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30-01-2015


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ASUS H97M-E motherboard: review and testing

Motherboard ASUS H97M-E is one of the relatively affordable entry-level solutions from the company ASUS. It offers quite a nice combination of advantages such as a good opportunity for the organization of the disk subsystem, traditionally high quality circuitry, compact dimensions, as well as a number of other improvements and proprietary technologies. Also note that the new product is based on the available chipset Intel H97. From flagship solution (Intel Z97) it differs only by the absence of nominal overclocking functionality and capabilities of distribution interface PCI Express 3.0 x16 lines between two slots.

ASUS H97M-E

Let’s look what the company offers in this model, which belongs to the price range of $ 115 - 120. The specification of motherboard ASUS H97M-E:

Producer

ASUS

Model

H97M-E (rev 2.01)

Chipset

Intel H97

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

CPUs supported

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th and 5th generation: Intel Haswell, Intel Haswell Refresh, Intel Devil`s Canyon, Intel Broadwell

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 MHz

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with support of memory up to 32 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel H97 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 (M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111GR (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Кодек Realtek ALC887

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

24-pin power socket ATX

8-pin power socket ATX12V

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

2 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiators on chipset

External I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

3 x audio jacks

2 х PS/2 (mouse or keyboard connection)

Internal I/O

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

3 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 х socket TPM

1 x socket COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PDIF out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.8, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Form-factor

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Dimensions

microATX

244 х 198 mm

Producer website

 

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

Packaging and content

ASUS H97M-E

Motherboard ASUS H97M-E is shipped in the familiar cardboard box decorated with the printing in the corporate style. A key element of the design of front panel is the image of round radiator with marked technology support ASUS 5X Protection. Additionally, you can pay attention to the logo of the manufacturer, HDMI video output and the operating system Windows 8.1.

ASUS H97M-E

The reverse side of the package contains the image of the tested product, its brief specifications, as well as key features and benefits:

  • ASUS 5X Protection involves the use of digital power subsystem ASUS DIGI+ VRM, the protection of external interfaces and memory modules against high current, high-quality solid capacitors with a lifetime of 5000 hours at 105°C, the steel interface panel with a high resistance to corrosion and microcircuits for ESD protection.
  • M.2 – the product is equipped with a support of interface M.2, which has a capacity of up to 10 Gb/s.
  • Crystal Sound 2 - pre-installed audio codec Realtek ALC887, which uses a special amplifier TI R4580I, offers support for eight-channel sound. In order to avoid interference caused by electromagnetic interference, a special screening technology Audio Shielding is applied. To maximize the sound quality Japanese audio capacitors of company Nichicon are used. In addition, the left and right audio channels are carried on different layers of the PCB that minimize crosstalk.
  • 1000+ Compatible Devices - motherboards by ASUS are tested for compatibility with more than 1,000 different devices (processors, memory and others);
  • 7000+ Validation Hours - branded motherboards pass more than 7000 hours of severe tests on the stability of operation under adverse factors (high temperature, humidity, etc).

ASUS H97M-E

The box with the ASUS H97M-E has quite a standard set of accessories for low-cost model:

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

Design and features  

ASUS H97M-E

New product is made on a compact dark brown PCB of format microATX (244 x 198 mm). Its design contains bronze and dark shades that look quite solid.

On-board layout elements are implemented at a high level, so you won’t face any special problems with this aspect of the use. But take into account the absence of mounting holes on the right side of the printed circuit board, which is a consequence of its non-standard widths. That is why you should be careful and not to use excessive force when connecting the main power cable and stores located in the perpendicular SATA 6 Gb/s.

ASUS H97M-E

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

ASUS H97M-E

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF out, COM and TPM ports, CMOS and front panel connection module. Also here are three modules for additional ports USB 2.0. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: six internal and two on the interface panel.

ASUS H97M-E

ASUS H97M-E

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by socket M.2 (support of SSD drives of M.2 2260 and M.2 2280) with four ports SATA 6 Gb/s. There is a support of SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10. All interfaces are realized by chipset.

ASUS H97M-E

Main board ASUS H97M-E is equipped with four DIMM-slots for memory modules DDR3, which are equipped with latches on one side. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. To implement it the modules must be installed either in the first and third or second and fourth slots. Modules operating at frequencies from 1333 to 16000 MHz in nominal mode are supported. Maximum memory capacity may be up to 32 GB which is enough for almost any tasks.

