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ASUS A88XM-E motherboard: review and testing

As you might guess from the title of the test model, ASUS A88XM-E is a compact solution of format microATX, made on the basis of the flagship chipset AMD A88X. If you look at the specification of new item and try to draw preliminary conclusions about its target audience, it can be assumed that due to the size, low cost and good layout of the interface panel it is fully capable to attract the interest of users looking for a multimedia system for entry-level processor of series AMD Kaveri or solutions of lineups AMD Trinity/Richland. Let’s examine in more details all the features of ASUS A88XM-E.


The specs:




A88XM-E (rev 1.03)



CPU socket

Socket FM2+

CPUs supported

AMD A / AMD Athlon

Memory frequency

2400* / 2133 / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 MHz


Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM- slots with support of memory 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 A88X chipset supports:

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s



1 x Realtek 8111GR (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

2 / 4 / 5.1 / 7.1-channel sound


Power connectors

1 х 24-pin ATX main power connector

1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power ATX12V


1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)


Aluminum radiator 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 jacks

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

Internal I/O

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

2 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x socket COM

1 x socket TPM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PDIF out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS



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


User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Disc with driver and utilities  

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions


226 х 188 mm

Producer website

Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Packaging and content


The motherboard is shipped in a compact cardboard decorated with yellow and black colors. Traditionally, most of the front of the space is reserved for the name of the manufacturer and model of the device. Separately note the correspondence of ASUS A88XM-E to brand concept  5X PROTECTION, which includes:

  • Digital PWM controllers for control of CPU power subsystem and memory modules, which are used in accordance with the company's concept DIGI+ VRM.
  • Special fuses for protection against overcurrent and short-circuit current and ESD protection.
  • Japanese solid capacitors with increased 2.5 times life (up to 5000 hours at 105°C).
  • Reinforced construction of interface board, which is made of high quality stainless steel coated with chromium oxide. It has a high resistance to oxidation, making it three times more susceptible to breakage.


On the reverse side of the package is an image of the motherboard, a brief technical specification, as well as a list of supported technologies and features:

  • USB 3.0 Boost - to speed the USB 3.0 interface is the support of protocol UASP.
  • Fan Xpert - smart fan control, allowing to achieve an efficient computer cooling with minimal noise.
  • AI Suite 3 - complete proprietary software, with which you can fine-tune a number of system settings without entering the BIOS.

Additionally we note the support for technologies AMD Eyefinity and AMD Dual Graphics, as well as the availability of HDMI video output on the interface panel, which has the ability to display images in resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD).


Package of ASUS A88XM-E corresponds to the status of the model. It includes only the necessary accessories, namely:

  • CD with drivers and utilities;
  • User Guide;
  • Two SATA cables;
  • the interface panel plug.

Design and features  


The tested model is realized on a dark brown printed circuit board in format microATX. It has compact and non-standard dimensions (226 x 188 mm). Due to this feature, it is possible to note the original layout of on-board components, where half of the SATA ports are parallel to the surface of the board, while the other half is perpendicular. Also note that the usual module for connecting remote panel with ports USB 3.0 was movedtot the bottom, while the connector TPM had to be placed over the slots PCI Express. Of course, these features may cause some minor inconvenience, but they are not critical, and their presence is a consequence of the desire to make products more compact.

Also note the very close proximity of PCI Express x16 connector and DIMM-slots that in case of long graphics card can complicate the process of installing or replacing memory modules.


The reverse side of the product has a standard base plate of CPU socket and plastic clip for fastening single radiator, which is responsible for cooling the chipset.


At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF out, COM port, as well as front panel leading-in socket. Also here are three leading-in sockets for USB: 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. Here are four USB 3.0 (two internal and two external). All sockets operate due to the set of system logic.


Due to lack of space in the lower part, the connector TPM is placed over PCI Express slots near the single connector of system fan.


The capabilities of disk subsystem organization are performed by six ports SATA 6 Gb/s the operation of which is realized by chipset. Here is the support of arrays SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10 and JBOD.


ASUS A88XM-E motherboard is equipped with two DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard which are equipped with latches on both sides. Memory boards operating at frequencies up to 2133 MHz in nominal mode and up to 2400 in overclocked mode are supported.

Despite the declared support of 32 GB of RAM, the actual maximum amount is no more than 16 GB due the absence of modules with capacity higher than 8 GB. However, this is more than enough to handle all the tasks set by the user.


Cooling system of the product consists of one aluminum radiator that removes the heat from the chipset AMD A88X.

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

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 54.1°C;
  • power subsystem chokes – 56.5°C;
  • power subsystem field transistor – 58.2°C.

Due to lack of space in the chipset, the manufacturer had to install a radiator with a fairly small area, which has impact on its effectiveness. However, the demonstrated results tell us that it copes with cooling since there is a reserve up to the critical temperatures.



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+ VRM power consumption subsystem control. All power components of CPU have high reliability level: Japanese solid capacitors and chokes with ferrite core are used. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.      


To extend motherboard functionality the user has three slots:

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

As you can see, there is a possibility of installing only one graphics card that can operate in mode AMD Dual Graphics. Separately we note that in the case of connecting the graphics card with dual-slot cooling system you will have only one free slot PCI, which means that if you want additional installation, for example a discrete sound card, you will be limited by models with interface PCI.


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.


To support network connections there is GB LAN-controller Realtek 8111GR. 


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


In accordance with the concept of 5X PROTECTION interface panel ofmodel ASUS A88XM-E is made of high quality stainless steel coated with chromium oxide, which makes it more durable. It includes 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 jacks.

This layout of the interface panel can be called quite decent for affordable solutions: it has not only a good range of video outputs, but also modern ports USB 3.0. Additionally we note the support for connecting peripherals with socket PS/2, and the ability to put COM port to the interface panel using the appropriate connector on the PCB. As features note not the most convenient connection of multi-channel speakers.



The possibilities of organizing the cooling system inside the body from ASUS A88XM-E are not too wide. There are two 4-pin fan connectors, one of which serves to cool the CPU, while the second is intended for system fans.

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