Asus M2A-VM HDMI: AM2 mATX motherboard

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November 26, 2007 by Lawrence Lee

Product Asus M2A-VM HDMI AM2 motherboard
Manufacturer ASUSTeK
Street Price US$75

The last AMD 690G chipset motherboard we reviewed, the Albatron KI690-AM2, was a great home theater PC candidate, boasting a ridiculous number of features in a tiny package. However, its price, availability, and mini ITX form factor placed it squarely into a niche market and out of reach of many consumers.

Today we look at the Asus M2A-VM HDMI, a micro-ATX motherboard using the same chipset, and sporting an almost identical feature-set as the KI690-AM2. Compared to mini ITX, mATX motherboards are much more affordable, and the extra space allows for better cooling and more expansion slots, making it a more versatile platform. On paper the M2A-VM HDMI offers an incredible value — it is loaded with features and retails for only $75US.

Asus M2A-VM HDMI: Specifications (from the product web page)
CPU Support AMD® Socket AM2 Athlon64 / Athlon64 FX / Athlon64 X2 / Sempron
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet™ Technology
AMD64 architecture enables simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing
AMD Live!™ Ready
Chipset AMD 690G
Front Side Bus 2000 / 1600 MT/s
Dual channel memory architecture
4 x 240-pin DIMM, support max. 8GB DDR2 800/667/533 ECC and Non-ECC,un-buffered memory

Integrated ATI Radeon X1250-based graphics
Maximum shared memory of 1024 MB
Supports HDMI™ Technology with HDCP compliant with max. resolution 1920 x 1080p
(It may not display 1080p smoothly when playing HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc due to current version player limit)
Supports YPbPr component TV-out with max. resolutions 1280 x 720p and 1920 x 1080i
Supports DVI-D with max. resolution 2560x1600 (@ 60Hz)
Supports RGB with max. resolution 2048 x 1536 (@85Hz)

Dual VGA output support:
(Simultaneous output for YPbPr, AV, S, and RGB is not supported)

Expansion Slots 1 x PCI Express x16
1 x PCI Express x1
2 x PCI
Storage 1 x UltraDMA 133/100
4 x Serial ATA 3Gb/s supporting RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID10
Audio ALC883 High Definition Audio 6-channel CODEC
Supports Jack-Sensing, Enumeration, and Jack-Retasking
Supports S/PDIF out on bundle card port
Overclocking Features SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection) from 200MHz to 400MHz at 1MHz increment
Adjustable CPU Voltage at 0.0125V increment
ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
IEEE 1394 Supports 2 x 1394a ports
USB 10 USB2.0/1.1 ports
Special Features ASUS MyLogo2
ASUS EZ Flash2
ASUS O.C Profile
ASUS Music Alarm
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x Parallel
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x DVI
1 x VGA
1 x RJ45
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
6-channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors 3 x USB 2.0 connector supports additional 6 USB 2.0 ports
High Definition Front panel audio connector
COM port connector
CD audio-in connector
1 x S/PDIF output connector
CPU / Chassis/ Power Fan connectors
Chassis Intrusion connector
IEEE 1394 connector
24-pin EATX power connector
4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
BIOS 8Mb Flash ROM, Award BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SMBIOS 2.3
Manageability WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, WOR by PXE, WOR by PME
O/S Compatibility Windows Vista/XP
Support Disc Drivers
ASUS LiveUpdate Utility
Anti -virus software(OEM version)
Accessories User' s manual
2 x Serial ATA cables
2 x SATA power cables
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x FDD cable
1 x I/O Shield
ASUS 2in1 Q-Connector (System panel connector,USB connector)
YPbPr cable
Form Factor uATX Form Factor, 9.6" x 9.0" (24.5cm x 22.9cm)

The board offers everything under the sun, including many features normally found on premium boards: RAID, FireWire, and gigabit ethernet (connected via the PCI-E bus). Asus also provides S/PDIF audio, and more video options than you can sneeze at. Displays can be connected via HDCP-compliant HDMI, DVI, VGA, component, S-Video, and even composite out. The 690G chipset also supports a less-publicized feature known as SurroundView, which allows the Radeon X1250 graphics chip to not only provide dual simultaneous displays, but also to operate in tandem with a dedicated video card to provide four displays at once.

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