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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 01 > ASUS H97M-PLUS

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26-01-2015


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ASUS H97M-PLUS motherboard: review and testing

This material is dedicated to high-quality motherboard based on the chipset Intel H97. Model ASUS H97M-PLUS is made in the form factor microATX. It has a large number of internal and external connectors. An additional advantage is the increased protection of internal components with the support of the concept 5X Protection. Novelty can be used as for different purposes: from the building of gaming systems to creating a multimedia PC.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Let’s start the review of the motherboard ASUS H97M-PLUS by table with technical specifications.

Specification of motherboard ASUS H97M-PLUS:

Producer

ASUS

Model

H97M-PLUS

Chipset

Intel H97

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

CPUs supported

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron of 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 (in mode х16)

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (in mode х4)

2 x PCI

Disk subsystem

Чипсет Intel H97 supports:

1 x M.2 (M.2 2260 и M.2 2280)

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

Support of arrays RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel I218V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

2 / 4 / 5.1 / 7.1-channel HD Audio based on codec Realtek ALC887

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 and elements of power subsystem

External I/O

1 x PS/2 (mouse or keyboard)

2 x USB 2.0

4 x USB 3.0

1 x D-Sub

1 x DVI-D

1 x HDMI

1 x LAN (RJ45)

6 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

3 x USB 2.0 (each with support of two USB 2.0)

1 x USB 3.0 (with support of two USB 3.0)

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 х S/PDIF Out

1 х COM

1 x LPT

1 x button «MemOK!»

1 х switch GPU Boost

1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Мbт UEFI AMI BIOS, ACPI 5.0, PnP, SM BIOS 2.8, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Form-factor

microATX

Dimensions

244 x 224 mm

Producer website

Product page

ASUS

Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Packaging and content

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The motherboard is shipped in a cardboard box. Its design has a classic style, at the same time the most of the front panel is taken by a stylized image of the cooling system. A key feature of the new item is appropriate corporate concept 5X Protection which includes:

  • digital power subsystem DIGI +VRM;
  • special fuses that protect the memory slots and ports of interface panel against short-circuits;
  • protection of internal components from electrostatic discharge;
  • solid capacitors that are resistant to the effects of high temperatures, with a lifetime of 5000 hours (105°C);
  • interface panel is stainless steel with corrosion-resistant coating of chromium oxide.

Also ASUS H97M-PLUS has been tested for compatibility with more than 1,000 different components and subjected whiter than 7,000 hours of stability tests.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The back of the box has a pictorial diagram describing the main components of the motherboard, as well as a summary table of specification. The right side has the additional features of new item:

  • fan control system Fan Xpert 3 allows you to create individual scheme of work for each preset cooler;
  • availability of slots for SSD-drives M.2 with data rate up to 10 Gb/s;
  • proprietary shell UEFI BIOS with support for mouse control, and a variety of options for configuration;
  • audio subsystem Crystal Sound 2 on the basis of an 8-channel codec Realtek ALC887, which is equipped with high-quality Japanese audio capacitors, built-in amplifier TI R4580I and protection against noise and interference;
  • availability of Gigabit New Controller Intel I218V.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Inside the motherboard is additionally packed in anti-static bag that protects it against moisture, dust and electrostatic discharge during transportation.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Package of ASUS H97M-PLUS includes:

  • two SATA-cables;
  • plug the interface board;
  • CD with software and drivers;
  • sticker on the computer case;
  • a set of documentation.

Design and features  

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The tested model is created on the dark brown printed circuit board in format microATX (244 x 224 mm). Most of its slots and connectors are made in dark colors, and only shining bronze radiators chipset and power subsystem elements stand out from the color palette.

The layout of all components on the board is quite familiar and good (even power battery is taken out away from the expansion slots for easy replacement in the case of installed cards). You should pay attention only to the absence of the fastening screws on the right side of the PCB. In this connection you should be very careful when connecting the cables SATA and 24-pin connector ATX not to damage the circuit board.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The reverse side of the PCB has a black metal plate which strengthens the CPU socket and allows you to set an overall cooling system.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

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

ASUS H97M-PLUS

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The disk subsystem is represented by six SATA 6 Gb/s and one slot M.2 (M.2 with support for formats 2260 and 2280 M.2), which operate under the control of the chipset. In this case the socket M.2 shares lines with two ports SATA, indicated on the board as «SATA6G_5» and «SATA6G_6» (the first two on the left side, set close to the chipset). Therefore, the simultaneous use of these three interfaces is impossible. Next there is a block for connection of two additional remote ports USB 3.0. A total number of USB 3.0 port son ASUS H97M-PLUS is six: four external and two internal.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

On the right is a 24-pin ATX power connector and a button to start the diagnostic the memory modules («MemOK!») with a separate LED indicator.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

