Asus gets overexcited, starts selling H57 boards

Two weeks ahead of the official launch

IF YOU KNOW where to ask, you can get your hands on motherboards with Intel’s upcoming H57 chipset. Well, at least you can if you happen to live in Taipei. We headed down to the Guanghua computer market earlier today after having been told that some of the shops were selling H57 motherboards from Asus ahead of the official launch on the 7th of January next year.

We felt a little bit like we were buying something illegal as none of the shops had the boards in plain sight. However, after having asked around in a couple of shops with no luck, we ended up finding about half a dozen shops that each had several boards in stock. All of them had these hidden behind boxes of other motherboards, but it was just a matter of asking the staff and they were more than happy to show us the boards.

Oddly enough all of the shops stocked the same model, namely the Asus P7H57D-V EVO. This is a full size ATX motherboard with a fairly standard layout. As this board supports the integrated graphics found in the upcoming Core i5 and Core i3 processors from Intel, Asus has kitted it out with a DisplayPort, a DVI port and a D-sub connector. On top of this Asus has added its special design for SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 which includes a PLX PCI Express bridge chip.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen motherboard manufacturers sell motherboards with a new chipset ahead of the launch date, but it turns out that this time around Intel has been quite strict and doesn’t want any boards on sale ahead of the launch. From our understanding, Intel has signed agreements with all of the motherboard makers that allow them to distribute boards for reviews which can appear on the 3rd of January, but none ahead of that date. However, the same Intel agreement also contains a clause about no H55 or H57 based motherboards entering retail outlets before the 7th of January. We don’t know if Asus has somehow gotten dispensation or if it has just chosen to ignore Intel.

Asking around for CPUs didn’t yield any success though, so despite being able to get hold of an H57 motherboard for an over inflated price, there’s no way anyone can actually test the boards ahead of the launch unless they manage to get their hands on a CPU somehow. All the shops we spoke to wanted between $233 and $247 for the P7H57D-V EVO, which compares badly to similar Asus P55 motherboards that retail for about $170 in Taiwan. Retail pricing of H55 and H57 motherboards should be in line with the more affordable P55 models currently available.S|A

The picture above is of the actual board, courtesy of Xfastest

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