ASUS A88X-Pro Detailed Features
Like most motherboard manufacturers, ASUS adds a list of proprietary features to their motherboards to make it appeal more to consumers. The A88X-Pro motherboard is no different. The A88X-Pro includes a lot features we have seen before, and adds some new stuff that could turn the tables in its favor. Let’s take a look at what the ASUS A88X-Pro has to offer.
One of the main features of the A88X-Pro, and one that is prominently displayed on the front of the box, is ASUS’s Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-way Optimization technology. Dual Intelligent Processors (DIP) 4 is the latest iteration of ASUS’s DIP technology that includes two extra processors on the motherboard. The first is the TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) and the second is the Energy Processing Unit (EPU). While DIP have been around for a few years now, it’s worth an explanation if you haven’t heard of them before.
The TPU works to make processing faster. In the latest revision, DIP 4, the TPU is intended to boost performance not only for the CPU cores, but for the GPU cores as well. The TPU helps out with part of process intensive tasks, relieving some of the load on the CPU/GPU. The TPU is turned via a switch on the motherboard. Alternatively, you can turn on the TPU in the ASUS AI Suite.
The EPU, on the other hand, is designed to dramatically reduce power consumption. The EPU is a proprietary ASUS technology that tries to optimize power management and provide system level energy savings.
The TPU and the EPU make up the Dual-Intelligent Processors. The 4-way optimization includes two other features; DIGI+ Power control and Fan Xpert2. DIGI+ Power control is a power optimization control feature that automatically changes the voltage settings for the CPU, GPU, and RAM to meet the requirements of the One-Click optimization settings. Fan Xpert2 controls the system fans during One-Click optimization to ensure that they are balanced for cooling and silence. Rather than just pushing all of the fans to 100% to ensure cooling, Fan Xpert2 optimizes fan speed to make sure the components keep cool, but not necessarily at full speed all the time, so that the noise level is somewhat contained.
With 4-Way Optimization, ASUS regulates the TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power, and Fan Xpert2 all at the same time with a single click. 4-Way Optimization is controlled through the ASUS AI Suite 3 software. The DIP 4 4-Way Optimization page has an Auto feature that will try to best optimize your system or there are three other One-Click settings to use; High-Performance, Max Power Savings, and Away Mode. These are designed to provide the best performance for Gaming scenarios, Multimedia scenarios, and times when you are away from your PC, but still want back-up and scans to be performed.
Obviously, the gaming/high-performance settings focus on the highest possible APU overclock with maximum power delivery and maximum cooling. The multimedia settings are pretty balanced, with a slight overclock, less voltage, and a balance between noise and cooling on the fans. The Away settings cut off any extra power, slow the fans down to a minimum, and provide no overclocking at all.
The ASUS A88X-Pro also comes equipped with ASUS Performance Boost technology for GPU boost and USB 3.0 boost. The GPU Boost is intended to boost integrated graphics performance on the APU’s GPU cores up to 30%. GPU boost even works with non-Black Edition (K-moniker) APUs. USB 3.0 boost claims the ability to improve USB 3.0 transfer speeds by up to 170%. The ASUS USB 3.0 boost technology supports USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) in Windows 8, which accounts for the 170% increase, but it will also improve performance in Turbo Mode as well as UASP Mode.
The ASUS 5X protection is also a feature of the ASUS A88X-Pro, but it isn’t really anything new. 5X protection refers to DIGI+ VRM, Overcurrent Protection, ESD Guards, High-Quality Solid Caps, and a Stainless Steel rear I/O Panel. The DIGI+ VRM is a digital power management implementation that ensure more precise and accurate power draw detection and power control. The Overcurrent Protection is a set of resettable fuses on the motherboard to protect the RAM from overcurrent or short-circuit damage. ESD guards are a similar feature that protects I/O devices from short-circuiting the motherboard by grounding discharges. ASUS’s high quality solid caps are rated for five thousand hours, as opposed to the two thousand hours of a traditional capacitor. Finally, as part of the 5X protection, the I/O panel on the A88X-Pro is made of stainless steel and coated with a thin layer of chromium oxide. This combination makes the I/O panel durable and anti-corrosive. ASUS says their I/O panels are three times more durable and resistant to rust and oxidization. I live in Arizona. I don’t think I’ll have much of a problem either way.
One last feature I think is worth mentioning about the ASUS A88X-Pro is the boot settings. On the motherboard there is a DirectKey button that will boot you directly into the UEFI. There is also a fast boot option in the UEFI that, when paired with Windows 8, can shorten boot up times to 2 seconds in some cases.