ASUS had quite a sizeable booth this year at CES. They were showing off quite a few products from displays to netbooks. We mainly got a chance to take a look at motherboards, video cards and some networking products. JJ from ASUS was nice enough to run through everything with us and I’m really excited about what ASUS has in store for 2010, let’s take a look!
Starting with ASUS’s Republic of Gamers (ROG) line they had the new Rampage III Extreme on display. Obviously this is the new version of the Rampage II Extreme board. The big difference we see from the Rampage II is that this board is capable of supporting 4 NVIDIA or ATI graphics cards. All 4 PCI-e graphics card slots are x16. Also you do not have to worry about graphics performance being affected by SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0 because they have their own discrete controllers and ASUS uses NVIDIA’s nForce 200 chip and PCI bridge. Another thing you will notice is the low-profile heatsinks on the board; this allows for larger CPU coolers to be installed. One of the coolest things about this board is that you will be able to overclock it via Bluetooth (phones, etc). No word yet on when this board will be available, but it should retail for around $400.
The unreleased Maximus III Extreme was also being displayed at the ASUS booth. This i5/i7 only motherboard has 5 PCI-e x16 slots, four DDR3 slots, two SATA 6.0Gbps and seven SATA 3.0Gbps ports, two USB 3.0 ports, single eSATA port, Gigabit Ethernet and integrated audio. This board features a new VRM design as well that is both analog and digital. Just like the Rampage board this Maximus features the PCI bridge so you get full GPU power and it also features the Bluetooth connect so you can overclock the board from your mobile phone. No word yet on pricing or availability.
Moving to more of a mainstream board is the new P7P55D-E Premium board. ASUS claims this is, “The world’s 1st true USB 3.0 + SATA 6GB/s motherboard”. This is because it uses the same PCI-e bridge as the motherboards above. So you will get full SATA 6GB/s speed and USB 3.0 speed without sacrificing GPU power. Since this is a mainstream board you are only getting 2x PCI-e 2.0 x16 slots (single at x16 or dual at x8/x8 mode).
Hiding in plain sight at the ASUS booth was an unreleased motherboard based on AMD’s new 890FX chipset. This new chipset is of course an update to AMD’s 790FX chipset; the main difference is that this chipset adds an upgraded southbridge with built-in SATA 6GB/s support and USB 3.0 support. The M4A89GTD Pro is what ASUS is calling this board and it supports 2x PCI-e x16 cards as well as 4x 4GB of memory.
One really cool board we saw at the ASUS booth was the AT3IONT-I Deluxe board. This is of course an Intel Atom based board with the NVIDIA MCP7A ION chipset. A small board like this is perfect for a HTPC setup and ASUS had it running a nice HTPC setup at their booth.