Asus is showing off its new line of Z87-based Haswell motherboards, and one of the more immediate updates you’ll notice is the fit and finish. Asus has made moderate adjustments to the ROG and TUF product families, but has completely retooled the ‘Deluxe’ line, ditching the two-toned blue scheme for a polished gold-anodized and black that finally matches its moniker.
A full suite of boards spanning Mini-ITX, microATX, and ATX form factors will be available, including a new addition to the Republic of Gamers line, the Maximus VI Hero. The Hero is a slimmed down version of the Extreme, with a much more reasonable MSRP of around $200, yet still featuring most of the same functionalities.
The entire ROG lineup features SupremeFX integrated audio, which now includes software called Sonic Radar. Sonic Radar maps directional sounds onto a two-dimensional onscreen overlay. It can be attuned to different in-game sounds such as footsteps or gunfire, and then display which direction they came from.
The rugged Sabertooth board has been further bolstered with dust plugs for the ports, adjustable ducting around the CPU socket, and a reinforced back plate for heavy CPU coolers that covers nearly the whole backside of the board to combat warping and assist with cooling. If something more “practical” is your style, the new TUF Gryphon microATX mobo mirrors the board-level components and features of the Sabertooth, but leaves out the thermal armor, back plate, and additional accessories.
Some notable changes have been made to Asus’ UEFI as well, which will now summarize any adjustments selected by the user before applying them and exiting. Another tweak sharpens the interface with adjusted scaling and fonts, and adds a new favorites tab that can be populated with frequently used functions, along with text notes saved by the user.
As for the less superficial changes to Z87 motherboards, details are limited because of non-disclosure agreements in place until the official launch of Haswell in June. Some of the expected changes in the Haswell chipset include a switch to all 6Gbps SATA ports, abandonment of PCI, triple display support, and TRIM for RAID0 configurations.