We've seen a few Intel H55 mini-ITX boards recently, including the excellent Gigabyte H55N-USB3 and Zotac H55 as well, however we've been waiting on new AMD boards until now. We previously noticed a couple of AMD 8-series chipset motherboards at Computex - and finally Asus has signed off and one of them has made it to a production run: the M4A88T-I Deluxe.
As a consequence of mini-ITX size - regardless of whether it’s an Intel or AMD board - both the boards in the link above are limited to the maximum TDP of the CPUs they support, which is 95W. This limits the use of popular Black Edition processors and 6-core CPUs which generally carry the higher TDP rating, but still gives you plenty of Socket AM3 chips to choose from. There’s far more choice than the range of CPUs that Intel H55 boards support, for example.
If you can find it, there is one 6-core AMD CPU that will fit in this board: the Phenom II X6 1055T (SKU number: HDT55TWFK6DGR/HDT55TWFGRBOX), which is a specially binned 95W chip that'll fit the bill. Alternatively, you could buy any X6 1055T and drop the clock speed and voltage to hit 95W (you’ll have to guesstimate, unfortunately).
Obviously that leaves little to no room for overclocking, although mini-ITX boards aren't designed to be performance monsters with tons of headroom - the SODIMM memory sockets should reinforce that thought straight away. These days mini-ITX boards are designed to bring full desktop speed and features into the smallest form factor possible.
That said, Asus has engineered in a few tricks brought over from its other Socket AM3 boards. More on that in a minute.
Click to enlarge
CPU support: AMD Socket AM3 Phenom II, Athlon II and Sempron (up to 95W TDP)
Chipset: AMD 880G (with Radeon HD 4350 GPU with DirectX 10.1 support and UVD 2.0)
Southbridge:[/b] AMD SB710
Memory support: 2 SODIMM slots, max 8GB DDR3 (1,333MHz)