Here's what you have missed so far in the motherboard industry 2011 - Intel and its board manufacturers are busy rectifying the glitch in Cougar Point, the 6 series chipsets for Intel's Sandy Bridge processors. While this settles the mainstream segment, enthusiasts are holding their breath in anticipation of Intel's Z68 chipset, which is reportedly launching in May. What to do between now and May then? Well, vendors appear to be favoring the older Intel X58 chipset and using it in some new, high-end motherboards.
Of course, ASUS, which started the whole Republic of Gamers series to appeal to the gaming and overclocking enthusiast crowd, too has something to show and that is none other than a revamped version of its Rampage III Extreme board, known as Rampage III Black Edition.
What this high-end board has in common with the competition is the presence of Bigfoot Network's Killer 2100 Gigabit network chip. Touted to improve your internet connection by reducing latency and prioritizing your gaming bits, the Killer 2100 is also used in the G1.Assassin. For the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition, the manufacturer has integrated it together with its own Xonar audio card in a single PCIe x1 slot expansion card dubbed Thunderbolt. Yes, it's rather unfortunate that Intel too is using Thunderbolt for its new interconnect technology.
In any case, ASUS sent us some early images of the upcoming Rampage III Black Edition:
We'll have more to report once we get our hands on the actual hardware. The question is, would this or any of the newly released Intel X58 based motherboards tempt you now, or would you rather wait for an Intel Z68 board?