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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 05 > ASUS A55BM-K

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07-05-2014


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ASUS A55BM-K motherboard review and performance testing

It is no a secret that many users do not need to take the top of overclocking or organize multi-graphics configurations. They need a reliable solution with minimal set of functions and affordable price.

For testing we have chosen entry level motherboard of ASUS Company. It is based on the most affordable chipset AMD A55. It combines the minimum required functionality and low price. Its main difference from the leader AMD A88X is the lack of support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6 GB/s, as well as a RAID 5 array. Motherboard ASUS A55BM-K supports all available APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) and processors for Socket FM2 and Socket FM2+. At the time of reviewing its estimated cost is $ 55 USD.

ASUS A55BM-K

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

A55BM-K (rev 1.02)

Chipset

AMD A55

CPU socket

Socket FM2+

CPU supported

AMD A / AMD Athlon

Memory frequency

2400* / 2133 / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM-slot with memory support up to 32 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 х PCI

Disk subsystem

AMD A55 chipset:

4 x SATA 3 GB/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, JBOD

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111G (10/100/1000 MB/s)

Audio subsystem

Realtek ALC887 codec

2 / 4 / 5.1 / 7.1-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1 х 24-pin ATX main power connector

1 x 4-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum fan on the chipset

External I/O

1 x DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 2.0

3 x audio port

2 х PS/2 (for mouse and keyboard connection)

Internal I/O

1 x USB 2.0 each with support of 2 USB 2.0

4 x SATA 6 GB/s

1 x COM socket

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PDIF out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x system speaker socket

1 x CMOS jumper

BIOS

UEFI AMI BIOS, Version: 0902

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver disc

2 x SATA cables

1 х faceplate of interface panel

Form factor,

Dimensions

microATX

226 х 183 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content

ASUS A55BM-K

The product is supplied in carton box of yellow and black colors. On the front side we can see name of plate, country of production and logos with information about support of CPUs with Socket FM2+ and compliance with operating system Windows 8.1. Also it support the following technologies:  

  • UEFI BIOS – modern and easy-to-use UEFI graphics.
  • DIGI+ VRM – digital power subsystem for more accurate and stable voltage supply.
  • AI Suite 3 – proprietary software intended for fine setting of system parameters without entering BIOS.
  • Network iControl  packaged software allowing to optimize the usage of network traffic and put the priorities for distribution of network resources.   
  • ESD Guards – special chips preventing the negative effect of electrostatic discharge on inside system components.
  • Stainless Steel Back I/O – interface panel is made of stainless steel with additional cover of chromium oxide. This allows to increase its anticorrosive properties.

ASUS A55BM-K

On the reverse side there is a picture of the motherboard and its specification. Also here you can find the advantages of above mentioned technologies. In addition there is a support of AMD Dual Graphics technology. 

ASUS A55BM-K

In the box you’ll find the most necessary accessories. Scope of supply includes:

  • driver disk;
  • user's manual;
  • two SATA-cables;
  • faceplate of interface panel

Design and features  

ASUS A55BM-K

Motherboard ASUS A55BM-K is created brown microATX printed circuit board (226 x 183 mm). The sockets have yellow and dark colors and this is typical for modern ASUS products. In general, the arrangement of on-board components of the motherboard is quite usual. The only thing necessary to note is very close placement of PCI Express x16 and DIMM-slots which may complicate the process of building or replacing of memory modules.

ASUS A55BM-K

On the reverse side of the product you will see the standard support plate of the CPU socket and plastic fastening clips of a single radiator which is responsible for chipset cooling.

ASUS A55BM-K

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in sockets, S/PDIF out, COM port, CMOS jumper. In addition there are 2 USB 2.0 leading-in sockets. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: (four internal and four on the interface panel). All connectors function is provided by the chipset AMD A55. USB 3.0 ports are absent because this chipset doesn’t support them and additional controllers will increase the cost of the board. 

ASUS A55BM-K

Front panel and system speaker leading-in sockets are closer to the right edge of the board. Next to it there are four SATA ports, one of them is placed parallel to textolite and the others perpendicularly. All of them are realized by AMD A55 chipset and correspond to SATA 3 GB/s standard. Also here you can find the support of SATA RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10 arrays.

ASUS A55BM-K

In the upper right corner of ASUS A55BM-K there are two DIMM-slots for installation of DDR3memory modules which are equipped with latches on both sides. RAM power supply is single-phased and in controlled by PWM controller RT9045 produced by Richtek Company. RAM can operate in dual-channel mode. Memory strips which operate at frequencies up to 2133 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 2400 MHz during overclocking are supported. According to the manufacturer the maximum possible capacity of memory can be up to 32 GB although at the moment strips with capacity 8 GB are available. Therefore, the actual maximum capacity 16 GB which should be enough for all daily tasks.

