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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 04 > ASUS A78M-A

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21-04-2014


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ASUS A78M-A motherboard review and performance testing

Recently we had tested a quite interesting in terms of price and features motherboard ASUS A88XM-A performed on the basis of the leader chipset AMD A88X in microATX format. This time we will focus on models with similar characteristics namely ASUS A78M-A. The key difference from the above mentioned motherboard is the use of the second chipset (AMD A78) as well as more affordable price.

For more clarity we’ll compare the main specifications of these two devices:

 

ASUS A78M-A

ASUS A88XM-A

USB 3.0

external/internal

2/2

2/2

USB 2.0

external/internal

2/4

2/4

RAM

4 x DIMM

Up to 64 GB

 4 x DIMM

Up to 64 GB

PCIe x16

1

1

PCIe x1

1

1

PCI

1

1

Video outputs

HDMI

D-Sub

DVI-D

HDMI

D-Sub

DVI-D

Audio outputs

3

3

SATA 6 GB/s

6

6

eSATA

No

No

mSATA

No

No

LAN

1

1

CPU power phase

3+2

3+2

Format

microATX

microATX

As you can see at first sight motherboards are distinguished by chipset and cost (ASUS A78M-A is a few dollars cheaper). But let's learn the product in more details.

 ASUS A78M-A 

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

A78M-A (rev 1.00)

Chipset

AMD A78

CPU socket

Socket FM2+

CPU supported

AMD A / AMD Athlon

Memory frequency

2400* / 2133 / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 MHz

(*OS)

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with support of memory up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 х PCI

Disk subsystem

AMD A78 chipset supports:

6 x SATA 6 GB/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, JBOD

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111GR (10/100/1000 Мб/с)

Audio subsystem

Realtek ALC887 codec

2 / 4 / 5.1 / 7.1-chanell

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1 х 24-pin ATX main power connector

1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power ATX12V

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 HDMI

1 x DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

3 x audio port

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

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of 2 USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of 2 USB 2.0

6 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 CMOS jumper

BIOS

64 Mб Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 4.0a, SM BIOS 2.6, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver disc

2 x SATA cables

1 х faceplate of interface panel

Form factor,

Dimensions

microATX

236 х 208 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available here со страницы поддержки

Packaging and content

 ASUS A78M-A 

The motherboard is supplied in compact carton box of firm yellow and black colors. On the front side you can see the logo of the manufacturer, the name of the chipset, the type of supported processors, as well as the name of the device. At the bottom line is an information about  ASUS A78M-A conformity to proprietary concept 5X PROTECTION, which includes:

  • Special safety devices for increased protection against over current and short circuit.
  • Protection against electrostatic discharges.
  • Japanese solid capacitors with increased service life (up to 5000 hours at 105°C).
  • Improved design of interface panel made of stainless steel coated with chromium oxide. It has high oxidation resistance which makes it three times more wear-resistant.
  • Digital PWM controllers for control of CPU power and memory modules that are used in accordance with the original concept of DIGI + VRM.

 ASUS A78M-A 

The reverse side traditionally has the diagrammatic representation of the motherboard, a brief list of its technical characteristics, as well as the key features and advantages of the products:

  • USB 3.0 Boost – the support of UASP protocol is used to speed up the operation of USB 3.0 interface.
  • Fan Xpert - intelligence fan control system used for effective cooling with minimal noise level.
  • AI Suite III – together with motherboard there is proprietary software used for fine-tuning of several parameters settings without entering the BIOS.
  • Network iControl - using the bundled software you can control network activity in real time and set each program priority to network resources access.

Also there is a support of AMD Eyefinity and AMD Dual Graphics technologies, as well as the presence of HDMI video output on the interface panel which has the ability to display images in a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD).

 ASUS A78M-A 

Besides motherboard ASUS A78M-A 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 A78M-A 

The product is presented on microATX dark brown printed circuit board (236 x 208 mm). In comparison with ASUS A88XM-A model the only distinctive feature is the name. Both motherboards are decorated in accordance with the modern style with usage of yellow and dark colors.

Since both models have the identical packaging their features are the same, namely, not convenient location for connection of external panel with USB 3.0 ports at the bottom, absence of holes foe fastening screws on the right side of the board, as well as the close layout of latches for PCI Express x16 and DIMM slots that can complicate the installation/removal of RAM modules.

Of course above mentioned features can cause some discomfort but they are not critical and their presence is caused compact size of the board.

 ASUS A78M-A 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 A78M-A At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in sockets, S/PDIF out, COM port, as well as front panel leading-in socket. Also here are: three USB leading-in sockets: two for USB 2.0 and one for USB 3.0. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is six: (four internal and two on the interface panel) as well as four USB 3.0 sockets (two internal and two external). All connectors function is provided by the chipset AMD A78.

 ASUS A78M-A 

The possibility of disk subsystem organization is performed by six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. All of them operate due to chipset. Since to the fact that set of system logic AMD A78 unlike AMD A88X does not support RAID 5 the capabilities organization of RAID-arrays on the motherboard are limited by SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, and JBOD.

All SATA connectors are located perpendicular to board surface. Due to this fact and the absence of holes for fastening screws the user should be careful while the connection.   ASUS A78M-A ASUS A78M-A motherboard is equipped with four DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard which are equipped with latches on both sides. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. For its implementation modules should be installed either into first and third or second and fourth slots. Memory boards operating at frequencies up to 2133 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 2400 MHz while overclocking are supported. Despite the specified by manufacture support of 64GB memory the actual maximum index was 32GB. This should be enough for almost all tasks.

 ASUS A78M-A 

Cooling system of the product consists of one aluminum radiator. It provides heat removal out of AMD A78 circuit.

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

• radiator for chipset cooling - 43,9°C;

• radiator for cooling of processor elements power - 52,1°C.

The received results are characterized as good.

ASUS A78M-A

ASUS A78M-A

Processor power supply is performed via 3+2 phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1206 with integrated DIGI+ power consumption subsystem control. All power components of CPU have high reliability level: solid Japanese capacitors and chokes with ferrite core are used. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.    ASUS A78M-A 

To extend motherboard functionality the user has 3 slots:

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

The arrangement of PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot like in ASUS A88XM-A is also inconvenient.  For better ease of use it should be placed under PCI slot because here the access is not blocked by graphics card cooling system.

Let’s remind about AMD Dual Graphics technology support. It is a certain AMD CrossFireX analogue but instead of second graphics card the integrated into APU graphics core is used.

ASUS A78M-A

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

 ASUS A78M-A 

To support network connections there is GB LAN-controller Realtek RTL8111F. Network resource sharing and traffic can be realized by the proprietary Network iControl utility.

ASUS A78M-A

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

ASUS A78M-A

According to concept of 5X PROTECTION the interface panel of ASUS A78M-A model is made of high-quality stainless steel with layer of chrome oxide. It makes it more wearproof. Interface panel contains the following ports:

  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 2 x PS/2 for mouse and keyboard connection;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 2 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 3 x audio port.

 The configuration of interface panel is also completely identical to ASUS A88XM-A  and is quite good. Of course, we could complain about the presence of only four USB ports, but if you use the mouse and keyboard with PS/2 sockets it will be quite enough.

As for the features, the owners of multi-channel speakers will face with uncomfortable connection. They need to use audio outputs on the front panel of the PC.


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