I was able to attend the ASUS Technical Seminar in Singapore where leading motherboard-manufacturer showcased their next-generation motherboards that will support the upcoming Intel processors code-named “Sandy Bridge”. It was just a half-day event but I think I already consumed all the geeky stuff my brain can handle in a year.
The 2nd generation Core i3/i5/i7 processors (6-series chipsets) will be released early next year and with it comes a requirement for the new LGA-1155 socket motherboard and this is what ASUS revealed in the seminar.
The upcoming ASUS P67 motherboards will have the latest tools and features that will help you maximize your processor. They come in a variety of designs, from the micro-ATX form-factor (P8H67-I Deluxe) motherboard, the Sabretooth P67 and its military-grade components to their flagship model, the Maximus IV Extreme.
These new motherboards are already equipped with a lot of fancy features: DIGI+ VRM, Dual Intelligent Processors (EPU + TPU), EFI BIOS, USB 3.0 ready (new Intel chipsets don’t have it so it’s up to motherboards to have an off-chip controller for USB 3.0 support) and a set of handy utilities on its AI Suite.
Allow me to briefly discuss some of the new set of features you can find in these motherboards in a not-so-geeky way.
DIGI+ VRM. Ok, I can’t really explain this without getting too technical unless you want to hear about spread spectrum and phase switching. But basically, it’s just a digital controller that will give your system precise adjustment depending on the load for stability and power efficiency.
EPU. This is one half of the dual intelligent processor that will ensure that your system is running on energy saving mode when power is not required. This onboard processor can control the GPUs, CPU, fan, HDD, chipset and memory to lengthen their lifespan. Of course, you can choose to override the controls if you want to.
TPU. This is another on-board processor that allows for fast and easy overclock tuning. Think of it as a controllable Turbo Boost which is an inherent feature on the Intel Core i5 and up. Safe and easy overclocking outside the BIOS.
EFI BIOS. This is just a mouse-driven user BIOS interface that will replace the boring, keyboard-driven 20-year old BIOS program. I’m not sure how helpful this is to the common folk but this will be a boon for the over-clockers out there. You can also take a screenshot with your BIOS setting now instead of using a camera to take a photo.
USB 3.0. USB 3.0 is the next step for faster file transfer yet Intel didn’t include the support on their new processors. Fortunately, ASUS has an onboard controller to support USB 3.0 devices including a front panel box which fits on the floppy disk bay for more USB 3.0 ports.
The new P67 motherboards are fully-loaded with more features. A 3TB HDD Unlocker to maximize the space on 3TB hard drives, 3-Way SLI / CrossfireX, SATA III ports, and iPhone apps that allow you to control your media player or to overclock your system wirelessly.
ASUS really takes pride on their motherboards and this early announcement of the new P67s shows the commitment they have in keeping up to date with the latest technology out there. Even though some of the motherboard features won’t be of use to you, ASUS make sure that there’s one that will fit your needs by offering different versions for different market segments.