Asus introduces front USB 3 ports

Lonely-looking pairs of blue USB 3 ports are starting to become a familiar sight on the backs of recent motherboards, but Asus is attempting to catapult USB 3 into the realms of ubiquity by introducing front-mountable ports on its latest motherboard.

As well as featuring the usual set of USB 3 ports on the back, the new P7P55/USB3 also sports an on-board plug for hooking up your case's front-mounted USB ports to a USB 3 controller.

As the motherboard is based on Intel's P55 chipset, which doesn't natively support USB 3, this means USB 3 support comes courtesy of two NEC controller chips. One handles the rear ports, while the other takes care of the front ports. Asus points out the use of two controller chips "ensures that there is no reduction in data transfer speed for each individual port."

The front ports can be hooked up via a single plug by the memory slots, which looks a little like an old-school floppy drive connector.

In addition to the four USB 3 ports, the P7P55/USB3 also has all the usual motherboard features, including two PCI-E graphics slots, two standard PCI slots and a pair of single-lane PCI-E slots. Meanwhile, four memory slots handle dual-channel DDR3 duties, while six SATA connectors will enable you to add plenty of hard drives.

There's no word on UK pricing or availability yet, but Asus promises us more information soon and says it will support USB 3 on plenty of other new motherboards over the coming months too.