In order to install the memory there are four DIMM-slots equipped with latches only one side. Therefore you won’t have problems with installation of memory incase of dimensional graphics card. They are painted in different colors, as support dual-channel mode. They are compatible with DDR3 modules with frequency of 1333 and 1600 MHz. The total maximum amount of RAM can be up to 32 GB.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Cooling system of motherboard ASUS H97M-PLUS consists of two aluminum radiators, one of which is fixed on the chipset Intel H97, and the second is on the elements of the power subsystem. During the test the temperature of firs reached 43,5°C, and the second - 63,1°C. These temperature readings do not exceed the critical values and provide a sufficient safety margin, even if you put a novelty in cramped and poorly ventilated case.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The power subsystem of CPU is built on a 4-phase scheme and running under digital PWM controller DIGI+ VRM ASP1252. Its circuits are based on reliable solid-state capacitors with a lifetime of 5000 hours (at temperature of 105°C). The power supply is carried out via the main 24-pin and an additional 8-pin connector.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Motherboard ASUS H97M-PLUS has the following slots for expansion cards:

  • 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 mode);
  • 2 x PCI;
  • 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x4 mode).

To install the graphics card it is preferable to use only the first slot PCI Express 3.0 x16, because the second PCI Express 2.0 x16 operates in mode x4 and cannot reveal the full potential of modern graphics cards even in mode AMD CrossFireX. PCI slots can be useful to owners of discrete sound cards or other cards.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

A separate controller ASMedia ASM1083 is used to support PCI slots, since this functional is not provided for the chipset Intel H97.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

ASMedia ASM1442K controller is responsible for the interfaces D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI. They can be used in case of use the graphics accelerator into processor.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Chip NUVOTON NCT6791D is applied as controller Multi I/O. It provides the operation of ports COM, LPT and PS/2, and is also responsible for monitoring and controlling the fan speed.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The network connection is provided by a Gigabit LAN-controller Intel WGI218V. For its configuration you can use proprietary utility Turbo LAN, working on the basis of traffic prioritization technology.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Also the novelty has high quality sound subsystem Crystal Sound 2 operating on the basis of an 8-channel HDA-codec Realtek ALC887. It is separated from the other components of the motherboard by an insulating strip (to protect against noise and interference). Its circuits use high-quality Japanese audio capacitors and amplifier for headphone and speakers (TI R4580I). Additional protection against interference is ensured by the left and right audio channels at different layers of the PCB.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The interface panel of the motherboard ASUS H97M-PLUS has the following connectors:

  • 1 x PS/2 (keyboard or mouse);
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 6 x audio ports.

As you can see, there is quite a good set of connector, which will connect several fast drives with interface USB 3.0, and monitor or TV with the HDMI connector and a resolution of 4K Ultra HD. And the presence of six standard audio jacks will significantly simplify the implementation of multi-channel speakers.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

ASUS H97M-PLUS

The system board is equipped with three 4-pin fan connectors: one CPU and two case. They provide efficient cooling of computer components.

UEFI BIOS

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Motherboard ASUS H97M-PLUS is equipped with a preloader UEFI BIOS with a comfortable and functional proprietary shell. It has the control support by the mouse.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

There are many parameters that are responsible for the overclocking. It can be done manually or automatically using preset profiles or configuration «EZ Tuning Wizard».

ASUS H97M-PLUS

In the section «Ai Tweaker» are grouped various parameters for manual overclocking responsible for the work of the CPU.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Also, there are tools for RAM overclocking by raising its frequency or adjust the delay.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

In addition, you can control the operation of the power system DIGI+ VRM in the same subsection. This can be useful in case of substantial overclocking with raising the supply voltage.

Settings required for overclocking and optimization of the system are summarized in the table below:

Parameter

Menu name

Range

Step

RAM frequency

Memory Frequency

800 - 3400

 

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, Minimum Pulse Width, Write Latency

 

 

Min. CPU Cache Ratio

8 – MAX

1

 

Max CPU Cache Ratio

8 – MAX

1

Operation frequency of PWM-controller in CPU power converter

Fixed CPU VRM Switching Frequency(KHz)

250 – 350

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

 

Frequency Tuning Offset

5% – 6%

 

 

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 modules voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,200 – 1,800

0,005

 

PCH VLX Voltage

1,185 – 2,135

0,005

 

PCH Core Voltage

0,735 – 1,500

0,005

 

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-PLUS

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Section «Monitor» allows you to monitor the sensor readings on core components, as well as change the scheme of the cooling fans. Additionally, there is a right side panel that displayed in all sections. It has fixed the key monitoring indicators: frequency, temperature, voltage and CPU multiplier; the capacity, frequency and voltage of RAM; voltage on the supply lines +3.3V, +5V and +12V.

ASUS H97M-PLUS

Section «Boot» allows activate compatibility with operating systems that do not support UEFI (Windows 7 and previous).


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