Several motherboard manufactures have started leaking photos of next generation motherboards to the web. Binding NDAs or nondisclosure agreements as they are known means you can look but you can't touch. In this case you can't really read anything either because the specs are locked away for manufactures and media to know and or you to speculate on. I don't write motherboard reviews so I'm not briefed on the ins and outs on new products. If I asked I could get the information but then I'd be locked down by an NDA like everyone else who's been briefed.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that PCIe based M.2 and SATA Express are on nearly all of the leaked images we've seen. We wrote the first performance preview for socket M.2 a year ago with product in hand. A few months ago we also wrote a preview for SATA Express using a prototype ASUS Z87 motherboard.
GIGABYTE posted images today of motherboards with the model names blurred but clearly we're looking at next gen hardware that should hit the market just after Computex (June). Four images are on the company's Facebook page and all four models appear to show two SATA Express connectors.
It's unclear at this time if the Intel chipset handles both SATA Express ports or if companies are using the ASmedia PCIe bridge. The GIGABYTE boards up for show and not-tell don't appear to have M.2 onboard but other leaked images from ASUS and ASRock show M.2 capability. We've were also the first to show ASRock's Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ motherboard with two lane socket M.2 onboard a few months back. We're glad to see ASRock bringing the interesting connector over to the Intel side as well.
Both SATA Express and M.2 bring increased throughput performance to the storage system. Not only does the PCIe spec increase bandwidth beyond SATA III specifications but it also introduces full duplex reads and writes. Computex is a little over a month away so you'll have to wait till then before we can show performance without an adapter. If you want to get a head start on native PCIe based storage have a look at the new Plextor M6e review. The drive is currently on Newegg for $299.99 in 256GB capacity size.