Asrock, a well-known maker of mainboards, this week introduced a new Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 motherboard that features PCI Express 3.0 compatibility. The company believes that the world's first Intel Z68-based platform with PCIe 3.0 will enable new levels of performance for gamers, who use multi-GPU configurations.
“The vision of Fatal1ty board is to create the fastest and most stable computer equipment on the face of the planet. Not only focusing on performance boosts, the newly launched Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 also pays special emphasis on the latest hardware enhancements that include the newest PCIe 3.0 support” said James Lee, vice president of sales and marketing at Asrock.
Asrock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 mainboard is based on Intel Z68 chipset - an enthusiast-class core-logic with a number of exclusive capabilities for performance tuning aimed at microprocessors in LGA1155 form-factor - and is aimed at gamers as well as extreme overclockers. The motherboard features four DDR3 memory slots, three PCI Express x16 slots, to PCIe x1 slots, two PCI slots, ten Serial ATA ports, one Parallel ATA port, USB 3.0, 8-channel THX TruStudio-class audio, dual Gigabit Ethernet with teaming function, various video outputs and so on. The platform fully supports Virtu graphics switching technology as well as Intel Smart Response technology. The mainboard also sports a number of enhancements for gamers; for instance, mouse port with customizable polling rate, and so on.
It is not completely clear how did Asrock implement the PCIe 3.0. Intel Z68 and Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" microprocessors do not support the next-gen PCIe. At present it is only possible to implement PCI Express 3.0 using a third-party PCIe switch, which will enable transfers at PCIe 3.0 speeds (which double those of PCIe 2.0) between PCI Express devices, but not between add-in cards and microprocessor. Asrock claims that it used PLX PEX8608, which is not PCIe 3.0 compliant and only features one PCIe 2.0 8x lane. Only PLX PEX8700-series switches support PCI Express 3.0. Still, the forthcoming code-named Ivy Bridge microprocessors in LGA1155 will fully support PCIe 3.0 and the new mainboard will naturally gain appropriate support once the chips become available along with PCIe 3.0-supporting graphics cards, Asrock guarantees that on this particular platform they will work in PCIe 3.0 mode. It should be noted that with proper routing and BIOS support any LGA1155 mainboard should gain PCIe 3.0.
"Coupled with the upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge processors with PCIe 3.0 support and next-gen PCIe 3.0 VGA graphics cards, users are assured to enjoy the full power of PCIe Gen3 standard. Asrock’s Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 mainboard is the first to meet the latest PCIe 3.0 standard and go on sale based on Z68 chipset," a statement by Asrock reads.