Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 Review
Packaging & Initial Impressions
Arriving in a typical Asus box, we knew exactly what to expect. We weren't wrong either, as once again our sample survived the terrors of today's courier systems. At the top of the box are the board's included accessories and under the false floor you will find the board itself.
The accessories list consists of SATA and IDE cables, an extensive users manual, a Driver's CD and a VGA switch card? Yes, you heard me. A Switch Card for the motherboard to split PCI-Express lanes correctly. We'll elaborate on this later...
The board itself seems very well thought out. At the rear, you will find 6 USB ports, a single PS/2, 7.1 channel audio, Firewire and e-SATA. Additionally, you have the choice between DVI, HDMI or VGA outputs should you wish to use the integrated GPU.
One of the most notable aspects of the M4A89GTD PRO is it's large heatsink setup. It's interesting how things have changed over the years in that the power regulation chips now have a larger heatsink than the Southbridge or even Northbridge. The system is completely passive and uses a single heatpipe. Also notice the VGA Switch Card placed in the blue PCI-Express 16x slot.
The installation process was nigh on trouble free and within no time, all drivers were installed and the test bed was ready to go. I did however notice that our graphics card was operating at a reduced PCI-Express 2x rate despite using the VGA switch card. It didn't take long to realise that the switch card had to be placed in the motherboard's upper PCI-Express slot and so the graphics card had to sit in the lower slot. This is all very strange, particular for a motherboard designed in 2010...
Anyway, let's proceed to the testing.