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26 Comments

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  • Demiurge - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Good review. I am looking forward to mini-ITX board reviews in the future (hopefully there are some coming)... This is exactly what needs to be analyzed in this class of reviews. This flaw is a good find that an OEM may be aware of, but a retail customer would discover it through a negative experience. Reply
  • Myrandex - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Look into the Gigabyte Mini ITX model. They reviewed it here on Anandtech but I have built a nice SFF system for a customer of mine using that and it was a great experience. Reply
  • Demiurge - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    Thanks, Myrandex! Reply
  • extremesheep49 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Can you elaborate on why this "power delivery" issue would or could happen or post a link to somewhere that discusses the issue? It seems odd to me that replacing a higher power chip (100W Richland) with a lower power chip (65W or 95W Kaveri) would create a heat generation issue.

    Is it a flaw in the Kaveri chip or just a different design which taxes the motherboard differently? If it's a flaw in the Kaveri design, is it something likely to be fixed by before Carrizo or is just a minor glitch to be fixed by a revision?

    I'm just trying to understand the issue you are commenting on.
    Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Considering you can buy a Z77 motherboard with minimal heatsinks on the power delivery circuitry (Z77-D3H comes to mind) that will happily run a 95W Sandy Bridge CPU at a 4GHz overclock without extra cooling, this is very concerning. It sounds to me like either AMD or board manufacturers are cheaping out on power delivery, or AMD has (yet again) engineered a turkey. Would appreciate if AnandTech could investigate and get to the bottom of this. Reply
  • jtd871 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    A few comments:

    On the Conclusion page, "Performance is consummate with other FM2+..." - the word should probably be "commensurate".

    I realize that many will go for the high-end Kaveri APU, but is the power delivery on the current crop of A88X boards really intended (or just better-suited) for the 45W/65W parts instead?

    Per the comment on the opening page, I've been thinking about buying/building a Thin-ITX/NUC/Brix-sized system for general home use, and Kaveri (or maybe the next generation) seems to augur well for being able to do this at a modest power (and cooling) budget. Vendors will really have to get the cooling solutions sorted out, though.
    Reply
  • lurker22 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Gotta wonder why Ps2 ports in 2014? Reply
  • sfuzzz - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    N-key rollover Reply
  • Flunk - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I don't think people buying $80 motherboards are generally concerned with USBs 6-key rollover limit seeing as keyboards that support more than 6-key rollover are generally more than $100. Reply
  • Flunk - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    The real reason is probably because PS2 ports are cheap and the chipset only supports so many USB ports. Reply
  • khanov - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Also, PS/2 is interrupt-driven, USB requires the CPU to poll the ports. The effect of polling is to use/waste CPU cycles checking if the mouse has moved or a key has been pressed.

    Interrupt-driven I/O is superior, as it does not waste CPU cycles. The CPU only services the interrupt handler (keyboard/mouse code) when you press a key or move the mouse.

    It may be 2014, but PS/2 is a better way to connect both mouse and keyboard than USB. I wish all vendors put both PS/2 ports on all motherboards.
    Reply
  • frewster - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    I seriously doubt any computer from this decade or even the past decade is noticeably slowed down by polling the USB ports. Reply
  • boot318 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    I agree. He should just state that he wants the connections, because otherwise, they should be dead. Reply
  • Powerlurker - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    My assumption is that PS2 ports are still used in industrial computing. They are also a little bit cheaper. Last I checked, HP would cut about $5 or so off the price if you went with a PS2 keyboard over USB. If you're a corporate purchasing agent buying 1000 systems, that's an nontrivial amount of cash with practically no downside. Reply
  • dananski - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    N-key rollover is why I'd want ps2, but more likely it's that if they're buying a budget board, they might be reusing a really old keyboard. Reply
  • sfuzzz - Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - link

    It was an half-joke. No, I think the real reasons are that the PS/2 controller is integrated and fully functional on all chipsets and PS/2 keyboards are guaranteed to always work, especially on BIOS. Call it a failsafe solution Reply
  • Voldenuit - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Thank you for reviewing a motherboard with a price that's not 3-digits, Ian! Reply
  • LucinaHSacco - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    So how about an AMD Kaveri-supporting A88X motherboard priced at just £40? That would surely get some attention, right? The MSI A88XM-E35 is that board and we have it under the spotlight today. http://is.gd/mGuvSU Reply
  • SquattingDog - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Ian, it is "bear that in mind" eg to keep in mind, not "bare that in mind" (naked in mind?! Hate to nitpick but this is at least the second article on this site I've seen it in.

    Also as other commenters have mentioned what is going on with the overheating of the VRMs? Specific chips or revisions only if all new chips are causing this?
    Reply
  • zodiacsoulmate - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    The first thing I noticed when taking the motherboard out of the anti-static bag was the lack of a power delivery heatsink.
    What heatsink is that???????????
    Isn't it the little blue thing on the mobo?
    Reply
  • frewster - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    The power delivery components are around the CPU socket. That heatsink is for the southbridge. Reply
  • trowe37 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    Not sure if I am correct but on the first page of the article it lists "1 x USB 3.0 Header
    2 x USB 3.0 Headers", however looking at the motherboard shouldn't it be "2 x USB 2.0 Headers"?
    Reply
  • popej - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    Isn't ALC887 7.1 channel chip? Reply
  • loimlo - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    Thanks Ian. It's refreshing to see budget MB reviews. Hope to see more H81/B85, A85/A88 boards' reviews. It's the boards that people purchase/use most, but get reviewed least. Reply
  • Questor - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    I would like to see these smaller form factor boards with more PCI-express 4x type slots, rather than the PCI slot. This MSI board is perfect in every way for an upcoming build, except for the PCI slot. It's the deal breaker.
    Good review, thanks for your hard work.
    Reply
  • joe15 - Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - link

    Do you know if it works fine with Ubuntu? Reply

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