ASUS Owners Club skootyloops review
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A8N-VM CSM Review
Hello all, today I will be reviewing the A8N-VM CSM. This board is for socket 939 CPU’s and is a MicroATX standard size. The "CSM" bit in the name refers to it having extra features. The A8N-VM is practically the same board, just without some of the added features.
It is based on the NVIDIA GeForce 6150 chipset and the NVIDIA 430MCP. Here is a quick spec table for the differences between the GeForce 6100 & 6150:
As you can see it differs from the Geforce 6100. This is only a slight difference, but some people require the extra features which come with the Geforce 6150. Looking at the graphics performance from these boards. You can immediately notice the advantage of the 6150. It has an increased core clock and support for HD Video acceleration. Now the bit which all HTPC builders like. The 6150 comes with DVI support and Video OUT. Neither of these is found on boards with the 6100 chipset.
There are not that many differences between the NForce 410 & 430. The most obvious difference in these chipsets is the SATA controller. The Geforce 6150 comes with 4 3.0 GB/s SATA ports. While the Geforce 6100 only comes with 2 3.0 GB/s ports. Also for those people who love playing with raid the GeForce 6150 comes with raid support for 0, 1, 0+1 and 5, while the 6100 comes only with 0 and 1. Also the Ethernet controller. On the 430MCP it has Gigabit LAN. The GeForce 6100 only supports the old 100mbit/s.
Ok, now that we have gotten through the differences between the chipsets, it is time for the pretty pictures of the packaging. Got to love this part.
PICTURES TO COME ~ WILL UPLOAD SOON
Front of The Box
Back of The Box
Contents of The Box
Once you open the box, you find some lovely cables lying on top of the motherboard. Included: 1x Floppy Connector 2x Master/Slave IDE Connectors 2x SATA connectors 1x Molex to SATA Power Splitter 1x FireWire Back Port 1x Manual 1x Driver CD 1x Asus Sticker
I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the SATA cables being there. While there aren’t enough of the cables if I wanted to use all four ports, there is enough to give the average person for his or her hard drive needs.
Looking through the manual you can easily see that it is well thought out, and easy to understand. One read through the manual and anybody will be able to set up their PC.
Layout of the board is pretty good. My only complaint is that the location of the 24 pin power connector is extremely close to the IDE connectors. While many people will not find this a problem, it was right in the way of my HDD Bay. After finding that out, I was extremely frustrated. Luckily I had another case which I used to solve this problem.
For everyone who loves a quiet PC, this board is completely passive cooled. The GeForce 6150 chip is passive cooled with a decent heat sink. Unfortunately they have skimped on cooling for the NForce 430MCP. This is a real shame as I have felt this chipset after operation, and it can get quite warm.
And now for a couple of quick benchmarks. The following system is:
Athlon 64 3000+ Venice @ Stock 256mb Kingston PC2300 (Sorry, don’t have any pc3200 ram) A8n-VM CSM Seagate 7200.9 80GB IDE Seagate 7200.8 40GB IDE Coolermaster Extreme 430W D-Link G510 PCI LG CD-RW 24x10x40 Windows XP Professional SP1 Build 2600 DirectX 9.0c
PCMARK 2002: CPU: 5830 RAM: 5066
3DMARK 2003 ~ To Be Updated (Reached Download Limit For Month)
Now I know these are not the best benchmarks that are available. But my system has limitations. I know this because with the same system plus an extra 512mb of ram & with the CPU overclocked I could not get past 1000 in 3DMARK 2003.
Well unfortunately this board isn’t a great overclocker. Limited to 240HTT by the bios, it is very hard to get a decent overclock. Also there are no voltage adjustments. The multiplier is not able to be changed. I was able to reach 240HTT with no stability issues, so if the future bios releases let the HTT frequency be taken further the board should remain stable.
The one good thing is that it carries an extensive amount of control for your RAM timings. But once again, no voltage adjustments. The bios allows you to put simple ram dividers on.
All in all this is a pretty decent board. It has a decent layout, great chipset and is passive cooled. While the overclocking areas of this board are let down, someone who only wants to mildly overclock their CPU, will find this board to suit their needs.
I would be recommending this board for HTPC’s as it runs silent, is MicroATX and has great graphic capabilities.
My Rating: 7/10