As we have been anticipating for several months now, AMD brought the boom with its Ryzen 3000 series of desktop processors based on its Zen 2 CPU architecture (topping out with the 12-core/24-thread Ryzen 9 3900X), and accompanying X570 chipset. As it pertains to the latter, AMD's hardware partners are wasting no time announcing new motherboards. Count ASUS among them, which has unveiled no less than a dozen new models.
"The cast is headlined by the Republic of Gamers, whose Crosshair VIII boards are fit for the most demanding overclockers and gamers looking to extract every ounce of performance from their systems," ASUS says.
Indeed, more than half of ASUS's new motherboards are from its ROG division, including four ROG Crosshair VIII models and three ROG Strix boards. Specifically, they include the following models:
- ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula—ATX
- ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi)—ATX
- ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero—ATX
- ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact—Mini DTX
- ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming—ATX
- ASUS ROG Strix X570-F Gaming—ATX
- ASUS ROG Strix X570-I Gaming—Mini ITX
All of these are socket AM4 motherboards, which is a credit to AMD for using the same socket for every generation of Zen so far (Zen, Zen+, and now Zen 2).
If taking a high-level overview of the new models, the ironclad ROG Crosshair VIII Formula is the flagship motherboard, followed by the ROG Crosshair VIII hero models "for less extravagant builds." The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact, meanwhile, is a compact mini DTX (slightly longer than mini ITX) motherboard designed for "overclocking fanatics."
The standout feature is PCI Express 4.0 support. This provides double the bandwidth compared to PCIe 3.0, paving the way for better utilization of multiple graphics cards and, perhaps more useful for most users, even faster NVMe solid state drives. Expect to see speeder drives in the near future—Gigabyte recently teased an M.2 NVMe SSD that is rated to read and write data at up to 5,000MB/s, for example.
All three ROG Crosshair VIII models have three PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, a single PCIe 4.0 x1 slot, and two M.2 ports. They also feature the same number of USB 3.2 Gen 1 and Gen 1 ports. Where the flagship model separates from the pack is with 5G LAN connectivity, served by Aquantia (the other two have 2.5G LAN support). As always, you can expect a robust BIOS with plenty of overclocking controls.
ASUS has not announced pricing, but its ROG Crosshair motherboards have traditionally carried a premium. For gamers who don't want to spend quite as much but are still interested in a high-end motherboard with overclocking amenities, the ROG Strix comes into play.
"ROG Crosshair motherboards include the most exotic features for demanding builders creating complicated rigs that push the limits. Gamers don’t always want every single bell and whistle with a cherry on top, so the Strix series retains ROG’s style, performance, and overclocking cred while avoiding extras that might go unused," ASUS explains.
The two full-size ATX options both sport three PCIe 4.0 x16 slots and two PCIe 4.0 x1 slots, plus eight SATA 6Gbps ports and two M.2 ports. They are very similar overall, though the ROG Strix X570-E Gaming is the more robust of the two, with more USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (7 compared to 3) and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
Beyond the ROG lineup, ASUS announced the following X570 models:
- ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi)—ATX
- ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus—ATX
- ASUS Prime X570-Pro—ATX
- ASUS Prime X570-P—ATX
- ASUS Prime WS X570-ACE—ATX
The TUF Gaming lineup trades some features for lower price tags. For example, both TUF Gaming models have two PCie 4.0 x16 ports instead of three, and a smaller selection of USB ports. As for the Prime and Pro WS models, they bring subdued styling that is more appropriate for their environment.
"AMD’s new Ryzen processors particularly appealing for executing heavy duty workloads, but gaming features and multicolored lighting aren’t the best options for the office, and workstations requires a particular set of skills. The Pro WS X570-ACE marries the new CPUs and their PCIe 4.0 connectivity to ECC RAM and management features not normally seen outside of pricey server-grade gear," ASUS says.
Pricing and availability will vary by model, though now that AMD's Ryzen 3000 CPUs are official, look for these models to trickle into the retail space soon.