So there you have it, the ASUS Z97 line up certainly has a motherboard for just about every use case scenario. In my short career I have not seen ASUS produce such a comprehensive and feature packed series of motherboards for an Intel platform launch. What’s even more interesting is that there are still many boards to come because we’ve yet to see SKUs such as the Z97-EXPERT, Z97M-PLUS, Z97-C, Z97-K, Z97I-DELUXE, Maximus VII Extreme, Maximus VII Formula and Maximus VII Impact. We encourage readers to stay tuned for more new ASUS Z97 motherboards as they are released over the course of this year as well as our Z97 motherboard reviews for the launch of this exciting new platform from Intel. Can other vendors like Gigabyte and MSI match what ASUS have offered here? We will hopefully find out in the near future.
I know something on a lot of people’s minds’ will be about what the value of the Z97 platform actually is at this point in time. As you all know the Haswell Refresh CPUs are not available yet but I think that needn’t scare you away from Z97 as a platform. Z97 will bring support for Haswell Refresh CPUs and Broadwell CPUs as well as existing Haswell CPUs which makes it a platform that is fairly future proof. Clearly the Z97 platform is not meant to be a performance upgrade path for Z87 users but it is more targeted at users on older platforms such as LGA 1155, LGA 1156 or maybe even LGA 1366. ASUS tells us that they will be gradually phasing out Z87 stock because there is no reason for Z87 products to exist when Z97 motherboards offer support for the same hardware but with newer and better features. It is also worth noting that Z97 brings M.2 and SATA Express support into the mainstream and this could be an important step for storage; we can finally break through the SATA III “barrier” that we’ve been stuck at for quite a while.
Now I want to turn the discussion over to you guys. What do you think of Intel’s new Z97 platform, does it offer enough new features to make you want to upgrade? Do you think it makes a worthy upgrade from a Z87 motherboard? I’m also intrigued to know what you, our readers, think of the new ASUS Z97 motherboards. Do you think the styling on the channel series boards is an improvement? Does the addition of TUF series boards without thermal armor make you more likely to pick up a TUF board? Please have your say in the comments below.