like Asus really liked the idea of mATX gaming motherboards, as the company has been showing off a second product at CeBIT which hopefully our team will bring us more details on later. This time around it's a P45 motherboard that goes under the name of Maximus II Gene.
Although we're sure that Asus is doing this in hope to reach a new user base, we actually see a lot of potential in high-end mATX boards, as they make for an ideal base for portable LAN party systems. Considering that many Europeans travel in group or even by public transport to get to the various events, it's much easier to carry a small system with you rather than a full tower case. Smaller systems are also very popular in Japan and these boards might prove popular there too.
The Maximus II Gene looks like a solid product with a pair of x16 PCIe slots (dual x8 electrically), one PCIe x1 slot and one PCI slot. It also has four memory slots, seven SATA connectors, IDE, two headers for four extra USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire header. Although it's not clear what the rear port configuration is, the board seems to have a PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1-channel audio, possibly with optical S/PDIF out.
There's also a rear CMOS reset button and a connector for Asus' external LCD poster and the onboard audio features software X-Fi with EAX 4.0. The chipset is passively cooled and has a small heatpipe and it looks like Asus has managed to squeeze in an eight phase power regulation circuit as well.
Image courtesy of Impress PC Watch