Utilizing an ASMedia USB 3.1 controller, Asus is refreshing its X99 and Z97 motherboard lineups to support the USB 3.1 standard. In addition to the updated motherboards, Asus is also releasing a USB 3.1 controller card that can be bought separately to bring USB 3.1 performance and compatibility to older systems.
X99-A / USB 3.1Asus CVP Joe Hsieh, had this to say: "As the world's number-one motherboard brand, we lead by providing the very latest technology for Asus customers to enjoy. We worked closely with ASMedia Technology Inc to maximize USB 3.1 performance on both Asus motherboards and our USB 3.1 Card products, ensuring that Asus customers enjoy the very fastest data transfers from the new standard."
A total of 12 new motherboards will come with USB 3.1 Type-A connector ports integrated on board, while two of the boards for the X99 market will also include the PCIe card featuring two USB 3.1 Type-A connectors.
There will be two PCI-E cards available; one will feature the USB 3.1 Type-A connectors, while the other card will feature a single USB 3.1 Type-C connector. The cards are expected to retail for $39 and will be compatible with all of Asus's LGA 1150 motherboards. Support for other motherboards was not mentioned.
Rampage V Extreme / U3.1To try and bring USB 3.1 support to a wider range of products as quickly as possible, both ASRock and Asus have opted to make use of PCI-E cards, but ASRock did not announce plans to sell the card separately. It is possible that the companies want to restrict the use of these cards to their own products so they have exclusive features others lack.
With the smaller, simpler Type-C connector, and the greatly increased bandwidth compared to USB 3.0, many companies are now rushing to try to be first to release a USB 3.1-compatible motherboard. Both MSI and ASRock have announced motherboards featuring USB 3.1, but they have yet to launch those products on the market.
According to the schedule, the estimated release for the first two Asus boards will be February 27, with the rest of its motherboards and the PCIe cards coming within two weeks thereafter. With the launch just four days away, MSI and ASRock will need to hurry if they want to beat Asus to market with USB 3.1.