Asus is delivering an excellent quality of life improvement with its upcoming Z690 motherboards with what it calls PCIe Slot Q-Release. As spotted by @momomo_us, this feature will allow users to easily remove a graphics card installed in the primary PCIe 5.0 slot on a Z690-based motherboard.
Removing a modern graphics card from a motherboard shouldn't be too much of a hassle in most cases. However, the heatsink design of some cards coupled with motherboards becoming increasingly crammed with components around the PCIe slot, can sometimes make removal a bit more cumbersome. The Q-Release aims to alleviate this by pressing a button mounted near the DDR4/DDR5 memory slots.
According to Asus' documentation, it "unlocks the first PCIe slot's security latch with one tap, greatly simplifying the process of detaching a PCIe card." Switching out graphics cards isn't something that enthusiasts typically perform daily. Still, we can see this coming in handy for hardware reviewers that are constantly swapping out graphics cards to run benchmarks.
Twitter hardware leaker @momomo_us was the first to bring attention to the Asus Q-Release. However, VideoCardz performed further investigations to determine that the feature is present on these upcoming Z690 motherboards (that we know of thus far):
- ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme
- ROG Maximus Z690 Formula
- ROG Maximus Z690 Apex
- ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
- ROG Strix Z690-A
- ROG Strix Z690-E
- ROG Strix Z690-F
As for actual Asus Z690 motherboard pricing, retailer PC Canada recently posted the following to its website before taking it down:
|Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero||$599||DDR5|
|Asus ROG Strix Z690-F||$401||DDR5|
|Asus ROG Strix Z690-A||$350||DDR5|
|Asus Prime Z690-A||$306||DDR5|
|ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4||$294||DDR5|
|Asus Prime Z690-P WiFi||$255||DDR5|
|Asus Prime Z690-P WiFi D4||$243||DDR4|
|Asus Prime Z690-P||$231||DDR5|
|Asus Prime Z690-P D4||$222||DDR4|
The Z690 platform, of course, will underpin Intel's upcoming 12th generation Alder Lake processors. The processors to be announced this week include the flagship Core i9-12900K followed by the Core i7-12700K and the Core i5-12600K. In addition, the supporting Z690 chipset brings native support for the new PCI 5.0 interface -- for next-generation discrete graphics cards and SSDs -- along with support for DDR5 memory.
Asus, like other motherboard manufacturers, will offer its Z690 motherboards with both DDR4 and DDR5 memory options. The decision to give customers the ability to pair Intel's new processors with DDR4 memory is to deliver a more cost-effective upgrade path. It's reported that DDR5 pricing could come in at a 50 to 60 percent premium over the best DDR4 modules.
The sheer size of high-end CPU air coolers makes accessing the PCIe latch nearly impossible. I never managed to remove a GPU without either removing the CPU cooler first, or cutting my hand on the radiator.
I even once scratched my mainboard with a screwdriver when I couldn't reach the latch with my fingers.
I for one am glad about any improvement in the PC parts market.
You have to find one first.
That little clip doesn't even really do anything because they are just help in by 2 small plastic nubs. Mine actually fell off the other day on a brand new Asus ROG Crossfire VIII Formula motherboard. I popped it back in, installed the 3080ti ftw3 ultra (that I got for MSRP at microcenter) and then cried when I realized I needed to order another power cable because I only had 2...
If you think it's painful finding a gpu just imagine how painful it is to actually have one of the high end ones and not be able to use it until the post office gets a cable to you.
What Gigabyte gives us: 4 PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots
What ASUS gives us: A GPU quick release!
And this is why I used my first non-ASUS motherboard since 2008.