Asus didn't make the trip to Computex unprepared, that's for sure. Instead, Asus unloaded a rather large collection of Republic of Gamer (ROG) products, including a new mouse, keyboard, a couple of new motherboards, monitor, gaming laptop, and several other items. There's even a console-like gaming PC in the mix -- it's not a Steam Machine, though it's ready to take residence in your living room or dorm.
More next-generation motherboards show up to the 5th Generation Core party
While we may never know which came first, the chicken or the egg, we do know that next-generation 9 Series motherboards are arriving ahead of Intel's refreshed Haswell launch. Gigabyte is the latest to debut Z97 and H97 motherboards -- about a million of them (slight exaggeration) broken up into four different categories that include the G1 Gaming Series, Ultra Durable Series, Overclocking Series, and Black Edition.
If you're anxious to make the leap to Intel's 9 Series platform, boutique system builder Origin PC is more than happy to oblige. In fact, Origin PC is the first custom PC builder to announce the availability of motherboards based on Intel's next-generation Z97 chipset. You'll find the Z97 motherboard option in Origin PC's Genesis, Millennium, and Chronos line of desktop PCs.
Three decked out boards, two of which you can preorder today
One thing we can say with certainty is that Intel's refreshed Haswell processors will have no trouble finding suitable homes in Z97-based motherboards. We've already seen several pop up online, and now EVGA has revealed its initial Z97 motherboard lineup. It includes three boards to get things started -- the EVGA Z97 Classified, EVGA Z97 FTW, and EVGA Z97 Stinger Core3D.
An early look at an Intel 9-Series motherboard from Asus
The motherboard market's been whittled down to a handful of players, one of which includes Asus, a top tier mobo maker. Always on the front lines of what's new and emerging, Asus has begun sending out samples of its forthcoming Z97-A motherboard based on Intel's new 9 Series chipset (Z97 in this case, obviously), which will support Intel's refreshed Haswell processor line.
This board is prepped and primed to break world records
MSI is throwing extreme overclockers a mighty big bone in the form of a motherboard. The company's upcoming Z97 XPower AC mobo will feature a "Delid Die Guard" that's measured to specification and designed to protect the CPU core on processors that no longer have an integrated heat spreader (IHS). In case you're unfamiliar, the IHS is that giant metal slab that covers the top of your processor. It's there to pull heat off of the CPU core, which is then transferred to a heatsink with a bit of thermal goo in between to fill in the microscopic nooks and crannies.
It's going to be an exciting summer for power users. Assuming all goes to plan and that leaked information turns out to be accurate, you can expect Intel to launch its Haswell-E hardware in June, along with its X99 "Wellsburg" chipset. Details of the forthcoming chipset have found their way online ahead of the chipset's release, which among other things will support DDR4 memory.
The only board in the world with a single LGA 2011 socket
Home networking demands seem to be increasing by the day -- 4K video streaming, anyone? -- which might explain why Gigabyte is launching a single LGA 2011 socket motherboard featuring an integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN controller. It's the worlds first motherboard to sport just one LGA 2011 socket, a move we suppose could help drive the price down while still offering home users 10GbE.
The first AM1-socket based SoC motherboards from Asus
AMD said there were several planned motherboard releases based on its recently announced AM1 platform, and true to form, they're starting to trickle out. Some of the first are from Asus, which just announced the AM1M-A and AM1I-A, a pair of small form factor (SFF) motherboards built to take advantage of AMD's AM1-socketed System-on-Chip (SoC) Athlon and Sempron series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs).