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Intel push Core 2011 chips for entertainment; Intel Insider 1080p HD movie store
Intel made its Sandy Bridge based 2011 Core i3, i5 and i7 processors official earlier this week, but it’s still making a song & dance about them at CES 2011 today. More than 500 desktop and laptop PCs using the chips are expected to debut in 2011, with features like Intel Quick Sync Video – for speedy transcoding – and WiDi 2.0. Meanwhile there’s also Intel Insider, a hardware feature of the chips for purchasing and renting 1080p HD movies on their PC.
Intel Insider will see content from CinemaNow, Sonic Solutions, Dixons Retail, WBShop, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment and others, as well as Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Image Entertainment, Yash Raj Films and UTV Motion Pictures. It’s not a DRM system, but a copy-protected transfer system, Intel tells us.
The first 2nd-gen Intel Core 2011 quadcore based systems will go on sale from January 9 2011.
Intel Brings ‘Eye Candy’ to Masses with Newest Laptop, PC Chips
Intel® Core™ Processor Features Create New Visual Experience, Lifestyle
• Introduces much anticipated, game-changing 2nd Generation Intel Core processors. Adds a number of visually stunning features built right into the chips through processor graphics.
• Includes surprising and exciting new features such as, Intel® Quick Sync Video, Intel® HD Graphics, Intel® Wireless Display 2.0, and Intel® Insider™ including collaborations with CinemaNow*, Dixons Retail plc*, Hungama* Digital Media Entertainment, Image Entertainment*, Sonic Solutions*, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution*.
• These processors offer amazing video technology. Intel® Quick Sync can convert a four- minute HD video file on a laptop to play on an iPod in only 16 secondsii, while Intel® Insider™ enables full HD movie downloading and viewing on a PC screen or beaming it from a notebook to an HDTV using Intel WiDi 2.0.
• 20 new processors, new chipsets and new wireless chips including new Intel® Core™ i7, i5 and i3 processors, Intel® 6 Series Chipsets, and Intel® Centrino® WiFi and WiMAX adapters will power more than 500 new PC systems.
INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW, Las Vegas, Jan. 5, 2011 – With more than 1 million computers selling each day, Intel Corporation introduced its game-changing 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor family today at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show. Intel highlighted several surprising new features, services and partnerships that combine to deliver an entirely new visual experience with processor graphics built in. More than 500 desktop and laptop PCs are expected from all major OEMs worldwide throughout the next year.
New features include Intel® Insider™, Intel® Quick Sync Video, and a new version of the company’s award-winning Intel® Wireless Display (WiDi), which now adds 1080p HD and content protection for those wishing to beam premium HD content from their laptop screen to their TV. The company also revealed working with CinemaNow*, Dixons Retail plc*, Hungama* Digital Media Entertainment, Image Entertainment*, Sonic Solutions*, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment*, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution*.
New Visual Experience for Today’s Lifestyles
The 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family is the first “visibly smart” microarchitecture to combine visual and 3-D graphics technology with performance-leading microprocessors on a single chip. Incorporating the newly architected Intel® HD Graphics on each 32nm die enables significant graphics performance improvements over previous-generation graphics for both HD media processing and mainstream gaming. The chips improve performance and yet still offer great battery life and the ability to design thinner, lighter and more innovative laptops and all-in-one PCs.
New processor graphics technology will focus on the areas where most people are computing today: high-definition (HD) video, photos, mainstream gaming, multi-tasking and online socializing and multimedia. Enhanced visual technologies such as next-generation Intel® HD graphics are built into every 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor. For consumers, this means a dramatically improved PC experience, with better overall power management, greater efficiency and great battery life.
Additionally, a surprise new feature of the next-generation PC and laptop processors, Intel® Insider™, will give consumers access to movies on their PCs in full high-definition that were not available before. To explain the importance of this feature, Eden invited Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Home Entertainment Group president on stage.
Tsujihara explained, “Warner Bros. sees the PC as one of the most broadly available and versatile platforms for delivering premium digital entertainment, and now that Intel has made it more secure, we’re able to provide new releases and popular catalog titles in full HD to the PC through our WBShop* storefront and from partners like CinemaNow* on the same day as DVD and Blu-ray* releases.”
Eden used a clip from the feature film “Inception”* from Warner Bros.* and demonstrated how easy it would be to get the movie from CinemaNow* and watch it in full HD on a laptop.
In collaboration with Hollywood and Bollywood studios along with leading content distributors such as CinemaNow*, Dixons Retail plc*, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment*, Image Entertainment*, Sonic Solutions*, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment*, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution* and others, Intel creates a protected environment for the distribution, storage and playback of premium content. This enables content owners and video services to release more movies in high definition. Commercial distribution of HD premium content using the Intel® Insider™ technology is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2011.
