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ASUS M5A 9-series motherboards. Preview

First details on 9 series chipset motherboards made by Asus designed for AMD Zambezi processors.

To support AMD latest FX series processors, codename Zambezi, Asus went with two options. First, the company announced official supports of the newest CPUs through BIOS update on current Socket AM3 motherboards. Second, Asus released M5A line-up that is designed for Socket AM3+ processors and use 700 and 800 series chipsets.

Now, we get to know first details on 9 series chipset motherboards made by Asus devoted for extreme performance of eight-core, six-core and quad-core AMD FX series (Zambezi) processors.

One of the products from ASUS latest M5A motherboard line-up, ASUS M5A99X EVO motherboard, got pixelized. The board uses AMD 990X + SB950 chipset tandem. CPU is powered via 8-phase design circuit with digital control and a dedicated heatsink for VRM cooling. The second heatsink cools down the North Bridge.

There is no integrated graphics system on-board. North Bridge provides two PCI-Express expansion slots with x16 lanes in case of a single card and x8+x8 configuration for two cards running in CrossFireX/SLI mode. The third(black) PCI Express x16 slot has only x4 lanes. Besides that, there are two PCI-E x1 and one PCI slot. Four DIMMs allow installation of DDR3 memory clocked at1866 Mhz. Storage drives can be connected to six SATA 3 connectors (support RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and 10 modes) integrated into chip. Two more SATA 3 connectors are brought by a separate controller. In addition, there is one eSATA port, four USB3.0 ports, 8-channel audio codec, Gigabit Ethernet adapter and FireWire controller from Via are also presented on the board. ASUS M5A99X EVO features EPU (energy processing unit) and TPU (TurboV processing unit) as well as UEFI with graphics interface instead of classic BIOS.

According to AMD launch timetable, we are likely to hear more news on the latest AM3+ motherboards from ASUS and other leading manufacturers in June at E3 event.

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