The Asus A88X-PRO is a couple of years old now, but has proved itself to be one of the better AMD Kaveri FM2+ socket motherboards available. The reason why is quite simple: it’s a performance and enthusiast’s motherboard, supporting Trinity, Richland and Kaveri processors, while costing just £115.
On the board you’ll find eight SATA 6Gbps ports, four DDR3 DIMMs, two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, a single PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots and a pair of legacy PCI slots. Obviously the latter can take a wealth of multi-GPU configurations and there’s even AMD Dual Graphics Technology for those with the right APU in place.
The rear I/O isn’t lacking either, with a single PS/2 keyboard and mouse port, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI, two eSATA ports, four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, optical S/PDIF out and a five-port audio block. Needless to say, enough to accommodate most users.
The A88X-PRO is naturally an ATX form factor motherboard, so there’s ample room for all the components to fit together without fear of one touching the other, including plenty of room for larger CPU coolers. It’s good to see that there’s also plenty of room between the PCIe lanes for multiple graphics cards, although if you load the motherboard out with a threeway GPU setup and a legacy PCI card, you may find things becoming a little tight between PCIe slots five and seven.
Interestingly Asus has done a good job of designing the A88X, with regards to the multi-GPU setup. For example, the southbridge heatsink is low profile, allowing graphics cards to slot into place with clearance. There’s also a gold/ yellow component and black/ brown PCB style in place, which can look a little gaudy for some.
Since this is a performance motherboard, there’s plenty of overclocking opportunities available, either via the BIOS or the Asus AI software suite. You can clock the APU as well as the CPU side of things, and with Asus 5X protection you’re covered in case anything should go wrong during the process. Incidentally, the UEFI BIOS has been drastically improved compared to the lastgeneration Asus motherboards. Even with it being a couple of years old, it’s still a quick, easy and intuitive BIOS, which makes the process of overclocking, even to a small degree, something a novice could happily handle. We especially liked the fact that you can write notes in the BIOS reminding yourself of any changes you’ve added in the past.
All in all, the Asus A88X-PRO is a good AMD motherboard. It’s reasonably priced, covers virtually every connection (minus the more modern M.2 ports etc.) and scores points with enthusiasts and performance system builders. It’s well designed and works like a charm.