Building upon this Intel® Insider™ innovation, Eden then showed how consumers can now also use Intel® WiDi 2.0 to beam content such as the “Inception” film to their big- screen HDTVs. Additional Intel® WiDi 2.0 improvements include support for 1080pHD as well as protected content either streaming from the Internet or played locally from a Blu-ray or DVD playeriii.
Another unique element of the visual experience built into the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor family is Intel® Quick Sync Video. This built-in hardware acceleration takes the wait out of editing and sharing videos with astonishing performance that completes in minutes what used to take hours. Now faster than ever, consumers can edit, convert and share videos with friends and family. Intel estimated that a 4-minute HD video that used to take 4 minutes to convert to play on an iPod* would now take just 16 secondsii.
The power of the 2nd Generation Intel Core processors for immersive mainstream gaming was demonstrated with a teaser from Valve’s* Portal 2*, one of the most anticipated game releases of 2011. Eden did the demonstration with precision Hydra motion controllers from Razer* using Sixense* MotionTouch* technology.
Smart Performance, Energy Efficiency and Intelligence Merge
The Intel® Core™ i3, i5 and i7 processors also include the enhanced Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. This feature automatically reallocates processor core and processor graphics resources to accelerate performance, giving users an immediate performance boost when and where it’s needed.
Other new chip features include Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), Intel® InTru™ 3-D, and Intel® Clear Video Technology HD. Intel InTru 3-D enables immersive stereoscopic 3-D to 3-D-capable HDTVs or monitors via HDMI 1.4, making movie excitement almost come out of the screen.
Intel® AVX increases performance for such demanding visual applications as audio processing and professional video image editing such as stitching together multiple photographs. Intel® Clear Video improves the visual quality and color fidelity during video playback for a spectacular screen experience.
To make it easy for users to find a 2nd Generation Intel® Core™-based system that is just right for their particular needs, Intel is also announcing a wide array of SKUs including Intel vPro™-enabled processors.
Intel announced more than 20 processors, wireless adapters and chipsets, including new Intel® Core™ i7, i5 and i3 processors, Intel® 6 Series Chipsets, and Intel® Centrino® WiFi and WiMAX adapters. More than 500 laptop and desktop PC platform designs are expected from all major computer makers worldwide based on these products.
Opening Up a Whole New World of Premium Content
Studio Support for Intel Insider
Intel has been working with movie studios in Hollywood and Bollywood including Warner Bros. Digital Distribution*, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment*, Image Entertainment*, Yash Raj Films* and UTV Motion Pictures* to offer an expanded library of movies and entertainment. Here’s what some of those companies say in support of Intel Insider:
“Warner Bros. sees the PC as a broadly available and versatile platform for delivering premium digital entertainment, and now that Intel has made it more secure, we’re able to provide new releases and popular catalog titles in full HD to the PC through our WBShop* storefront and from partners like CinemaNow* the same day that the DVD is available.” — Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Home Entertainment group president.
“Our partnership with Intel creates a game changing opportunity to provide consumers around the globe our highest value content in a secure environment. The innovations that Intel has developed will give consumers maximum flexibility to enjoy a premium viewing experience.” — Mike Dunn, president worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
“With the introduction of Intel® Insider™, DreamWorks Animation sees a bright future for premium, online entertainment that families can enjoy at home or wherever their imaginations take them.” – Ed Leonard, chief technology officer, DreamWorks Animation.
“Intel Insider allows us the ability to reach the vast user base that is willing to pay for quality Indian content legitimately, whom we aren’t currently able to reach through the traditional modes of distribution.” – Avtar Panesar, head of operations, Yash Raj Films.
“The new-age film consumer wants the flexibility to be able to access high-quality content and pay a premium to access content as early as possible, on his or her preferred mode of viewing at that time. Intel Insider gives us the ability to reach out online to the audience of Indian films spread worldwide. This is in line with our objective to provide ease of access to our content on multiple platforms.” – Amrita Pandey, senior vice president, UTV Motion Pictures.
Premium Content Distributor Support for Intel Insider
Intel is also working with CinemaNow*, Sonic Solutions*, Dixons Retail*, WBShop*, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment* and other video distribution partners by enabling their existing video services so customers can access the latest movies in true HD from PCs with Intel Insider.
“The online video market is the fastest-growing segment for premium digital media. At CinemaNow*, we see the PC playing a key role in driving this growth, bolstered by our collaboration with Intel to make the PC more secure for premium content delivery. We look forward to enhancing our customer experience by offering select new releases and popular catalog movies in 1080p HD on PCs with Intel Insider.” – Matt Norman, senior manager, CinemaNow
“The large and growing PC-installed base is an opportunity for us to look at new models for delivering premium entertainment to our customers and help us fulfill our promise to bring life to technology. We plan to offer our customers a broad selection of exclusive and early-release HD movies that they can download to watch at home or take with them on the go.” – Jeremy Fennell, category director, Dixons Retail.
“Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry by number, as well as the world of digital media would be well served by the flexible business models, HD and secure online film distribution options under Intel Insider. Hungama aims to have new releases and also convert existing catalogs over time, to be available on this technology platform.” – Neeraj Roy, M.D. and CEO, Hungama Digital.
Computer Manufacturer Support for Intel Insider
Intel Insider is available on PCs with 2nd Generation Intel Core processors with built-in visuals. Computer manufacturers are supporting this new technology with more than 500 design wins in place already.
“With the introduction of our new 2nd Generation Intel Core processor-powered systems and Dell video stage service, we see the PC becoming a mainstream platform for premium entertainment. Intel Insider will play a key role in ensuring that customers have access to the latest new releases and popular catalog movies in full HD on Dell PCs and Dell video stage.” – Michael Tatelman, vice president, Global Consumer Channel (Sales & Marketing), Dell Inc.
“Toshiba* is increasingly committed to providing access to premium HD content for our customers. Intel Insider will help us enable the best customer experience for browsing, renting or purchasing true HD content from your laptop or watching movies on a laptop or HDTV.” – Ron Smith, vice president of marketing, Toshiba* America, Inc.
To learn which movies are now available in full HD for PCs with 2nd Generation Intel Core processors, please contact an Intel Insider-enabled online video service.
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Intel realizes there will be a post-Moore’s Law era and is already investing in technologies to drive computing beyond today’s PCs and servers.
The chipmaker is “investing heavily” in quantum and neuromorphic computing, said Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, during a question-and-answer session at the company’s investor day on Thursday.
“We are investing in those edge type things that are way out there,” Krzanich said.
To give an idea of how far out these technologies are, Krzanich said his daughter would perhaps be running the company by then.
Researching in these technologies, which are still in their infancy, is something Intel has to do to survive for many more decades. Shrinking silicon chips and cramming more features into them is becoming difficult, and Intel is already having trouble in manufacturing smaller chips.
Smartphones, PCs, and other devices are getting smaller, faster and more power efficient thanks to Moore’s Law, a 1965 observation loosely stating that the number of transistors in a die area would double every two years, causing performance to double while driving down the cost of making chips.
Intel has been using Moore’s Law as a guiding star to make faster and smaller chips and reducing the price of devices. However, it is widely agreed that Moore’s Law is slowly dying, and Intel’s manufacturing struggles are growing.
One way to resolve that crisis—which all chipmakers face—is to completely change the current computing model in PCs, smartphones, and servers. The current model—known as the Von Neumann approach—involves data being pushed to a processor, calculated, and sent back to memory. But storage and memory are becoming bottlenecks.
The answer is to adopt new models of computing, which is where quantum computers and neuromorphic chips fit in. Quantum computers have the potential to be powerful computers harnessing the unique quality of a large number of qubits to perform multiple calculations in parallel. Neuromorphic chips are modeled after the human brain, which could help computers make decisions based on patterns and associations.
Some short-term answers can resolve the bottlenecks based on Von Neumann model, including Optane, Intel’s new form of super-fast memory and storage. It could unite SSDs and DRAM in systems, cutting one bottleneck. Intel is also embracing silicon photonics, which could resolve throughput issues in data centers. Both technologies have researched for more than a decade and are now practical.
The chipmaker has lived off the PC industry for decades but is now looking to grow in markets like data centers, the internet of things, automotive and high-performance computing. The new focus is bringing a gradual change to the way Intel makes chips. It’s similar to the 1970s, when different types of chips like vector processors and floating point arrays were crammed together for complex calculations.
For example, Intel is slapping together two separate functional blocks for applications like machine learning and autonomous cars. Intel envisions FPGAs combining with CPUs in autonomous cars. Later this year, the company will release a chip called Lake Crest, which combines a Xeon server CPU with deep-learning chip technology it picked up through its Nervana Systems acquisition. Intel is also merging an FPGA inside an Intel Xeon chip to carry out machine learning tasks.
Intel is expecting a lot of data to be generated by sources like autonomous cars, which will need edge processing for tasks like image recognition, analysis, and map updates. Intel is pushing its wide roster of co-processors to the edge, and that is where the quantum and neuromorphic chips may fit.
Quantum computer research is also being done by other companies. D-Wave recently released a 2,000-qubit quantum computer based on quantum annealing, while IBM has a 5-bit quantum computer accessible via the cloud. IBM is also playing with brain-like chips and has benchmarked its TrueNorth chip, which has a million neurons and 256 million synapses.
Academic institutions like the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Stanford University, and the University of Manchester in the U.K. are also working on neuromorphic chips. HPE has shown a computer that emulates the human brain, and it intends to adapt ideas from that for servers.
Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday announced new mobile processors as it tries to bridge the power and performance gap with Intel, while trying to lower laptop prices.
“We’re able to hit triple-and quad-core price points at US$799,” said Leslie Sobon, vice president of marketing at AMD. Between 130 to 150 products are being designed around the new chips, which is a record for AMD.
The three quad-core and two triple-core Phenom II processors run at speeds between 1.6GHz and 2.3GHz and draw between 25 watts and 45 watts of power. The chips will be available in laptops from vendors including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo starting later this month.
AMD also announced low-voltage Athlon II Neo and Turion II Neo processors for ultrathin laptops that run at speeds between 1.3GHz and 1.7GHz. The processors come in single-core and dual-core variants and draw between 12 watts and 15 watts of power.
The new laptop chips are an attempt by AMD to improve its weak market position and gain ground on Intel. AMD held a 12.1 percent market share in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 15 percent in the first quarter of 2009, according to IDC. Intel was the leader, holding an 87.8 percent laptop microprocessor market share in the first quarter of 2010, compared to the 84.3 percent market share from a year ago.
AMD’s CEO Dirk Meyer last month acknowledged that the company was underrepresented in the laptop market, but added that the company was making architectural improvements to its chips that could improve battery life and performance of the machines.
AMD’s triple- and quad-core offerings provide more options to buyers, AMD’s Sobon said. Computing tasks like antivirus can be off-loaded to the third core, while leaving two cores to process other applications.
AMD has started to address power and performance on its CPU and graphics offerings and is putting itself in a position of strength to catch up with Intel, said Lane McCullough, senior product planner at Dell. The PC maker likes what is seeing in AMD’s future, he said.
Dell announced new Inspiron laptops based on AMD chips including the M301z and the M501R models, which will be available with ATI integrated graphics. The laptops will offer storage of up to 640GB and support up to 8GB of memory. The M301z will come with a 13.3-inch display and include processors up to AMD’s dual-core Turion II Neo K625 processor, which runs at 1.5GHz. The laptop will be available in a few weeks in Europe, Japan and China. The M501R will come with a 15.6-inch screen and include up to AMD’s quad-core processors. It will be available later this year in Europe and the U.S.
Lenovo launched the IdeaPad Z565 laptop that will include AMD’s new chips. The laptop comes with a 15.6-inch screen, and provides four hours of battery life with a AMD Turion II N530 dual-core processor and a six-cell battery.
“What it comes down to is that folks who are sensitive to graphics and 3D may prefer the AMD solution,” Brookwood said. “But for a lot of people who don’t have strong requirements on either of those, systems based on AMD and Intel chips are almost indistinguishable.”
Intel reveals the Lakefield chips for foldables that prove it can still innovate
Intel’s new hybrid processors, Intel Lakefield, have launched today, promising smaller and more flexible chips for ultraportables, folding form-factors, and more. Announced first at CES 2023 back in January, Lakefield combines several of the ideas Intel has been working on over the past few years: ultra-low-power CPUs, 3D packaging, and always-on connectivity.
So, they’re the first chips with what Intel is calling its new Hybrid Technology, and built using Foveros 3D stacking. A typical laptop chipset is laid out horizontally, with the various IPs spread out flat.
Foveros, though, stacks different technology IP blocks, building them into a “layer cake” with 12 x 12 x 1 millimeter dimensions. Those different layers can be mixed and matched, Intel says, depending on what the chip is needed for: in the case of Lakefield, that means flexible performance for non-traditional hardware designs.
So, Lakefield actually combines different types of core, much as we’ve seen Arm-based chipset designs from Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple and others do for smartphones and tablets. On the one hand, there’s a 10nm Sunny Cove core for maximum performance and any applications running in the foreground. It’s paired, though, with four Tremont cores, which are far more power-efficient.
Those cores handle background tasks, including services which need to be running but don’t require the full potency of the Sunny Cove core. Either way, both high-performance and super-frugal cores are compatible with 32- and 64-bit Windows applications. Real-time communication between the CPU and the OS scheduler means that the best core is picked for the right app.
Lakefield chips may be compact and low-power, but they’re still surprisingly capable. There’s support for up to four 4K external displays, for example, while video clips convert up to 54-percent faster versus the Core i5-8200Y.
While they may be rated at 7W TDP, the reality is that Intel has designed Lakefield to run much more frugally when the situation warrants it. Indeed, they can run as low as 2.5mW of standby SoC power, as much as 91-percent lower than Y-series processors.
For manufacturers, the upshot is more flexibility in their device designs. Lakefield has native dual internal display pipes, for example, which targets foldable and dual-display PCs. That’s the reason we’ve seen Lenovo use it in the ThinkPad X1 Fold, and why Microsoft will use it for the Surface Neo.
