Preview: ASUS Does 890FX and 880G


ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3

ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3

The other board from ASUS , the M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 follows a more mainstream formula, though ASUS' proprietary features do make the difference. It's the usual list, like EpxressGate and EZ Flash. You'll also find the Core Unlocker feature onboard, which should be useful for those trying to maximize their budget. The AMD 880G chipset found here is a slight update of AMD's existing 780G so the integrated graphics core should be mostly similar to that found on the 785G. This means the new Southbridge (SB850) is the most significant change. Like the Crosshair IV Formula, ASUS has added USB 3.0 support to extend its lifespan. 

ASUS has been using a blue color scheme for its mainstream and performance range of motherboards and this is no different.

The rear I/O on this board is quite standard, with no PS/2 mouse port but with two USB ports instead. The three video outputs, HDMI, DVI and analog VGA is accounted for and besides the two blue USB 3.0 ports, there are two more USB 2.0/1.1 ports. FireWire and eSATA complete the interfaces.

There are five SATA 6Gbps ports internally and while they are aligned facing upwards, they shouldn't interfere with any of your board components or add-on cards.

The usual four DIMM slots for DDR3 memory.

Here are the switches to toggle Core Unlocker, Turbo Key II and MemOK!. All three features are found on ASUS' other boards, like the Crosshair IV Formula.

ASUS has included an IDE connector here and while it may look like a uncommon orientation and location to place the connector, ASUS manages to avoid clashing with dual-slot graphics cards. There could be a minor issue with the IDE cable though, as it has to be sufficiently long to loop over a dual-slot graphics card, which is the only way we think you might reach an IDE-based optical drive on your system.

Two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots are found and they are capable of supporting CrossFireX (x8/x8 configuration). Other than the PEG slots, there's just one PCIe x1 slot and three PCI slots.

The passive heatsinks are quite understated but the edges of the fins can be quite sharp.

The relatively new Realtek ALC892 HD audio CODEC is preferred, as is the trend we noticed from ASUS recently.

Of course, the NEC USB 3.0 controller that's found practically everywhere on boards which support USB 3.0.  

Like the Crosshair IV Formula, our impression of the M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 is that the design and quality lives up to ASUS' high standards. The layout appears to work with no obvious flaws while the features are more than adequate for the mainstream segment. ASUS' own features add an extra dimension to this board, especially the Core Unlocker and Turbo Key II to improve your processor's performance. It looks to be a very competent AMD 880G that's well equipped and ready for the near-future.