Pure Overclock – Computer Hardware News, Reviews and More



Posted July 27, 2011 by Jake in CPU & Motherboards







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by Jake
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The ASUS M5A97 EVO and M5A99X EVO are great additions to the ASUS AMD lineup. Both boards have spacious and clean layouts, and are packed with impressive features such as SATA 6G and USB 3.0. The build quality is outstanding, as we’ve come to expect from ASUS, even on inexpensive boards such as these. The UEFI BIOS is very polished and ASUS has the best layout and functionality we have seen to date. And the addition of SLI is a very welcome sight on the M5A99X for the Nvidia faithful. as AMD enthusiasts can now have the best of both worlds with Crossfire and SLI.

Interestingly, both of these boards have much the same performance and overclocking features of 990FX motherboards. The new AI Suite II is also an excellent overall tool for both novices and hardcore enthusiasts, allowing a huge amount of customization, including robust auto features. After seeing many motherboards up close, we feel AI Suite II is the easiest and best software for the AMD platform amongst all manufacturers.

For those who like overclocking directly through the BIOS, just dial in a higher multiplier, set your RAM speed, and let the auto settings take care of the rest; you’ll be pleased with the quick results. For novices who aren’t quite as comfortable tweaking the various combinations of settings and voltages, the TPU switch is a fabulously easy way of a quick performance boost. TurboV EVO takes just a bit more time, but produces better results, still in the realm of auto overclocking though. The overclocking results are very impressive, particularly if you’re on water cooling.

Of course, the only downside of the AMD 990X chipset is that it drops one PCI-E slot and eSATA but that doesn’t really seem to be problem for consumers in this price range. If you need a dual card setup, then the M5A99X EVO is a very affordable option at $160. You don’t really sacrifice any performance in comparison to the flagship boards. If you need only one graphics card slot, then the M5A97 EVO is even more affordable at $120. We really have to question the choice of spending more since these two boards perform admirably and don’t give up much in performance, and certainly not on the overclocking front.

An interesting observation from our extensive motherboard testing is that ASUS "budget" boards overclock extremely well on the whole, not far off their expensive flagship counterparts. Of course, the inexpensive boards aren’t built to withstand the 24/7 punishment like the premium boards, and hence the difference in price. That being said, we continue to come away impressed with the performance of ASUS budget and mainstream boards. For consumers on a modest budget, the M5A970 EVO and M5A99X EVO are two of the most full-featured and well-priced boards out there.





    Jim Dove

    I’ve used the ASUS M5A97 EVO board since 05/17/11 without a single problem – until water leaked onto it after a plumbing leak 2 weeks ago. That killed the board. Last week I purchased a new one, same board (Rev 2.0), and installed an AMD FX-8320 Black Edition 8 core cpu in it.

    A REALLY GREAT COMBINATION!! The CPU is rated at 3.5GHz, and I have mine running at 4.2GHz, with no problems. Passes the endurance tests for an hour! At that speed, the cpu fan really speeds up. I had clocked it up to 4.4GHz, but it was running REALLY hot with the stock heatsink, so I dropped the speed back.

    Love this combination! I highly recommend it!

      Sandy Bruce

      Glad you are happy with the board. You really should never attempt to overclock with the stock cooling solution unless you purchased it with the Seal Liquid cooler. The stock air cooler just can not keep up with the add heat. You should consider buying something a little better. A 3rd party air cooler form Phanteks or Noctua if you are not ready for liquid. If you are ready go with the Kraken models.

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