Not all designs will be so extreme, of course. Samsung’s Galaxy Book S, for example, looks more like a regular ultraportable notebook, but taps Lakefield’s combination of frugality and compact size to offer an alternative to the existing Arm-based version.
Lakefield’s debut comes at an interesting – and pivotal – time for Intel. The chip-maker has faced criticism in recent years for the relatively slow pace of its nanometer production transition, mixed with speculation that some of its long-standing device partners may be losing confidence in the Core strategy. Apple, for instance, is expected to announce its transition to self-designed Arm-based chipsets for Mac at WWDC 2023 later this month. While the Cupertino firm may not be Intel’s biggest customer, it’s nonetheless a feather in the chip-maker’s hat as it sees increased competition in laptop compute from rivals more commonly found powering phones and tablets.
The newly released Intel’s 12th Generation Core CPUs bring a whole new level of performance and feature sets. That’s including support for DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0.
But to benefit from them, you will need a major upgrade of your PC system. Among the changes required is getting a new motherboard with the LGA 1700 socket.
In this in-depth guide, I have rounded up the best LGA 1700 motherboards. It also includes tips and insights on how to choose and buy the right board for your ideal build.
They all feature the Z690 chipset and cut across the price scale to suit your budget. And apart from the standard ATX, I have also included Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards for compact PC builds!
Best ValueASUS Prime Z690-A Check Price
Best BudgetMSI PRO Z690 Check Price
Best for Micro-ATX BuildASUS Prime Z690M-Plus D4 Check Price
Best for a Mini-ITX BuildASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Check Price
Best with DDR4 and PCIe 5.0 SupportASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 Check Price
Best Alternative with DDR4GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Check Price
Best for Professionals and Content CreatorsASUS ProArt Z690-CREATOR WiFi Check Price
Intel just released the much-awaited Alder Lake CPUs. And they bring a whole new level of performance and features including support for DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0.
But to upgrade or build a new PC with these CPUs, you will need to get a new motherboard with the LGA 1700 socket.
At the moment, only the Z690 chipset motherboards come with the LGA 1700 socket. But down the line, Intel will be unveiling other chipsets including B660, H670, and H610.
So, how do you choose the best LGA 1700 motherboard for your PC build?
Well, the procedure isn’t much different from getting any other motherboard when building or upgrading your rig. The following tips and insights should help buy the best LGA 1700 motherboard for your ideal build:
Most likely, you will be building a full-sized PC with a standard ATX case. In which case, you will be using an ATX motherboard.
However, you might need to consider getting a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboard if you prefer to build a compact PC.
The ideal motherboard form factor should be the first decision to make. Since it not only determines the size of your PC but also affects the sizes and number of most of the other components that go into the system.
Keep in mind that you might need to consider getting the extra-large, Extended ATX motherboard. That’s especially when building a high-end gaming PC with lots of graphics cards.
At the moment, the supply of LGA 1700 motherboards in the standard ATX form factor is in plenty. Manufacturers understand that these are the widely used boards in PC builds.
A large supply means that you will have a large pool of boards to choose from with budgets ranging from super affordable to pricey depending on the included feature sets and their build quality.
Your ideal LGA 1700 motherboard memory support is arguably the most important decision that you will need to make. These boards either come with DDR4 or DDR5 memory support.
Just so know, DDR4 and DDR5 are not backward compatible. In simple terms, DDR4 won’t fit into DDR5 slots, and the reverse is also true! As such, you will need to decide what you want.
On one hand, going the DDR4-way allows you to affordably get an LGA 1700 motherboard. The DDR4 memories are also widely available and come at affordable prices. And you can just use your existing memory sticks if you’re upgrading your rig.
On the other hand, DDR5 memory support will future-proof your PC. Yet, DDR5 memories are limited in supply and come at hefty price tags.
With that in mind, it is also worth noting that so far DDR4 vs DDR5 benchmarks in gaming shows barely any difference in performance. So, at this point for a gaming rig, it’s not worth the upgrade to DDR5 unless you really want to!
PCIe 5.0 is all about ultra-fast speeds. As such devices that are designed for PCIe 5.0 mean faster graphics when gaming and rendering. They also mean faster storage speeds when loading games and videos.
With PCIe 5.0, you will be getting about double the bandwidth and Liga transfer rate from what you would be getting from the PCIe 4.0 standard.
But it’s worth noting that most devices out there don’t even reach the limits of PCIe 4.0. Thus, it’s only worth upgrading if you want to future-proof your PC or if you are looking to get the latest GPUs and NVMe storage devices that use PCIe 5.0.
That said, almost all the LGA 1700 motherboards that have been featured above offer PCIe 5.0 support. That’s including the value-priced options which come with DDR4 memory support.
