Computex 2014: The ASUS Booth Tourby Ian Cutress on June 11, 2014 11:45 AM EST
The TUF Sabranco
Camouflage usually comes in three main varieties for most ground troops of a nation’s armed forces: regular, sand and snow. Due to popular demand on the ASUS forums it would seem that a snow version of TUF, the consumer endurance range from ASUS, is coming to market. One of the prototypes was up on display at the booth, combined with the TUF Fortifier which had also been decorated to match the motherboard. The motherboard itself is purchased as white by ASUS then components added, similar to some Galaxy graphics cards in the past.
The Sabranco is still a work in process, as dictated by the glass sheet in front of it and a ‘do not touch’ sign. There is not much to tell from these images, however the dual fan placement element of the TUF Fortifier is here, as well as the SATA Express connector with the SATA ports.
The Thermal Armor around the power delivery has the two switches to direct airflow around that area. The name ‘Sabranco’ is a portmanteau of Sabertooth and Branco, the Portuguese for white. So I am not one who enjoys portmanteau in general (with ‘chillax’ being on the bad end of the scale but ‘ginormous’ seems reasonable’), and I am not sure Sabranco rolls off the tongue as easily as some of the other ASUS product names. The best alternative as a name for this I could come up with, when ASUS asked what I would call it instead, was the ‘TUF Antarctic’, so go with the color along with the harsh conditions TUF is designed to be used in. I guess I might have been influenced by the case design ASUS had on display to show off what a white system might look like:
As mentioned, this white TUF motherboard is most likely coming to market however it is a few months away from release right now. I suspect the first socket for this model will be Z97, though depending on the demand for X99, perhaps an extreme edition will be made.
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457R4LDR34DKN07 - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkAre you sure the MPCIE combo IV is PCIE 3.0? JJ from ASUS told me it was PCIE 2.0.
Ian Cutress - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkI'm double checking for you. I was under the impression that it was only PCIe 2.0 by virtue of a lack of PCIe 3.0 drives but still PCIe 3.0 capable due to CPU lanes rather than PCH lanes. I'm sure I asked this question during my tour; I either remembered what I hoped, or what I heard, given the whirlwind of meetings that week. I'll update when I get an answer back.
Ian Cutress - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkI got a response: PCIe version not yet confirmed. Device is due out Q3, and they have time to choose either way. If you have a preference, note it here: I'm sure ASUS will be looking.
PCIe 3.0 x4 will reduce the main GPU slot to PCIe 3.0 x8, but in my testing at 1080p gaming, frame rates drop less than 1%.
PCIe 2.0 x4 will give a full 16 lanes to the GPU, but might restrict some of the lane allocations for extra functionality. This effect is lessened by using a mITX board because there is less space for the extra functionality so the designers are restricted in what they can do.
457R4LDR34DKN07 - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkI don't have a preference as I have a z77 and not compelled to upgrade until broadwell or beyond. If I was ASUS I would stick to PCIE 2.0 because: A) No current M.2 drives with gen3 B) PCIE 16X 3.0 might be more important in future video cards and is a more likely upgrade for a gaming motherboard.
k4z3t5ub4k1 - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkAwesome, thanks for taking the time to ask. IMO, on the Mini-ITX boards, I am hoping that the combo card is 4x PCIe 3.0 from the CPU. Since the Mobo only has one PCIe slot for graphics, thus SLI or Crossfire is not even an option, PCIe 8x is more than enough so satisfy the requirement of even a top end GPU. I would rather lose the 1% FPS going from 16x to 8x and gain the added storage speed that can be brought with M.2 over 4x PCIe 3.0.
Freakie - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkI would vote for PCIe 3.0. Waiting for drives to catch up is better than waiting for drives to be the ones that start. The faster the rest of the ecosystem is ready for a new technology, the faster we get the new technology. It would be nice if they could implement a BIOS feature to switch it from 2.0 to 3.0 (not sure if that is even possible) so that way we have the flexibility to upgrade in the future, or customize our current setup by deciding if we want to give the mPCIe device 3.0 bandwidth and sacrifice slight GPU performance, or give the device 2.0 bandwidth and keep the performance.
In the end, I think SSD's need more attention than GPU's right now.
dgingeri - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkI saw my MB up there in the Server section. The Z97-WS is a really nice board, but I have already had trouble with it. The DIMM slots 3 and 4 died on me after 10 days.
I understand that issues like this do come up once in a while. (I'm the admin of a server software test lab. As reliable as server hardware is, I still have about a quarter of my time taken up replacing defective parts.) Still, Asus's support system is a bit lacking when things do go bad. I started this ticket last Thursday, and they still haven't shipped my replacement board. The hoops I had to jump through took me until yesterday to get done, and they say they'll ship it within 48 hours. It looks like I probably won't have a replacement in time for the weekend. This has discouraged me from buying any of their server line for my employer. It just takes too long to get things swapped, specifically because their support system is flawed.
extide - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkIf both slots on a single channel no longer work you may want to try removing and re-inserting the CPU... Sometimes you can have issues like that.
dgingeri - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkyeah, tried that. no luck. There are a couple solder points on the back of the board at the DIMM slots that look suspect, though. That's why I went for the RMA.
martixy - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - linkI've been waiting for precisely this article.
Light on the details, but in any case at least we have an update on upcoming release dates, be it from here or other coverage of Computex.