ASUS M5A97 R2.0 Review

Enthusiast who’s looking for the best value AM3+ motherboard that supports the latest Octa Core processor from AMD, there’s no other better than the ASUS M5A97. This board supports a wide range of CPU from Sempron, Athlon II, Phenom II and the latest FX series processors.

What Is It In The ASUS M5A97?

The ASUS M5A97 is built under the 900 series chipset platform that is fully compatible with the latest Zambezi processor and rest assured it will run to its full potential. The 970X chip featured in this board is almost identical to 990X and 990FX. They only differ in the number of lanes provided for the graphics, although the 970X has fewer the same capabilities can be expected.

Another distinctive differences is the limitation of the SLI configuration, therefore, NVidia users will be sad in this scenario. However, if you’re not into multi GPU applications this is quite fine for you. The reason behind this is to cut down its cost and give it to the masses at a very low price.

Don’t get me wrong on this, cheap doesn’t mean that the board is crap. For the price it offers you can still do tons of overclocking stuff with the M5A97 to push it further. Other chip involve is the famous SB950 on the Southbridge, this one takes care of the interface connectors.

The chip provides six SATA 6GB/s for maximum data transfer speed with gray color in vertical position. The 3GB/s is phasing out here no way for slow data transfer, however, you can still use it for slower drives due to its full compatibility but you may experience some slowness at some instance.

The looks and connectors of the ASUS M5A97

The ASUS M5A97 looks good in its traditional color in brown and blue combination which is pretty much the same as the M5A97 Evo but differ in the numbers of back I/O panel connectors. The CPU socket leaves enough space for an oversize heatsink in case you’re planning for an OC.

There are four DIMM slots are nicely color coded in black and blue for proper pairing in dual channel configurations, it supports up to 32GB of memory module with maximum speed of 2133MHz. They are well placed that doesn’t create any distraction when a larger GPU was populated the graphic port.

Looking at the expansion slot, there are two PCIe 2.0, the blue runs in 16X and the black one is only at 4X. It provides two PCIe 1X between the two PCIe slots and two legacy PCI on the lower part. The board provides a total of 14 USB ports, 2x 3.0 and 12x in 2.0. It also includes some of the useful onboard switches such as the TPU, EPU and the MemOK! The 24-pin and 8-pin power connector was located on the edge of the board for easy access and clean connections.

Moving on the back I/O panel, there’s a traditional PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboard. Two USB 3.0 in blue color and six USB 2.0 in black. There’s also a LAN port in RJ45 form, 1x optical S/PDIF out and 6x audio ports.

More Features From ASUS M5A97

The most popular features of the ASUS M5A97 motherboard is the UEFI BIOS, it’s great to have it even at a bargain price. Inside the BIOS there’s an EZ mode that displays most commonly used parameters in CMOS settings and the second is the advance mode for experienced user to get more out of it from tweaking. The UEFI BIOS also supports drives more than 2.2TB capacity.

This includes a user-friendly software in the form of Al Suite II for easy overclocking, this is for the DIGI+VRM, EPU, TurboV and fan speed. A dual intelligent processor EPU and TPU gives you power efficient thus maximizing its performance while using less power. The MemOK! function is to enable to boot the motherboard even if there is a memory compatibility issues.

Conclusion

As I mention before, the ASUS M5A97 is almost identical to M5A97 Evo they differ only in the number of ports and this one have lesser to further cut the cost. The Evo surprise us with its close to 1GHz OC speed gain from 3.6GHz to 4.515GHz. However, the same exact overclocking capability was expected in this board due to its loaded OC features such as the 4+2 power phase.

The ASUS M5A97 is made of solid design as we always anticipate from all Asus board but the price it offers is unexpectedly low, currently available at $94, this is good news to all value oriented enthusiasts. If you’re not into multi GPU configuration and don’t need some extra ports this is definitely the biggest bang for your buck. Click Here to get it at its lowest Price!