ASUS M4A77D MOTHERBOARD

The Asus M4A77D  is an ATX form factor PCI Express 2.0 motherboard. We bought this board in April of 2010 as part of  a hardware refresh. The AMD 770 Chipset is designed to support up to 5200MT/s HyperTransport°3.0 (HT 3.0) interface speed and PCI Express°2.0 x16 graphics. It is optimized with AMD’s latest AM3 and multi-core CPUs to provide excellent system performance and overclocking capabilities.

  • PCIe x16
  • PCe x1 (pair)
  • PCI (three)

The slots are well positioned for most mid-tower chassis when using full length display adapters. The blue large heat sink is close to the board and not get in the way of a video card.

The 4 memory slots are standard for AMD processors. The M4A77D can support up to 16 GB of DDR2 memory.

  • USB2 (12 ports, 6 mid-board)
  • Firewire (2 ports, 1 mid-board)
  • Ethernet 1000BASE-T
  • Parallel
  • Serial
  • PS/2 (keyboard or mouse)
  • Audio (6 channel, S/PDIF)

The IO shield is relatively basic. Serial and parallel were long ago assimilated by USB. Mice were quick to adopt USB, printers were close behind. Keyboards lagged by comparison.

Even though this board uses the AM3 socket, we used an AMD Athon64 X2 4200 65W AM2 processor with the board which provided a good platform for 64-bit Windows. The MA77D is positioned as a low cost upgrade for DDR2 users. AM3 processors feature DDR2/DDR3 memory controllers. Our Athlon64 CPU is not on the CPU support list but it works fine with even the original BIOS.

There is no floppy controller on the M2N-VM CSM as USB sticks have replaced it completely. There is a single EIDE header suggesting it is also increasingly obsolete.

RAM

We used the existing DDR2 memory and we added a pair of 1GB DDR2-667 memory giving the machine a total of 4 GB. We can procure an AM3 processor at our convenience.

Later we acquired additional DDR2 memory. A stick of DDR2-533 and one DDR2-667 and when we used all 4 sticks we were not able to achieve dual channel at any speed. We also experienced several BSOD so we were forced to removed the DDR2-533 to achieve stability.

Mismatched timings are problematic with many machines but we expected stability at DDR2-400 but we could not achieve it.

Seagate 6TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 7200RPM 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST6000DM001

VIDEO

Unlike the old M2NBP-VM CSM, the PCI Express x16 slot is clear of the SATA headers. The single EIDE header is also clear of the display adapter. The floppy header is finally gone.

We had an available Zotac 8600 GT display adapter available that worked fine with this motherboard. Our old ATI x600 card also works fine on this motherboard. We use a single GTX 260 with this motherboard fine.

Overall this ATX form factor motherboard is fine for many users. The PCI Express 2.0 slot provides the opportunity to use a gaming level display adapter and use it for games.

PERFORMANCE

The board made our existing CPU and memory run far better. HyperTransport 3.0 technology provides 2.6 times more bandwidth than HyperTransport 1.0, radically improving system efficiency to create a smoother, faster computing environment.

This board puts a new CPU at the top of the procurement list. The latest price cuts make the AMD Phenom II 965 BE an affordable upgrade. The CPU is needed to move to AM3+ boards along with DDR3.

POWER

While the M4A77D  is not very demanding, the power supply was also problematic. The replacement TX850V2  can more easily cope with extreme demands and it resolved problems with power.