We’ve got some pretty big news for you tonight – ASUS is introducing us to their upcoming Z87 motherboard lineup early. I can’t tell you how early, because that would break our NDA with Intel, but you’re probably already following our Haswell rumors thread and have some idea. If you’re not, shame on you!
Anyway, tonight is about ASUS. We have a unique perspective on these boards – ASUS actually invited my fellow editor, Dino Decesari (Lvcoyote), and me to Fremont, CA earlier this month to check them out. What you’ll see below is a combination of press release and my own ruminations, the latter of which will be pretty sparse just because we err on the side of caution to avoid any possible NDA issues. Remember as you read the stuff in quotes, this is a press release after all. By definition there will be a lot of fluff, especially when you can’t say anything substantive about the platform yet. When we get the boards in hand and review them for you, we’ll bring you all the details, we promise! Now we’ll let ASUS start us off.
ASUS Displays a Full Range of Z87 Motherboards
ASUS, ROG, TUF, and WS boards based on the Intel® Z87 chipset cater to a wide range of needs, from everyday computing and digital content creation to extreme gaming
Fremont, CA (May 15th, 2013) — ASUS announces a full lineup of motherboards featuring Intel’s® latest Z87 chipset for 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors. An industry leading collection of motherboards from the ASUS (mainstream), Republic of Gamers (ROG), The Ultimate Force (TUF), and WS (workstation) series offer the best user experience, performance, reliability and upgrade options on the Intel® Z87 platform.
“ASUS possesses the best research and development expertise, and as always we are confident that we offer our customers the finest quality with these new motherboards. We’re including a variety of media-praised exclusive features with each model, and are proud to announce that we have the most comprehensive Z87 motherboard launch lineup, all available simultaneously”, commented Jackie Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Sales, ASUS Open Platform Business Group.
Ok, getting on with the boards, let’s see if you recognize anything different about the new channel board lineup…
Completely redesigned ASUS Series motherboards
ASUS-branded motherboards introduce a new premium color scheme while delivering the highest standards of innovation, performance, and reliability. Multiple offerings include a wide range of customer segments, led by the high-end Z87-DELUXE, which delivers a wide variety of advanced features and connectivity options. The Z87-A targets mainstream builds with incredible performance while offering exclusive ASUS features. Additional models include the Z87-PRO and Z87-PLUS motherboards that provide enhanced features and performance in their target segments. The Z87I-DELUXE offers best-in-class options, design and performance in a remarkable mini-ITX design. The Z87 WS provides workstation reliability and feature sets for professional design and content creation applications.
ASUS introduces their next generation Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-Way Optimization technology that integrates new features to enhance the ways customers manage their PC for improved gaming, entertainment, and productivity performance. The TPU performance tuning chip, EPU energy consumption manager, DIGI+ Power Control, and Fan Xpert 2 can all be activated with one click of the mouse. This exclusive 4-way optimization automatically enhances performance, optimizes energy efficiency and digital power management, while adjusting case fan operation for reduced noise and improved cooling. When users are away from the PC, this design intelligently shifts to Away Mode, allowing customers to download and stream content or backup data with minimal power draw.
Elegant color choice makes component matching easier
For nearly a quarter of a century, ASUS has been leading in motherboard design and development while maintaining close ties to the global PC DIY community. Accommodating the needs of system builders the elegant gold color palette works in synergy with black color schemes available in most PC cases. Multi-faceted and multi-tiered, the new gold imbued heatsinks have bigger surface areas for better heat dissipation and improved cooling. As such, ASUS Z87 motherboards are as visually pleasing as they are industry-leading in stability, reliability, and exclusive features.
That’s right folks, the ever present ASUS blue is now ASUS gold. I know what you’re thinking, because it’s what both Dino and I thought when we saw these – to put it nicely, cheesy; but it’s not that bad. Really it isn’t, not even close. Some manufacturers *cough* ECS *cough* have tried gold before and it just didn’t look all that good. ASRock colors their capacitors gold for some reason and claims that’s better. As gold goes, this is a good gold. It has a premium look to it that’s hard to photograph. You might just plain hate the color, and that’s fine, but I encourage you to go into a brick-and-mortar store if you can and have a look at these before you pass judgement on looks alone. They’re good looking boards, especially installed in a case.
Their Wi-Fi antenna is neat too; you can position it like this or you can rotate the “mast” so that it lies flat. It’s much more visually appealing than their older round antennas with the small pole mast.
Of course, ASUS being who they are, they have a board for every price segment. There won’t be any prices shared today though; that’s still under NDA.
The workstation (WS) motherboards are getting the makeover too, as you can see in the Z87 WS:
Moving up from the channel/WS boards, we get to the overclocker and gamer specials – the Republic of Gamers (RoG for short) series, led by the Maximus VI Extreme. More astute readers will notice something different about this one from its predecessors.
Setting new levels of performance for gamers and overclockers
ROG now offers the all-new MAXIMUS VI HERO motherboard, tailored to gaming enthusiasts who want to experience the world-famous ROG brand at a more accessible price point. Accompanied by the MAXIMUS VI GENE micro ATX gaming motherboard, each motherboard delivers SupremeFX audio that rivals discrete soundcards in power and clarity, and Sonic Radar on-screen overlay, which shows the location and orientation of in-game sound sources for greater success in competitive gaming sessions. MAXIMUS VI GENE also ships with mPCIe Combo II featuring the latest data transfer and networking options that include support for M.2 (NGFF) SSD connectivity.
