I guess the audio functions have been migrated to that external unit to keep the motherboard so small. When I looked at it the other day I thought it looked pretty neat if a small build is needed, but yeah, I guess it's a new approach. As far as a motherboard audio speaker is concerned, they seem to be going out of fashion even if the pins are there. Certainly didn't get a speaker with my last two motherboards. Sad really, I like the beeps as well.
Z690 Hero, BIOS 2703, MEI 23188.8.131.52, ME Firmware 184.108.40.2064, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 22H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.
@JohnAb Yes, the beep is meanwhile obviously an old school sentiment. Having tinkered a lot with the Z690-I the beeper always gives me alleviation not having messed something up.
What I dislike is the silent vanishing of useful features. It should be optional. I can't imagine the HIVE will have any hype as no one seems to use it. Asus is somewhat hiding it and seems to be not very convinced as there does not exist further promotion and no manual how to use it, just short explanations on FAQ.
It's the most expensive Mini-ITX ever! Just ordered it because air-cooling does work within limitations on Z690-I as the M.2 heatsink is blocking. So either additional third-party heatsink for M.2 or live with blower orientation against the side panel. The brandnew Z790-I offers a good air-cooler compatibility. Otherwise I would have skipped this generation because of the exorbitant pricing.
As I have canceled my order unfortunately I cannot test it. I wanted to like this motherboard but the bulky external HIVE discouraged me. I'll stick to my Z690-I for the moment. I dropped the MB heatsink which interfered with a cpu cooler tube and installed a third-party M.2 heatsink. Reseated the cpu cooler square which is properly blowing rear side now and the temps are excellent.