to time, motherboard manufacturers come up with something new and interesting, although sometimes it just ends up being plain weird and from the very slim details that has been provided by Asus about its new Marine Cool concept, we have to add it to the latter category.
Despite looking more or less like a final product, there are a lot of things we can't really work out, but which will hopefully be explained by Asus during CeBIT when they're said to be announcing more details about this board. First of all the board has a new back plate made out what Asus calls "micro-porous ceramic" which is meant to be an enhanced version of Asus' Stack-Cool technology. It's meant to make for a more rigid motherboard and improve the overall cooling, but it also seems to add a fair bit of thickness and weigh to the board. It also seem to make the motherboard touch the base of the case, which doesn't seem like a great move, as some cases have different height stand-offs which could be a potential problem.
Other oddities include a pair of SO-DIMM slots rather than the usual two or four DIMM slots that you find on desktop motherboards. We're not sure why Asus has gone down this route, but the PCB looks quite crowded and there's a secondary heatsink, or cover, just above the huge southbridge cooler, which seems to prevent the usage of regular DIMM's. Again, we haven't been able to determine what's hiding under this heatsink, but we're hearing rumours about some BIOS failsafe for overclockers.
The new heatpipe cooler looks very strange as well and we're not that keen on the new design, although Anandtech claims it's an improvement over past designs from Asus in terms of cooling performance. Other features include a pair of PCIe x16 slots, two PCIe x1 slots and two PCI slots, as well as Express Gate, six SATA ports, IDE, floppy, FireWire and a pair of BIOS chips.
We can't quite make heads or tails of this board, but it is a concept design, or so it seems, so maybe the final product will differ.
You can find the pictures and some more details here