PCR's guide to motherboards and processors

PCR takes a look at some of the latest products that consumers can build their PC around...
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At the heart of every computer, motherboards and processors are vital for performance and stability – as well as having something to plug everything else into. PCR takes a look at some of the latest products that consumers can build their PC around…

Intel Core i3-4130 CPU

SRP: £89.94

Distributor: Spire Technology

They say: Amazing performance and stunning visuals start here. Get a smooth, seamless visual experience by building your computer around a 4th generation Intel Core i3 processor, featuring longer battery life and built-in security protection.

Specs: 1150 socket, 3.4GHz, dual core, 22nm, four threads, 3MB cache, 54W wattage, 5GT/s bus/DMI speed, integrated Intel Graphics HD 4400, Intel Hyper-Threading technology.

Asus A88XM-A

SRP: £55.50

Distributor: Spire Technology

They say: This FM2+ socketed motherboard features high-endurance 5X Protection and new UEFI BIOS on the A88X chipset. We use quality components like resettable fuses slots to prevent overcurrent and short-circuit damage.

Specs: Micro ATX, FM2+ socket, AMD A88X chipset, four RAM slots, AMD Radeon HD 7000/8000, AMD Dual Graphics technology, Realtek ALC887-VD 8-Channel HD audio, four USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports.

AMD Quad-Core A8-6600K Accelerated Processor Black Edition

SRP: £89.99

Distributor: VIP Computers

They say: The A8 APU is an entirely new kind of processor that combines the advantages of a CPU and a GPU. The result is the world’s first high-performing, power-efficient and balanced APU platform ever.

Specs: Quad-core, FM2 socket, 3.9GHz, AMD Radeon HD 8570D, 4MB L2 cache, Enhanced Virus Protection, Turbo Core 3.0.

MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming Motherboard

SRP: TBC

Distributor: Entatech

They say: Get the highest frag and the lowest lag with Killer E2200 Networking. The board is made from Military Class 4 components and can be pushed to limit with OC Genie 4 and Click BIOS 4.

Specs: LGA 1150 socket, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Killer Ethernet, Military Class 4, OC Genie 4, Click BIOS 4, PCI Express 3.0, Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFire support, Super Charger.

Asus A88XM-Plus

SRP: £89.99

Distributor: VIP?Computers

They say: The A88X-Plus is designed to boost graphics by up to 30 per cent. 5X Protection keeps components durable while Fan Xpert 2 gives comprehensive control over cooling, for maximum performance and minimum heat and noise.

Specs: A88X chipset, FM2+ socket, AMD?Turbo Core 3.0 support, AMD?Radeon HD 7000/8000, AMD CrossFireX support, Fan Xpert 2, 5X Protection, four RAM slots.

Asus H81M-Plus

SRP: £54.99

Distributor: VIP?Computers

They say: Boost the performance of your components with the H81M-Plus. GPU?Boost optimises graphics while USB 3.0 transfer speeds for peripherals are also accelerated. The Intel Socket 1150 supports 4th generation Core i7/i5/i3 processors for already blazingly fast speeds, which can then be made even faster with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support.

Specs: Micro ATX, 1150 socket, H81 chipset, Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, 5X Protection, Q-Slot PCI?Express slots, two RAM slots, one PCIe x16 slot, GPU?Boost, AI?Suite 3,?UEFI?BIOS?EZ Mode, Fan Xpert, USB 3.0 boost.

MSI Z87 MPower Max

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SRP: TBC

Distributor: Entatech

They say: The Z87 MPower Max motherboard is designed based on four principles: the integration of professional overclockers’ feedback, to continue MSI’s leading position in power efficiency and stability, to only use essential OC tools and to infuse the DNA of MSI’s Lightning graphics cards.

Specs: LGA 1150 socket, DDR3-3000(OC) memory support, USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s connectivity, 20 phase DigitALL power design, Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFire support, OC Certified, Military Class 4 components, OC Genie 4, Click BIOS 4, PCI Express 3.0, Audio Boost, Killer E2200 Ethernet, Sound Blaster Cinema, Lucid Virtu MVP 2.0, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Intel WiDi.

Asus Sabertooth Z87

SRP: £179.84

Distributor: Spire Technology

They say: TUF Intel Z87 motherboard with fortified stability using a strengthened backplate and cooling system flexibility. Includes a LGA1150 socket and TUF Fortifier, Thermal Armor, Thermal Radar 2, Dust Defender and components for military-standard certified quality.

Specs: ATX, 1150 socket, Intel Z87 chipset, four DIMM 1866/1600/1333MHz DDR3 RAM slots, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, Nvidia Quad-GPU SLI and AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX support, two PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8), one PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black), three PCIe x1, Realtek ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC, six USB 3.0/2.0 ports, eight USB 2.0/1.1 ports.

Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H

SRP: TBC

Distributor: Entatech

They say: From high current capable digital power delivery, performance-enhancing caching technologies, exclusive high-end audio features, advanced networking and device charging, gold plated hardware connectors and of course, killer good looks, Gigabyte 8 series motherboards are in a class of their own.

Specs: Supports 4th Generation Intel Core processors, Gigabyte UEFI DualBIOS, multi-GPU support, black solid capacitors, Gigabyte On/Off Charge 2 for USB devices, Intel LAN with high ESD protection, onboard quick buttons, supports cFosSpeed internet acceleration, ten USB 3.0 ports.

Intel Core i5-4440 CPU

SRP: £141.44

Distributor: Spire Technology

They say: Amazing performance and stunning visuals with a boost. Raise the bar on your PC experience with rich visuals plus an automatic burst of speed when you need it. The 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor delivers amazing performance, stunning visuals, and built-in security for deeper protection.

