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Asus M4A87TD/USB3 Rev 1.01G Motherboard Review

Asus India sent me one of their boards with AMD 870

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So let’s see how she does!!


Chipset Comparison and Specs

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Difference between 870G and 880G? Onboard GPU and the manufacturing process. 870G doesn’t come with one. Some wouldn’t mind it as they would rely on their Discrete GPU.

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Packaging, Contents, Layout and First Impressions
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The packaging very basic. The only thing that will keep the box closed is a tape. All usual features are mentioned on the rear of the packaging.

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I got the board the media sample with the disc, user, and quick start guide, an IDE cable a pack of SATA Cables and I/O Shield.

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The layout looks like as if its designs for OEM purposes which happen to have few NON-OEM implementations.

The overall layout is clean and probably all the connectors/slots an end user need from a low-cost board. The board is a standard ATX form factor and there are 4 PCB Layers. By the looks of it, there are 2 things I seriously wish all manufacturers implement: The MOSFET sink and the right-angled SATA connectors. You can use the right-angled SATA cables without one connector blocking another.

Another point you need to keep in mind is that there are 2x 3 pin fan connectors.

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What separates this board from an actual OEM board are core unlocker, memOK!, the bundled Asus softwares and the NEC chip. The board comes with Realtek 8111E ethernet port and sound powered by VIA VT1818. EPU and TurboV chips are present on the board, like all Asus retail boards. The rest is Front panel headers, 3x USB 2.0 Headers (6 USB 2.0 via headers) , a serial port and a front audio headers.

The board comes with a single BIOS chip, Clear CMOS Jumper, USB and serial headers. SPDIF OUT header is placed where is should be (finally!!!)

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The northbridge and the southbridge sinks come with the push pins and a thick paste. The push pins isn’t really secured on the board, but just holding it together.
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From left: Keyboard and mouse PS/2 port, 6x USB ports, Optical out, Gigabit lan, USB 3.0 and 8 channel audio ports.


Bios

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One can save upto 9 OC profiles on the board. The rest of the options are nicely laid out and adequate to give good enough overclock.


Test Setup and Benchmarks

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Note: As I’ve said this chipset comes without onboard GPU so I had to use 9600GT for display. Due to the obvious difference between onboard GPU and a discrete, it didn’t make much sense to compare them. The tests that I’ve done is merely CPU tests and x264 encoding test.

3D Mark 06
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3D Mark Vantage
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Cinebench 11.5
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Conclusion
I’ve overclocked the system in Lian li A70f with the side panels closed like I always do. At stock the board is does what it should do but if you’re overclocking it, the MOSFETS do tend to get hot. I am able to get upto 3.6GHz and 1690MHz on my rams, but I didn’t have the confidence to give a bit more bump. I know that this board is supposed to be cheap and compete which cheap alternates that you get via Tier 2 manufacturers. But I would have appreciated a MOSFET sink over unlocker/memOK! button.

Speaking of being cheap:

India (Online)U.S.U.K.
Rs 5,300.00$104.99£68.79

So there’s not much difference between U.S. and India retail pricing. I was not able to find this board via couple of well-known dealers in Mumbai so I got this from DeltaPage.

When you’re buying a pc hardware, one needs to be ensured that it will last him/her for atleast 3-4 years. If you’re buying athlon II/Phenom II series CPU, this board might be as a last resort choice. The only reason I see this board being out with the users if its bundled by an assembler or its a choice of replacement board. I am seeing m2n series board being given as an equivalent replacement for people using older AMD processors, so this board would share the same fate for AM3. Its an OEM design with Asus’ usual bells n Whistles for sure, but not really confident to OC it and use it in the long run.

Judging of how pricing goes now: you’re getting Gigabyte 880GM UD2H for Rs. 4500 and Gigabyte 880GM USB3 for Rs. 5800. Advantage? Main point that it comes with onboard GPU so 870’s mission to bring the overall cost of the board lower pretty much goes out the window. If you don’t require the PCI extra slots (both Gigabyte boards being mentioned are MATX format). Only issue I see on the GBT boards is that if you’re using a dual slot card that’s as long as the board, some SATA ports will be blocked.

But irrespective of who the manufacturer is, PLEASE do the needful of using MOSFET sinks and start using right angled SATA ports- period! I’ve seen series of 780G boards around that are priced for a long time now, and many that I’ve seen do not use right angled SATA connectors. Couple of them used right angled IDE connectors, but not on SATA connectors. People who buy such boards in this price category will appreciate right angled SATA ports far more than buttons for unlocking/running memory diagnostics.

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