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These Are ASRock's Favorite Motherboard Ideas

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 70 comments

ASRock's favorite answers get a motherboard!

Last month, ASRock asked you for the best motherboard ideas in the world. It was a win-win situation, you see, as ASRock gets to hear what you want in your next motherboard, and you even get a chance to win a new motherboard.

ASRock has poured over all the comments submitted in its poll for the best motherboard features and has selected its four top suggestions.

The winners, as handpicked by ASRock, with their design ideas are:

goalguy876 09/17/2010 12:46 PM

“Replace screwing the motherboards in with some kind of locking mechanism. This would require the case to be compatible too though. It would make it a lot easier to install new heatsinks/video cards/processors etc.” ----This is for the early birds. I picked the best in the first 10 comments.

billj214 09/30/2010 6:32 PM

- SATA connections and SATA power plug on rear.

- RJ45 port which will extend Audio/Video over CAT5e/6.

- IR jack for use with remote controls.

- SATA connections at top and bottom of board closer to CD/DVD and HDD locations.

- More fan connections, 2 is never enough.

- Spacing of PCIx16 when using SLI/Xfire with longer SLI/Xfire bridge. (better cooling)

- Removable MB header plug for PWR/RST/LEDs (easier to plug in)

- LCD display with MB status for drive bay.

- Rear bios reset switch.

- Windows 7 desktop gadget to display MB status.

- 6/8/9 DDR3 slots (high end option for triple or dual channel ram).

- Energy conservation options - option to turn off unused PCI cards, HDD's, USB ports etc by the user and a display showing actual power usage in watts. (Visually seeing power usages makes people more aware).

- Dual CPU sockets? Everyone wants more power than they can use!

thatguy113 09/22/2010 10:40 PM

I think a very nice feature would be a small capacitor/battery that is built onto the board (or provided, but takes a drive bay), that would act as a small back up power source for the computer during a 10-20 second power blip. Basically, anything that will save the computer from very small power blips, potentially saving unsaved work from being lost, while not requiring a $80+ UPS to be bought.

This is an extension of the idea, maybe having flash memory on the board, that can be dumped to if the power goes out, and used to boot too after power has been restored. On that note, how about a user upgradable module of flash memory that can be used to hibernate to and from very quickly. It would become useless once SDD are very mainstream, but should still be useful for many years.

Motamedn 09/17/2010 5:32 AM

1) replace all plugs (USB, SPDIF, Firewire, etc) with a single plug that connects to an external brick. This brick holds all these connections.

2) use the space this makes at the rear of the card to space out the PCI ports. As it is, you cannot use all the ports on the back of a PC due to crowding.

3) develop a usable wifi display transmitter to connect to HTPCs...and add a coax port to make it even more useful.

4) program a hotkey to allow the user to adjust bios settings WHILE BOOTED in the OS! No more forgetting to press delete repeatedly.

5) Perhaps even a emulation of booting with the changed settings?

6) This has already been done by some companies, but provide little adapters that you can hold in your hand to connect all the case wires/jumpers to and then simply plug in to the case. Simplifies removal/replacement of mobo.

7) improve the visibility of the board. better labeling and color blockades could be used to draw the installers eyes to the appropriate section. Think of how much easier things got with PS/2 and speaker/mic plugs when they started using the pastel green/pink colors.

Things others have mentioned that I think are good ideas:

1) integrated SSD for restoration of OS

2) integrated wifi & bluetooth

3) better cable management. Put all plugs from case/PSU on periphery...you could even experiment with putting them on the BACK of the mobo??

4) strip legacy support to free space for the above

5) upgrade the interface/user-friendliness of BIOS.

6) improve installation process, i.e. CPU/fan installation (always the scariest part), and maybe screwless or thumb-screw attachment of mobo to cases

7) automate OCing and allow more diagnostic testing pre-OS boot

UPDATE

One of the winners didn't respond to ASRock's email, so we have a new potential winner!

blueridge 09/17/2010 9:53 AM
 
.My favorite mobo would be like this:
 
1. All components used for switching regulators across the mobo should be rated up to 125 degree ambient temperature.
 
2. Use 75um of copper where ever possible (Supply planes, ground planes, cooling planes). It would be interesting to see a PCB with 35um of copper for fine pitch components/thin tracks and 75um of copper for high power components/power tracks (especial in voltage regulators and cooling areas for semiconductors).
 
3. Create cooling areas for mosfets/other power devices on the bottom of the PCB. These cooling areas should not be covered by solder mask. Strips of corrugated copper (tinned copper of course)can be soldered to these cooling areas in order to increase their effectiveness. The height of the corrugated copper should not be more than 3mm, let's say. This can be decided based on the minimum height of the stand-offs available for mobo mounting. The corrugated strips could be soldered by re-flow at the same step as with the rest of the board, using several points of glue to hold them in place. This may imply use of selective wave soldering for THT components.
 
