Asus is announcing the availability of its first FM2+ based Republic of Gamers (ROG) motherboard. This is the CrossBlade Ranger, which we first saw at Computex 2014.
We already knew that bit about the socket, along with most other details about the motherboard, but it is good to see that it has all become official and that you will be able to give your AMD APU some ROG love soon. The ATX-sized motherboard comes with the A88X chipset onboard with support for both AMD A-Series APUs and Athlon processors. Wired to the CPU socket are four DDR3 memory slots, which will allow you to install up to 64 GB of RAM. For PCI-Express expansion there are two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots--which will only run at 8x each when both slots are populated, just like the Intel counterparts.
Being an ROG motherboard, it will still come with a lot of ROG features. It will have better onboard audio in the form of Asus’ SupremeFX technology, Gigabit Ethernet, better VRM circuitry and bigger heat sinks, as well as advanced overclocking features and fan controls. The motherboard is also compatible with the ROG dual-bay front panel.
So, who is this motherboard for, you might wonder? Well, budget builders often choose to build systems with AMD's CPUs or APUs simply because it can be a lot cheaper than a comparable Intel build. Building such a system with an ROG motherboard will bring you those ROG features, and while it will cost a little more, you will get the ROG build quality and stability, as well. The market for this board might not be big, but it will make sense for some people. Remember, a lot of people jumped on the Haswell bandwagon, not because of the performance, but because of the platform that the motherboard vendors were providing.
Pricing for the motherboard is set at $159.99, with availability slated for this month.