Shortly before Intel made official its Z68 chipset for Sandy Bridge motherboards, some reports pointed out that Asus is preparing a special version of the Maximum IV Extreme that will be based on this new PCH, and now the first pictures of Asus' upcoming board have made their way to the Web.
The new motherboard is called the Maximum IV Extreme-Z and resembles a great deal Asus previous ROG-series LGA 1155 solution.
This means that the motherboard packs no less than fours PCI Express x16 slots, which are compatible with 3-way Nvidia SLI and CrossFireX setups (x8, x16, x16), as well as a PCI-E x4 slot and a legacy 32-bit PCI slot.
The extra PCI Express x16 lanes are provided by an Nvidia nF200 chip which is paired together with a PLX branded PCIe controller/switch.
Both these chips are covered by a black heatsink and right under it Asus has placed eight SATA ports, four of which work at 6Gbps speeds.
CPU power is provided by a Digi+ VRM which provides eight phases to the CPU and three phases to the motherboard's memory.
As all ROG motherboards, the Maximum IV Extreme-Z also features a wide series of enthusiast features including on-board Power, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons, a BIOS debug display, voltage measurement points and four DIP switches for disabling each of the four PCI-E x16 slots.
Additional power can be provided to the board when multiple graphics cards are used through two MOLEX plugs, and one of these comes angled at 90 degrees to ease cable management.
On the rear I/O panel, we find all the usual connectors that one would expect to see in a top of the line motherboard, but Asus has also included eight USB 3.0 ports and two eSATA ports.
Two additional USB 3.0 ports are available through a motherboard header that is located between the CPU socket and rear I/O ports. Asus hasn't installed any video outputs, but the board is compatible with Lucid's Virtu technology.
The Maximum IV Extreme-Z is expected to make its debut at the Computex 2011 fair, which will open its gates on May 31.