it has to offer.

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There’s more Mini-ITX goodness in store today thanks to EVGA’s Z87 Stinger. EVGA jumped on the enthusiast Mini-ITX bandwagon last generation with the Z77 Stinger, and they’re riding that wagon into the next generation. They are also touting a brand new UEFI BIOS with their Z87 lineup, which should top off their new motherboards nicely. I’ll quit rambling, and let’s get into the good stuff…

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It has been a while since Overclockers.com had a chance to review a Gigabyte board. Not because they haven’t put anything out though, that is for sure. Gigabyte, like all other board partners, came out with an entire line of Z87 boards but we just now had a chance to look at them, specifically the Z87X-OC. While this isn’t the much more robust and expensive Z87X-OC Force, the board still packs a lot of features for the extreme overclocker, which this boards is geared towards. We will take a look at what makes this board tick and see how it stacks up against a couple of other boards we have had the pleasure of reviewing.

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BIOSTAR has wasted no time getting a motherboard released with the new A88X chipset, and it falls within their popular Hi-Fi family of motherboard products. The BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A88W 3D appears to be a step forward in their Hi-Fi audio and now has 3D audio technology with multi-directional sound. I’ve reviewed other Hi-Fi motherboards from BIOSTAR and always came away impressed with the audio quality as well as their overclocking prowess. So, let’s find out how they did with this new offering!

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