ASUS Shows Off Intel Sandy Bridge Motherboards
ASUS has shown off a collection of motherboards for Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors. The new motherboard will run on the 6 series, either P67, H67, or Q67, and all support some pretty nifty features. ASUS will be launching seventeen different motherboards, with ten of them running P67, six on H67, and one on the business-oriented Q67. All of the boards feature USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps. The new top of the line P67 board will be the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme which works into the Republic of Gamers line. That board will feature a new thermal sensor integrated into the CPU socket that measures the CPU pin temperature, something not found on any other board. Also on the Maximus IV Extreme will be Intel's own Gigabit Ethernet controller, which ASUS is using instead of the cheaper Realtek solution.
ASUS' new TUF line of motherboards, which are designed to be more stable, will also make a P67 appearance. The P67 Sabertooth will carry a five year warranty and military-grade electrical components, just like the P55 and X58 versions. To keep up the military theme, ASUS is covering almost all of the board in a Tactical Jacket which is made of plastic and is designed to direct airflow over the various components. Underneath it is a series of channels which direct airflow from the CPU cooler to the auxiliary components on the board. The P67 Sabertooth is also loaded with more than six different thermal sensors which can all be monitored from within Windows.
Next to the ROG and TUF line are the P8P67 boards, of which eight will carry that name. There will be the high-end Deluxe model, some mATX versions, and a workstation WS version. The Deluxe version even includes a box containing two USB 3.0 ports that will fit in a 3.5" drive bay in your case. It plugs into the motherboard with a single connector so you won't have to fuss with a mess of pins. All the boards feature two USB 3.0 ports on the back, though some even include four due to an NEC controller or ASMedia chip. The ASMedia chip is produced in-house by ASUS and will soon be endorsed by the USB-IF standards body. ASUS claims the ASMedia chip has superior performance to an NEC controller, so it will be interesting to see if it holds true. Also on the boards is a new VRM system ASUS calls Digi+VRM. It is an all-digital VRM system which is monitored by an ASUS EPU microcontroller and should allow for a lower latency compared to analog models.
ASUS will also have boards based on the H67 chipset, which will feature Intel's integrated graphics which should be much improved over the current version. ASUS also has a mini-ITX board, the P8P67-I, which packs pretty much everything possible on the diminutive form factor. The board will feature a PCI-e x16 slot, USB 3.0, WiFi, Bluetooth, SATA 6Gbps, eSATA, DVI, VGA, HDMI, and a plethora of other connections. However, the board has so many things crammed on to it that the RAM slots are of the laptop-style SO-DIMM variety. Still though, it looks to be a feature-rich board.
All of these motherboards will launch early next year when Sandy Bridge goes retail.