Some photos of a new ASUS motherboard have made their way to the Internet, alongside most relevant information on it, except pricing and availability, alas.
The mainboard in question, according to the report on VR-Zone, is called Sabertooh Z77 and is part of the TUF line.
The overall design is not that strange in terms of layout, with two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (working in dual x18 mode) and a single PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (in x4 mode).
There are three PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots as well, plus the now standard number of SATA ports.
Specifically, there are four SATA 6.0 Gbps connectors (two of which are linked to the Intel chipset), and four SATA 3.0 Gbps connectors.
This makes sure there is always the possibility to install arguably more storage space in a system than anyone could ever need.
The rear I/O panel of the Sabertooth Z77 offers four USB 3.0 ports, the same number of USB 2.0 connectors, Gigabit Ethernet, a pair of eSATA ports and the expected video outputs (DisplauPort and HDMI).
Customers will also find 7.1 channel audio with optical S/PDIF and a CMOS reset button.
The one feature that makes this product stand apart from other mainboards is the Thermal armor, a plastic shield that encases the whole board.
Two 50mm fans are present as well, one below the CPU socket and one as part of the rear I/O, for air intake.
Unfortunately, while this cools the MOSFETs, it prevents any extra rear ports from being added, which makes those USB headers and everything else on the card a bit tricky to use.
At least there are dust protection covers for all the PCI Express slots and two of the four memory slots, plus over the pin headers. Unfortunately, all of this may lead to a higher price than most people are willing or able to spend.