Asus M4A88TD-V EVO review

Does this stylish and feature rich AMD motherboard offer good value for money?

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Our Verdict

It's stylish and has lots of great features. But there's better value to be had elsewhere

For

  • Polished presentation
  • Solid feature set and performance

Against

  • Oodles of overclocking headroom
  • A little pricey for an 880G board

Asus is the name, impossibly slick motherboards is the game. Even this modest M4A88TD-V Evo model is still quite a looker.

For starters, like nearly all Asus boards it's immaculately arranged. Wherever possible, components are positioned in near-perfect little rows. It must make motherboard engineers from other companies weep onto their MOSFETs.

Then there's the natty blue-and-black colour scheme and expensive heatsinks for the northbridge and voltage regulation circuitry. It's nearly enough to make you assume this is a fine board without dissecting the details or seeing the benchmarks. Nearly enough, but not quite.

Not that the M4A88TD-V Evo doesn't stand up to close inspection. Asus has dropped in the SB850 southbridge rather than the older SB710 chip seen on some boards based on the AMD 880G chipset. Consequently, all five of the SATA ports are 6Gbps.

Further adding to the big bandwidth cred is the NEC USB 3.0 chip pumping 500MB/s per port to two sockets on the rear panel.

The only significant drawbacks involve graphics. The 880G's Radeon HD 4250 integrated GPU runs at 560MHz to the 890GX's 700MHz Radeon HD 4290 core. The 880G also plays second squaw to the 890FX discrete chipset in terms of PCI-e lanes.

Where the 890FX can pony up two x16 electrical links, the 880G can only manage two x8 or a single x16. Of course, it's questionable whether the full 16 lanes is essential for dual-GPU gaming thanks to the enormous 500MB/s per lane delivered by PCI-e 2.0.

Other features

As for non-chipset-related shortcomings, you don't get a handy hardware switches for power, reset and clear CMOS. However, what you do get is the TurboV Evo auto-overclocking dip switch.

In practice it doesn't deliver terribly impressive results. Bumping up a Phenom II from 3.2GHz to 3.45GHz is hardly worth the bother. Still, Asus' comprehensive set of BIOS features and options goes a long way towards making up for that.

The core unlocker ensures you can make the most of AMD CPUs with hidden cores, while the Express Gate embedded Linux OS divvies up a quick booting option for fast access to the internet and media files.

All of which just leaves space for the minor matter of performance. Strictly speaking, the M4A88TD-V Evo delivers slightly patchy results in our application tests. It's joint fastest in video encoding, but a second off the pace in Cinebench. It's also a couple frames slower than the best in World in Conflict.

Likewise, sub-300MB/s in HDTach and a maximum bus overclock of 300MHz relegate this board to a mid-table position overall. But let's be clear. The margins are incredibly tight.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX
Onboard VideoOn-board Video Chipset
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots2
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket AM3 PGA-941
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedPhenom II, Sempron
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory16 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots3
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 4250
Graphics Controller Memory1 GB
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces6
HyperTransport Speed2600 MHz
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots6
eSATAYes
HDMIYes
DVIYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports4
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
Total Number of PCI Express Slots3
Processor TechnologyCool'n'Quiet Technology
Width304.8 mm
Depth243.8 mm
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelM4A88TD-V EVO/USB3
Product NameM4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 Desktop Board
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600, Ultra ATA/133 (ATA-7)
Manufacturer Part Number90-MIBCZ5-G0EAY0WZ
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com