Specs: 1150 socket, 3.1GHz, 3.3GHz turbo speed, quad-core, 22nm, four threads, 6MB cache, 84W wattage, 5GT/s bus/DMI speed, Intel Graphics HD 4600, 1100MHz maximum frequency, DDR3-1600 memory support.

Gigabyte GA-Z87X-OC

SRP: TBC

Distributor: Entatech

They say: Designed specifically for the purpose of breaking OC records, the Z87X-OC offers unique and exclusive OC features that have never been seen before on a motherboard. Giving overclockers the edge on LN2, the Z87X-OC sits at the bleeding edge of technical possibility.

Specs: Supports 4th Generation Intel Core processors, Gigabyte UEFI DualBIOS, OC Ignition feature, OC Brace feature, black solid capacitors, Gigabyte On/Off Charge 2 for USB devices, Intel LAN with high ESD protection, ten USB 3.0 ports.

Asus Vanguard B85

SRP: £57.42

Distributor: Spire Technology

They say: Get TUF core reliability and cooling tech on the Intel B85 mATX motherboard. The LGA1150 socket can be kept cool using the TUF Thermal Radar Core and customised fan tuning. TUF components are military standard and certified for tough duty.

Specs: Micro ATX, 1150 socket, Intel B85 chipset, four DIMM DDR3 RAM slots, VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX support, one PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16, one PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black), one PCIe 2.0 x1, Realtek ALC887 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC, six USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports.

AMD Trinity A10-5800K Black Edition

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SRP: £150

Distributor: Target Components

They say: Choose an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) for your next PC project. AMD’s A-Series processors combine dual-core and quad-core CPUs and AMD Radeon Graphics on a single power-efficient chip to enable premium performance and low power consumption. Now you can get the best of all worlds – the performance of multicore CPU technology and the brilliance of premium AMD Radeon graphics technology all in a single chip, at a great price.

Specs: FM2 socket, 100W, 3.8GHz, 4MB L2 cache size, 32nm SOI CMOS, Turbo Core 3.0 technology, AMD Radeon Dual Graphics, AMD Eyefinity, DirectX 11 capable, AMD HD3D gaming.

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3

SRP: TBC

Distributor: Entatech

They say: Gigabyte X79 series motherboards are designed to unite unrivalled desktop PC performance with a new level of flexibility and hardware control. Based on the latest Intel X79 Express Chipset, Gigabyte X79 series motherboards bring DIY builders to a new area of performance-oriented computing.

Specs: Intel LGA 2011 processor socket, PCI Express 3.0, all-new digital power control, UEFI DualBIOS, eight phase overclockable VRM design featuring solid capacitors and a PowerPAK MOSFET design, On/Off charge technology, Gigabyte Ultra Durable 3 technology, Dolby Home Theater support, high quality 110dB SNR HD audio.

Asus Maximus VI Hero

RRP: £172.76

Distributers: VIP Computers, KMS Components, Spire Technology, Tech Data, Ingram Micro

They say: The Asus Maximus VI is the most-affordable board in the revered Republic of Gamers stable, but still offers unrivalled component quality, overclocking power and gamer-friendly features. It has received worldwide critical acclaim, with eight top UK media awards.

Specs: ATX, Intel Z87 chipset, four RAM slots, Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFire support, ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel HD audio codec, six USB 3.0 ports, Extreme Engine Digi+ III.

Biostar HiFi Z87X 3D ATX

SRP: £110

Distributor: Target Components

They say: Biostar HiFi Z87X 3D features the LGA 1150 socket, with four DDR3 RAM slots, USB 3.0 and a UEFI BIOS that supports BIO-Remote 2 and Charger Booster technology. Equipped with Biostar Hi-Fi Power tech, it will utilise audio components with independent power design for a reduction in electronic noise and superb sound quality.

Specs: LGA 1150 processor socket, four DIMM slots for DDR3 RAM, USB 3.0 compatibility, UEFI BIOS with BIO-Remote 2, Charger Booster technology, Biostar Hi-Fi Power.

Asus Maximus VI Impact

SRP: £179.84

Distributor: Spire Technology

They say: Experience the Mini-ITX Z87 gaming board from ROG with amazing audio, incredible power management and flexible next-generation connectivity. Use the Sonic Radar to scan, detect and dominate, then put your frags first with GameFirst II and Intel LAN.

Specs: Mini ITX, 1150 socket, Intel Z87 chipset, two DIMM DDR3 RAM slots, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, one PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16, ROG SupremeFX Impact 8-Channel HD audio codec, six USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports.

ALSO AVAILABLE

Target Components has the Intel Core i3 4330 processor, which offers Hyper-Threading Technology in a 3.5GHz Haswell socket CPU for £110. Target also has the £80 FM2A88X?Extreme 6+ ATX?motherboard from ASRock, which supports dual channel DDR3 RAM and includes integrated AMD?Radeon HD 8000/7000 graphics and ASRock’s Purity Sound technology.

Meanwhile, Spire Technology has AMD’s A4 X2 4000 processor. The 3.2GHz processor includes App Acceleration and integrated Radeon HD 7480D graphics, and is designed to speed up the use of everyday applications, such as browsing the web. The A4 X2 4000 is available now for £30.48.

CONTACTS

Entatech: 0333 101 1000

Ingram Micro: 0871 973 3000

KMS Components: 029 8071 3713

Spire Technology: 01202 828 444

Target Components: 01977 739300

Tech Data: 0871 880 3000

VIP Computers: 0871 622 7500

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