ASUS held an Intel Z87 motherboard technical seminar late last month and we were offered a sneak preview to their exciting new offerings based on Intel's accompanying chipset (Intel Z87) to the soon-to-be-launched 4th generation Intel Core processors (codenamed "Haswell"). At this seminar, we witnessed a wide spread of their new boards, with a great deal of technical specifications shared too. However, certain aspects cannot be shared to the public until after the new processors and chipset are officially unveiled at Computex 2013 coming in June. As such, we'll share what we can at this point of time and do stay tuned to more information next month. Recently, we also previewed one of the first Intel 8-series boards from MSI, the Z87-GD65 Gaming that was aimed at gamers and overclockers and we've more vendors slowly stepping up to showcase their respective upcoming products. So without further ado, we will delve into the new Z87-based offerings from ASUS.
We have witnessed ASUS' commitment to the PC gaming community with their Republic of Gamers (ROG) series of components and peripherals, and the company has gone from strength-to-strength with each new chipset platform. The ASUS Maximus VI Extreme can be considered the apex for their Intel Z87-based ROG offerings as the board is built for extreme overclocking, incorporating high-end features that will assist such efforts.
Among some of its improved features, one of the more radical ones is the OC Panel that acts as a command center for overclocking needs. This new device is radically different from its OC Key counterpart. Currently, we don't have more detailed information to this new and exclusive piece of overclocking component, but we do know that it uses a different connector from the OC Key and the OC Panel is able to fit into a spare 5.25-inch drive bay of a PC chassis so that it can fulfill its name-sake of being a control panel.
On top of the usual Formula and Gene boards, ASUS has introduced a Hero series into its ROG lineup of Intel 8-series boards. This is meant to be a more affordable ROG ATX motherboard, but it's unclear whether the local distributors will be bringing this edition in.
ASUS has also put on their thinking caps with regards to addressing the needs of the mainstream DIY PC community with their new P8Z77 motherboard series. For starters, the company has eschewed the old blue and white color scheme for a more opulent one of black and gold. According to the company, this move is to complement the primarily black designs of most PC chassis. We found the new color scheme refreshing but ECS beat them to the punch for adopting this color scheme when it launched their Intel Z77-based ECS Z77H2-AX board. Given that most motherboard vendors don't usually mimic color schemes used by their competition, we couldn't help but wonder what was ASUS thinking. While we leave you to ponder upon that, here's a closer look at these mainstream performance ASUS boards:-
One of the boards on display from this series was the Z87-Pro motherboard and we saw its gold-plated VRM heatsinks, together with other components that have been coated with a gold hue. Besides sporting a new look, this high-end board features an updated Wi-Fi GO! module with support of IEEE 802.11n wireless networking standard. According to ASUS, the updated Wi-Fi GO! wireless module with support for IEEE 802.11ac wireless networking standard will only be bundled with their Z87-Deluxe/Dual and Z87-Deluxe boards.
The Deluxe motherboard edition also has a mini-ITX counterpart, the ASUS Z87I-Deluxe that is targeted at system builders looking for a small footprint rig without compromising on high-end features.
Making its debut with the P8Z77 series boards is the company's own brand of control system that features "Dual Intelligent Processors 4". This feature will allow users to manage their systems' power and cooling needs based on their computing requirements with a click of their mouse.
There are also professional-class boards to address the needs of serious users setting up personal workstation systems for intensive workloads with the Z87-WS board:-