ASUS Shows Off Z77 Motherboards

If you find new motherboards to be worthy of eye candy, then we have a treat for you as ASUS pulled back the curtains on its Z77 model motherboards last week here in Dallas, TX. While there is a whole lot we can't tell you about the next generation Intel processors to occupy the LGA1155 socket, we can run down a very new software feature set.

What We Are Not Talking About

ASUS had us up to a swanky hotel in Dallas, TX here last week to show off its new line of Z77 motherboards sporting the Intelآ® Z77 Express Chipset. While there are a lot of things we can show you, there are a lot of things we cannot talk about here, mostly in regards to the next generation Intel processor architecture that is super top secret. All of the motherboards we are looking at below are Z77 motherboards and these do support LGA1155 Sandy Bridge processors including the new processor you have never heard about. A lot of folks are surely kicking around ideas about this unheard of processor.

We cannot share data with you about this next generation Intel processor either, and people in the HardForum will not be discussing its upgrade merits either. One gentleman in the [H]F did however post this statement as to information he had gleaned from sources overseas. While many will point to him as being a rumor monger, we generally put a good amount of faith in his forum ramblings.

Architecture advancements will be very little in terms of IPC. Not going to OC any better. I don't see sense in building an IB machine if you have a SB machine. I just built my own SB system, did not see much use in waiting for IB. That said, if you are in an pre-SB upgrade situation, there is no reason to not go IB unless you need LGA2011 memory footprint, or are looking for a long term socket, which LGA1155 is not.

We are a bit confused by all this IB and SB talk but we have been informed that his ranting is likely spot on.

What We Are Talking About

ASUS Reveals Intelآ® 7 Series-Based Motherboards at 2012 Global Seminars - Offers an optimized platform for PCs that deliver the fastest performance, most complete connectivity, and fully customizable cooling

At least that is how the Press Release starts out. I will post it in its entirety on the next page, because there are a lot of smaller features and changes I am going to leave out in our summary here. The "big" features from Intel are on these motherboards are native PCIe 3.0 and USB3. All of these motherboards support the "LGA1155 socket for 3rd generation Intelآ® Coreآ™ processor-based platforms and 2nd generation Coreآ™ i7/i5/i3/Pentiumآ®/Celeronآ® processors." Besides that here are the hardware specifications of the Z77 motherboards that ASUS is exposing at this time.

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ASUS Z77 Motheraboard Pics & Notes

After giving us a dog and pony show in upcoming changes to the hardware and software, ASUS let us grab a few shots of the Z77 motherboards that will soon be launching.

Sabertooth Z77 - This was probably the most impressive looking motherboard simply because of its Thermal Armor design.

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The Sabertooth Z77 will be sans WiFi and Bluetooth, but will have the Thermal Armor that many of you love. New "Dust Defenders" to plug those unused slots and give the board a better overall appearance. It will also come with Dust Defenders for the unused DIMM slots as well and these can be used as a tool to unlock the PCIe slots instead of having to poke at these with a screwdriver or something like that. The Sabertooth Z77 will come with two fans for the Thermal Armor setup. One will be pre-installed as you can see from the IO panel shot. This will be an intake fan and help cool off the power components. The other fan, not installed, but included will be positionable in the missing "north bridge" area. In the naked PCB shots above you can see some holes through the PCB that are outlined with a heavy gold colored paint pen. These holes are actually there for airflow. With the two fans installed, and possibly a CPU heatsink fan blowing down, you will create a positive pressure area under the Thermal Armor and these holes will give that pressure a place to flow through, cooling down your board. In addition to a more robust Thermal Radar monitoring system, Sabertooth Z77 will now have a Fan Overtime feature that will allow fans to run after the motherboard is shutdown to further cool the non-active system.

P8Z77-V - V Pro - WS

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While we are missing the Deluxe, we were assured there was a Deluxe version of the P8Z77 coming. Most of the big changes will will see on these boards beside the obvious chipset changes are going to be upgraded software systems shipping with these. All of these boards will now sport an Intel NIC and have a very robust Network iControl package included. Mainly you will have a wide variety of Network Package Controls implemented allowing you to prioritize packets at the board NIC level.

All of these boards and the ROG series will also ship with Fan Xpert2. FX2 will control four 3-pin controller heads at your disposal through the software allowing you to: Calibrate high and low RPMs per fan position, load those values into manually configurable presets per fan position, and give you real time fan monitoring and control per fan header. Almost everything you can think of in terms of fan control is implemented in this software. It was very impressive to watch in action.

Maximus V Gene

This was the only Republic of Gamers motherboard we were shown, but I would expect to see another in the future.

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Interestingly, we got some very good feedback about this board from ASUS in terms of overclocking and general performance. If you are one of those people that do not need a bunch of slots and would like to save some cash, and have the option to moving to a smaller case, then this board will likely be right up your alley. ASUS has been building some very impressive Gene boards over the last two years or so and this one is likely to impress even more so.

Republic of Gamers / ROG Maximus V Forumla

This will be the beast that many [H]'ers are interested in.

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These ROG boards just keep getting better and better. The very interesting note about this one is the fact that it now has a PWM water cooling system incorporated into the stock design. ASUS has left exposed hose barbs to fit to. Not sure how that will be received overall, but we were told the system would likely drop 20C off your PWM temps if used. It is worth noting that it was explained to us that the system was also very capable in an air cooling-only scenario.

P8Z77-I Deluxe

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Last but not least we have the Z77 in a Mini-ITX form factor. Believe or not, we expect this to be just as solid as of an overclocker as the rest of the base P8Z77 lineup.

Please see the full press release on the following that will give you more granular look into some of the upcoming software and hardware features sets of these motherboards.