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Ahead of the official launch day for Intel’s upcoming chipset release, we have some news to share regarding ASUS motherboard offerings designed around this new chipset. We’re limited to talking about ASUS specific features here as not to break our NDA with Intel. With that in mind, we’ll share what we can!
Maximus VII ROG Series
Earlier this month, I was invited to attend an ASUS Tech Conference held in Newark, California. On display was their new motherboard lineup, so let’s start with the ROG series. There has been a new member added to the ROG family for this platform release, the Maximus VII Ranger. If you remember when the Maximus VI Hero was released, the idea was to make a ROG series motherboard affordable to a wider audience. The Maximus VII Ranger takes that idea a step further and is priced below the the Maximus VII Hero. In essence, this means there are now two affordable options for those wanting to jump into the ROG world. The other ROG board available at launch will be the Micro-ATX Maximus VII Gene. There are no plans for a Maximus VII Extreme, but a Maximus VII Formula and Maximus VII Impact are in development and will be offered after the official launch.
Improvements have been made to the aesthetics of the ROG boards via the heatsink design and red accents applied to the PCB. Naturally, all of the ROG boards will be outfitted with the DIGI+ VRM design and a stout power delivery. Additionally, you’ll find the onboard enthusiast buttons and switches we’ve become accustomed to seeing on ROG boards, albeit the Ranger will be a little less decked out than the Gene and Hero. ASUS also introduces there onboard KeyBot chip with this generation of ROG motherboards. Keybot has the ability to upgrade just about any keyboard to create shortcuts, macros, or even activate many ROG specific features from the desktop. The Q design features that make component installation a breeze carry over to this revision as well. You’ll also find several protection safeguards to ensure the longevity of these new ROG motherboards.
On the software side, improvements abound are found here as well. The ASUS motherboard and router teams worked together to improve the Game First III software in-house. Whereas other motherboard manufacturers use a cFOS based software for bandwidth prioritization, ASUS does this completely on their own now. The LAN ports have seen an upgrade too and now include surge protection, which extends to the USB 3.0 ports located within the same I/O block. Just about everything from Fan Xpert, AI Suite III, and the onboard audio have had additional features and functionality added. As time goes on and we do the actual motherboard reviews, we’ll dive into these new technologies in more detail.
I apologize for the picture quality, I only had a cell phone with me! Luckily, I do have a few slides I can share with better picture quality.
ASUS Channel Series
The ASUS channel lineup includes two Deluxe boards, which are differentiated by the inclusion of WiFi and NFC accessories, or not. Two Pro versions are slated for release too and include a version with WiFi and one without. The channel mITX motherboard will fill the SFF needs, but don’t let the size fool you… it’s packed with many of the same features as it’s larger brethren. Rounding out the Channel board offerings is a “-A” model, which is a lower cost option.
ASUS revamped the aesthetics on the Channel lineup and opted for a less bold color scheme than what was found on the previous generation. Just as we noted with the ROG lineup, several enhancements have been made on the software and hardware side. The Dual Intelligent Processors feature now sits at version five and has added automatic overclocking functionality based on voltage and temperature parameters. The audio design varies per model, but the higher-end boards offer shielding, dedicated PCB layers, and an EMI cover. There are several other enhancements that made their way onto the Channel boards, but you’ll have to wait for a full review to see them up close. I’m sure you can spot some of them by looking at the pictures below. After the pictures below is a series of slides outlining additional features the Channel series motherboards offer.
ASUS TUF Sabertooth Series
The TUF series motherboards make their way to the new lineup and include a Sabertooth Mark 1 and Mark 2 version. The Mark 1 comes decked out with the TUF Armor and a back plate that provides rigidity and doubles as a heatsink. There seems to be a love/hate relationship with the TUF Armor, so ASUS has you covered with the Sabertooth Mark 2 that comes without it. There was also talk of a micro-ATX TUF Gryphon being released, but there wasn’t one on display to show you.
These boards are built tough, just as their name would suggest and come with a five-year warranty to back them up. The TUF boards are tested for compatibility and validation far beyond what other motherboards are, which includes over 7,000 hours of compatibility checks spanning over 1,000 devices. Depending on the model, several enhancements have been made from previous TUF iterations. Everything from dust resistant fans, improved fan control, and beefed up Alloy Chokes have been implemented for the new TUF series. I actually have the TUF Mark 1 board on hand, and it will be the first ASUS motherboard with the new chipset we take a look at, so I wont go into much detail here and spoil the upcoming review.
ASUS WS Series
Our last stop at the ASUS Tech Conference was the Work Station (WS) display. Most of you probably think work station motherboards are pretty mundane as far as features go, but nothing could be farther from the truth when it comes to this ASUS WS offering. With its plethora of connectivity and support for four discrete graphics cards (think quad-SLI/Crossfire), it really packs a punch. ASUS claims this new WS motherboard has the world’s first 12K capacitors making it as reliable as motherboards come. Many of the enthusiast features found on the other series of boards are found here too, such as DIGI+ VRM, TPU and EPU switches, and the MemOK! button. Even though it’s a workstation motherboard, overclocking is well-supported!
There you have it, a complete line of ASUS motherboards designed around Intel’s upcoming chipset. I think there is something that’s sure to please just about any class of user out there. Thanks to ASUS for the Tech Conference invite, and stay tuned for our upcoming reviews on these latest ASUS motherboard offerings!