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Asus launches new micro ATX boards – faster and more integrated

Looking forward, ASUS has launched new Micro ATX motherboards with native HDMI and DVI outputs for use with Intel and AMD processors that feature integrated graphics. The motherboards also incorporate exclusive ASUS USB 3.0 ‘Boost Technology’ for faster data transfers with compatible storage and solid capacitors – which Asus claim to have a lifespan of more than 50 years (if operating in temperatures under 65 degrees). KitGuru scans the spec sheets.

Once upon a time, everything came glued/soldered to one board. Then there was a time of great adventure, where almost everything was interchangeable with everything else. Now, as APU and Intel Integrated take hold, we can expect a return to a more wholesome time. Asus has recognised this and is now putting even more integration into its Micro ATX boards.

When KitGuru spoke with insiders at Asus, we were told, “The latest Intel 22nm CPUs feature Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, while AMD Socket FM2 Athlon and A-Series APUs have integrated AMD HD 7000 Series discrete-level Radeon GPUs. The processors provide excellent 2D and 3D graphics performance, without the need for a separate graphics card, which in turn results in lower PC build costs”.

Also, “The new ASUS microATX motherboards support the integrated graphics features of both processor families, and each model features both an HDMI port for use with HDTVs and a DVI port for connection to desktop displays. The ASUS B75M-A, H61M-PLUS, H61M-A/USB3 and H61M-A are Micro ATX motherboards designed for Intel processors; the A85XM-A, A55M-A/USB3, A55M-A are for AMD APUs. The Micro ATX form factor and reduced cooling requirements of these new motherboards make them ideally suited for compact desktop and home entertainment PCs”.

There was also talk of making USB 3 working even faster than it does, today, in most implementations.

The experts at Asus put this in a nutshell for us, “USB 3.0 has data-transfer speeds up to 10-times faster than USB 2.0. The new microATX motherboards announced today improve upon this further with exclusive ASUS USB 3.0 Boost technology, for data transfer speeds up to 1.7-times faster than ordinary USB 3.0”.

How is this achieved?

Well, according to Asus, “USB 3.0 Boost uses the industry standard USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) to increase data throughput by using multiple channels in parallel, rather than just the one channel of ordinary USB 3.0. This allows USB 3.0 Boost to use the entire bandwidth of a USB 3.0 connection for significant time savings with large file transfers and smoother HD video streaming. UASP requires a UASP-enabled drive or drive enclosure to deliver its full performance benefits, but ASUS USB 3.0 Boost technology also incorporates an optimized ‘turbo’ mode for data transfer speed improvements from any standard USB 3.0 device”.

And what about ‘real world availability’?

Asus says, “USB 3.0 Boost is supported by the ASUS B75M-A, H61M-PLUS and H61M-A/USB3 Intel-based motherboards and the A85XM-A and A55M-A/USB3 AMD-based motherboards. Both onboard HDMI/DVI and USB 3.0 Boost are also available on the new ASUS Z77-A Intel-based ATX motherboard”.

Intel only boards listed here - AMD versions to follow

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KitGuru says: It’s one more step along the inevitable path toward Intel and AMD selling the processors directly to Asus and the other mainboard vendors.

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