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The Asus Prime Utopia is a radical concept for the future of motherboards

The Asus Prime Utopia is a radical concept for the future of motherboards

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Asus is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and as the company got its start as a motherboard maker back in 1989, it’s fitting that it presents an idea of where it sees things going in the future. This concept is called Prime Utopia, and demonstrates what might be possible if we move away from the ATX standard that has dominated full-size desktop motherboard design since Intel introduced it in 1995.

Prime Utopia rearranges various components for greater efficiency. The PCIe slots are on the back, so the GPU can free up space while moving into a more stable position. There are four M.2 slots with a dedicated heatsink. Asus has also designed a proprietary “Hydra Cortex” fan header that lets individual fans be controlled independently.

Asus envisions I/O moving to Mini-PCIe modular components, so features like USB and Ethernet ports could be easily hot-swapped at will.

The motherboard also features a 7-inch OLED touchscreen that offers various readouts. Since this would only be useful for transparent or exposed builds, it comes in a Wi-Fi-equipped module of its own so that you can prop it on your desk to monitor system performance and control specific components like the fans.

Almost none of this would be possible with modern ATX motherboards, which have proven remarkably resilient over the past two and a half decades. Asus is far from the only company to suggest an alternative to ATX — even Intel itself has tried to move away from the standard. But breaking compatibility for case and component vendors would be a huge deal for the PC industry and surrounding ecosystem, so it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

Until it does, at least we have trade shows like Computex to pine over what could be.