4. A better sound chip with adequate power supply filtering (use LDOs to supply for the integrated sound). Via, for example, has a very nice 24bit sound chipset (VIA Envy24HT) used in audiophile class sound cards.
 
5. Team up with Zalman, Schythe or Thermalright for creating a cooling sollutions that looks good, provides the mobo with some identity, and most important: cools adequately even in low airflow conditions. I personlay like very much what zalman has done with its flower coolers.
 
6. Right angle SATA, IDE and power supply connectors allong the edge of the PCB. It may not be feasible to place the 4p/8p connector for the CPU on the edge of the board, but I can live with this. Think the placement of the connectors with cable management in mind!
 
7. Do not place legacy interfaces on the board. Just let the user opt for a model number that is bundled with serial and parallel port adapter card.
 
8. The board must feature USB3 and SataIII, just to be future proof. native implementations are preferred (without third party chips).
 
9. Provide the board with enough PWM controlled fan headers, reset and clear cmos button (I like the smart switch design in Extreme 3 series).
 
10. It would be nice to have an integrated boot loader. This could be controlled by an option in bios. If the options is enabled then after the post screen the used is presented with a choice screen to choose from which hdd to boot from. I like to keep my operating systems well separated.
 
10. Integrated SSD for installing the operating system (minimum 20Gb). A PCI-e add-in card would also do the trick! But it should be seen as a hard drive and accessible by the bootloader describe at point 9.
 
11. Error LED for each expansion slot, ram slot, cpu socket, chipsets. They can be bi-color leds. Green = everthing is OK, RED = Not OK. Port 80 debug is nice, but most of the times is happens that the error codes it shows are not documented in the mobo manual. You can continu to implement it as long as all the codes have an explanation in the mobo's manual.
 
12. Place mode thermal sensors on the PCB and document their position in mobo's manual. Instead of the legacy chip you can place on the board a chipset design for interfacing temperature sensors and connect directly to the chipset. Calibrate these sensors at EOL test on the manufacturing line. Providing calibrated sensors with documented positions on the PCB could be very helpful for those who want to tweak the cooling of their entire system. Not to mention that a light on resources software should be provided for windows/linux so that the user can access the temperatures recorded by the sensors. A logging utility should also be provided for long test runs (8 ours or more).
 
13. Provide a PCI and a PCI-e slot specialy designed for audio cards (sound cards/capture cards). This means very good filtering and buffering of the supply lines (remove as much noise as possible from the supply lines).
 
14. And since I spoke of temp sensors and fan headers. Remember the Abit uGuru boards? Well, a wireless device, that reads and displays the data from temp sensors and fan headers (rpm and speed in percentage 0%...100%). And also: why not provide a header on the mobo where the user can connect their own temperature sensors (K or J type thermocouples for example, or small signal diodes). A calibration function should be provided for these inputs and the reading should be available on the wireless display.
 
That's about it... for now!
..

If you see yourself mentioned above, be sure to check your email for a message from ASRock. Act quickly, because if you've won but fail to reply to ASRock in three days, you will lose the chance the get the prize. (For everyone else, this is good news as ASRock will pick another lucky user to be the substitution.)

Thanks to everyone for your participation and stay tuned for more!

Display 70 Comments.
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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    xantek24 , October 11, 2010 10:39 PM
    thespinCopy ASUS! LOL


    Asrock is a subsidiary of Asus....
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    jordan009 , October 11, 2010 10:04 PM
    i think the first idea would be good for all brands of case's and motherboards to have
  • 0 Hide
    scione , October 11, 2010 10:10 PM
    YES at rj 45 connector, I have so many cat 6 cables lying around.
  • 0 Hide
    jonpaul37 , October 11, 2010 10:13 PM
    Grats to the people with the best ideas... Some may seem a little far-fetched but still possible. I would love to see case & Motherboard companies making motherboard installation a little simpler...
  • -6 Hide
    thespin , October 11, 2010 10:17 PM
    Copy ASUS! LOL
  • 1 Hide
    Randomacts , October 11, 2010 10:29 PM
    All very good ideas, I would love to see how it ends up
  • 21 Hide
    xantek24 , October 11, 2010 10:39 PM
    thespinCopy ASUS! LOL


