I recently installed one of the above motherboards into a client machine to a replace a first generation P4 Intel D845WM, and there are some points that I would like to make. The Asus board is a Micro ATX type c/w integrated video, sound, network port; all the usual stuff. It is at the budget end of the scale, and Asus like to think of it as ‘budget business class’.
I would not recommend that this motherboard is installed into an older small tower case. Here is why:
- The components to the North of the main power input are so close to the edge of the motherboard, that they would be in contact with any installed optical drive that occupies the slots which are below the level of the bottom edge of the power supply.
- The main power input cable from the power supply ends up being very close to any hard drives and associated cabling, and the release catch for the input plug faces away from the board, which makes access to it really quite difficult if you find yourself having to replace the power supply for any reason.
I actually installed the board into an older medium tower case where there is little choice as to where drives of any kind can be placed. The main problem with many older cases is that they lack depth, leaving no space between the edge of the board and the drive bays. This is more apparent with Micro ATX boards than the regular ATX boards where there is more space to spread the components out.
There is a really bad design point on the board which I think should be singled out. There are two integrated video ports, one DVI and one analog. The DVI port is closest to the motherboard, and is mounted very solidly to it. This is not the case with the analog VGA port which is a separate assembly soldered to the board just behind the DVI port. There is far too much leverage possible when a monitor cable is connected, and contact with the motherboard could easily be lost if the case was moved around with the cable still attached.
For single monitor use, I would recommend using the DVI port. If two monitors are used, insert and tighten the analog monitor cable very carefully and then use a substantial cable tie to bind both cables together. This should help reduce leverage.
Other than the points above, the motherboard performs very well.