Asus announced its new H97-Pro Gamer motherboard. The motherboard is built with the H97 chipset and features the LGA1150 socket.
The LGA1150 socket is wired to four DDR3 memory slots that can be filled with up to 32 GB of memory. For expansion, there are two PCI-Express x16 slots, one of which has merely four PCI-Express 2.0 lanes. As a result, this motherboard is only good for using a single graphics card. Further expansion can be accomplished by populating the two PCI-Express x1 slots along with three legacy PCI slots.
Fortunately, the terrible PCI-Express expansion situation is somewhat made up for with storage connectivity. Next to four of the standard SATA3 (6 Gb/s) ports, the motherboard also has a single SATA-Express connector as well as an M.2 socket. These are driven by two PCI-Express 2.0 lanes, so it is good for up to 10 Gb/s.
We are curious why Asus hasn't simply made this a Micro-ATX motherboard.
Rear I/O connectivity is covered by two USB 2.0 ports, a legacy PS/2 port, four USB 3.0 ports, 8-channel audio, an Intel-driven Gigabit Ethernet port, VGA, DVI, HDMI, and optical SPDIF out. The analog audio hardware is driven by Asus's SupremeFX, which includes a headphone amplifier capable of driving up to 300 ohm headphones.
Overall, this motherboard, despite its questionable choice of expansion slots, looks like a decent offering from Asus. If you're not interested in overclocking or features exclusive to the Z platform, this might be a good way to save a couple of bucks.