As much as USB 3.0 data transfer rates were a big, big upgrade over the previous generation, as files get larger and the storage mediums we use get bigger, there’s always going to be a need for more speed. Fortunately, USB 3.1 Gen 2 is looking to do just that, by bumping things up to 10 Gbps rates, something that ASUS is claiming to be the first to add to a commercial motherboard, with its TUF Sabertooth Z97 Mark 2/USB 3.1.
It’s rare that a USB technology factors into the name of a product, but that’s how big a deal ASUS is making of the new technology. Part of that is because it purportedly had to jump through quite a few hoops to be given the thumbs up by the USB Implementers Forum, which means it’s USB ports pass all quality and stress tests.
While other USB 3.1 ports have been bundled onto other hardware before — like Apple’s famously single-port Retina MacBooks — those have all been generation one USB 3.1, which features the same 5Gbps (or around 625MBps) data transfer rate as standard USB 3.0. It’s only with the second generation of USB 3.1 that we can double up the rate and burst through the gigabyte per second ceiling.
On top of its swanky new USB ports, the Sabertooth Z97 board supports LGA 1150 processors, has four memory slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3-1866MHz sticks, two of the latest PCI-Express, 3.1 x16 slots and a standalone PCI-Express 2.0 x16 port.
Additionally, there are a further three PCI-Express x1 slots and six full SATA III 6Gbps ports. And as for those fancy USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, there’s two of them at the rear, alongside two standard USB 3.0 ports, with four USB 2.0 ports for peripheral power, as per MaximumPC.
Stock of this board appears limited currently, but some retailers have it listed at $260.