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Micro ATX/uATX - 9.6 inch x 8 inch (24.4 cm x 20.3 cm)
Internal Specifications, I/O Ports
AMD AM3+ up to 125 W | AMD 760G (780L)/SB710 Chipset | 2 x DIMM DDR3 Dual Channel (8GB Max) | 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16, 2 x PCIe 2.0 x1, 1 x PCI | 3 x USB 2.0 connectors supports additional 6 USB 2.0 ports | 6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors | 1 x CPU Fan connector | 1 x Chassis Fan connector | 1 x S/PDIF out header | 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector | 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector | 1 x Front panel audio connector (AAFP) | 1 x Internal speaker connector | 1 x System panel
Back I/O Panel
1 x PS/2 keyboard | 1 x PS/2 mouse | 1 x D-Sub VGA | 1 x LAN (RJ45) port, Realtek® Gigabit LAN Controller | 4 x USB 2.0 | 1 x COM port | 1 x Parallel port | 3 x Audio jacks, Realtek® ALC887 HD Audio CODEC
Average Price: $60 to $70 USD
I have bought 2 of these boards from a local PC shop for $65, $70 including the sales tax; one was back on March 7th 2012 for a low budget gaming rig for myself. The second I purchased on August 28th 2012 as an upgrade to a family member's pre-built eMachines computer. My build was fresh and from scratch, while I gutted everything, save for the motherboard, processor, case & power supply from my relative's computer.
Coupled with these boards:
Relative's PC: 4GB ADATA DDR3 RAM (x2 2GB, Dual Channel, Single Sided, 7-7-7-20 Timing), 500W PSU, 3.1GHz Dual -Core AMD Athlon CPU, 1GB XFX Radeon HD 4350 Graphics Card
My PC: 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL DDR3 RAM (x2 4GB, Dual Channel, Dual Sided, 9-9-9-24 Timing), 500W PSU, 3.1GHz Dual-Core AMD Athlon CPU, 2GB VisionTek Radeon HD 5670 Graphics Card
My complaints about this motherboard are:
1 - the packaged I/O shield makes it rather difficult to install the motherboard. During the installation into my relative's case a few of the metal hooks attached to the port holes got jammed into one of the USB ports and the RJ45 port after I had fought to get the board well pressed to the rear of the case in order to get it lined up with the stand offs.
2 - little support on the right side of the board where the 24-pin power connecter & SATA connectors are. Though the board won't break, I did have some paranoia of possibly flexing the board while plugging in the power connector.
3 - the DIMM slots are rather difficult to insert RAM modules. I have installed RAM plenty of times in various motherboards and not a single time prior did I have to use so much force. I feared I had broken the modules after having to bare most of my body weight (via my hands of course) on them in order to get them properly seated.
4 - after times of leaving the computer off for more than 5 days and unplugged from the wall outlet as well as when installing a new hard drive or other SATA device it seems the BIOS forgets the boot order. To add some insight: for the first 5 months of having my build I had 2 HDDs installed. 1 held my operating system & programs, the other held some miscellaneous data. At one point I turned my PC off and left it unplugged from the wall outlet for a week do to some storms. When I plugged it back up and turned it on the BIOS gave me this message "Boot MGR missing". Going into the BIOS I found that it had my 2nd HDD set as the primary boot drive. Keep in mind, that my secondary HDD is plugged into the SATA_1 slot, while my OS drive is plugged into SATA_2 - a mistake on my part, but then again it really shouldn't matter. I have had to switch the boot order back twice due to my PC being off for extended periods of time. There is a 3rd time this happened, recently on August 30th 2012, I got a 3rd HDD for my computer. After installing it into SATA_4 (DVD Drive is SATA_3) the board once again reset the boot order to SATA_1, my data drive. I will admit this issue is not constant. The first week of September 2012 I once again unplugged my PC for 3 days due to more storms. It booted from the correct drive when I turned it back on.
Those aside, I move on to my compliments:
The style and color are simple & clean, very pleasing to the eyes. Though as personal preference I prefer boards that look like more stylized towards gamers such as ASUS's ROG boards, I can't complain at all about this board's appearance. Compared to the average run-of-the-mill green or brown motherboards, this board is beautiful.
Performance wise this is a very stable & solid motherboard. All my programs & games run smoothly and stably. These include Sony Vegas (video editing), FL Studio (audio production) and several graphic/resource intensive games. The same can be said for my relative's computer, game wise. Neither PCs have had random shut offs or crashing. Side note- neither PC's have been or ever will be overclocked. I cannot comment on this board's O.C. capability.
The initial setup & first time use is very, very easy. I was prepared to jump in the BIOS and set the RAM timings, etc after upgrading my relative's computer. To my surprise after booting for the first time and accidentally missing the chance to boot into the bios to make sure everything was detected and working properly, it went straight to loading windows and started the OS with no problems. The only reason I rebooted and accessed the BIOS was to make double sure everything was detected and functioning properly. With my relative's PC I never had to change any BIOS settings nor access the BIOS a second time up to the date of this review.
The added features are a big plus on ASUS's part. On 3 occasions I have witnessed the Anti-Surge feature. Unfortunately, the house I have been renting from Fall 2011 to now (soon to change) has had several power surges. The first few times heart jumped into my throat. How ever the message the board provides is rather comforting, as it states "the motherboard has shut off to prevent damage to itself and connected components". Not a direct quote from the display, but something along those lines.
For under $80 you can't go wrong with this one, despite the problems mentioned earlier. Even if it is limited to only 8GB DDR3 RAM, it does make a darn good low budget gaming machine when combined with a powerful enough graphics card (512MB+). If you're looking for a cheaper, yet reliable board to build an average, everyday use computer or even upgrade your old one I HIGHLY recommend this motherboard. I give it an 8 out of 10.