Asus Launch New Line of mATX Motherboards to Give Superior HTPC Performance

Asus have today announced a new series of motherboards on both their Intel and AMD lines that are set to take advantage of the more powerful integrated graphics that is now available from both chip manufacturers. Using the 4000 series graphics from Intel’s 22nm chips and the 7000 series on-board graphics from FM2 and A-Series chips over at AMD, all boards now feature HDMI and DVI display outputs to give discrete levels of performance for media centres and HTPCs.

The idea from Asus is that by removing the need to purchase a dedicated GPU for such needs as HTPC builds and fully harnessing the power of the onboard graphics that both AMD and Intel now offer up, the overall cost of building a HTPC can be dramatically reduced.

On top of the new support for each set of on-board graphics, the two sets of boards, namely  the B75M-A, H61M-PLUS, H61M-A/USB3 and H61M-A on the Intel side and the A85XM-A, A55M-A/USB3, A55M-A for AMD, on some models will also see an updated and notably improved USB3.0 performance with USB3.0 boost. This utilises the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASB) to take advantage of the entire bandwidth available to USB3.0 and creates more lanes through which data can be passed. Typically this means speeds of around 10x that of USB2.0 and 1.7x that of typical USB3.0 ports.

On top of the main features, all the boards will now be home to solid capacitors for more efficient and precise power control and with a  lifespan of over 50 years, should see the boards working a lot longer than previous models under typical operating conditions of around 65 degrees Celsius.

There is no current mention on pricing as of yet for the new range of boards, but with the key focus on utilising the on-board graphics, budget HTPC builds are certainly the main focus and we can certainly expect a suitable price tag to go along with this budget mindset.

Given the focus on harnessing the on-board GPUs, we look forward to having a look at some of these boards in the near future and comparing how the on-board graphics for HTPC use compares to using dedicated graphics.

Image courtesy of Asus