The flagship ASUS gaming motherboards are designed to offer the best ASUS’ R&D have to offer and are often the lynchpin in a number of enthusiast builds.  These feature a number of components and software elements that the channel motherboard range does not have, such as GameFirst, SupremeFX or Sonic Radar. ASUS has brought some of these features down their ROG product line to the Maximus VII Gene, Hero and Ranger for more budget oriented builds, however when it comes to pairing a $70 CPU like the overclockable Pentium G3258 with an ROG board, the ROG board might still be 2-2.5x the cost. As a result, ASUS is today announcing a semi-ROG board combining elements from the channel range and the ROG range in order to offer something more cost effective for budget users interested in a bit of overclocking and gaming.  This is the Z97-Pro Gamer.

The Z97-Pro Gamer is almost a cut down version of the Z97-Pro, but with ROG gaming features added. From the channel side of the equation we have M.2 x2 and SATA Express support along with ASMedia controllers for extra USB 3.0 ports and PCIe to PCI connectors. From ROG it borrows some of the aesthetic qualities (red/black heatsinks), SupremeFX audio, ROG oriented DIGI+ control of the power delivery, extended BIOS options and the ROG software package.

The PCIe layout focuses on an x8/x8 split for SLI and Crossfire, with a final PCIe 2.0 x4 from the chipset for additional cards rather than an x8/x4/x4 split overall for tri-AMD gaming which might not scale appropriately with a Pentium CPU. The USB and Ethernet ports are protected individually against electrostatic discharge, with that Ethernet port being an Intel (I218-V I would assume) to be used alongside the GameFirst II packet prioritization software.  The SupremeFX audio hides an ALC1150 codec with PCB separation, EM shields and auto-detecting headphone amplifiers.

As this announcement was made via the ROG website, the North American official announcement might not be far away. At the point in time where the board is officially released, we should learn more about pricing and availability.

Source: ROG

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  • yannigr2 - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    Any board with a cost higher than, maybe, $100, is not an option when we are talking about budget systems. It doesn't matter what name that board has or the manufacturer logo. Why spend for example $170-$200 for the unlocked Pentium and a mobo, when with the same money you could possibly go for a i3 or an AM3+ 6300? And for much less you can go for an unlocked 750K and a good FM2+ mobo.
  • dgingeri - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    This is almost identical to my Maximus VII Hero, which was $207 when I bought it. This board is definitely not a $100 board.

    Perhaps you don't know about the weakening of the US dollar lately. It's leading to higher import prices.
  • yannigr2 - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    Weakening of the US dollar? The last time I checked and that was today, euro was down at 1.26 dollars (1.254 now) and analysts are speculating that dollar is going to move even higher than that.
    You have to recheck your sources.
  • Mayuyu - Saturday, November 1, 2014 - link

    Exactly. If you don't earn US dollars, you really feel the pain of inflation.
  • ShieTar - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    Except for the fact that Europe is not importing too much consumer electronics from the US, but both economies are importing loads of stuff from China and Korea. And both the dollar and the Euro have been falling compared to both currencies for years now.
  • Zap - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    Totally agree. Micro Center has an in-store (for those lucky enough to live near one) bundle with the Pentium AE + MSI Z97 PC Mate motherboard for $99. Yes, a $100 overclockable bundle! I got one, and it works well. That's the true budget overclocker bundle.

    My only wish now is for a micro ATX or mini ITX version.
  • kmmatney - Saturday, November 1, 2014 - link

    I have the Microcenter bundle as well. There is no need to spend more for an AE Pentium, as this board can already overclock it about as high as you can go.
  • DIYEyal - Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - link

    That's a fantastic deal!
  • Flunk - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    Seeing as the normal z97 pro is about $190, I don't think we can expect this to be any cheaper than that. $70 CPU and $190 board just doesn't make sense. You'd be better off with a $190 CPU and $70 board.
  • ShieTar - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    Normal, yeah. But its not like ASUS have a first here, there is already the ASRock Z97M Anniversary which you can get for 90$ (80$ after some rebate-thingy?). So that's pretty much the price they need to hit in order to sell this board.

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