The flagship MAXIMUS VI EXTREME motherboard brings the ROG tradition of setting world overclocking records to Z87. It arrives with the ASUS OC Panel, a real-time overclocking and system monitoring console that can be placed in a 5.25” drive bay or used externally. When used externally the OC Panel offers an variety of detailed overclocking settings in Extreme Mode. Additional ROG motherboards are arriving in the near future and will complete the largest and most diversified lineup of Z87 gaming motherboards in the industry.
Give up on what changed with the Extreme? It’s a normal ATX form factor, not eATX like the Extreme boards that came before. That’s huge for people that have problems fitting the big dog into their cases and opens up the modding & looks market quite a bit.
The Maximus VI GENE returns to continue bringing us a strong overclocking board for those on a tighter budget that also fits in a small form factor. The Maximus V GENE was a great extreme overclocking board for the price and the VI shouldn’t be any different
Now we have what is arguably the biggest news from our trip (at least the biggest news we can tell you about…wink wink, nudge nudge) – the Maximus VI HERO. This is a slightly stripped down Maximus RoG board, which is, frankly, a big deal. RoG series boards have always been premium products and they always carried a premium price tag too. While worth it as a rule, they were just plain priced out of a portion of the market. The Maximus VI HERO is going to change that stigma. It’s still a solid board and looks the RoG part as well, but should come in at a much more reasonable price point. People on a tight budget that still want the RoG name, and quality that comes with it, now have an answer. The Maxmius VI HERO is very exciting for the gaming set. Heavy overclockers will still probably want to lean toward the GENE, but gamers on a budget will like the HERO. It also doesn’t hurt to give those in this price bracket an other-than-gold option if that’s not their bag.
Last but not least we have the TUF series.
Enhanced cooling and endurance with DIY flexibility
The TUF motherboard series arrives with the SABERTOOTH Z87 and the addition of the GRYPHON Z87, the first micro-ATX TUF motherboard. Both deliver rigorously-tested TUF cooling and durability even under the most demanding usage conditions. TUF motherboards use high-durability components such as Japan-made 10K Black Metallic capacitors, which support 20% greater extreme temperature tolerance and five times the lifespan of generic capacitors used in other motherboards.
TUF-specific options like Thermal Armor feature a new airflow-boosting flow valve design on SABERTOOTH Z87 while TUF Fortifier backplates reinforce motherboards against bending and bowing, ensuring longer-lasting PCs. TUF Dust Defender adds unique enclosures that protect expansion slots, ports and connectors against debris accumulation, which promote system longevity. The upgraded TUF Thermal Radar offers industry leading real time temperature monitoring and fan controls.
All of the above are standard on SABERTOOTH Z87 while GRYPHON Z87 provides customers the flexibility of the optional GRYPHON ARMOR KIT (sold separately), which upgrades it using Thermal Armor, TUF Fortifier, and Dust Defender.
The TUF series boards have a solid fanbase among people that like a solid motherboard and modders alike. Modders love them because it’s a different style that they can build around. Military and industrial mods are tailor made for the TUF boards. That brings us to the second biggest news from our trip to California – the Gryphon.
mATX has now made its way to the TUF series. Unfortunately for those that want it, the Armor Kit you’re familiar with seeing on the Sabertooth boards doesn’t come with the Gryphon, you have to buy it separately. From what we were told, you can expect a reasonable price though. They just made this decision to get the Gryphon at a particular price point and then give people the option if they want the Armor Kit.
ASUS has a little bit more to say, then we’ll be done.
Do not settle for less
While often imitated but never duplicated, ASUS motherboards offer class leading designs, feature sets and quality that truly sets them apart from competing brands. All ASUS, ROG, TUF, and WS Z87 motherboards feature a rigorous validation process that guarantees the highest quality and compatibility in the industry.
ASUS tests every motherboard series with hundreds of memory, expansion card, and external device combinations from almost every supplier in the market to ensure launch compatibility that continues throughout the life cycle of the product. ASUS motherboards also pass the most demanding stress testing process in the industry, verifying their stability, reliability, and longevity for users now and into the future.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
ASUS, ROG, TUF, and WS Z87 motherboards will be available from mid-2013. Pricing and availability for specific models may vary between regions.
To be provided at a later date due to Intel® non-disclosure requirements and are subject to change without notification.
ASUS is a worldwide top-three consumer notebook vendor and maker of the world’s best-selling and most award-winning motherboards. A leading enterprise in the new digital era, ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today’s digital home and office, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, displays, desktop and all-in-one PCs, notebooks, netbooks, servers, multimedia devices, wireless solutions, networking devices, tablets and smartphones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 4,168 awards in 2012 and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with its Eee PC™. ASUS has more than 12,500 employees around the globe with a world-class R&D team of 3,800 engineers. Company revenue for 2012 was approximately US$14 billion.
There you have it folks, the new ASUS Z87 motherboard lineup. A completely different channel color scheme and new boards in every segment give us lots to consider without even getting into what the boards actually do – and believe me, there are some pretty big changes there too. What do you think of the lineup now that it’s all laid out for you? Let us know in the comments!