Intel has unleashed quite a few motherboards over the past week, like the Media Series and the Executive 7-Series, all part of the 7-Series, and now we get to look at the high-end models too.
According to VR-Zone, there are two high-end 7-Series motherboards on the way, powered by the Z77 chipset.
Like them, we aren't exactly sure why it has taken to launching so many motherboards, knowing that the consumer base will more than likely gravitate towards companies that specialize in such products and have proven their brands' worth over and over (ASRock, ASUS, MSI, etc.).
Nevertheless, Intel has released the DZ77GA and DZ77RE for the high-end market.
The former has the Gasper codename and comes with two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot and a pair of PCI slots.
There is also USB connectivity (four 3.0 and four 2.0 ports at the back, plus some more via headers), FireWire connectivity, eSATA and dual Gigabit Ethernet, plus 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF.
Furthermore, the chip giant implemented an HDMI connector, but this begs the question of why Intel isn't enabling support for multi-display setups.
After all, the bundled LucidLogix Virtu software lets discrete graphics signals pass through the integrated GPU, allowing for more than one monitor to be managed by the mainboard directly, provided there are enough display ports to plug the panels in (which there aren't).
The second motherboard will possess Thunderbolt at least, but more or less the same other specifications as its sibling.
Keep in mind that the PCI Express x4 slot may have to be disabled while Thunderbolt is in use, though.
Intel has been doing its best to extend its reach beyond the CPU market, entering not just the mainboard but also the SSD business. Neither outlet has seen as much success as its primary focus, and with the upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs supposedly getting cheaper (by $60-70 / 45-53 Euro) this situation can only persist.