ASUS H97M-E motherboard

With Intel’s launch for their Broadwell desktop processors possibly coming in the next few weeks, motherboard manufacturers like ASUS are working behind the scenes to make their H97 and Z97 motherboards ready to support the new processors. Broadwell for the desktop will only come in two K-series versions – one Core i5 quad-core and one Core i7 with hyper-threading, both sporting a 65W TDP. They’ll still be working with DDR3 memory, so it can just be a drop-in upgrade for most, but will it be worth the cost? If you only want to use Intel’s graphics hardware, maybe. Anyway, hit the jump for a table showing which ASUS boards will support Broadwell desktop processor upgrades.

ASUS Motherboards supporting upgrades to Broadwell-K

Motherboard model Chipset BIOS Version
 Z97-Deluxe (NFC and WiFi AC) Z97 2205
 Z97-Deluxe (USB 3.1) Z97 0401
 Z97-Deluxe Z97 2205
 Z97-Pro (USB 3.1 and WiFi AC) Z97 2302
 Z97-Pro (WiFi AC) Z97 2205
 Z97-Pro Z97 2205
 Z97-A (USB 3.1) Z97 0501
 Z97-A Z97 2205
 Z97-AR Z97 2205
 Sabertooth Z97 Mark I (USB 3.1) Z97 0401
 Sabertooth Z97 Mark I Z97 2205
 Sabertooth Z97 Mark II Z97 2205
 Sabertooth Z97 Mark S Z97 2205
 Gryphon Z97 Armor Edition Z97 2205
 Gryphon Z97 Z97 2205
 Maximus VII Formula Z97 2304
 Maximus VII Hero Z97 2304
 Maximus VII Ranger Z97 2304
 Maximus VII Gene Z97 2304
 Maximus VII Impact Z97 2304
 Z97-Pro Gamer Z97 2002
 Z97I-PLUS Z97 2502
 Z97M-PLUS Z97 2604
 Z97-K Z97 2502
 Z97-C Z97 2401
 Z97-E Z97 0602
 Z97-P Z97 2702
 Z97-K R2.0 Z97 0702
 H97-Pro Gamer H97 2402
 H97I-PLUS H97 2502
 H97M-PLUS H97 2402
 H97-PLUS H97 2402
 H97-Pro H97 2703
 H97M-E H97 2302

That covers most of the ASUS lineup, but as with all mid-cycle product releases or refreshes, this complicates things for buyers. You’ll need to have an older Haswell or Haswell Refresh processor to be able to update the BIOS of some of these motherboards. ASUS does have the BIOS Flashback feature on some of their higher-end boards, which allows for BIOS upgrades while there isn’t a CPU inside the socket.

But for any of the other boards in this list here, you’ll have to buy a cheap Celeron chip, install Windows, run the updater for the board, and only then insert the Broadwell CPU to continue on with your system setup. Inevitably, this means you may end up buying all the hardware required, but you’ll be unable to use it without having another Haswell chip on hand to do the upgrade. Hopefully we’ll be able to answer the question of whether anyone should be upgrading, or prioritising Broadwell over Skylake. I’ve said before that Intel should drop Broadwell from their roadmap to make Skylake’s launch more straightforward, but this throws a big spanner in the works.

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