First of all, look at the memory DIMM slots. These are not the common DDR3 DIMMs, which couldn’t fit onto this board, but the short DDR3 SO-DIMM slots designed to accommodate memory modules for notebooks. Of course, SO-DIMM is not some kind of exotics, but modules like that are more expensive, and their frequencies and timings are usually worse than those of the conventional DDR3 SDRAM DIMMs.
Secondly, the processor voltage regulator circuitry didn’t remain untouched, either. Asus M4A88T-I Deluxe has a triple-channel voltage regulator circuitry, with a separate fourth channel dedicated to powering the Uncore part of the CPU.
Moreover, since there was not enough space on the mainboard PCB, the processor voltage regulator transistors were left without any cooling. Keeping in mind that contemporary AMD processors are not very energy-efficient, it created a problem, which forced Asus engineers to set certain restrictions to the list of supported processors. For example, this mainboard can only work with those CPUs, which TDP doesn’t exceed 95 W. and it means that top Phenom II processors cannot be used in Asus M4A88T-I Deluxe. The good news in this case is that AMD luckily has 95 W modifications for all of their processors, even including the six-core Phenom II X6.
Thirdly, the chipset also has no good cooling system. In order to resolve this situation, they moved the chipset North and South Bridges very closely to one another and used a single aluminum heatsink to dissipate the heat from both of them.
But taking into account that AMD 880G and AMD SB710 chips together dissipate about 23 W of heat, this heatsink seems to be too weak. It runs really hot at work, so we strongly recommend ensuring that it is in the way of some airflow inside your system case. And the best way would be to top it with its own individual fan.
Overall, the layout of Asus M4A88T-I Deluxe mainboard is not very convenient, although it would be extremely naïve to expect a convenient components layout from a Mini-ITX mainboard. When you build a system on this mainboard, you will have to put up with a small processor cooler (even a boxed CPU cooler can barely fit onto this board) and severely hindered access to the memory modules once the cooler is installed and the ATX power cables are connected.