iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 Motherboard

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In terms of ASUS's current motherboards, the cooling system is more practical than designer. It's most beneficial functionally, being two heatsinks around the CPU socket interconnected with a heatpipe. The system is efficient enough to cool down the graphics core overclocked to 900-1000 MHz with a moderate increase in voltage by 0.1V ~ 0.2V.

ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 features a video buffer, a 128MB DDR3-1600 memory chip (Hynix H5TQ1G63BFR-12С). The typical clock rate set in BIOS is DDR3-1333, but it can formally be set to 2000MHz. However, such clock rate will hardly be stable (or useful). We have already proven that games are most bottlenecked by graphics core pipeline performance, so it doesn't even matter much whether there's a video buffer or not. One kind of tasks a video buffer may be useful for is video decoding.

The CPU VRM has 10 phases (2 are dedicated to powering the Northbridge integrated into CPU), 2 Low RDS (on) MOSFETs per phase. There are 8 x 820µF and 3 x 270µF capacitors, all Japanese solid. Considering the high-quality heatsink on MOSFETs, you can install a 140W TDP CPU and there's still be some leeway for overclocking.

The bundle includes two special SATA cables for 6Gbps drives, two regular SATA cables, an IDE ribbon, Q-Connectors for front-panel cabling and a back-panel faceplate.

Bundled software includes regular tools for upgrading BIOS and system monitoring, as well as a number of original utilities. One is Turbo Key that lets you enable overclocking by means of the power button (overclocking parameters are set in a special profile), TurboV (a counterpart of AMD OverDrive) and AI GPU NOS that lets you overclock the integrated graphics core. Third-party software includes Norton Internet Security.

ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 also supports the Express Gate technology. It quickly boots up a Linux-based shell with a web browser, a media player, and a photo browser. But first you'll have to install the shell onto your hard drive from Windows.


ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 is based on the AMD 890GX chipset (AMD 890GX Northbridge + SB850 Southbridge). It only supports Socket AM3 processors and can work with up to 16GB of DDR3-1066/1333/1600 RAM. There are 6 internal SATA 6Gbps ports (RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5). Additional controllers include:

  • Integrated audio based on the 8-channel Realtek ALC892 HDA codec with an optical S/PDIF Out on the back panel;
  • Gigabit Ethernet based on Realtek RTL8111E (PCIe x1) with AI Net 2 cable integrity checker;
  • eSATA 3Gbps and PATA based on JMicron JMB361 (PCIe x1) supporting eSATA 3Gbps and 2 PATA/133 drives;
  • FireWire based on VIA VT6308P (PCI) for 2 IEEE 1394a 100/200/400 Mbps ports (1 on a bracket, 1 on the back panel);
  • USB 3.0 based on NEC D720200F1 (PCIe x1) for 2 USB 3.0 ports;
  • System monitoring based on ITE IT8712F; the BIOS can automatically control CPU and system fans, or you can choose a mode: Silent, Standard or Turbo; both 3 and 4-pin fans are supported; in the Silent mode, the typical idle fan speed for 3-pin fans is 50% of the max., there's a more flexible algorithm for 4-pin fans.

We assessed the integrated audio solution in the 16-bit/44kHz mode using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.2.3 and an ESI Juli@ sound card.

Frequency response (40Hz to 15kHz), dB: +0.00, -0.02 Excellent
Noise level, dB(A) -89.5 Good
Dynamic range, dB(A) 89.4 Good
THD, % 0.0026 Excellent
THD + noise, dB(A) -82.6 Good
IMD + noise, % 0.011 Very good
Channel crosstalk, dB -88.7 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.0098 Very good

Overall grade: Very good.

This is one of the best motherboard audio codec and the implementation is quite good.

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Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Design cont'd, features

Page 3: Overclocking, performance, consumption

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