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Asus E35M1-M Pro in Detail

Asus has gone with the uATX form factor for the E35M1-M Pro instead of the slightly smaller Mini-ITX form factor that we were expecting. Mini-ITX boards measure just 6.7 x 6.7 inches (17 x 17 cm), while uATX motherboards are noticeably longer at 9.6 x 7.2 inches (24.4 x 18.3 cm).

The extra length allowed Asus to include a PCI Express 1x slot along with a pair of traditional PCI slots, none of which we feel are necessary as the single PCI Express 16x (electrically x4) slot should be sufficient. Although the E35M1-M and E35M1-M Pro boards use the larger uATX form factor, the more expensive E35M1-I Deluxe is a Mini-ITX board.

The Asus E35M1-M Pro retails for $140, making it a good value particularly when compared to similarly configured Atom boards. The Asus AT3IONT-I sporting the Atom 330 and Nvidia Ion chipset is priced at $150, while the Asus AT5IONT-I sporting the Intel Atom D525/Intel NM10 combo costs $180.

The E35M1-M Pro also offers Gigabit LAN, 8-Channel Audio, USB 3.0 and Firewire. Realtek powers both the LAN and audio via the 8111E Gigabit LAN controller and ALC887-VD2 High-Definition 8-Channel Audio codec which provides 3 jacks. Rather than opting for NEC's popular USB 3.0 controller, Asus has chosen an ASM controller which provides two ports on the I/O panel.

Although the $140 price tag suggests that the E35M1-M Pro is a budget motherboard, we were surprised by its level of quality. Asus used 100% conductive polymer capacitors. A large number of Asus' own-brand features such as EPU, Anti-Surge Protection, TurboV, Turbo Key II and EFI BIOS (EZ Mode) are also included.

The board houses a pair of DDR3 DIMM slots. You won't find a Brazos board with more than two DIMM slots as there's only one 64-bit memory channel on the APU. Asus' motherboard also carries five SATA 6Gb/s ports onboard with one additional port on the I/O panel and headers for five USB 2.0 ports and one Firewire port.

The E35M1-M Pro also looks the part, featuring Asus' high-end blue on black design along with a massive passively cooled blue anodized heatsink that measures 3.6 x 3 inches (9.3 x 7.5 cm) and has a number of large fins. The heatsink is designed to cool both the APU and FCH, and while we did not experience any stability issues, it did get very hot when testing. We would make sure that your case directs enough air over it.

Starting from the left, the I/O panel features a single PS/2 port, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, S/PDIF (optical), HDMI, VGA and DVI outputs. The next module has all red connectors including two more USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire port and an eSATA port. The Gigabit Ethernet jack sits on top of the dual USB 3.0 ports and three audio jacks at the very end.