Introduction to the ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3
Are you in need of a motherboard that offers decent video and audio without having to go spend your hard earned cash on dedicated cards? How about a dependable motherboard to build that next home theatre PC with? Or are you looking for a motherboard that is low in cost, yet offers a great upgrade path? These are just a few reasons why people look to motherboards with integrated graphics.
The latter of the above list is one I know very well. Not everyone have the funds to build their dream rig all in one shot. So I start with what we can get away with and build up from there when I can. The use of the integrated graphics would hold me over until I could afford a high-end GPU. Integrated graphics have come a long way over the years, they offer far more than say that SiS you may have had with an older Socket 754 system. These modern chips can decode HD 1080p Blu-ray and it's audio, then pass it out to your TV via HDMI cable. What more can you ask for?
It is motherboards like the new ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 that offer a lot in the form of integrated goodness. Perhaps so good that one may not need to upgrade to a dedicated video of audio card. In regards to the components, the M4A88TD-M/USB3 is packing the AMD's new 880G and SB850 chipsets. While we may have recently reviewed motherboards that shares the 880G chipset, the difference lies in the south bridge chips, as the others use the outdated SB750. So what does that mean for us consumers? Native SATA 3 (6Gb/s) AHCI v1.2, 22 available PCIe lanes and an integrated gigabit NIC.
The M4A88TD-M/USB3 gives us most of these features. What it does lack is dual 16x PCIe slots, but then again this is an mATX motherboard, so the chances of wanting dual PCIe on a mid-range chipset is slim. Not to say this board doesn't provide, because we love the features in which the board does offer and we will talk about them in further detail as the article goes on.