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May 5, 2014

ASUS' New Z97 and H97 Motherboards Ship with SATA Express

We've already taken a look at the three ROG Z97 motherboards from ASUS, but those aren't the only mainboards that the company has prepared. Indeed, the company has introduced quite a few more mainboards, not all of them designed with the Z97 chipset.

You see, the Z97 chipset is made for people who want to eventually get a CPU they can upgrade, like the upcoming Devil's Canyon Core-series bearing the K suffix. The H97 chipset doesn't support overclocking (or isn't supposed to) and is a bit less rich in “embellishments.” ASUS still implemented a bunch of assets that aren't exactly “normal” for platforms of this sort. Though it's a pretty necessary thing really. After all, the company had to differentiate its products from those of rival companies out there. Anyway, one of the core assets of its Z97 and H97 motherboards, there is the 5-Way Optimization technology, consisting of a TurboV Processing Unit (TPU, to boost CPU performance), Energy Processing Unit (EPU, to enhance energy efficiency) and DIGI+ Power Control (better overall system performance). A Turbo App is used to manage network and audio settings for every application, while Fan Xpert 3 customizes fan speed, voltage, etc. The new motherboards have many onboard thermal sensors you see, and can reduce fan speed to below default minimums.

All in all, you could overclock an Intel Core i7-4770K processor by 20% via 5-Way Optimization, while still balancing cooling effectiveness and silence, all the while prioritizing game network access (good for online MMOs and other mutiplayers). The ASUS 5X Protection technology is another thing to note, consisting of DIGI+ VRM, DRAM overcurrent protection, ESD Guards, a corrosion-resistant stainless steel back I/O panel, and 5K-hr solid state capacitors. ASUS subjects all motherboards to 7,000 hours of physical testing (humidity and temperature tests, insertion and thermal-shock testing, power on/off, power consumption) and up to 24-hours of aging tests.

Furthermore, ASUS added Crystal Sound 2 technology, with Onboard physical shielding, separate layers for left and right channels, and Japanese-made audio capacitors plus other premium components, to heighten clarity and fidelity of sound. Other features include ASUS HomeCloud (access the PC from anywhere) and, for some Z97 platforms, the ASUS NFC Express 2 and Wireless Charger accessories. BFC Express 2 permits pairing PCs with smart devices (even to log to a PC or pick up a film clip), while the charger lets any Qi-compatible phone/tablet recover energy just from sitting on the charge pad. Keep an eye on your local retailer for the new ASUS Z97 and H97 motherboards. They should start to appear soon, specs and all. Hopefully, all these extra “features” don't make them too needlessly expensive. SATA Express is among the most important, enabling up to 800 MB/s on SSDs (wel, SSD RAID arrays anyway).

ASUS H97 Motherboard

ASUS Z79 Pro WiFi Motherboard
Image credits to ASUS


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