EARLIER TODAY ASUS revealed its AMD 800-chipset range of motherboards and unleashed no less than 12 different models based on the 880G, 870, 890GX and 890FX chipsets, well, that’s if you don’t count the ROG board. There actually was also a 14th board, but it wasn’t using an AMD chipset, yet we’ll give you what we’ve got on that board, too, towards the end of what is a very picture rich coverage of today’s event.
We’re going to try and keep things simple here by posting a couple of pictures of each board and giving a brief description of what’s on offer, as we can’t cover this many products in detail. So let’s start with the basic models and work our way up.
First up we have the M4A88TD-M, which is available with or without USB 3.0, as adding USB 3.0 to a motherboard adds a fairly significant cost and on entry level models this cost might just be too high for some. It might be a basic board, but Asus hasn’t really skimped too much as you get a full set of ports including DVI and HDMI. There are also six SATA3 6Gb ports courtesy of the SB850 chipset. The only concern with this board is the 4+1 power design that potentially means that you’re slightly limited as to the choice of CPUs you can use with it, but Asus claims to support 140W CPUs, so we’ll have to take Asus’ word for it. Asus decided not to fit any SidePort memory to this board, so the graphics performance won’t be as good as on the other models with integrated graphics.
Moving up we have the M4A88TD-M EVO which is pretty much the same board as the M4A88TD-M, but it adds a rear FireWire port and an eSATA connector, although as this is connected to the SB850, it means that you get one less SATA port. This board also comes with a USB 3.0 PCI Express card, rather than an onboard NEC controller. The add-on card is not likely to perform as well as the onboard NEC controllers, although we’re not sure how Asus has implemented USB 3.0 support on its AMD boards.
The third and final 880G board is the M4A88TD-V EVO, which is also the only full ATX board based on the 880G chipset in Asus new line-up. It seems like Asus has gone slightly over the top here with an 8+2 PWM design, which even bests that of Asus’ 890FX board that we’ll get to in a little bit. Interestingly Asus also claims support for CrossFireX, although this is in a x16/x4 setup which hampers the performance of the second card. Other features include USB 3.0 support, eSATA – via one of the SB850 SATA ports – and FireWire.
This takes us to the first 870 board, which is called the M4A87TD, and it too is available with or without USB 3.0. Again it comes with a fairly basic 4+1 power design, but it’s important to bear in mind that this is an entry level board. The only slightly unusual feature on this board is that it has a PCI Express x4 slot.
Next we have the M4A87TD EVO, which as the name suggests is the bigger brother to the M4A87TD. The most noticeable feature is a secondary x16 PCI Express slot, but it’s limited to x4 mode and unlike the M4A88TD-V EVO, there’s no CrossFireX support on this board, despite a similar setup. Asus has also upgraded this board with an 8+1 PWM design and we’re fairly certain that you wouldn’t run into any power delivery problems with this board. Other features include USB 3.0 support, FireWire and eSATA, although this time it’s not SATA3 6Gb, as Asus has used a third part controller for the eSATA port.
By now we’ve gotten to the 890GX chipset and Asus only offers a single model here, the M4A89GTD PRO and it’s already available. Asus offers this model with or without USB 3.0 and this is the first board to offer dual x8 CrossFireX support. There’s also an x4 PCI Express slot on this board and it has an 8+2 power phase design. Around the back we’ve got FireWire and 6Gb eSATA ports, and of course HDMI and DVI support as the 890GX chipset features integrated graphics.
This takes us to the 890FX chipset and the M4A89TD PRO. It has a 6+2 PWM design which is a bit odd considering that this should in reality be the high-end product on offer. It has the same slot layout as the M4A89GTD PRO, but the board layout is quite different. It has a pair of full x16 PCI Express slots and it also supports USB 3.0, FireWire and eSATA, the latter via a third party controller.
Speaking of high-end, the Asus Republic Of Gamers (ROG) series is where the high-end generally is when we’re talking motherboards for gamers and overclockers from Asus, and the new Crosshair IV Formula is unlikely to disappoint. This board is jam-packed with features, including four x16 PCI Express slots; although when all four slots are used you’re limited to x8 bandwidth per slot. This board also comes with USB 3.0 support, FireWire and eSATA – again via a third party controller – and Asus’ ROG Connect feature that allows you to overclock and tweak your motherboard with the help of a notebook or a netbook connected to it via a special USB port on the rear I/O.
The final board is a real oddity and a blast from the past, as the M4N68T-M is nothing less than an nForce 630a board, with DDR3 memory support. This is Asus’ budget model that lacks pretty much anything you can call features, although you can’t expect too much from an ageing chipset like this. It does have integrated graphics, but only a D-sub connector, howiver if you’re on a really tight budget, this might just be good enough.
Asus also officially announced Turbo Unlocker at the event today, but we already covered this a while back in as much detail as it was covered today. We’ve got some additional news from today’s event, but that’s a separate story. Finally, we have a picture that’s going to have to suffice until Computex, for those of you who just cannot get enough of scantily clad girls combined with tech.S|A
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