ASUS has long since dispelled the myth that smaller form factor motherboards can’t be powerhouse performers. You need look no further than the Z87 based Maximus VI GENE and Maximus VI Impact to prove that point. Today, we’re moving onto the next generation Intel Z97 chipset and the ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VII GENE. This mATX form factor motherboard actually sits atop the initial ASUS Z97 ROG offerings, or at least until the Maximus VII Formula is released later in the year. For this release, ASUS has implemented quite a few new features on both the hardware and software side when compared to earlier versions. So, let’s dive in and see if ASUS managed to provide another enthusiast level motherboard worthy of the ROG name, all wrapped up in a mATX form factor.
With the release of a new chipset, Intel’s Z97 this time around, board partners have their inevitable releases to go along with it. At a high-level, the big changes are the future Haswell refresh and Broadwell support and new, faster, storage abilities. We’ve had a review published already with a bit more detail on the chipset. MSI is one of those partners and has released a series of Z97 based boards from their Gamer Series to the Overclock Series. Today, we are lucky enough to take a look at a board from the Overclock Series, the MSI Z97 MPwer MAX AC. The board is geared towards overclocking, but has plenty of other features that should make it a well-rounded offering.
ASUS has enjoyed a loyal following for their TUF Sabertooth line of motherboards over the years, whether that be an Intel or AMD based platform. Given that group of loyal followers, it makes perfect sense to carry the TUF Sabertooth motherboards into the Z97 platform as well. ASUS rolled out a Mark I and Mark II version of the TUF Sabertooth Z97; and today, we’ll be looking at the Mark I iteration. While there may not be an enormous amount of change between the Z97 and Z87 chipsets, that didn’t stop ASUS from adding lots of new features to the TUF Sabertooth Z97 motherboards that accompany the chipset update. The design philosophy of this motherboard can be broken down into three main groups – Ultimate Cooling, Tested Reliability, and a Durable Design. So, let’s get started and see if the TUF Sabertooth Z97 Mark I can meet that criteria!
G.Skill is clearly one of the most popular memory manufacturers, especially among computer enthusiasts, gamers and overclockers. At Overclockers we once again have a chance to check how much G.Skill has to offer as we test the TridentX 16GB DDR3-2133 CL9 memory kit. The TridentX memory series is designed for the most demanding users like extreme overclockers, so there is no place for cheap parts. You can expect to receive a high end product which you paid for.
GIGABYTE is wasting little time bringing a full slate of motherboards featuring the new Z97 and H97 chipset to market. The popular G1 Gaming and Ultra Durable series lead the pack with no less than ten and twelve offerings respectively. Two Super Overclocking (SOC) boards and three Black Edition boards will also be released.
The NVIDIA GTX 760 series of graphics cards has become a very popular option when considering great gaming performance at an affordable price. Looking to expand on this popularity, ASUS has released their latest offering in this category… The ROG Striker Platinum GTX 760. New features include an updated DirectCU II cooler, CoolTech fan technology, and a color coded LED that changes shade to reflect the GPU’s load status. Oh, and lest we forget – the Striker Platinum comes with a pretty stout factory overclock too. So, let’s jump right in and find out if ASUS has another product worthy of the ROG name!
The Mionix Naos 7000 mouse is a variation on the same theme as the Avior 8200 we reviewed previously. The main element that sets this mouse apart from the mischief is its ergonomic, full palm design which also means it’s for right handed users only. Hopefully, cutting out 15% of the population doesn’t prove detrimental to the function of this mouse.