M4A88T-I Deluxe, Core Unlocker and Turbo Key II performance

August 11th, 2010 in .PC Components .Products
Nick Holland
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Firing up the M4A88T-I Deluxe mini-ITX motherboard with an Athlon II X3 440 CPU, I wanted to see how even a board of such small proportions could offer full-size features. For thirty seconds of effort, how well does the ASUS Core Unlocking and Turbo Key II engineering work with an AMD Athlon II AM3 CPU?

The M4A88T-I Deluxe is designed as a feature-first motherboard – with an onboard graphics processor that gives both DVI and HDMI video outputs: perfect for hooking up to a TV or PC monitor. Other HTPC-esq features include Bluetooth and inbuilt WiFi for peripherals and fast media streaming, as well as USB 3 and eSATA options for super-speedy backups or data expansion as mini-ITX cases are designed to keep the size small, and that means internal hard drive space gets sacrificed.

For just £100/$125, it’s a bargain price since it’s packing more features than a full size ATX motherboard! It might be a bit more expensive on paper, but think about what you’re saving in space and extra cost by having it all together.

But, for that cost and design spec – do the Turbo Key II and Core Unlocker function the same as a much larger and more expensive board? I had to find out.

M4A88T-I Deluxe Turbo Key II and Core Unlocker

M4A88T-I Deluxe Turbo Key II and Core Unlocker switches on the PCB

We tested the board with the latest Cinebench 11.5 image rendering and HD video encoding while simultaneously playing back another HD video.

Out-the-box system:

Cinebench 11.5 Score – 2.42

Video encoding while HD playback – 656 seconds

Turbo Key II and Core Unlocker enabled:

Cinebench 11.5 Score – 3.61

Video encoding while HD playback – 525 seconds

Overall (Free) Improvement:

Cinebench 11.5 Score – 49.1%

Video encoding while HD playback – 25%

They are both impressive figures and evident that the combination of Turbo Key II and Core Unlocker, with the right CPU, affords more free performance in less time than it would take to manually overclock the system. Yes, it’s true that manual overclocking and core unlocking in the BIOS will yield even better results – the BIOS software is built to maximise the build just like a bigger board, but that’s tens of minutes to hours of time investment, rather than just two button flicks. Some people will be happy with that – it can be fun after all – however for those desperate to get in and start doing stuff, Turbo Key II and Core Unlocker both yield the necessary instant results.

Test Hardware: Athlon II X3 440, 4GB DDR3 1,333MHz CL9 SO-DIMM, onboard Radeon HD 4250 GPU, Catalyst 10.7, Windows 7 x64, 2TB Western Digital HDD.

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  • swami

    Chekout M4A88T Photos – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=20011&id=100000731657639