Asus H110M-A M.2 Motherboard Review

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After testing quite a number boards, this will be my first look at Asus’ version of a UEFI. I took a full set of screen shots, then promptly lost my thumb drive. I didn’t realize this until I’d started on another board, so I had to remount this one. In so doing, I actually discovered something really bad, but really useful. So, starting out with a new set, by default we get the EZ mode screen.

We did not use SATA6G_1 because that port shares bandwidth with the M.2 slot if it is populated. There’s nothing remarkable here, except for that CPU temperature. That’s going to get worse, but you're going to find out there’s a reason for that.

Advanced mode presents subcategories, which we’ll see momentarily.

Here we see the default settings, which don’t look unusual. There goes that CPU temperature. . .

Here, we’ve turned on XMP. The board would not boot with XMP active, and it had nothing to do with that alarming CPU temperature. We did skip further manual efforts, like trying to adjust RAM voltage.

This looks fairly conventional; not very different with what we’ve seen elsewhere. That CPU temperature though; the fan is running and not screaming either.

As usual, NumLock had to be turned off (unless you’re someone who uses it -ed). We also think we’ve let that CPU get hot enough; and all we're doing is taking BIOS screen shots! Time to find out what’s going on. The CPU fan is running, and it's still not exceptionally loudly.

When we remounted this board just to get these screen shots, we picked up a cheap Intel S1151 HSF off a shelf rather than remount the big Noctua heat sink we use for our tests.  When we took that HSF off, we discovered that the TIM had not spread. Although it was properly clicked into place, apparently something about the socket prevented the HSF from sitting snugly on the CPU. There was but a tiny sliver of paste on the CPU. The socket is standard; we're not blaming the board for this, but the stock Intel HSF (admittedly for a lesser CPU, but the fit should be identical) appears to be unfit for purpose. It would no doubt manifest the same issue on a locked i3 or Pentium. Whether or not you have seen this would be useful information in the comments, please.

Ok, on to performance.  Let’s see if this one is notably different in any way from its peers.

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Joe Trott is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews motherboards, specializing in budget Intel chipsets.
  • daglesj
    Perfect board for a web designer/developer build.
  • Onus
    It's a good business board, although I'd want to be certain that the stock coolers typically used in such builds are going to work properly.
  • joz
    I own two of these in my business computers. They were the cheapest 'quality' boards with m.2 support. Though, in hindsight, I'd rather have gotten the MSI H110l-Pro. It is a sexy motherboard compared to the -A.

    That being said, no complaints about the H110M-A from me. I did not encounter any stock ISF issues - temps were ~35c-40c idle. One pentium, one i3. I could go take them apart and check, but they've been running fine.
  • vdorta
    I used this board for my recent build, an everyday internet and word processing computer. You have to update the BIOS and drivers for it to work flawlessly.
  • genz
    It's actually funny because the introduction of this article makes it sound like Tom's are the Mafia and are slyly trying to tell ASUS they would get better reviews if they gave them the motherboards free haha.
  • shrapnel_indie
    One note on the CON of only two RAM slots: AFAIK, the H110 chipset was limited to just the two RAM slots.
  • clutchc
    I have this board with a i5-7600 in a budget gamer. I did not notice the CPU temp issues using the included stock cooler, but I did notice a problem that made me install an aftermarket cooler. During normal day to day use, the cooler fan would cycle from low RPM to higher RPM so often, it became an audible nuisance. While I didn't notice the temp rising beyond normal, I wish I'd have thought to pay attention to the TIM spread when I replaced the cooler.
  • RedJaron
    19776739 said:
    It's actually funny because the introduction of this article makes it sound like Tom's are the Mafia and are slyly trying to tell ASUS they would get better reviews if they gave them the motherboards free haha.
    If that's your takeaway, you're reading WAY too much into it.

    Products are submitted for review in many ways. Most often the manufacturer simply sends in a sample. Sometimes they ask for the samples back, sometimes not. But no one requires the reviewer to buy the product first ( "Hey, Car & Driver, we'd love for you to test drive and review the new Porsche / Ferrari / Lambo, but you're gonna need to buy it first." ).

    When Tom's wants to do a product review on a certain range of products, they send out an open invitations to every manufacturer. No one is excluded. If a mfr responds saying they want to participate, they can make any special request at that time and each are handled individually. However, some mfrs don't respond at all.

    More common is for mfrs to initiate contact, saying they have a new product launching and offer to send us a sample. However, sometimes we see a product requested on the forums or other places that was not submitted to us. In such a case we may purchase it directly for review ( or possibly the reviewer pays for it out of their own pocket because they want to review it that badly ).

    If you want to criticize a review for its methodology, missing factual points, or on empirical data, go ahead. Saying a writer or Tom's as a whole is on the take or shilling products for company A or mfr B without proof is a big no-no.
  • skyviper80
    My company uses this board for our business computers that we resell and overall it's a solid piece. Over the pat 2 years we've sold over 100 units to various SMBs and so far have only had one board fail, which ASUS replaced for us. Downside is the increasing price, originally $54 when released and now selling for $60+ when you can find them in stock.
  • Onus
    I bought this one. I'd seen lots of requests for Asus, but they never decided to participate. I thought it worth a look anyway. For people who build lots of the same unit and don't go in their cases (e.g. businesses), this is an excellent choice. Some of "us" might prefer some kind of diagnostics, but might not care.