Keep in mind that at the moment only PCIe 4.0 SSDs are available in the market. As such, you will need to get a PCIe add-in card to enjoy the PCIe 5.0 speeds.
NOTE:Just to clear any doubts, PCIe is backward compatible, so you can use the PCIe 4.0 SSDs in PCIe 5.0 slots.
The last important feature to consider is networking. You should at least get a motherboard with the Intel 2.5 GbE LAN port. But if possible, I recommend choosing the one with at least WiFi 6 to enjoy the benefits of super-fast wireless connectivity.
Form Factor: ATX
Memory Support: 4x Dual-Channel DDR5, Max 128GB
Expansion Slots: 2x PCIe 5.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x16
Storage Slots: 3x M.2, 6x SATA III, 2 x DIMM.2
USB Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 6x 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x 2.0 Type-A
Video Ports: 1x HDMI
Networking: Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet with ASUS LANGuard, Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2
Audio: ROG SupremeFX 7.1 Surround Sound High Definition Audio CODEC ALC4082
The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero features a premium build quality with multiple thermal solutions for efficient heat dissipation. It comes with a large VRM heatsink with an integrated aluminum I/O cover.
It also includes triple M.2 heatsinks with embedded backplates, a high-conductivity thermal pad, and ROG Water-Cooling Zone. And you can connect up to three fans to a single header for comprehensive cooling support.
Yet, my favorite feature set is its robust power solution. They include 20+1 teamed power stages rated for 90A, MicroFine Alloy Choke, and 10K Black Metallic Capacitors to ensure optimal performance and stability even when overclocking.
A premium-built motherboard for a powerful gaming build.
Windows 11 ready!
Two Thunderbolt 4 ports.
You can use your existing LGA 1200 CPU coolers.
A hefty price tag!
The ROG Maximus series motherboards are designed with hardcore gaming enthusiasts in mind. And the Z690 Hero doesn’t fall short! It’s the LGA 1700 motherboard I would recommend to gamers who want to push their PC to its limits, especially when overclocking the new Intel Core i9-12900K CPUs!
Form Factor: ATX
Memory Support: 4 x Dual-Channel DDR5, Max. 128GB
Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 5.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode), 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4, 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Storage Slots: 4 x M.2, 4 x SATA III
USB Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1/Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 4 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
Video Ports: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI
Networking: Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet
Audio: Realtek S1220A (7.1-Channel)
The ASUS Prime Z690-A strikes the perfect balance between its built quality, feature sets, and pricing. For about half the price of the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero, the Z690-A still features DDR5, PCIe 5.0, and M.2.
And despite being a mid-range LGA 1700 motherboard, it still comes with a stable power delivery system for reliable performance. These include 16+1 DrMOS, ProCool sockets, alloy chokes, and durable capacitors.
You also get a comprehensive cooling system that includes large VRM heatsinks, M.2 heatsink, and Hybrid fan headers. Perhaps, the main drawback of this motherboard is its lack of wireless connectivity.
A DIY-friendly design to suit beginners.
ASUS Q-Design for quick components installation.
Internal Thunderbolt 4 header.
Lacks WiFi connectivity.
The ASUS Prime Z690-A will suit gaming enthusiasts who want to build a powerful PC with a mid-range budget. Its solid build quality allows you to use resource-demanding components like DDR5 memory sticks and high-end GPUs.
Form Factor: ATX
Memory Support: 4 x Dual-Channel DDR4-5200 (OC), Max. 128GB
Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 5.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode), 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x1 mode), 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Storage Slots: 4 x M.2, 6 x SATA III
USB Ports: 4 x USB 2.0 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C
Video Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.1
Networking: Intel I225-V 2.5 Gigabit
Audio: Realtek ALC897 (7.1-Channel)
The MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4 ProSeries Motherboard will appeal to beginners who want to build a solid PC with Ander Lake CPUs. It’s super-affordable, DIY-friendly, and future-rich.
It features MSI’s extended PWM heatsink that lets your rig run efficiently even when overclocking high-end CPUs. You also get M.2 Shield FROZR and pump fun support for comprehensive cooling.
The DDR4 memory slots ensure that you won’t be breaking the bank when buying your PC components. Remember, DDR5 memory sticks come at hefty price tags despite being in limited supply.
Budget-priced and feature-rich.
14+1+1 power design.
PCIe Steel Armor.
EZ M.2 Clip for an effortless M.2 SSD installation.
MSI’s PCB design for easy cable management.
Core boost technology for better performance.
Lacks onboard WiFi.
Form Factor: ATX
Memory Support: 4 x Dual-Channel DDR4-5333 (OC), Max. 128GB
Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 5.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 4.0 x16 (x4 mode), 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Storage Slots: 3 x M.2, 4 x SATA III
USB Ports: 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (10 Gb/s), 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C (20 Gb/s), 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A (480 Mb/s)
Video Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.1
Networking: Gigabit Ethernet port
Audio: Realtek 7.1-Channel Audio
The ASUS Prime Z690M-Plus D4 is an affordable, solid LGA 1700 motherboard for a Micro-ATX build. It still packs plenty of features that allow you to build a compact PC for gaming or professional use without compromising on its overall performance.
