Intel Z77 Chipset Preview

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Intel Z77 Chipset Preview
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ASUS Maximus V Gene
Price: TBA

Specifications: LGA 1155; Z77 Express chipset; Micro-ATX; 2 x16 PCI-E (1 x 16x, 1 x 8x electrically); 4 x SATA 6Gbps, 2 x SATA 3Gbps; 1 x mSATA; 1 x mini PCI-E.

With the Maximus V Gene, ASUS continues its tradition of making well featured Micro-ATX motherboards for gamers and overclockers. Besides the array of features that come with the Z77 chipset, the MVG brings some extras to the table thanks to the use of secondary controller chips and some nifty design choices.

It supports four SATA 6Gbps drives (two native, two from the ASM1061 chip), and two SATA 3Gbps drives. One of the spare SATA 3Gbps channels is routed to a special riser card that comes with the board, which features an mSATA slot and a mini PCI-E slot (the PCI-E slot is designed for slim wireless modules). ASUS has included four USB 3 slots on the rear of the board as well as a header for two front panel ones, driven by an ASMedia ASM1042 controller.

Integrated graphics are pumped out through either a HDMI or DisplayPort slot on the rear, and ASUS engineers have included the new Lucid Virtu MVP technology to enable the use of processor graphics alongside a discrete GPU or two, thanks to dual x16 PCI-E slots. Unlike some of the higher end ROG products, the Gene uses an Intel gigabit LAN port. It does, however, sport Creative’s X-Fi audio hardware.

Being part of the ROG family, the Maximus V Gene also includes an ROG Connect button and CMOS clear on the rear, with internal power and reset buttons as well as an LED POST readout for troubleshooting. It is a board that will be quite capable for both gaming and overclocking, although it is likely to follow other ROG products in being one of the higher priced models on the market.

Overall it’s a well-featured board, especially for its Micro-ATX size. The riser card is by far the most interesting new feature on the board. Not only does mini PCI-E let the user choose just what wireless solution will work best for them (if any), but the mSATA slot is a handy solution for SSD caching through Intel Smart Response Technology. If you wanted to drop a chunk of money on a high-capacity SSD it could feasibly be the only storage within the system, which would facilitate some very interesting custom builds. 

Z77 Motherboards
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