While all of the recent mainboard attention has been focused on Gigabyte's Z68 bump for regular Sandy Bridge processors, it seems that industry giant, Asus, has been following its own roadmap to performance. KitGuru sneaks under the Taiwanese razor wire and pulls out a set of 40x binoculars.
Traditionally, Intel would lay out roadmaps many quarters in advance, certain in the knowledge that its lead in almost every sector of the market was unassailable. AMD used to follow a similar strategy.
More recently, AMD has engaged in a much more covert programme of development – aimed squarely at keeping Intel guessing about its next move. As a result, Intel has increased security itself. Roadmaps are now guarded a little closer. Naturally, gurus of the world have their own sources for this kind of information.
OK – so everyone knows that X79 will launch this year, but when exactly?
Well, a quick Skype call with Yong Lei and we're now ready to bet a pint of Easter Guinness on a strong Q3 launch from Asus. Even without insider information, the logic is all there.
In KitGuru's recent X58 reviews, the Asus Rampage III Black Edition just edges the G1 Assassin. We're in April. Roll the clock forward, through 6 months of hard work, and you can see why the ‘ready to go by the end of September' time frame makes perfect sense.
The single biggest challenge faced by Asus scientists, is the increased engineering effort required to get the most from the X79's quad channel memory architecture that LGA2011 brings to market.
Tactically, could Asus be looking for Gigabyte relatively free access to Z68, while focusing all of its attention on the new X79 platform. A ‘bait and switch' that would appear to give Gigabyte a high-end lead, but in the quieter summer months. Or not.
This modern-day, high-tech, cold war is fun to watch.
Especially through KitGuru's high-powered, roadmap-revealing binoculars.
KitGuru says: Expect monster performance from Intel's Sandy Bridge E chips, with 15MB cache for each of the 6 cores, on the forthcoming Asus X79 boards. Question remains, will the mainboard giant give any attention at all to the Z68 and what price points can Intel hit on the, as yet, un-named Extreme chips?
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