Layout and Features
Layout for micro-ATX motherboards is pretty standard, and as such, the Asus M2A-VM motherboard doesn’t differ much over the previously reviewed MSI K9AGM2 motherboard.
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Just like with the MSI motherboard, the Asus M2A-VM motherboard uses passive cooling on the north bridge though this board uses a passive cooler on the SB600 south bridge as well.
The AM2 processor socket uses a standard cooler mounting bracket and you can see the 4-pin ATX 12v connection for CPU power in the corner of the image as well.
The four DIMM slots support memory up to DDR2-800 speeds; users looking to add extra memory to possible HTPC systems will see the move from two DIMM slots on the MSI to the four seen here as a nice improvement. The ATX power connector, single IDE channel and the floppy channel are seen here as well.
The expansion configuration consists of a single x16 PCIe connection for discrete graphics, two legacy PCI slots and a single x1 PCIe slot for an additional accessory. These are the same options that the MSI K9AGM2 motherboard offered but with the x1 PCIe slot at the top of the layout.
The bottom of the motherboard holds all the remaining connections including storage and acecssory options. There are four total SATA 3.0 Gb/s connections and only a single IDE channel for up to two devices. If you look closely you’ll also see three headers for USB 2.0 dongles that can support up to 10 total connections.
The external connectors on the M2A-VM motherboard speak to the budget board user with only three analog audio connections, four USB 2.0 connections and a single Gigabit LAN port. There are two connections for the integrated X1250 graphics – one DVI and one VGA that can support dual monitor output.
The extras that come with the M2A-VM motherboard are pretty sparse and include the necessary IDE and floppy cable and only a single SATA data and power cable.