ASUS A88X-Pro In The Box

Being the top of the line ASUS A88X product, we should be expecting something more than the average in the box for the A88X-Pro. The downside to this is the price. Because the motherboard is $124, we have had other motherboards in this price range offer next to nothing apart from the basics. It all boils down to how aggressive the pricing of the motherboard is for this segment – in the box contents can add value but only when the margin is there or price is no object.

In the ASUS A88X-Pro we get the following:

Driver DVD
Manual
Rear IO Shield
Four SATA Cables
Q-Connectors

Admittedly this is two more SATA cables than the standard, however when a system offers 8 SATA 6 Gbps connectors it would seem rather tight to offer less than four. I was not expecting a USB 3.0 connector due to the lack of a second USB 3.0 header, but because the system has four USB 2.0 headers I could be forgiven in expecting some tool to take advantage of those, either via a front or rear panel.

ASUS A88X-Pro Overclocking

Experience with ASUS A88X-Pro

Overall our overclocking experience on A88X with our A10-7850K is a bit disappointing. Most motherboards we have tested up until this point find the limit of our CPU early on, and the resulting high temperatures cause the CPU to throttle. 4.2 GHz seems to be the main limit, but the A88X-Pro does at least stretch that a bit to 4.3 GHz in our testing. In fact 4.4 GHz seemed plausible, but the throttling was present during our OCCT test.

One point I would like to make to ASUS would be in automatic overclock options. I enjoy having access to a dynamic scaling utility such as the 4-Way Optimization tool, however by implementing a series of presets to choose from would be beneficial. Something to think about in the future I would imagine.

Methodology:

Our standard overclocking methodology is as follows. We select the automatic overclock options and test for stability with PovRay and OCCT to simulate high-end workloads. These stability tests aim to catch any immediate causes for memory or CPU errors.

For manual overclocks, based on the information gathered from previous testing, starts off at a nominal voltage and CPU multiplier, and the multiplier is increased until the stability tests are failed. The CPU voltage is increased gradually until the stability tests are passed, and the process repeated until the motherboard reduces the multiplier automatically (due to safety protocol) or the CPU temperature reaches a stupidly high level (100ºC+). Our test bed is not in a case, which should push overclocks higher with fresher (cooler) air.

Automatic Overclock:

Using the 4-Way Optimization tool in AI Suite, our system was overclocked to 4.2 GHz:

This gave a PovRay score of 933, compared to the stock score of 820.

Manual Overclock:

We started our manual overclocking in the BIOS, with the CPU set to 1.1 volts and 4.0 GHz. Given that the stock voltage reading was 1.288 volts, it was no surprise that it took 1.225 volts set in the BIOS to get 4.0 GHz stable. The system was consistently stable to 4.3 GHz, however 4.4 GHz was a step too far:

The 4.4 GHz setting was stable for at least a minute, however a sustained workload gave the following CPU frequency profile over five minutes:

ASUS A88X-Pro Software 2014 Test Setup, Power Consumption, POST Time
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  • Antronman - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    It's Asus.
    Of course it's going to be recommended.
    Every fool knows Asus is #1
    Reply
  • yannigr - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    And those who are not fools? What do they think about ASUS? :P Reply
  • HanzNFranzen - Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - link

    lol!! =) Reply
  • Yorgos - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    I am really happy with asrock extreme6+, which packs more features
    +1 64 Mbit Flash ROM (awesome feature)
    +1 HDMI (4 monitors in total)
    -1 eSata (instead of 2 on the asus)
    -2 usb2.0
    +1 Sata
    + power and reset buttons (f* great feature)
    + doesn't make you look like a pimp with gold teeth
    +Wake on LAN
    + cheaper for around 20 € in my country than the asus
    In my opinion you CANNOT beat those feature with a better price and better benchmarks.
    That's why I never read the conclusions, If I wanted an opinion I could ask also my dog, both of them have the same value.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    What about PWM (4-pin) fan headers? If I was in the market for this kind of board, this A88X Pro would be the one I'd get, just because of its abundance of 4-pin connectors (5 of them). Most ATX A88X boards have... 3? With maybe one or two 3-pins to go with them. Yeah, you can get splitters (better get well-made ones) but then you can only monitor the speed of one of the connected fans per motherboard header. Reply
  • Antronman - Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - link

    Yeah.
    And it's ASUS quality.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - link

    Which, most of the time, means it's good. I've been burned over the years by most of the major manufacturers at least once, including Asus. Sometimes it's a hardware/design issue, sometimes it's software/firmware. On occasion it was a problem with the chipset itself, and not entirely the manufacturers fault. About the most solid boards I used were by Epox, hilariously enough.

    But yes, overall I'd consider Asus to generally produce good boards, particularly if you're buying one of their "premium" models.
    Reply
  • tuklap - Friday, April 25, 2014 - link

    I just hope Asrock placed anti surge ic's and esd protections :( Reply
  • just4U - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    In my opinion none of this matters until they finally release the A8- 7X series processors. Don't know about the rest of you but I've been eyeing it for multiple builds simply because of it's price/performance ratio. I'd expected it to be release already. Reply
  • HiTechObsessed - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    My problem with these APUs is something like the A10-7850k costs $180, or you can get the 750k for $80, and a 7770 GHz for $100 and blow the 7850k out of the water in performance. APUs don't make sense on large boards like this when you can pair the same CPU up with a dedicated GPU and get much more gaming power. Reply

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