ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 Motherboard ReviewWaco - December 29, 2013
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ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 Introduction:
All great CPUs need a home. Sometimes that home is a hand-me-down motherboard from computers past (assuming the sockets are the same), but sometimes it's a brand-spanking-new board to house your brand-spanking-new CPU. In my case, I'm tossing my recently acquired AMD FX-8350 into the ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0. That mouthful of letters and numbers represents the newest offering from ASUS sporting the 990FX chipset, AM3+ socket, and enough features to satisfy most without flattening your wallet more than needed.
The ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 offers up similar features to those found in mainstream AMD 990FX chipset boards: SATA 6G ports, 8-channel audio, and enough PCI Express ports to shake a stick at. Additionally, there are an extra two SATA 6G ports thanks to the inclusion of an ASMedia SATA controller. Another ASMedia controller bumps up the complement of eight internal USB 2.0 ports with an additional two internal USB 3.0 ports for ultra-fast connectivity to external devices. With all of these features and a reasonable price, surely ASUS has a hit on its hands here. Keep reading to see if that holds true!
ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 Closer Look:
Before we delve into the depths of detail on the board itself, I have to at least show you what your new CPU shrine will arrive in! The box follows the usual styling for ASUS boards, with a mostly black motif accompanied by white and green lettering. ASUS does have a penchant for confusing model numbers and there's no departure from that here: the ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 is indeed a mouthful and is prominently shown on the front of the packaging, along with various features and capabilities. The backside of the box actually goes into surprising detail about these features and specifications, though if you're like me you probably don't look at them more than half a second before opening up your new goodies. Flipping open the top of the box reveals the familiar anti-static bag that protects the circuits very dear to all of us: the body of the machine. While the CPU may be the heart of a rig, surely the motherboard is what makes it beat.
Riding along underneath the motherboard is a full complement of SATA cables, an SLI bridge, I/O blocks for easy connections to your case, the I/O backpanel, a driver disc, and a reasonably thick manual. The last of them likely doesn't get opened often, but can be a lifesaver if you don’t have Internet access during your build and need to know where things went wrong! I particularly like the inclusion of the I/O blocks to connect to cases – I absolutely abhor the fact that case connectors haven't been standardized yet and this is a good step forward on the part of ASUS.