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Jul 13, 2014

ASUS H97 Pro Gamer ATX Motherboard Boasts 10 Gbps SATA Express M.2 SSD Support

When you see a motherboard colored in a mixture of black and red, and boasting sleek-looking heatsinks, you know you're looking at one of the better ones out there. As it happens, the new ASUS H97 Pro Gamer is more than a few steps higher than “above average.”

The easiest way to confirm that is to look at the storage loadout. And we don't just mean the standard STA 6.0 Gbps available for SSD and HDD installation. No, what sticks out is the fact that the ASUS H97 Pro Gamer is one of the very rare mainboards and features SATA Express support and, more than that, wires the M.2 slots through the PCI Express root complex rather than SATA. You see, M.2 is a new form factor of solid state drives, as large as two of your fingers, or just one, but with the potential of working at 1.8 GB/s or more. However, that performance is only possible if the M.2 ports are wired through PCI Express technology instead of SATA 6.0 Gbps, which, as we said, is a rare occurrence still. ASUS H97 Pro Gamer does, indeed, use PCI Express lanes for the M.2 slot, a pair of PCI Express 2.0 ones to be precise, enabling 10 Gbps bandwidth.

You will have to make sure that the M.2 SSDs you buy are designed with PCI Express-based M.2 support though. The controller determines the compatibility just as much as the motherboard in this case does. Moving on, the H97 Pro Gamer motherboard also has SATA Express support, whereby SATA ports can achieve 10 Gbps. In theory, SATA Express should go all the way up to 12 Gbps, thanks to a combination of SATA III (6.0 Gbps) and PCI Express, but ASUS settled for 10 here. In addition to high-speed storage, the ASYS H97 Pro Gamer mainboard supports Gigabit Ethernet technology with GameFirst II, which reduces lag by prioritizing game data.

High-end audio is another thing, enabled by SupremeFX technology with a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 115 dB and built-in amplifier. In layman terms, it means that audio quality isn't lost when you hit “play.” It helps that an electromagnetic interference (EMI) protective shield surrounds the audio chipset. Finally, ASUS' new motherboard has the kind of durability that all high-end motherboards are known for, thanks to resettable fuses (DRAM and connector ports protected by overcurrent and short-circuit damage) and other such components. Finally, ASUS included the efficiency and reliability-boosting DIGI+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) and a stainless-steel back input/output (I/O) panel plated with chromium (it resists corrosion and lasts three times longer than normal panels). Find the dry specs of the newcomer on the H97-Pro Gamer product page.

ASUS H97 Pro Gamer
Image credits to ASUS

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