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.