Intel officially launched the Z77 platform earlier this week, and later this month we'll see the official launch of Ivy Bridge, Intel's 3rd generation Core processors. ASUS has agreed to cart nearly everything it makes (including a handful of unreleased products we saw at CES) over to me in NC for a hands on look on video. More importantly - we're going to be doing a Q&A with you all.

ASUS and I will both be answering your questions on camera. If you have any questions you'd like to see us answer or topics you'd like us to address, respond to the comments here or mention @anandtech with the hashtag #asusivy on Twitter along with your question/topic. We won't be able to get to all of them but we'll pick the most interesting/relevant questions and answer them on camera. The topic is obviously going to be Ivy Bridge and the 7-series platform. Simple questions are fine but what I'd really like to see are topics we can have a good discussion about.

When the video goes live, ASUS is also going to let us give away some new Z77 boards as well. We'll have more details on the giveaway closer to the Ivy Bridge launch.

Make the questions good and I look forward to answering them on camera.

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  • justaviking - Monday, April 16, 2012 - link

    Yes, that is similar to what I was thinking.

    The potential of massively increased bandwidth along with form-factor flexibility makes it very interesting to me.

    ONE VISION:
    Imagine, for a moment, if your motherboard could actually be 3 or 4 smaller boards. One just for the CPU, one just for memory, one just for graphics cards, and another for everything else. You could put them in separate enclosures, or in different areas of your case. Image your cooling options, etc.

    ANOTHER VISION:
    The other aspect is to simply replace some of the electrical tracings on a circuit board with optical signals. What might that do to the latency and power issues of your CPU-to-RAM signals?
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - link

    ASUS Response -
    We are always looking at alternative formats. This is especially true with upcoming products as the constant integration of increasingly advanced features and performance (iGPU/CPU, WiFi/BT, etc) onto fewer and fewer chipsets will allow for some truly unique form factors in the coming years.

    As to current products, our design decision on the P8Z77-I Deluxe to move the CPU socket towards the center of the board with the PWM on a riser card has resulted in some truly spectacular performance results from an m-ITX board (6.7+ CPU and DDR3-3000 Memory speeds). In addition our design decisions (socket location, traces, memory design, etc) on the micro-ATX layout of the Maximus V Gene has resulted in a board that currently outperforms anything on the market (memory, CPU, GPU), except for situations where more than two GPUs are required.

    We will continue to push the boundaries in motherboard design and expect further design/layout changes with Haswell and the product release after Trinity where I firmly believe we can offer some very interesting small form factor board concepts along with high speed interconnects.
    Reply
  • danjw - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    Are you planning and when can we expect to see a Maximus V Extreme motherboard? Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - link

    ASUS Response -
    We cannot comment on unreleased products but let's just say that typically after a GENE and Formula board is released in a chipset series that an Extreme board is the next likely option. ;) Actually, depending on the chipset reception and results with the Formula board (already generating Intel chipset records for clocking and memory performance in beta form) we will gauge the need for an Extreme board to go from currently in the labs to production.
    Reply
  • Meaker10 - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    How many interesting boards can we expect from Asus that take full advantage of mSATA and mini pci-express? What form factors have they considered exploring?

    Will their notebooks be taking advantage of these?

    Also the popularity of Asus notebooks as enthusiast machines has been dwindling due to their lack of powerful graphics options (no higher than GTX560M) is this due to their propriety MXM form factor making validation of new chips more difficult? Have they maybe considered going standard MXM and embracing the enthusiast community such as the one on notebookreview who would like to go with Asus due to their design and cooling ability.
    Reply
  • Trefugl - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    Second the mSATA question. Just had a drive installed in my work laptop... Wish I could for home laptop or HTPC. Reply
  • p05esto - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    What's the ideal (fastest, most useful) RAM configuration and ideal amount for these new systems? Is 16GB the sweet spot, is dual-channel the best route, what speed, etc? Take into consideration RAM availability, pricing and future expansion. Reply
  • Ammaross - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    And while on the RAM topic, ask why their new tech allowing them to access RAM in parallel rather than serial provides no tangible performance increase in current (Sandy Bridge CPU on a Z77 chipset) benchmarks of ASUS boards. Reply
  • Denithor - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    Actually I would be interested in an overview of this new arrangement, a review of performance advantage (if any) and comments on whether it is something we can expect from other manufacturers or solely an ASUS technology going forward. Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    ASUS Response -
    Good Questions...

