Friday, May 6th 2011

ASUS M5A Series Socket AM3+ Motherboard Lineup Detailed

Here is the complete socket AM3+ motherboard first-wave of ASUS, the M5A series, short and sweet. Based entirely on AMD 9-series chipset, including 9-series southbridge chips, the first-wave caters to gamer, performance, and enthusiast market segments, and only includes those chipset models that rely on discrete graphics (leaving out AMD 980G, 990GX). The lineup even includes models from ASUS' gamer/enthusiast-oriented Republic of Gamers (ROG) family, and The Ultimate Force (TUF) family.

The lineup starts with three models based on AMD 970 + SB950 chipset, which is a single discrete graphics card platform. The M5A97 is the entry-point, it bases itself entirely on what the chipset offers, plus two USB 3.0 ports. Moving up is M5A97 Pro, which has everything its little sibling has, plus a stronger 6+2 phase Digi+ VRM, and two eSATA ports. The M5A97 EVO, which was pictured a little while ago. This has everything the Pro variant has, plus two front-panel USB 3.0 ports, and FireWire.

While the M5A97 boards do feature two physical PCI-E x16 slots, the second (black) slot is wired to the southbridge, and runs at x4 speeds, it might support ATI CrossFire since Catalyst doesn't care how two GPUs are connected to the system as long as there's an AMD or Intel chipset; but there's definitely no NVIDIA SLI.

Moving up the food-chain, there's the most affordable AMD motherboard that supports both ATI CrossFire, and 2-way NVIDIA SLI. Based on the AMD 990X + SB950 chipset, the M5N99X EVO features two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots that run at x16/NC or x8/x8 speeds, depending on whether the second slot is populated. Again, there's a third black electrical x4 slot. That aside, the board features two internal SATA 3 Gb/s ports apart from the six SATA 6 Gb/s ports that are standard with every M5A board; and a Power eSATA port apart from regular eSATA.

The top of the line AMD 990FX chipset has no standard ASUS model, rather it dives right away into two of ASUS' reputed enthusiast motherboard lines, with the TUF Sabertooth 990FX, and the ROG Crosshair V Formula. The Sabertooth intends to provide enough durability to boot GlaDOS after it wakes up hundreds of years later, while the Crosshair V has everything the overclocker and big-ticket gamer would ever need.

The TUF Sabertooth 990FX uses Digi+ VRM, ultra-high grade electrical components, three PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots (electrical x16/x16/NC or x16/x8/x8), and a PCI-E x16 @x4. This board supports ATI CrossFireX and NVIDIA 3-way SLI. Its main selling points are a unique ceramic-surface heatsink called TUF CeraM!X, a "thermal radar" that can tell you how warm a specific part of the board is running, anti-surge circuitry, efficient power-switching, and military-standard components. Otherwise, this board has the same feature-set as the M5A99X EVO, as a failsafe, it even lacks DRAM multipliers to go above DDR3-1866 (FX processors are capable of that out of the box).

The ROG Crosshair V Formula uses bleeding-edge components for overclocking, including 10-phase ExtremeDigi+ VRM, three PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/NC or x16/x8/x8), an x16 @x4, 7 SATA 6 Gb/s ports, one Power eSATA 6 Gb/s, Intel-made GbE controller, and very high memory multipliers (DDR3-2133 MHz out of the box capable). It comes with an ASUS Thunderbolt card bundled (not to be confused with Thunderbolt IO). Thunderbolt is a PCI-Express addon card with SupremeFX X-Fi audio and Bigfoot Killer NIC on one PCB. That apart, there are several ROG-exclusives such as GameFirst, CPU LevelUp, and COP-EX (mechanism that protects individual components from frying up).

The SB950 southbridge that's common between all boards embeds a six-port SATA 6 Gb/s RAID controller, and an 8-lane PCI-Express hub for onboard devices. The southbridge connects to northbridge over a faster chipset interconnect with 4 GB/s bandwidth.

