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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 06 > ASUS H81M-K

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04-06-2015


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Motherboard ASUS H81M-K: review and testing

Motherboard ASUS H81M-K is one of the most affordable microATX models in the range of Taiwanese companies. Under an average cost of about $55, it offers a number of significant advantages, such as support for modern interfaces USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s, high performance, as well as some useful proprietary technologies.

ASUS H81M-K

We would like to note that this model is made on the basis of the youngest chipset (Intel H81), which is largely accompanied by a low final cost. Let's take a look at the detailed specs.

The specs:

Producer 

ASUS

Model

H81M-K (rev 1.01)

Chipset

Intel H81

Integrated processor

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th gen

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 16 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel H81chipset supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s (yellow)

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s (dark brown)

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111G (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

8-channel sound

Power

24-pin ATX connector

4-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

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 (foe mouse and keyboard)

Internal I/O

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

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors 1 x S/PIDIF Out

1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Mб Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 2.0a, SM BIOS 2.7, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

microATX

226 х 175 mm

Producer website

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

Package and content

ASUS H81M-K

Package of motherboard ASUS H81M-K is designed as a rectangular cardboard box decorated in corporate style using dark and golden colors. On the front side, in addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device, you can find information about the presence of chips for ESD protection, and support for a number of proprietary technologies, user-friendly interface UEFI BIOS and the operating system Windows 8.1.

ASUS H81M-K

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

  • ASUS USB 3.0 Boost - to speed USB 3.0 interface there is a support for protocol UASP.
  • Fan Xpert - smart fan control system, which allows to achieve efficient cooling with minimal noise.
  • ASUS AI Suite 3 - included proprietary software, allowing to fine-tune a number of system settings without entering the BIOS.
  • ASUS GPU Boost - automatic overclocking technology is integrated into the processor of graphics subsystem.
  • ASUS Network iControl - using the included software you can control network activity of PC, and install each program, priority access to network resources.

ASUS H81M-K

The box with the ASUS H81M-K contains only the most necessary accessories, namely, a disk with drivers and utilities, user manual, two SATA cables, interface panel plug.

Design and features

ASUS H81M-K

New product is made on a compact dark brown PCB in format microATX (226 x 175 mm). Bright design colors are provided by expansion slots, painted in yellow color, which makes the image of the motherboard more interesting.

ASUS H81M-K

The arrangement of the on-board elements is implemented at a high level therefore, you won’t face with problems with this aspect because all of the ports are located at the optimal positions, closer to the edges of the PCB.

ASUS H81M-K

But note a close proximity of DIMM-slots and slot PCI Express 2.0 x16. That means that to extract the memory modules you need previously disable the video card.

ASUS H81M-K

Separately we want to highlight some of the applications of electrolytic capacitors. As for the processor power subsystem, there are reliable and durable solid-state counterparts.

ASUS H81M-K

On the reverse side of the PCB draw attention to the standard base plate of the socket, as well as the fact that the chipset heatsink is attached with plastic clips.

ASUS H81M-K

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF out, CMOS, as well as front panel connection module. Also here are two modules for connection of additional interface USB 2.0. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is six: four are internal and two on the interface panel. As for USB 3.0, there are two external options. All of them are implemented by the chipset.

ASUS H81M-K

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented two ports SATA 6 Gb/s (yellow) and two SATA 3 Gb/s (dark brown). All connectors are functioning thanks to a set of system logic.

ASUS H81M-K

The tested model is equipped by two DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard that are equipped with latches from both sides. The RAM can operate in dual channel mode. Modules operating at frequencies from 1066 up to 1600 MHz in the nominal mode are supported. The maximum amount of memory can be up to 16 GB, which is enough for almost any task.

ASUS H81M-K

Cooling system of the product includes one aluminum radiator that removes heat from chipset Intel H81. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • cooling radiator of chipset – 42°C;
  • field-effect transistors of processor power subsystem – 78.1°C;
  • chocks of processor power subsystem  – 74.5°C.

The results can be described as average, but there is a reserve to the critical values.

ASUS H81M-K

ASUS H81M-K

Processor power supply is performed via 3-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. The transformer is based on PWM controller ASP1255D. The circuitry is made by high quality components such as: solid capacitors with increased lifetime and chokes with ferrite core. Basic 24-pin and additional 4-pin connectors are use for power feeding.

ASUS H81M-K

To extend the functionality of the product user has three slots:

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

It is expected that the new product provides the ability to install only one video card in a single slot PCI Express x16, which is connected to the processor and always uses all 16 lines of the standard PCI Express 2.0. Intel H81 chipset does not support any distribution lines between the slots or work with the standard PCI Express 3.0. However, this is not a critical disadvantage, since the difference between PCI Express 3.0 and PCI Express 2.0 will not lead to a noticeable drop in performance of connected graphics card.

ASUS H81M-K

Multi I/O capabilities are based on chip NUVOTON NCT5535D which controls the operation of the system fans, ports PS/2, as well as provides the monitoring.

ASUS H81M-K

To support network connections there is a gigabit LAN-controller Realtek 8111G. A proprietary tool Network iControl helps manage network resources in real-time.

ASUS H81M-K

Sound subsystem of model is based on the 8-channel codec Realtek ALC887 which supports audio formats 2/4/5.1/7.1.

ASUS H81M-K

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 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.

Such arrangement can be described as quite decent for an inexpensive motherboard, as it offers two video outputs and a sufficient number of USB ports. As for features, some users may be disappointed due to uncomfortable connection of multichannel speakers and the lack of HDMI.

ASUS H81M-K

ASUS H81M-K

The possibility of organizing the cooling system inside the body of the ASUS H81M-K is very standard. There are two 4-pin fan connectors, one of which serves to cool the CPU, while the other is intended for the system fan.

UEFI BIOS

Motherboard uses modern preloader based on graphics interface UEFI, to adjust them is possible via mouse. It offers two main scenarios of usage.

ASUS H81M-K

“EZ Mode” where all the necessary settings are grouped on one screen.

ASUS H81M-K

Or used “Advanced Mode” where all settings should be done manually.

ASUS H81M-K

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

ASUS H81M-K

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-3400MHz.

ASUS H81M-K

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

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Parameter

Menu

Range

Step

RaM frequency

Memory Frequency

800 − 1600

 

RAM timimg

DRAM Timing

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

 

 

Min. CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

 

Max CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

 

Long Duration Package Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

 

Package Power Time Window

1 – 127

1

 

Short Duration Package Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

 

CPU Integrated VR Current Limit

0,125 – 1023,875

0,125

 

Power Current Slope

Auto, Level -4 – Level 4

 

 

Power Current Offset

Auto, -100% – 100%

12,5 %

 

Power Fast Ramp Response

0,00 – 1,50

0,001

 

Power Saving Level 1 Threshold

0 – 80

1

 

Power Saving Level 2 Threshold

0 – 50

1

 

Power Saving Level 3 Threshold

0 – 30

1

ASUS H81M-K

ASUS H81M-K

The section «Monitor» opens access for monitoring the temperature of the CPU, as well as the voltage on the rails +12V, +5V and +3.3V. It is possible to set a lower threshold of CPU fan speed or select one of the profiles of its work.


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