Intel has recently been awash with news about upcoming processors. In March, Intel released information on an upcoming unlocked Haswell Pentium processor, an upcoming Haswell-K processor with overclocking enhancements, an unlocked Iris Pro processor coming to Broadwell, and some details regarding an 8-core Haswell-E processor due later this year. This is a bit of an odd article – various motherboard manufacturers have posted new product images online for an upcoming platform, with all the juicy bits redacted. Here is our analysis of some of those products.

So What Are We Looking At?

The motherboards we are detailing today come from multiple sources.  In the case of GIGABYTE and MSI, both of these companies released edited images on their social media pages and gave copies to the press. In the case of ASUS, a leak from an ASUS APAC event provided small blurry images. ASRock provided some media with its image deck, only to have them leaked – we subsequently got the go ahead to publish them today. We should see a full range of images and motherboard specifications at launch.

The motherboards all use the 1150 pin socket designation, which suggests they are for Haswell processors. However the images have the chipset blurred out, but ‘Z_7’ is clearly visible giving us an overclocking chipset. On several of the motherboards we have M.2 slots as well as SATA Express, although without looking closer it is hard to see how these are configured (either via the chipset or a controller). Kristian looked at SATA Express earlier this year with a beta motherboard supplied by ASUS. mSATA seems to have disappeared almost entirely.

A lot of the motherboards adorn their name with some form of WiFi or AC, with text on the PCB all pointing towards 802.11ac 2T2R solutions. Given our past experiences, these are either Broadcom or Intel modules, with the Intel side of the equation being more expensive. Audio seems to get a revision change from Z87 across most of the manufacturers as well.

Technically the launch date of these products is under NDA. The NDA is such that we can't even mention the chipset by name, even if it is visible on some of the images we are sharing today. MSRP is still being decided on most fronts. Haswell processors were launched in June 2013, and all expectations for Broadwell are putting it at the end of the year, perhaps Q4 or later. Thus it should be straightforward to expect that this is a refresh, updating the mainstream platform to newer technology like M.2 and SATA Express. It also gives the motherboard manufacturers and system integrators a chance to upgrade their lines and offer the potential for new sales. Given that Intel has already announced an upcoming Haswell-K processor for ‘mid 2014’ and prices for Haswell refresh processors have already been leaked, it is not hard to put two and two together.

GIGABYTE’s New Products
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  • juhatus - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    I can't wait for M.2 to rumble in on desktop-side, having and using it on Sony vaio pro 13 its just awesome that boot is "instant-on" in 7 seconds.

    Comment on:
    "One of these slots is called ‘Ultra M.2’, with the words ‘PCIe Gen3 x4’ next to it, suggesting that they are implementing an x4 M.2 slot for the faster devices."
    Isnt there Samsung xp941 thats x4 M.2 also there are rumours about LSI M.2 Griffin.. (1.8Gb/s)

    http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz...
    http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz...
    Reply
  • goinginstyle - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    "Gigabyte Black Edition" - Does Gigabyte have any original ideas at all? Besides the obvious color scheme ripoff of Asus ROG now they are copying their naming scheme also. ASRock's stuff looks like a crayon factory exploded. Reply
  • ddriver - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    If you think asus invented black+red, you must have been living under a rock. Or "black edition" for that matter. Reply
  • Flunk - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    Asus was definitely one of the first companies putting crazy colors on their motherboards. Reply
  • AznAnarchy99 - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    You obviously don't remember the DFI LanParty motherboards. Reply
  • littlebitstrouds - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    Who the heck argues about marketing schemes for million dollar companies? UUUUGH Gap just started a BOGO sale, but Old Navy did it first! Reply
  • LordOfTheBoired - Monday, May 05, 2014 - link

    Both posers. Payless Shoes did the ORIGINAL BOGO, before it went mainstream. Reply
  • Antronman - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    The black PCB design + Red slots and highlights design was originally used by ASUS.

    The term "black edition" was originally coined by AMD.

    The funniest part is that the gigabyte mobo isn't even close to being black, much like the Titan BE :P
    Reply
  • nevertell - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    Wait, so you are arguing about the origin of such bland marketing terms as "black edition" ? And cutting each other's throat about the color scheme ? I understand that there could be some debate about the latter, but nobody can get a patent on a color scheme, and no one should be. The originality of the cosmetics is just a moot point, there is no such thing as original, when every motherboard model is made in thousands. Do you want the motherboards tailored to one's individual preferences, like Motorola is doing with the Moto X ? If you want it to be original, order the chips and build your own. As for the naming scheme, differentiation is better than just changing a single letter in the model code. Whilst you could argue that there are better phrases than "black edition", it's hardly the worst http://www.anandtech.com/show/7067/computex-2013-e...
    I couldn't care any less about the colour scheme and name of a motherboard, I care only about the build quality and the functionality/features a certain board has.
    Reply
  • Antronman - Monday, April 28, 2014 - link

    Neither of which Gigabyte has plenty of. Reply

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