ASUS' motherboard lineup will be out in mid-June.Image Courtesy: Sweclockers
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19 Comments on ASUS M5A Series Socket AM3+ Motherboard Lineup Detailed

#1
legends84
Sabertooth for AMD? nice one:rockout:
Posted on Reply
#2
cortana04
LOL "Intel gigabit Lan" for AMD ROG series.
Posted on Reply
#3
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
IF thats true for the intel lan, it should be better than the realtek. I am loving that SLI can be on these boards and even more for the Sabretooth/TUF series board. Awesome and do want!!!
Posted on Reply
#4
_JP_
OMG, sabertooth for AMD! DO WANT!
Posted on Reply
#5
Melvis
VERY nice boards, my m8 that wants SLi will be very pleased.

(I get to build a bulldozer system yay)
Posted on Reply
#6
bear jesus
Nice to see ASUS planning for an AMD TUF board but that along with SLI really makes me wonder, does ASUS and Nvidia expect bulldozer to sell well?

I really look forward to taking a look at the sabertooth and crosshair V models, I have used and abused my ASUS M3A32-mvp for years now and its still working perfectly, it's my first ASUS board and if it's anything to go by then i would expect to be very happy with another high end ASUS board.
Posted on Reply
#7
legends84
NICE ONE FOR ASUS AMD.. hope Gigabyte come out with the G1 series for AMD or maybe EVGA also.. :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#8
fullinfusion
1.21 Gigawatts
CHV here I come!!!

Id like the option to go with either sli or x-fire on these boards... not both...
Posted on Reply
#9
_JP_
by: fullinfusion
Id like the option to go with either sli or x-fire on these boards... not both...
I'm not sure if I fully understood you. These boards either do Crossfire or SLI, at a time. It does not have a Hydra chip.
Posted on Reply
#10
fullinfusion
1.21 Gigawatts
then what is the chip that makes all this goodness happen? Lucid Hydra?

IMO id sooner have the choice... why should one be forced to pay extra for licensing fees to sli! if there going to run x-fire only
Posted on Reply
#11
bear jesus
by: fullinfusion
then what is the chip that makes all this goodness happen? Lucid Hydra?

IMO id sooner have the choice... why should one be forced to pay extra for licensing fees to sli! if there going to run x-fire only
But how could you know what is coming in the future, what if AMD's next cards sucked so bad that u would never buy them? would you not be happy that you had a board that supported SLI?
Posted on Reply
#12
fullinfusion
1.21 Gigawatts
by: bear jesus
But how could you know what is coming in the future, what if AMD's next cards sucked so bad that u would never buy them? would you not be happy that you had a board that supported SLI?
what if nvidia sucked so bad that you'd never buy them? I just dont support nvidia, never had, never will...
Posted on Reply
#13
bear jesus
:laugh: ok i admit i didn't take in to account people that wont buy from company's for personal reasons.

I'm too used to swapping through company's constantly depending on which offers the most suitable product for me.


But more to the point, any idea what he license fee is? what if it was something like 25 cents, would that really bother you?
Posted on Reply
#14
jmcslob
good news for me...my mobo is failing....
Posted on Reply
#15
Imsochobo
by: fullinfusion
what if nvidia sucked so bad that you'd never buy them? I just dont support nvidia, never had, never will...
I did when they delivered, Nforce 4 was last, and 8800GTX was for a linux pc, man things have changed...
Posted on Reply
#16
fullinfusion
1.21 Gigawatts
by: Imsochobo
I did when they delivered, Nforce 4 was last, and 8800GTX was for a linux pc, man things have changed...
Yes they did, that's why im sticking to ma guns this time around! :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#17
rem82
by: fullinfusion
then what is the chip that makes all this goodness happen? Lucid Hydra?

IMO id sooner have the choice... why should one be forced to pay extra for licensing fees to sli! if there going to run x-fire only
990FX AMD CHIP has 40lanes fore NATIVE CROSSFIRE & SLI !!! This is the best way to run multi-gpu setup .!
Posted on Reply
#18
JrRacinFan
Served 5k and counting ...
M5A97 Pro looks to be a winner for me. It would suit my needs rather well.


Thanks for the update bta!
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