    Asrock is a subsidiary of Asus....
  • 3 Hide
    g00ey , October 11, 2010 10:43 PM
    I have another idea; scrap all sub x16 PCIe slots and use only PCIe x16 slots for PCIe. An x1, x2, x4 and x8 expansion card is compatible with a PCIe x16 slot but a slot that is smaller than the connector of the expansion card is not compatible with it unless you make modifications that will void warranty.
  • -2 Hide
    xantek24 , October 11, 2010 10:46 PM
    integrated bluetooth, wi-fi and cellular radio (gsm calls, 3g, hspa+, etc.) are a no brainer
  • 6 Hide
    haplo602 , October 11, 2010 10:47 PM
    +1 on the rear BIOS reset switch
  • 7 Hide
    xantek24 , October 11, 2010 10:49 PM
    oh and for high end boards, lose the old ass pci slots and strategically add x4 or x8 pcie slots away from being over shadowed by gpus, think "Revo Drive"
  • 1 Hide
    theoldgrumpybear , October 11, 2010 10:55 PM
    Duh I thought I did not have an idea, the above are great ones and made me just now think of another.
    -- An PoE port (or two)

    Ahhh well maybe some other manufacturer will do this then. ;-)
  • 3 Hide
    ZaKa , October 11, 2010 10:57 PM
    Quote:
    Things others have mentioned that I think are good ideas:

    1) integrated SSD for restoration of OS


    *Cough* Things *I* mentioned! Give me my prize!
  • -1 Hide
    spentshells , October 11, 2010 11:13 PM
    xantek24integrated bluetooth, wi-fi and cellular radio (gsm calls, 3g, hspa+, etc.) are a no brainer


    THIS
  • 0 Hide
    Anomalyx , October 11, 2010 11:24 PM
    I do like the increased fan connection idea.
    Something I've always wanted are 2 independent temperature sensors. One that measures CPU temp and one that measures the air temp inside the PC case. Have the CPU temp control only the fan header that the CPU fan plugs into, and the rest of the fan headers are controlled by the air temp. I have huge fans that fully cycle the air in my case every couple seconds if they need to... but they don't need to, so I want them quieter, while still allowing my CPU fan to run however fast it needs to. I realize this can be done with manual controls, but where's the fun in that?
  • 1 Hide
    lespy , October 11, 2010 11:25 PM
    copper heat sinks for everything.

    glowing LED color coded lights to identify usb,sata,ethernet,etc. connections on the back of the board would come in handy when trying to plug something in at night and the back of the case is never seen.

  • 7 Hide
    thechief73 , October 11, 2010 11:54 PM
    Not to sound like a negative nelly but quite a few, more like most of these things have been done already at one time or another or are just superficial wants not improvments.

    UPS, Asus Quick connect, SATA locations, Fan headers, PCi spacing, MB lcd display, rear Bios reset, MB montioring SW, Dual CPU, OS bios tweaking, color coding, bluetooth dongle, doesnt the router you on have wireless?, cable management. All have been done, C'MON! If I new you could win this by listing every thing that has already been done I could write you a book.

    ASRock this contest is just a rip-off of other peoples/companies(maybe ever your own) already implemented ideas. I thought you were actually looking for something new and innovative not a random hodgepodge of features, I guess I was wrong.

    Congrats to the winners.
  • 3 Hide
    BlueCat57 , October 12, 2010 12:25 AM
    I think motherboard designers should be required to work in build/repair shops before being allowed to design. Then maybe we would get easy to use designs. From reading around the forums I think the biggest improvement would be spacing of the PCI slots. Next would be connector streamlining.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 12, 2010 12:43 AM
    These are all good features that every motherboard manufacturer should adopt.

    Congratulations to the winners!
  • 3 Hide
    scimanal , October 12, 2010 1:08 AM
    thechief73Not to sound like a negative nelly but quite a few, more like most of these things have been done already at one time or another or are just superficial wants not improvments. UPS, Asus Quick connect, SATA locations, Fan headers, PCi spacing, MB lcd display, rear Bios reset, MB montioring SW, Dual CPU, OS bios tweaking, color coding, bluetooth dongle, doesnt the router you on have wireless?, cable management. All have been done, C'MON! If I new you could win this by listing every thing that has already been done I could write you a book.ASRock this contest is just a rip-off of other peoples/companies(maybe ever your own) already implemented ideas. I thought you were actually looking for something new and innovative not a random hodgepodge of features, I guess I was wrong.Congrats to the winners.


    I agree, simple enough. Contest aside, do these ideas seem revolutionary? They just seem like good ideas that worked pretty well for other people in the industry? This makes me wonder a little bit about Asrock.
  • 1 Hide
    K2N hater , October 12, 2010 1:40 AM
    Quote:
    5) upgrade the interface/user-friendliness of BIOS.


    AMI made several custom friendly BIOS GUI setup with mouse support like... over 10 years ago. Even certain RAID cards shipped with AMI BIOS came with GUI setup. Unfortunately the DIY market is flooded with motherboards with features alike yet with poor manuals (often mistaken) and ugly bloated text-mode setup. Even recent SATA motherboards come with the damn BIOS support to ESDI drives. I've seen them like 2 or 3 times in 10 years...
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