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Tuesday, 01 July 2008 14:27

Four 780G and one GeForce 8200 tested - 2 ASUS M3A-H/HDMI

Written by Eliot Kucharik


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Review: Integrated all along

 

ASUS M3A-H/HDMI: 

 

This is the only full ATX board in our roundup. Due to some bugs on the Website, there are no specifications available and there is no CPU compatibility list. The VRM is a analog four+one phase design, so we speculate it can handle a Phenom X4 9850. ASUS provides a 140W compatibility list, where this board is not listed, so a Phenom X4 9950 is out of the question. For some reason, the CPU power connector is in the middle of the board, so you have to put the CPU P4 power cable around the CPU-cooler, which is a bad idea in our opinion. Even Asus used an ATX design, the Northbridge cooler is located too close to the CPU-socket, so you can run into issues when you try to install a bigger cooler such as the Scythe Andy Samurai.

 

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The design is pretty simple but at least it's an all solid design. One PCIe x16 port, twice PCIe x1 and three PCI ports give you plenty of options to upgrade your board. All six SATA ports are available, ASUS didn't include an eSATA port. Four USB 2.0 headers gives you additional USB 2.0 ports which are quite limited on the back-plane.

 

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Gigabit LAN is provided by an Atheros chip, which is quite uncommon on motherboards today. We did not have any problems using it, but our tests didn't take up that much time. Realtek provides an ALC1200 for 7.1 audio; we have no clue if this a new product or just a renaming of an common chip such as Gigabyte does. 

 

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The back-plane is quite empty. You have one HDMI and one VGA connector and if you want DVI you need to use the HDMI-DVI adapter provided in the package. There are only four USB 2.0 ports are a disappointment for an ATX-board. On AMD boards ASUS still provided the PS/2 mouse-port, which has been removed on the later Intel-based boards. We would have opted for the same here, because it would have be enough for two additional USB 2.0 ports. One LAN, 7.1 audio and one coaxial digital audio-output completes the back-panel.

 

This boards cost about €63,-.

(Page 3 of 8)
Last modified on Wednesday, 02 July 2008 07:44
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