We have learned that Asus will launch the "Gene" series - the company's latest addition to its Republic of Gamer (RoG) family of motherboards - in a few weeks time.
Unlike all current Republic of Gamer motherboards, the Gene series will use the micro ATX form factor and fit below Formula and Extreme, which currently signify DDR2 and DDR3 respectively. We have also heard murmurs that these labels are likely to change in the future, though.
First to emerge is the Rampage II Gene (pictured below) which will be predominantly designed for LAN gamers and extreme overclockers living in particularly small apartments. This Core i7 motherboard will directly target the new breed of mini-boards that have generated considerable interest from the likes of other manufacturers, such as DFI's JR series.
It will feature both SLI and CrossFire support, as well as two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots, one x4 slot and one PCI 2.2 slot. It will still feature six DIMMs, software driven X-Fi sound from ADI and also includes current RoG features like TweakIT; this will now be configurable from the keyboard instead of just from directly on the motherboard - making it far easier to access OC settings on the fly.
The general RoG features in the current Rampage II Extreme are closely mirrored on the Gene series, although we have had hints that there are some changes in design.
Sadly, for those thinking smaller equals cheaper, you'll have to think again. The Asus Republic of Gamers series is a premium product and it will certainly be over $200 in the US when it hits retail. However, for a Core i7 extreme overclocking board, some might not think that's an issue.
Let us know your thoughts on this move in the forums