Gaming Motherboards

At the release of the Maximus VII series of ROG motherboards, we had the Gene, the Hero and the new member of the group, the Ranger.  Oddly absent were the three more important members of that group – the Formula, the Impact and the Extreme.  At Computex this year, at the ROG press conference, the Impact and the Formula were announced, but no Extreme.  Actually one of my sources suggested that there will not be a Maximus VII Extreme for this generation, with effort being directed more towards the more extreme platforms expected later this year instead.

The Impact was one of the stars of the Z87 chipset, featuring a mini-ITX motherboard that proved to be a good extreme overclocker for memory but also featured in many small form factor gaming builds.  This upgrade was exhibited in the Maximini, a case modification by reapervon:

Inside this small case is a GTX 760 DirectCU Mini, as well as a closed-loop liquid cooler for the CPU and low noise-fans.  As I have mentioned over the years, some industries like to have technological showcases to prove what can be done, or to test what the public likes, and the motherboard industry is starting to jump on board.  Sometimes these shows have custom mods that look great, this being one example.

The main feature point for the new Impact motherboard is the mPCIe Combo IV, featuring M.2 x4 support from the CPU, meaning PCIe 3.0 lanes.  This is despite the lack of PCIe 3.0 M.2 drives out in the market right now – ASUS is expecting them within the next couple of iterations of M.2 however.

The Impact has an upgraded SupremeFX solution, which like in the last generation uses a daughter board to provide PCB separation and a focused audio design.  The power connectors are both on the right hand side of the motherboard which should make cabling easier, and I really want to see this right angled power delivery migrate to other bigger form factors in order to provide space for other features. 

One motherboard I was not expecting to see in the ROG section of the ASUS booth was the H97-Pro Gamer.

At this moment, this is not a full member of the ROG motherboard section, but it takes obvious cues from the ROG branding.  I am unsure at this point of time if this motherboard is derived from the ROG team inside ASUS or the channel motherboard team, or if ASUS was just showing this motherboard to gain interest.  Other motherboard manufacturers have moved some of their gaming range models to the H or B series chipsets with varied success, but I would be surprised if ASUS was trying to undercut their own Maximus VII Hero and Ranger models.  H97 means no CPU overclocking of course, so I guess in an effort to provide cheaper options in markets where the high-end models are not applicable then going with a non-overclocking version might work.  From the image above we can see SupremeFX integrated on the motherboard, as well as SATA Express and M.2.  There are no TPU or EPU headers, and a big PCIe to PCI switch is also present.

ROG GR8 and ROG G20 Monitors: ROG Swift PG278Q with G-Sync, PB279Q, PA328Q, MX27A
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  • lemon1510 - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

    Where did you got the specs from? The official ASUS site says "GTX 750 Ti" as GPU while you refer to a 750M which is in a completely different league in terms of performance =S.
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

    You are right, the GR8 is a 750 Ti - that's what I wrote in our original news item when it was announced. Corrected.
  • rocktober13 - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

    It would be nice if ASUS initially offered a version of the GR8 without Windows 8 to hit a lower price point. I would rather have a Ubuntu + Steam (with in home streaming) + XMBC combo. More functionality than SteamOS and available now. Also, I hope the included Windows 8 is the Pro version otherwise it's another $100 to add WMC with the basic edition.
  • rocktober13 - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

  • CalaverasGrande - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

    surprised there are not more UHD and 4k models.
    Not everyone wants a 30" monitor on their desk. I'm hoping to see more 24" UHD or 4K displays. Sure there is the Dell, but I kind of hate how Dells current industrial design looks with those awkward stands.
  • TylerGrunter - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

    Wasn´t the MeMO Pad 8 going to be out with the Atom Z3580 and have a FullHD panel?
    From their own press releas:
    I guess there are two models, the ME181C and the ME581CL, but I find terribly confusing that they call them both MeMO Pad 8
  • churchgeek - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

    A 10-but display!
  • pandemonium - Thursday, June 12, 2014 - link

    ASUS really is becoming 'the' brand of choice for all of their vested markets.

    Thanks for the coverage!
  • X3ON - Thursday, June 12, 2014 - link

    The ROG GX500 looks pretty interesting,
    The top and bottom shells are made og brushed aluminium, but what about the area around the keyboard? Is it plastic or matte black aluminium?
  • Nadrik23518 - Thursday, June 12, 2014 - link

    Any idea when and if Asus will offer to market a 24 inch monitor with G-sync? Why is Asus siting on G-sync? Can they give the buying community a firm date of when they will offer a monitor with G-sync? I have held my next purchase of a gaming monitor for over a year now. If all they are going to do is talk about G-sync and show mock-up monitors without ever coming to market with a product, I will purchase my second choice.

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