The official Intel Z97 chipset launch day is finally here but it’s hardly been a surprising arrival. There have been leaks left, right and centre so most of today’s revelations probably won’t come as a surprise to most of our readers. However, this article (as the title suggests) is about the ASUS Z97 launch. ASUS went to great lengths in April to communicate with the global media about what is actually new with their Z97 motherboards. Making people aware of the “new” is important because as some of you may know, the new Haswell Refresh CPUs are not yet ready, we don’t have DDR4 support and the Z97 chipset doesn’t really bring anything new. In fact the Z97 chipset still has 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, six SATA III and six USB 3.0 ports just like Z87. Don’t let that fool you though, Z97 does bring some new features to the table even if many of these features will be vendor specific. A couple of the more important features that Z97 is pushing are storage related – SATA Express support and PCIe M.2 support. Most vendors will vigorously taking advantage of these and ASUS are certainly no exception.
Today we will be taking an in-depth look at all the Z97 motherboards ASUS are launching today across their three main areas: the Channel Series, the TUF Series and the ROG Series. In this article we will be going through the new features specific to each series before taking a look at each of the motherboards individually. ASUS have certainly pulled out all the stops with Z97 and we can tell that a lot has been learnt from the Z87 generation. Without any further ado let’s proceed to take a look through the ASUS Z97 lineup! Please do skip past any motherboard ranges that are not of interest to you, by the end of it we hope to have given you a good idea of why you might want to upgrade to a (ASUS) Z97 based motherboard.