ASUS A55BM-K

ASUS A55BM-K

As we have mentioned above ASUS A55BM-K is based on AMD A55chip which connects the CPU and peripherals. The chipset is made last year at the end of October. Cooling is realized due to low-profile aluminum radiator fixed with plastic clips.

In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

• radiator for chipset cooling - 62,9°C;

• chips and chokes of processor elements power - 39,1°C.

Chipset temperature is a little bit higher. It indicates about insufficient performance of the structure of cooling radiator.

ASUS A55BM-K

ASUS A55BM-K

ASUS A55BM-K

Processor power supply is performed via 3+1 phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. The power of integrated graphics core performs a linear converter placed under CPU socket. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1206 with integrated DIGI+VRM power consumption subsystem control. All power components of CPU include high reliability solid Japanese capacitors and chokes with ferrite core. Basic 24-pin and additional 4-pin connectors are use for power feeding.  

ASUS A55BM-K

To extend motherboard functionality the user has 3 slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x16;
  2. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  3. PCI.

As you can see, there is a possibility to install only one graphics card that can work in AMD Dual Graphics mode. This will provide an opportunity to combine the resources of integrated graphics core and discrete graphics card thereby increasing the overall performance of the video subsystem. It should be noted that when using the graphics card with dual-slot cooling system there is only one free slot PCI. Next to the expansion slots is a green LED that indicates about power supply to the board.

ASUS A55BM-K

Multi I/O capabilities are based on ITE IT8603E chip which controls the operation of the system fans, COM, and PS/2 ports, as well as provides the monitors.

ASUS A55BM-K

To support network connections there is GB LAN-controller Realtek 8111G. Network resource traffic can be realized by the proprietary Network iControl utility.

ASUS A55BM-K

Sound subsystem is based on HAD codec of 8-channel sound Realtek ALC887 that supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 sound systems.

ASUS A55BM-K

Interface panel contains the following ports:

  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45) ;
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 3 x audio port;
  • 2 х PS/2 (for mouse and keyboard connection).

As you can see, interface panel includes all necessary for proper function: analog and digital video outputs, PS/2 connectors for peripherals connection. Here is the opportunity to put COM port on the interface panel using the appropriate connector on the PCB. As for peculiarities, there is an absence of HDMI and USB 3.0 interfaces and the presence of only three audio outputs.

ASUS A55BM-K

Cooling capabilities inside ASUS A55BM-K case are standard. Four sockets for fan connection are used to organize cooling of the motherboard. One of them is used for the CPU cooling system, and the other three to activate the system of fans. The control of blade rotation is realized by PWM method.

UEFI BIOS

Motherboard ASUS A55BM-K uses a modern UEFI BIOS of AMI Company. To provide the setting is possible using the mouse. Menu of settings has a uncommon and comfortable interface that operates in tow modes: simplified (EZ Mode) and extended (Advanced Mode).

ASUS A55BM-K

Temperature and CPU voltage monitoring is displayed on UEFI BIOS main screen. Also in this section you can view the version BIOS, processor model and the capacity of installed RAM. To exit EZ Mode it is enough to press “Exit/Advanced Mode” in upper right corner or key ESC.

ASUS A55BM-K

All overclocking settings can be found in “Ai Tweaker” section.

ASUS A55BM-K

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-2400MHz.

ASUS A55BM-K

If necessary you can get the access to memory delay adjustments.

ASUS A55BM-K

To increase the stability during overclocking process you can use the setting of DIGI+VRM of digital subsystem control.

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Menu name

Range

Pitch

APU Frequency

90,00 – 300,00

1

NB Frequency

400 – 6300

100

APU Multiplier

8 – MAX

1

CPU Voltage Frequency

200 - 350

50

System Memory Multiplier

800 – 2400

 

Timing Settings

CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Pre Time, RAS ACT Time, COMMAND Mode, Row Cycle Time, READ to PRE Time, RAS to RAS Delay, WRITE to READ Delay, CAS Write Latency, WRITE Recovery Time, FOUR ACT WIN Time, REF Cycle Time

 

DRAM Voltage

1,35000 – 1,65000

0,00500

It worth to note the absence of CPU voltage changing. This feature complicates overclocking process.

ASUS A55BM-K

“Monitor” section provides the access to information about CPU and chipset temperature as well as rotation speed of installed fans. Additionally in this section you can check the voltage on CPU cores and power lines +12V, +5V and +3,3V. Unfortunately the availability of monitoring of memory modules power lines is not realized.  

ASUS A55BM-K

Section “Boot” includes parameter of system load.

ASUS A55BM-K

“Tool” section combines several utilities. Using EZ Flash 2 you can upgrade UEFI BIOS microcode, at the same time drives with NTFS file system and Cyrillic in the names of folders and files are supported. SPD Information allows you to review the contents of profiles SPD of installed memory modules. ASUS O.C. Profiles implements the ability to save up to eight overclocking profiles. Also it is possible to make screenshots.


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