Also note the module for connection of removal part with USB 3.0 ports. The total number of USB 3.0 ports is six: two internal and four on the interface panel. All of them are realized by chipset.

ASUS H97M-E

Cooling system of the product includes one aluminum radiator used for heat removal from chipset Intel H97. 

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

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 43°C;
  • power chokes – 69.2°C;
  • field-effect transistors – 66.7 °C.

The received results can be considered as good.

ASUS H97M-E

ASUS H97M-E

Processor power supply is performed via 4-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1252 with integrated power consumption control subsystem DIGI+ VRM. All power components of CPU have high reliability level: solid capacitors with increased to 2.5 lifetime, as well as chokes with ferrite core. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.    

ASUS H97M-E

To extend the functionality the motherboard ASUS H97M-E has four slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (х16 mode);
  2. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  3. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x1.

It is expected that the new product offers the ability to install only one 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 3.0.

ASUS H97M-E

If you decide to take advantage of the graphics core integrated on the CPU, then you have three video outputs: HDMI, DVI-D and D-Sub, switching is carried out by chip ASMedia ASM1442K.

ASUS H97M-E

Multi I/O capabilities are based on NUVOTON NCT5538D chip which controls the operation of system fans, ports COM and PS/2 and provides the monitoring.

ASUS H97M-E

To support network connection there is gigabit LAN-controller Intel WGI218V.

ASUS H97M-E

Sound subsystem is based on HAD codec of 8-channel sound Realtek ALC887 that supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 sound systems and has several proprietary features (concept Crystal Sound 2). It presupposes the existence of a special audio amplifier TI R4580I and Japanese audio capacitors to improve the quality of the reproduced sound. The area of the PCB with the sound path is shielded by a protective strip, and the left and right audio channels are on separate layers of the PCB.

ASUS H97M-E

Interface panel of ASUS H97M-E model 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);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 3 x audio jacks.

This layout of interface panel can be called as excellent because it includes three video outputs, a large number of USB ports, convenient connection of multichannel acoustic and ability to use periphery with interface PS/2. Also using inner socket you can place COM port on the reverse side. And the features include only inconvenient connection of multi channel speaker system.  

ASUS H97M-E

ASUS H97M-E

The possibility of organizing the cooling system inside the case is quite standard. There are three 4-pin fan connectors, one of which is used for the cooling CPU system, while the other two are applied for system fans.

UEFI BIOS

Model ASUS H97M-E uses modern preloader based on UEFI. To provide the setting is possible via mouse control. It proposes two main scenario of the usage.

ASUS H97M-E

ASUS H97M-E

EZ Mode where all required settings are grouped in one screen and overclocking can be performed using “EZ Tuning Wizard”.

ASUS H97M-E

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

ASUS H97M-E

All overclocking parameters are in section “Ai Tweaker”.

ASUS H97M-E

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-3400MHz, but in practice it was limited by value of 1600 MHz.

ASUS H97M-E

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

ASUS H97M-E

Top increase the stability during overclocking you can use settings of digital power subsystem DIGI+ VRM.  

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Parameter

Menu

Range

Step

RAM frequency

Memory Frequency

3400, 3200, 3000, 2933, 2800, 2666, 2600, 2400, 2200. 2133, 2000, 1866, 1800,

1600, 1400, 1333, 1066, 800

 

RAM timing

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

Operation frequency of PWM-controller in CPU power converter

Fixed CPU VRM Switching Frequency(KHz)

300 – 500

50

 

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

 

CPU Core Voltage Override

0,001 – 1,920

0,001

 

CPU Cache Voltage Override

0,001 – 1,920

0,001

 

CPU System Agent Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

 

CPU Analog I/O Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

 

CPU Digital I/O Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

CPU input voltage

CPU Input Voltage

0,800 – 2,700

0,010

RAM voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,185 – 1,800

0,00500

Chipset voltage

PCH Core Voltage

0,735 – 1,500

0,01250

 

PCH VLX Voltage

1,185 – 2,135

0,01250

 

DRAM CTRL REF Voltage

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

 

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHA

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

 

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHB

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

ASUS H97M-E

ASUS H97M-E

“Monitor” section provides the access to information about temperature of CPU and chipset. In order to monitor voltage on power lines +12V, +5V and +3,3V is possible from any section since this information is displayed on the right side panel.  Also it is possible to take screenshots.  


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