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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 04 > ASUS M5A97 R2.0

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Republish review

18-04-2015


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Motherboard ASUS M5A97 R2.0: review and testing

Motherboard ASUS M5A97 R2.0, as you might guess from its name, is based on the chip of AMD 970 north bridge, which is complemented by traditional south bridge AMD SB950. It is designed to work in tandem with the family of processors AMD Phenom II, AMD Athlon II and AMD FX for connector Socket AM3 +, where TDP does not exceed 140 W. At the time of writing, this model is offered in the average retail for $ 95 - 105, which is not much for pretty good and modern equipment. As we know, AMD SB950 the south bridge does not support modern interface USB 3.0, but the manufacturer has taken care of the customer and equipped models with four corresponding ports by the controller ASMedia ASM1042A. Let's take a look at the capabilities of the motherboard.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The specs:

Producer  

ASUS

Model

M5A97 R2.0 (rev 1.0)

Chip of north and south bridges

AMD 970 + AMD SB950

CPU socket

AMD Socket AM3+

Supported CPUs

AMD Phenom II / AMD Athlon II / AMD Sempron (Socket AM3)

AMD FX (Socket AM3+)

Memory frequency

2133* / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 МГц

(*OC)

Memory support

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

Expansion slots

 

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16

x16

x16+x4

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

2 х PCI

Disk subsystem

AMD SB950 supports:

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Realtek RTL8111F (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Coded Realtek ALC887

8-chanenl sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

24-pin ATX main power connector

8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator of north bridge

Aluminum radiator of south bridge

Aluminum radiator on the elements of the processor power subsystem

Extenral I/O

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

6 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

6 x audio jacks

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

Internal I/O

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

3 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 button «MemOK!»

1 х button «USB BIOS Flashback»

1 х button «DirectKey»

1 х socket DRCT

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.7, PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 х 229 mm

Producer website

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

Package and content

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

Motherboard ASUS M5A97 R2.0 comes in a cardboard box with a hinged lid. Its decor has dark and yellow shades. The front side contains support for technology Dual Intelligent Processors. Additionally, you can pay attention to the logo of the manufacturer and supported number of proprietary technologies.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

On the reverse side of the box in addition to images and brief features of the product you can find a description of the key advantages, namely:

  • Dual Intelligent Processors - board is equipped with two smart chips: energy processor (Energy Processing Unit - EPU) and TurboV-processor (TurboV Processing Unit - TPU), which provides fine optimization of the system depending on the current needs of the user.
  • Network iControl - using the included software in real-time you can control network activity of your PC, and install each program priority access to network resources.
  • USB 3.0 Boost - to speed the interface USB 3.0 there is a support for protocol UASP.
  • Fan Xpert - smart fan control, allowing to achieve an efficient cooling with minimal noise.
  • AI Suite 2 – a complete proprietary software, that allows you to fine-tune a number of system settings without entering the BIOS.
  • Remote GO! - is used for connecting a computer to other devices on your home network wirelessly, and provides an opportunity to broadcast video from a computer to a DLNA-compatible TV or use the tablet (smartphone) for remote desktop management, as well as an easy way to share files between the PC and mobile devices.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

Package of ASUS M5A97 R2.0 includes only the most necessary accessories:

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

Design and features

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

Motherboard ASUS M5A97 R2.0 is based on the ATX format (305 x 229 mm) on the dark brown PCB. Discreet design is pleasantly added by blue and shades of blue in the design, so that the model looks very attractive.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

As for the on-board elements layout, the manufacturer tried to take into account all the possible issues. So, DIMM-slots are equipped with latches on both sides, but located far enough from the slot PCI Express x16, which means you do not have to turn off the graphics card to replace the memory modules.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

Despite the perpendicular arrangement of ports SATA 6 Gb/s, long dual-slot graphics card will not discomfort access to them, but three-slot graphics accelerator takes you one or two ports of the six available.

