Asus 970 Pro Gaming / Aura – A budget board with high end features

 

When most people think of performance in a AM3+ Motherboard, they think of the 990 series, as do I. But a few months back I was in a situation where I needed a ATX AM3+ motherboard for a build and the one I received was DOA. I had to do something fast but I just couldn’t afford another 990FX just then. Browsing around the usual places I saw this 970 Pro Gaming / Aura for a bargain price, but would it suit my needs? I needed a board that would support a liquid cooled, overclocked 8 core FX and fast memory. So I went directly to the Asus website and took a good look at the specs.  It supports the 125 watt FX series but not the 220 watt 9370 or 9590, but that was okay for my situation. Some 970 series boards don’t support more than a 95 watt CPU, which could be trouble if a higher watt Phenom II or FX were installed. The other features of this board that surprised me was the M.2 NVMe slot and the separate header for a water pump. I knew it had red LED’s separating the sound portion of the board, and a RGB southbridge. Not things that matter to me but not a deal breaker, so I took a chance and ordered it.

When it got here I promptly put it on my test bench, Installed a FX 8320 and some DDR3 2400, Installed a video card and a SSD, and booted it up which it did without issue. Then I hit F1 and entered the bios and was immediately blown away. I was expecting a limited set of options, but what I seen was very Crosshair / Sabertooth 2.0 like and it included things even those $200 boards don’t have. One of them being the Twin Turbo setupThe reason for this is if you overclock the CPU ratio on CPU’s  that have a two step Turbo core. and do not disable Turbo core, you can raise step one. I’ve never seen another board that has this, and I have a Sabertooh r2.0 and a 990X evo, along with 2 Gigabyte 990 boards and a ASrock 970 Pro mATX. I also have two friends that have the new Sabertooth r3.0 and they say it’s not in that boards bios either. On boards without this feature as a example, if you were to leave Turbo core control enabled with say a FX 8320, and raise the CPU Ratio to 20 and the Turbo core to 22, and if you used the offset Vcore setting, the CPU would run at 4.0 then the first step would underclock to 3.7 with a overvolt, then the second step would take it to 4.4. This is not a good situation as I did it by mistake on one of my other boards and I had more than one BSOD before I realized what was happening. The older Phenom II X6 CPU’s only had one step. With this board you can raise the first step above the cpu ratio and then set the second step even higher.

Another high end feature of this board is it’s full Digi+ power control

So the board does have enough bios features to get into some serious overclocking.

I have had this board for a few months now and have not been the least bit easy on it. It spends most of it’s time testing and running benchmarks. It does overclock pretty well and is stable. It, like most 9 series boards does not Bclk much over 280 with a Phenom II in it, and not past 270 with a FX. But if your looking for something to put a FX or Phenom II in and game with either a single card or SLI /Crossfire, this board will handle it. It’s LowBuckPC approved.

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Stone Age

VTECH kicked in yo

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