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Asus' E35M1-M Pro
At $144.99, the E35M1-M Pro ought to woo users turned off by the E35M1-I Deluxe's relatively high asking price. This more affordable model isn't as compact as its sibling, with dimensions of 9.6" x 7.2". The Pro uses a sort of a skinny version of the regular microATX form factor, which calls for dimensions of 9.6" x 9.6".

With a larger circuit board, the Pro has room for more expansion slots. The PCIe x16 graphics slot (which has four lanes of electrical connectivity like on the Deluxe) has backup from one PCIe x1 slot and a couple of plain-jane, 32-bit PCI slots. Despite the extra real estate, however, the Pro lacks integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. I suppose onboard wireless support isn't strictly necessary on a mobo with four expansion slots, since you can easily stick a Wi-Fi adapter in one of them and still have room for, say, a TV tuner and a discrete graphics card.

To make up for the missing wireless connectivity, Asus includes a couple of extra hardware ports: VGA and FireWire. Both boards have otherwise similar port loadouts. There's USB 3.0, external Serial ATA, four second-gen USB ports, and a choice of analog or digital audio connectors. The analog microphone and line inputs are shared with the center and rear outputs, so you'll have to choose between them.

Like the Deluxe, the Pro comes with a bare heatsink covering the Zacate CPU and the accompanying Hudson chipset. The E35M1-M Pro has a smaller heatsink with fewer fins and no heat pipes, so Asus accompanies it with an optional 60-mm fan. Mounting the fan might take a couple of tries, since the heatsink's fins double somewhat awkwardly as screw threads, and it's not clear exactly where the fan is supposed to go. Still, Asus deserves credit for giving users a choice between active and passive cooling.

On the software and UEFI front, the E35M1-M Pro pretty much mirrors the E35M1-I Deluxe. The UEFI looks and behaves identically, and the same AI Suite utilities come on the bundled disc. Those utilities include Fan Xpert, which really comes in handy once you strap on the board's optional fan. We'll look at noise levels in greater detail later, but in short, the default fan management profile keeps things rather quiet.

For the record, here's an at-a-glance look at how the E35M1-I Deluxe and E35M1-M Pro compare:

Motherboard E35M1-I Deluxe E35M1-M Pro
APU AMD E-350 w/Radeon HD 6310 IGP AMD E-350 w/Radeon HD 6310 IGP
Platform hub AMD Hudson M1 AMD Hudson M1
DIMM slots 2 DDR3-1066 2 DDR3-1066
Expansion slots 1 PCIe x16 (x4 bandwidth) 1 PCIe x16 (x4 bandwidth)
1 PCIe x1
2 PCI
Storage I/O 5 6Gbps SATA RAID via Hudson M1 5 6Gbps SATA RAID via Hudson M1
Wireless connectivity 802.11n Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 3.0
N/A
Audio 8-channel HD via Realtek ALC892 8-channel HD via Realtek ALC887-VD2
Ports 1 PS/2 keyboard/mouse
1 DVI
1 HDMI
4 USB 2.0 (w/ headers for another 4 ports)
2 USB 3.0 via NEC controller (w/ header for another 2 ports)
1 RJ45 via Realtek 8111E controller
1 eSATA 6Gbps
1 analog front out
1 analog line in
1 analog mic in
1 optical S/PDIF out
1 PS/2 keyboard/mouse
1 DVI
1 HDMI
1 VGA
4 USB 2.0 (w/ headers for another 8 ports)
2 USB 3.0 via ASMedia controller
1 RJ45 via Realtek 8111E controller
1 FireWire
1 eSATA 6Gbps
1 analog front out
1 analog line in
1 analog mic in
1 optical S/PDIF out

Are there measurable performance differences between the two boards, and how do they stack up against Gigabyte's cheaper E350N-USB3? Let's find out.