Asus is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and as the company got its start as a motherboard maker in 1989, it is fitting that it gives an idea of where it sees the future. This concept is called Prime Utopia and shows what could be possible if we distance ourselves from the ATX standard that has dominated full-size desktop motherboard design since Intel introduced it in 1995.
Prime Utopia rearranges various components for more efficiency. The PCIe slots are located at the rear, allowing the GPU to free up space while moving into a more stable position. There are four M.2 slots with a special heat sink. Asus has also designed its own "Hydra Cortex" fan head with which individual fans can be controlled independently.
Asus expects I / O to go to Mini-PCIe modular components, so functions such as USB and Ethernet ports can easily be swapped as required.
The motherboard also features a 7-inch OLED touch screen that offers various readings. Because this would only be useful for transparent or exposed builds, it comes in its own module with Wi-Fi, so you can place it on your desk to monitor system performance and control specific components such as 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 years. Asus is far from the only company that suggests an alternative to ATX – even Intel itself has tried to move away from the standard. But breaking the compatibility for case and component suppliers would be a big advantage for the PC industry and the surrounding ecosystem, so it is unlikely that this will happen soon.
Until that is the case, at least we have trade shows such as Computex to twist what could be.