Motherboards come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, ranging from cheap entry-level boards to high-end professional boards that cost a fortune. One particular trend that we're seeing with Intel's 8-Series and 9-Series motherboards is that there seem to be more gaming-oriented boards that are built with just the bare necessities, allowing them to target lower price points. Asus has built another one of those boards with its Z97-Pro Gamer.
The motherboard features the Z97 chipset, which is linked to an LGA 1150 CPU socket. This gives the motherboard support for all Haswell, Haswell Refresh, and upcoming Broadwell CPUs, including K-series CPUs with unlocked multipliers. CPU power delivery is handled by Asus' Digi+ VRM circuitry, which is present on this board in a less elaborate, but still more than adequate, form.
For graphics cards there are two PCI-Express x16 slots, and that's it. The motherboard has two PCI-Express x1 slots, two legacy PCI slots, and one additional PCI-Express x16 slot, although the last one only operates in x4 mode, so it won't be all that useful if you're planning to install a third graphics card.
The motherboard comes with a handful of ROG-series features. These include SupremeFX audio with a 300 Ohm headphone amplifier, Asus' Sonic Radar II overlay (which nobody should use, because it's for cheaters), and red and black styling.
In accordance with the features commonly found on Z97 motherboards, you'll also find a SATA-Express interface and an M.2 SSD interface.
Overall, this board brings you what you need to build a decent gaming system, and no more. In the past, you could always build a gaming system on an office-oriented motherboard, and it would work fine, but you never got the gaming-oriented features and looks unless you paid more for a premium board. There is, of course, still a premium to be paid for the Asus Z97-Pro Gamer, but it's not as bad as it used to be.
In Europe, the Z97-Pro Gamer retails for about €135, which translates to about $140 if it were to come to the U.S. Unfortunately, Asus informed us that it doesn't have any plans to launch this board in the states.