Asus have dropped a few teaser images of their upcoming Gryphon and Z87-Deluxe motherboards on the Republic of Gamers minisite (opens in new tab) . The Z87 motherboards will house Intel's 4th Generation Haswell Core processor architecture with the new LGA 1150 socket design. It's a few pins short of the LGA 1155, so we'll definitely need new motherboards if we want to take advantage of Intel's Haswell tech.
The teaser also suggests that the Gryphon will replace the short-lived Sabertooth line of The Ultimate Force (TUF) motherboards, though Asus haven't outlined any specific improvements yet.(opens in new tab)
The Sabertooth boards in the last few generations represented the real gamer/enthusiast choice for mobos after the Republic of Gamers (RoG) brand went directly after the hardcore overclocking crowd. They were relatively inexpensive, but had the performance and the basic overclocking prowess that would allow you to quickly and easily get your chip running lightning fast out of the box.
Asus is also touting new “true RoG innovations” - if anyone wants to take a guess at what that could be go ahead. They're also teasing this thing:
To me the pic looks kind of like the ROG OC Key (opens in new tab) Asus introduced to show live performance and overclocking options of your GPU on the fly, and could be another extension of the RoG Connect tech.
The final image shows the top-end of Asus' standard motherboard range, the Z87 Deluxe. These are usually Asus' most feature-packed boards outside of the hyper-expensive, hardcore overclocking-focused Republic of Gamers sets. The key feature of this latest version appears to be a built-in candy-dispenser - designed to placate the user by spitting out M&Ms after every system crash.(opens in new tab)
Fingers crossed the motherboard and CPU launches will be synchronised this time so we won't end up in the same situation as with Ivy Bridge when the supporting mobos were released months before we saw any Intel silicon on the shelves.
Rumours suggest that Haswell will roll out sometime in June. The Computex show kicks off at the beginning of June, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a show floor flooded with Z87 boards and functioning 4th Gen Core silicon.
Should we really be preparing for an upgrade though? From what I've heard, straightline Haswell CPU performance won't greatly exceed Intel's Ivy Bridge technology, but power draw and graphics performance should be significantly better.
If that's important to you, as Asus say, "prepare your upgrades" for mid-2013.