As expected for an ASUS motherboard, it packs an enhanced power solution for stable power delivery. That’s including 10+1 DrMOS, 4-pin+8-pin ProCool connector, alloy chokes, and durable capacitors.
The robust power design is complemented by its comprehensive cooling feature sets for efficient performance. It comes with Large VRM heatsinks, PCH heatsink, hybrid fan headers, and Fan Xpert 4 that keeps the components cool even when overclocking.
Compact, feature-rich, and affordable.
Onboard addressable RGB gen 2 headers.
DDR4 memory sticks are affordable and widely available.
The PCIe 5.0 Safe slot and Q-LED Code make it DIY-friendly.
Doesn’t include WiFi, but you can purchase the M.2 E-key Wi-Fi adapter separately.
With the ASUS Prime Z690M-Plus D4, you should get the performance of a full-sized PC in a compact build. Even with its M-ATX form factor you still get ASUS 5X Protection III features including LANGuard and DIGI+ VRM.
Form Factor: ATX
Memory Support: 2 x Dual-Channel DDR5, Max. 64GB
Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 5.0 x16
Storage Slots: 2 x M.2, 4 x SATA III
USB Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 3 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
Video Ports: 1 x HDMI 2.1
Networking: Intel 2.5Gigabit LAN Port, Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2
Audio: SupremeFX ALC4080 7.1-Channel Audio
The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi delivers impressively powerful features in such a small mini-ITX design. It’s the LGA 1700 motherboard I recommend for an ultra-compact PC build.
Despite being a gaming-first motherboard, it’s still such a wonderful board for professional use PCs. That is especially when building tiny, high-end desktop rigs for content creation like animations, video editing, and 3D rendering.
Perhaps it is worth mentioning that its features are well laid out. That’s the components won’t be cramped up. And you should benefit from the Asus EZ DIY design which makes the whole setup process effortless.
Onboard WiFi and Intel 2.5Gigabit LAN.
10+1 power stages with ProCool II power connector.
Thunderbolt 4, M.2 slots, and HDMI 2.1 for ultrafast transfers.
ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting.
Hefty price tag!
The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi is arguably the best designed LGA 1700 Mini-ITX motherboard at the moment. Yet, it still features an Integrated I/O cover and VRM heatsinks, and M.2 heatsinks and backplates for optimal cooling.
Form Factor: ATX
Memory Support: 4 x Dual-Channel DDR4, Max. 128GB
Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 5.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4, 1 x PCIe 4.0 x1
Storage Slots: 4 x M.2, 4 x SATA III
USB Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 4 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
Video Ports: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI
Networking: Intel 2.5Gigabit LAN, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2
Audio: Realtek (7.1-Channel)
The ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 is a well-built motherboard that has been constructed with military-grade TUF components. For its mid-range pricing, you get DDR4 memory support, PCIe 5.0, and super-easy AI overclocking.
I recommend it if are looking for a value-priced LGA 1700 board with onboard WiFi. You still get the standard features as expected from ASUS. That’s including 14+2 DrMOS power stages and robust cooling with VRM heatsinks.
Being a gaming-focused motherboard, it comes with integrated RGB headers for aesthetics. And with Aura Sync, you can unify compatible devices like keyboards and mice to match your unique style and themes.
Well-built with reasonable pricing!
DIY friendly with SafeSlot and M.2 Q-Latch.
High-quality audio experience out of the box.
Impressive cooling features including M.2 heatsinks.
Doesn’t support DDR5 memory.
The ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 comes in a premium build quality with a robust power design. It’s the mid-range board to pair with the mighty Intel i9-12900k for optimally stable overclocking.
Form Factor: ATX
Memory Support: 4 x Dual-Channel DDR4, Max. 128GB
Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 5.0 x16, 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode)
Storage Slots: 4 x M.2, 6 x SATA III
USB Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 3 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 4 x USB 2.0 Type-A
Video Ports: 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
Networking: Realtek 2.5 GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2
Audio: Realtek High Definition Audio
The GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 is yet another reasonably priced LGA 1700 motherboard for an ATX build. It’s also gaming-focused and falls within the same price range as the ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4.
Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 uses a unique VRM layout that lets you optimally overclock your CPU while keeping the performance stable. That’s the 16+1+2-phase power delivery subsystem with 70A power stages.
Gigabyte understands that you’ll be using this board for an extended time period with a high-end CPU and demanding PC components. To keep your system cool, it features robust thermal solutions including a Fully Covered MOSFET Heatsink.
