ASUS

The big motherboard vendors will have at release their usual gamut of motherboards to fit a variety of price points, and ASUS is no exception.  The usual lineup from ASUS should consist of several channel board models (LE, -V, Pro, Deluxe, WS, Sabertooth), to then be followed by a variety of Republic of Gamers motherboards (Gene, Maximus, Formula) over the next few months.  Today we have images detailing several of these products.

ASUS Sabertooth Z77

The Sabertooth Z77 is part of ASUS’ range of TUF motherboards, supporting an unparalleled level of motherboard cooling control all wrapped up in a five-year warranty.  I have been lucky enough to see this board in action, and there are some fun new features to get to grips with: Fan Xpert 2 allows complete fan control, with onboard optimization of fan levels. There is even a feature that allows the fans to keep spinning for a short while after the PC is turned off to remove that stagnant warm air from components.

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe

The P8Z77-V Deluxe represents the top end of the ASUS channel board range, and immediately we can see that ASUS is now starting to put on-board Wifi onto these boards.  I had a good chat with one of ASUS’ PR, and in their view if at least 25% of their users require a feature, it will be added.  Well it turns out that at least a quarter of people according to ASUS use a wireless connection for their PC to get to the internet, and as such this feature should be added across the range.  In my eyes, this is a welcome addition which can only add value.  The Deluxe also sports Intel network controllers, a feature that works its way down to the other channel boards.

ASUS P8Z77 WS

The WS (workstation) motherboard from ASUS is becoming a staple of their range.  This Z77 model, aside from featuring DVI output (rather than HDMI/DisplayPort which the models above do) and dual Intel network controllers, contains a special PCIe 3.0 PLX chip to increase the number of PCIe 3.0 lanes on the motherboard.  This gives the PCIe layout to reach x8/x8/x8/x8 all in 3.0 mode, which becomes useful for multi-GPU simulators in increasing GPU-to-GPU throughput.  It will be interesting to see if this PLX chip has any performance decrease associated with it like the NF200 did.  This WS board supports Intel’s 3rd Generation Intel Core Xeon processors and ECC memory to fit into the workstation category, albeit with more overclock options than a standard workstation board.

ASUS ROG Maximus V Gene

The Gene range of ASUS’ Republic of Gamers boards caters to the crowd wanting small yet powerful systems, with all the functionality of the main size boards (albeit missing a few PCIe ports).  The Maximus V Gene doesn’t fail to disappoint – as it has the ROG treatment, we still get access to the ROG forums with dedicated ASUS employees to help optimize any configuration.  The port on the IO panel is of interest – this is what ASUS calls an ‘augmentation port’, which provides space for both a mini-PCIe slot and an mSATA port.  This would allow users to supply their own wifi module and mini-SSD as required, without taking up valuable space around the rest of the board.  Other ROG features include PCB isolation for the audio to reduce electromagnetic interference, and ROG exchange – the ability for users to share overclocking results for similar systems and setups and see exactly all the settings required to make those overclocks. 

7-Series Chipsets Gigabyte
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  • mbf - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Is ECC support on the P8Z77 WS confirmed? Last generation ECC for Sandy Bridge-based (Xeon) processors was only introduced with the P8B WS, which uses the C206 chipset, and not, for instance, the P8P67 WS Revolution, which uses the P67 chipset.

    ASUS itself doesn't say one way or the other (http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155...

    Don't get me wrong. I'd _really_ love ECC support on the P8Z77 WS, but somehow I doubt it.
    Reply
  • ven - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    at least this time intel didn't do any crazy things like limiting the IGP access to selected chipset (P67,they purposely removed that feature just because for that lucid Logix virtu thing(Z68), I think it doesn't create any difference most of them used the discrete graphics card as the primary graphics engine.completely useless feature)

    one thing i hate with 7 series is still it is supporting only 2 SATA-III port, those marvell and asmedia ports performance are no match for the intel.

    Still no hint of thunderbolt,maybe waiting for haswell.
    Reply
  • st.bone - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Oh Thunderbolt is here.... Check this out:
    Thunderbolt Port Pictured on MSI Z77A-GD80
    http://www.techpowerup.com/161912/Thunderbolt-Port...
    Reply
  • ven - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    is it native to Z77? then why didn't all motherboards has this feature? Reply
  • mmaestro - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Would love to see some stuff on the H77 boards. SRT on an entry-level board should give some great idiot-proof performance boosting for the folks who just need a basic system to deal with media, web browsing, email, and office apps. Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Wasn't Thunderbolt supposed to be on-board finally? Reply
  • mbf - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    No, USB3 is finally on-board. Thunderbolt is just no longer an "Apple Exclusive". Apart from that, the Thunderbolt chip costs a pretty penny as well. Reply
  • Arbie - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    I hope you'll review the Asus Sabertooth Z77 board, with some emphasis on its thermal armor and fan control suite.

    Reviews of the board's predecessors have either left the thermal armor with no fan, or have installed the fan backwards. Asus evidently provides no guidance on this, and may not even include the fan. As a result, there have been no good reviews of what the armor achieves.

    The design of the armor shows that an exhaust fan is expected. This will pull warm air out of the covered areas and dump it into the space above the fan port (between CPU cooler and graphics board etc). This should help the protected motherboard components run cooler. However, there remain questions of physical interference between the fan and the card slots, especially the 1x slot nearest the fan port. Also, what fan size is required, and is there a best choice for this?

    I'd also like to know what thermal sensors are supported by the mobo and its BIOS, how many PWM headers there are and what they control on, and any other details that will help plan a build.

    Asus stands out in its support for air cooling of an overclocked rig in a real-world PC case, and I think that what they offer should be evaluated for its benefits. Reviewers too often shortcut or simply ignore such provisions because they are testing on an open chassis. So most manufacturers feel free to shortcut the issues as well. But consumers buying the boards will be using them very differently, and case cooling is VERY important.

    Far less important to me are extra slots and PLX-type chips for SLI graphics boards. Given the glacial improvements in PC games, a single board is all I need or want. Given the practical drawbacks, I'd bet that only a small fraction of enthusiasts (which is already a very small group) actually run two boards.

    Thanks
    Reply
  • colonelclaw - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    It's a bit annoying that none of these chip-sets supports 8 RAM slots, but then I guess that would be cannibalising the more expensive kit. As someone who works in 3D graphics for a living it makes me slightly wince to see that Asus board labeled 'Workstation' with just 4 RAM slots. Intel sure likes to squeeze as much money out of us as they can now that they make the undisputed best processors, not that I can blame them for doing so, after all they're not a charity.
    Are there any chips that have more than 4 cores/8 threads that you can put in any of these boards? It's funny, 4 cores seemed like like so much just a few years ago, nowadays it feels like the bare minimum acceptable.
    Reply
  • coachingjoy - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    Any mITX goodness available?

    Thanks.
    Reply

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