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ASUS ZEUS Combines X79 HEDT with Dual-GPU

ASUS has an enviable amount of engineering potential and resources. Often, the two come together, to create magical PC enthusiast hardware, such as its ROG MARS and ROG ARES series super high-end graphics cards. The next such creation is ZEUS, which is a shocking fusion between a socket LGA2011 motherboard, and a dual-GPU graphics card. 

If there was one product that forced visitors' jaws to drop to the floor, it was ASUS ZEUS. A concept X79 motherboard, the ZEUS demonstrates ASUS' enormous engineering potential. It is a combination of a Sandy Bridge-E HEDT (LGA2011, X79 Express) motherboard and a dual-GPU graphics card occupying the expansion slot area. The processor, its VRM, all onboard devices, and two "high-grade PCI-Express 3.0" GPU subsystems occupy the same PCB. 

The LGA2011 socket is surrounded on all four sides by components that matter. To its north, is the 10-phase Digi+ VRM that powers the processor. To its east and west are a total of eight DDR3 DIMM slots, which can hold up to 128 GB of quad-channel DDR3 memory, beyond the 64 GB limit for unregistered DIMMs of SB-E HEDT platform. To its south are two sets of graphics card VRM areas, which power each of the two GPU systems. The two GPUs are directly wired to the two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 links of the processor, while the third PCI-Express 3.0 x8 link goes into driving other onboard components. 

At this point ASUS didn't reveal exactly which GPUs are behind that chunky heatsink, but we have a hunch that it's a pair of AMD Radeon HD 7970 (Tahiti XT) GPUs. What makes us doubly sure that these are AMD-made GPUs, is that NVIDIA does not recognize the Sandy Bridge-E HEDT platform as PCI-Express 3.0-compliant, something ASUS is stressing on, on the marketing poster of the ZEUS. Each GPU has its own set of memory, and draws power from a pair of 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors. The outputs of both the GPUs are given out as a mini-DP + Thunderbolt connector, a 2-port controller is driving the Thunderbolt links, apart from standard DisplayPort and HDMI.

There are as many as 8 SATA 6 Gb/s ports on the ZEUS, two from the X79 PCH, six from additional controllers. Including the four SATA 3 Gb/s ports from the PCH, there are a total of 10 internal, and 2 eSATA ports. There are a total of 12 USB 3.0 ports, 8 on the rear-panel, 4 via headers. To top off the monstrous package, there is one gigabit Ethernet interface, and 8+2 channel HD audio. 

ASUS was pretty explicit in stating that the ZEUS is a concept-design. It's not a question of when, but if the motherboard ever makes it to the market. If it does, it will be in very limited quantities, and will cost a fortune. 

Source: VR-Zone Chinese

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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