Incredibly well built with great feature sets.
Q-Flash Plus onboard button.
Solid Pin design for a stable electrical signal.
RGB FUSION 2.0 software for personalization.
Setting it up might be an uphill for beginner PC builders.
The GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 is an excellent LGA 1700 motherboard for gaming with resource-demanding components. It offers a wide range of connectivity options making it a perfect fit for gaming enthusiasts who want to unleash the full potential of the new Intel Ander Lake CPUs.
Form Factor: ATX
Memory Support: 4 x Dual-Channel DDR5, Max. 128GB
Expansion Slots: 2 x PCIe 5.0 x16 (x16 mode), 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode)
Storage Slots: 4 x M.2, 8 x SATA III
USB Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4, 6 x USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Video Ports: 1 x HDMI 2.1 Output, 2 x DisplayPort 1.4 Input
Networking: 10GbE + 2.5 GbE LAN Ports, Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2
Audio: Realtek 7.1-Channel Audio
ASUS builds the ProArt series motherboards to offer content creators the best performance. The Z690-CREATOR WiFi is among their latest motherboards that I would recommend for 8K video editing, animation, and 3D modeling among others.
Like the high-end motherboards in this list, this board brings you future-proofed connectivity. As a professional user, you will most likely benefit from the onboard 10GbE, four M.2 slots, dual Thunderbolt 4, and dual PCIe 5.0 x16.
What’s more, it comes with large VRM heatsinks which might well be overkill for its target audience. But this assures you of stability and optimal performance throughout your demanding content creation processes.
Windows 11 ready!
Aluminum M.2 heatsinks.
RGB lighting headers.
ASUS Q-Design including M.2 Q-Latch.
ASUS 5X Protection III Features including DIGI+ VRM and LANGuard.
The ASUS ProArt Z690-CREATOR WiFi was designed with content creators in mind and it proudly delivers the support needed for content creation. It still features a robust power design that includes 16+1 power stages, ProCool II power connectors, durable capacitors, and high-quality alloy chokes.
Microsoft said Wednesday that 45 new entertainment apps are due on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 platforms this year, including key apps from Twitter, HBO, and Showtime. But there’s no guarantee they’ll arrive anytime soon.
A day after Microsoft began pushing an update that made entertainment apps free on the Xbox platform—as PCWorld had previously encouraged them to do—Microsoft revealed that a number of new apps are due for the Xbox later this year, including what appears to be a tight integration with Twitter. The additional apps will bring the console’s total to more than 225 apps worldwide.
But Microsoft also gave itself quite a bit of wiggle room as well: “by the end of the holiday season,” Microsoft said in a blog post, lumping all of the new apps into a single, enormous release window.
Microsoft has said previously that users are spending more and more time using the Xbox platform for entertainment apps like movies, rather than playing games. At the Xbox One’s launch, Microsoft executives actually emphasized the console’s entertainment capabilities over actual games, angering some fans. Since the launch, the Sony PlayStation 4 has outsold the Xbox One, although the combined Xbox 360/Xbox One console platform has outsold the PlayStation family. In the meantime, Microsoft has explored discounting games while also slashing $100 off the One’s price to $400.Big Twitter push
One of the challenges when watching TV is simply deciding what to watch. One solution has been Thuuz, which ranks the excitement of various live sports matches as they’re being played. (Neither the Xbox One nor the Xbox 360 will support Thuuz.) But Microsoft has turned to Twitter as a popularity gauge, instead, with something called Watch with Twitter, which will highlight “trending shows.”
“Twitter will be optimized for the biggest screen in your house in a smart, contextual way—offering the ability to see Tweets related to the cable or satellite TV shows you’re watching as they’re happening,” Microsoft said in its blog post. “Additionally, the Twitter experience on Xbox One will be integrated into the TV listings section of OneGuide where you will be able to see the shows that people are tweeting about in real-time.”
A Vine app will also appear on the Xbox One, Microsoft said.When are they due?
But while Microsoft outlined a number of big names authoring apps for the One and the 360, you may as well forget they’re coming. Aside from the MLG e-sports app, already released on the Xbox 360 and due on the One in a few weeks, Microsoft left the timing of the others vague.
Microsoft at least confirmed that a version of the HBO GO app will arrive on the Xbox One before the end of the holiday season, along with a corresponding STARZ Play app for Starz. The list of upcoming apps for the One also includes Comedy Central, EPIX, MTV, NBA, NHL, Popcornflix, SyFy Now, Vevo, and more. But other popular channel apps, such as the Showtime Anytime app for Showtime and Watch ABC and Watch Disney Channel, will only appear on the Xbox 360 for now.
As for its game plans, Microsoft will announce more details at its E3 keynote on June 9, where it will have to lure back a fanbase that it owned during the Xbox 360 generation.
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