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[CES 2024] ASUS Takes On Hidden Connector PCs With BTF Series Motherboards, GPUs & Cases

[CES 2024] ASUS Takes On Hidden Connector PCs With BTF Series Motherboards, GPUs & Cases

by Low Boon ShenJanuary 11, 2024
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ASUS Takes On Hidden Connector PCs With BTF Series Motherboards, GPUs & Cases

[CES 2024] ASUS Takes On Hidden Connector PCs With BTF Series Motherboards, GPUs & Cases 25

Most people who keep themselves in the loop of PC DIY news probably have known the backside connector concept for a while now, but most products showcased thus far are either prototypes or are extremely limited in numbers or available markets to get one. At CES 2024, ASUS  is making that idea official and global – which means you can now build a PC free of visible cables with the latest off-the-shelf parts from the company’s latest BTF lineup.

Now, there’s one thing you need to know when choosing BTF products: there are two tiers of it, which are BTF and Advanced BTF. What’s the difference? It comes down to the GPU cables – standard BTF motherboards will put all the cables on the backside, except for the PCIe 8-pin or 12VHPWR connector that goes to the GPU.

While some AIBs have taken this into account and designed a “backside” connector of its own – think connector rotated sideways or backward and hide the connector itself using a separate piece of backplate – Advanced BTF parts take that further by eliminating the cables altogether and instead uses a dedicated HPCE connector located next to the PCIe x16 slot to supply up to 600W of power.

To kick things off, ASUS has introduced a pair of BTF motherboards, a pair of BTF GPUs, and a pair of cases to accommodate such a layout.

Starting with motherboards – you have the option of either the ROG Maximus Z790 Hero BTF or the TUF Gaming Z790-BTF WiFi motherboard. (There’s also the TUF B760M-BTF model available last year.) Despite its ‘Hero BTF’ moniker, the ROG motherboard shares more visual resemblance to the Z790 Dark Hero and Z790 Extreme’s designs, with most of the components covered off by the metal plates. Still, it does share the same internals with the Dark Hero model.

This motherboard also features one of the latest motherboard innovations – the PCIe Slot Q-Release that resided in many of previous ASUS motherboards has now been replaced with an even simplified version called PCIe Slot Q-Release Slim, and in this design there are no buttons or latches involved. Simply tilt the card towards the latching mechanism and it’ll unlock automatically, making the installation and removal as simple as it gets.

On the flip side, you have the TUF Z790-BTF motherboard with its very white-colored look, and here you still have a PCIe Slot Q-Release latch, albeit shifted slightly to accommodate the new HPCE connector. Both motherboards, while supporting cable-less BTF GPUs, can be paired with a regular GPU without the HPCE connector present, like usual – if you don’t mind the power cables running through the case, of course.

For the GPUs, ASUS will be offering the ROG Strix RTX 4090 BTF Edition and the TUF Gaming RTX 4070 Ti SUPER BTF White Edition to choose from. These GPUs do not have any cable-based power connectors present – so they’ll be compatible with only the BTF motherboards. Those on the frequent upgrade cycle are advised to avoid these cards until the BTF standard becomes more common down the line.

All these parts will need to go into a case, and for that ASUS provides either the ROG Hyperion GR701 BTF Edition or the TUF Gaming GT302 ARGB chassis, coming in black and white colorways respectively. However, these standards won’t be closed off – ASUS says they’re partnering with other case manufacturers to create the BTF Alliance, which will begin to offer alternative BTF case choices starting in Q1 2024 (while ASUS’s own offerings will be available in early Q2 2024.)

Pokdepinion: New GPU and motherboard releases in the coming months should be interesting. 

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Low Boon Shen
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