Another aspect that is worth considering during building is the absence of mounting holes on the right side of the PCB, which require you to some caution when connecting the drive and the main power cable.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The reverse side of the PCB has only the base plate of the socket. Also note that only one of the three radiators (on the north bridge chip) is fixed with screws, while the other two - with plastic clips.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

In the lower left corner of the PCB you can find: the front panel audio connectors, S/PDIF Out, sockets COM and TPM, CMOS, as well as front panel connation module. Do note three blocks to activate ports USB 2.0. In total, the new product by the South Bridge AMD SB950 supports twelve USB 2.0ports: six are internal and six on the interface panel. Special attention is given connector DRCT, which allows you to connect an extra button to go into the BIOS and make it, for example, on the front panel of the case, as well as a button for quick firmware update BIOS - «USB BIOS Flashback».

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by six SATA 6 Gb/s that have the support for arrays RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. The operation of all interfaces is implemented by the South Bridge AMD SB950.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

Mainboard ASUS M5A97 R2.0 is equipped with four DIMM-slots for memory modules of the standard DDR3, which are equipped with latches on both sides. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. Its implementation is realized by installation either in the first and third or second and fourth slots. Modules operating at frequencies from 1333 MHz to 1866 in nominal mode and up to 2133 MHz during overclocking are supported. The maximum amount of memory can be up to 32 GB, which is enough for almost any tasks.

Also note the presence of connection module for ports USB 3.0 ports and a button «MemOK!», which allows you to automatically pick up the necessary parameters of the memory for the successful launch of the system. Here is a button switch between the BIOS - «DirectKey».

As for USB 3.0, all four interfaces (two internal and two external) function due to the controller ASMedia ASM1042A.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The cooling system of this motherboard consists of three aluminum radiators: the first covers the elements of the processor power subsystem, the second helps to cool the north bridge AMD 970, while the third cools south bridge AMD SB950. In the process of testing we’ve recorded the following temperature:

  • heatsink to cool south bridge AMD SB950 - 38,5°C;
  • heatsink to cool north bridge AMD 970 - 44,5°C;
  • radiator to cool elements of the processor power subsystem - 41,7°C;

These results confirm the effectiveness of the cooling system and allow us to hope for a good overclocking potential of this model.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

Processor powering is carried out on a 6-phase scheme for cores and additional nodes. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP0903С. All components of the power CPU have a high degree of reliability: used solid capacitors and chokes with ferrite core. The main 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are used to provide supply voltage.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The possibility of expanding the functionality of the motherboard ASUS M5A97 R2.0  is presented by six slots:

  1. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (mode х16);
  2. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  3. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (mode х4);
  5. PCI;
  6. PCI.

As you can see, this configuration has connectors to install one or two graphics cards (mode AMD CrossFireX), but in the second case the scheme of distribution of lines x16 + x4 won’t fully unlock the potential of a pair of bundles of graphics accelerators.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

Multi I/O opportunities are based on controller ITE IT8721F, which controls the operation of the system fan, ports, COM and PS/2, and provide monitoring.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The operation of four USB 3.0 ports is implemented by the controller ASMedia ASM1042A.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

In order to support network connections there is a gigabit LAN-controller Realtek RTL8111F. A software Network iControl allows to distribute network resources in real-time.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The audio subsystem of the motherboard is based on the 8-channel HDA-codec Realtek ALC887, which supports audio formats 2/4 / 5.1 / 7.1.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

The interface panel of model has the following ports:

  • 2 x PS/2 (for mouse and keyboard);
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 2 x USB 3.0;
  • 6 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out;
  • 6 x audio jacks.

Interface Panel provides excellent opportunities for connecting a wide range of peripherals. There are not only a large number of ports USB, but also an opportunity to put the COM port and convenient connection of multi-channel speakers on the rear part.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

ASUS M5A97 R2.0

Motherboard ASUS M5A97 R2.0 is equipped with four 4-pin fan connectors: one is used to power the cooling system of the processor, while the other three are applied for connecting system fans.


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