    1. As to the sweet spot for RAM on IVB, it totally depends on your application usage and of course budget. I highly suggest 8GB as the starting point, mainly since the cost for quality 4GBx2 kits is very inexpensive right now (at least in North America) and it allows you to run most applications or games while multitasking without real problems.

    As to speed for this base selection, 1600C9 is the minimum I would go on IVB, unless of course you are benchmarking for a living then start with the 2666/2800 kits. ;)

    Personally, I like running tighter CAS rates before increasing memory speeds so for the few extra dollars I would go with the 1600 C7 or 1866 C8 kits for optimal performance on a modest budget unless you can find a good deal on C9 2133.

    If you are into digital content creation, 3D imaging, or heavy multitasking then the more memory the better so 16GB is my minimum and 32GB for the WS level audience, although at this point if you have the funds, SBe or BD makes more sense for the core counts and PCIe lanes. I like 16GB or 32GB and setting up a persistent RAM drive to run applications (into 3D imaging and encoding) from as the speed increase is like switching from a HD to SSD in most situations.

    That said, without appearing to be a sounding board for the memory manufacturers I usually suggest 16GB at DDR3-2133 or DDR3-2400 for those that can afford it on IVB. The higher memory speeds will certainly provide improved benchmarks but in reality, we have noticed improved USB throughput (especially with Intel's USB 3 ports and to some degree our ASMedia ports) due to the RST driver design that uses memory cache, not quite as noticeable on the HD/SSD storage side. Plus, if for whatever reason you are just using the iGPU, performance increases up to ~25% have been recorded going from DDR3-1333 to DDR3-2400 in games and even benefits in Quick-Sync routines. There are also benefits in frame rates when using Lucid (depends on setup). In fact, Intel recommends 1600/1866 for iGPU systems as the base memory speed to ensure improved performance, especially with HD4000 equipped processors.

    In addition, this is hard to quantify but overall system performance seems "snappier" with 16GB and some internal blind tests have proved that as well, provided the system is setup to take advantage of the extra memory. Overall, memory capacity and speed will be determined first by your budget and secondarily by your applications. Regardless of the situation, 8GB of DDR3-1600 C9 is my minimum suggestion at this point taking all things into consideration.

    2. As to our T-Topology technology on the Z77 boards, this is an Intel initiative for their next generation platform. We decided to implement it now as IVB is able to take advantage of higher memory speeds and densities compared to SB. In addition, it allows us to be a generation ahead to take advantage of improvements in IVBe when it launches.

    I have noticed improved memory speeds and loads with SB on our Z77 boards. Of course your mileage may vary but I am able to run 16GB of DDR3-2666 on a 2700K that otherwise was stuck at 2400 on Z68.

    Ian should have a followup on T-Topology shortly and we will include some additional details in future users guides. As to the general advantages, with IVB it allows users to run larger memory densities at higher speeds than serial based setup. How Much? It is difficult to tell at this time as we have run out of BCLK headroom and memory kit speed already while the boards were still scaling (16GB at 3300+).

    In addition, we have noticed improvements in memory voltages and timings at like settings (16GB, 2800+, 32GB 2400+) compared to several competing boards along with the ability to run some crazy CAS timings at high speeds (with reasonable voltages) that were not possible in the past.

    Overall, this is the future of memory trace design and we have additional tuning left to complete that will extract higher levels of memory performance from this platform in several different ways. As to our competitors, T-Topology will be suggested/required in the next generation platform and we understand that two manufacturers will release new Z77 boards with this technology later this year. Of course, considering the amount of engineering work and design we put into this technology for Z77, it will be interesting to see how well it works on the clone boards.
    Reply

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