ASUS hasn’t launched the Republic of Gamers series motherboards yet for Haswell Z87 so the TUF (The Ultimate Force) series motherboards are the best that they had on display at Computex 2013. The TUF series currently features the Sabertooth ATX Z87 motherboard and the Gryphon Z87 micro-ATX motherboard while ASUS have already hinted that we can expect more models to be added to the TUF series soon.
The main feature of the Z87 TUF series is the new thermal armor design with temperature sensors scattered underneath the thermal armor, ASUS call this Thermal Radar 2. ASUS has tweaked and tuned these motherboards for maximum stability and durability and they have things such as 10K rated black metallic capacitors which provide up to 5 times longer life span compared to rival motherboards.
Interestingly ASUS has also added a reinforced backplate to prevent motherboard flex and this gives a level of structural rigidity to the TUF series motherboards that I have seen on very few motherboards in the past.
These motherboards launched just 4 days ago and are currently available for $259.99 for the Sabertooth and $169.99 for the Gryphon. You can get more details on the ASUS Z87 TUF series here.
With Haswell on a close horizon and Intel still holding the fort under close guard with regards to their 4th Generation chips, we’ve been seeing the lid slowly lift from each of the motherboard vendors on what their new boards will have to offer. Asus is next in line to show off some of their new boards from their Series , TUF (The Ultimate Force) and ROG (Republic of Gamers) lines and at each level they are offering up the best they can in terms of performance, user experiences, stability and upgrade paths.
Jackie Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Sales commented “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 line-up, all available simultaneously”
On the bottom end of Asus’ new line-up is a completely re-branded set of Series boards. The most notable part of this re-brand is the drop of the blue and black colour scheme that we have come to know with Asus entry level boards – the new colour scheme is based around a two tone yellow/gold, but thankfully this is not a shiny gold which would be rather displeasing to the eye. Whilst there are a number of boards in the Series range, looking at both ends of the range, Asus have covered all the grounds when it comes to compatibility – something which we have seen previously on their Z77 boards of a similar level. Between this board is a number of models that make a transition from a board for more mainstream builds, offering all the Z87 features. These include the Z87-C, Z87-PRO, Z87-PLUS and the Z87I-Delux (a mini ITX offering).
Top top end of the Series range see native PCI fully replaced with PCIe amongst other subtle changes. All the new series boards will see the integration of Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-way optimisation, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 2 amongst other now offerings from Intel.
Moving up one stage and on to the TUF line of boards, this line only see some subtle changes with a full ATX board that in some respects looks very similar to the previous generation Z77 board. This is all because of the thermal armour that is laid across the PCB to keep the board as cool as possible and keep dust away from all empty slots with a series of Dust Defender plugs that fill empty ports. On the back of the PCB we see a new Fortifier metal plate that reinforces the PCB to prevent it warping whist in use and an airflow boosting valve design around the CPU power areas.
Making a fresh appearance to the TUF line-up is one of Asus’ many new boards. The Gryphon is a mATX version of the Sabertooth and like its bigger brother, it features all the same top quality components and features as well as the extended expected lifetime from its higher temperature tolerance. What is missing though is the thermal armour, however Asus will be supplying this separately and the two piece kit can be quickly mounted to the Gryphon’s PCB.
Top top of the new Z87 range is Asus’ top end ROG boards. These boards for a number of generations now have been renowned for their top end performance and overclocking abilities. New to the ROG line of boards and sitting mi-range is the HERO. This new board’s purpose is to offer mainstream the gamers the stepping stone into the ROG brand, but at a price point that is far more manageable compared to the flagship Maximus IV Extreme. As well as these two boards, Asus will also be launching an updated Maximus IV Gene and all these boards will feature Supreme FX audio as well as a new on-screen ‘Sonic-Radar’ that works as a viual overlay to any game to indicate the direction a proximity of a gun fire for example in a visual format.
The flagship Extreme board see a new overclocking tool, that unlike the previous generations OC-key is set to be far more user friendly and intuitive to use and alongside this in the Extreme box, users with find a 5.25″ drive bay adaptor to allow the OC Panel to operate as a fan control panel from the front of a case.
For me and most of the eTeknix team, Facebook is a big part of what we do, and we use it to scope out the latest news direct from the manufacturers. Twitter can also be just as useful, but today saw the Asus United Kingdom Facebook page showcasing a little teaser picture for the new upcoming products from them. Of course we are talking about Haswell and with this comes a few new products.
The new launch will see a new socket, new 4th generation Intel CPUs and the new Z87 chipset which will harness the power of the components and the name for one of these from Asus will be Gryphon as pictured above.
No word on any other details as Asus are keeping things very close to their chest right now, but we can just make out in the picture that the board will be Windows 8 ready, but we all knew and expected that anyway.
For now, we will have to keep our ears to the ground and hope that more information comes up as we draw closer to the expected June 2nd release date, but with surrounding issues of USB 3.0, this date is always likely to change as we get closer. Sources tell us that the USB issues have been fixed, but Intel being Intel will not be willing to release any information surrounding it.