The ASUS H97-PRO GAMER is a mid-range socket LGA1150 motherboard based on the new Intel H97 chipset, supporting the fourth and the forthcoming fifth generation Core i processors. It brings high-end audio codec, six SATA-600 ports (allowing one SATA Express connection), and six USB 3.0 ports. Let’s take a good look at it.
The “new” Intel H97 chipset is a H87 chipset rebranded for marketing reasons. They are identical and, therefore, have the exact same specifications. Like in the previous 8-series, the H97 is very similar to the high-end chipset for this platform, the Z97, differing from it mostly by the lack of overclocking features. It has the same characteristics in regards to the number of SATA-600 and USB 3.0 ports (six of each). Another difference is that the H97 does not allow the bandwidth of the PCI Express 3.0 x16 to be shared with a second slot. It means that, in a system with no overclocking and only one video card, the H97 and the Z97 will offer pretty much the same set of features.
Like the Z97, the H97 supports RAID, Smart Response (installing an SSD as a cache for the main hard drive), Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while in sleep mode), and Rapid Start (faster boot times) technologies.
Most motherboards based on this chipset support the new SATA Express and M.2 (successor to the mSATA) connectors, but these are mechanical features provided by the motherboard, not by the chipset.
You can see the ASUS H97-PRO GAMER motherboard in Figure 1. It uses the ATX form factor, measuring 12” x 9.6” (305 x 244 mm).