Micro ATX Core i7 motherboard is on its way from Asus

What if you want a blazing-fast Core i7 system, but you'd also rather stick to a tight form factor? According to Bit-Tech, Asus will soon cater to that niche with the Rampage II Gene—a full-blown Core i7 motherboard with an X58 chipset, multi-GPU support, and a Micro ATX format.

Judging by the photo embedded in Bit-Tech's article, the board has two PCI Express x16 slots, an open-ended PCI Express x4 slot, six DDR3 memory slots, and at least seven Serial ATA ports. Bit-Tech also mentions "software driven X-Fi sound from ADI." Whatever that actually entails, the board might have better-than-usual integrated audio with (software) support for fancy EAX Advanced HD effects.

Of course, Asus probably isn't targeting cheap, cool, and quiet systems. Bit-Tech expects the Rampage II Gene to cost upward of $200 (standard fare for X58 offerings), to which you'll have to add the cost of a Core i7 and expensive DDR3 memory. For what it's worth, DFI's cheapest X58-based Micro ATX motherboard costs $230 before shipping at Newegg.

As for the cool and quiet aspects, Core i7 processors are somewhat power-hungry, and you'll probably want some beefy cooling to avoid overheating in a cramped Micro ATX case. That applies especially if you decide to fill both PCIe slots with game-worthy graphics cards.

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