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Six Socket FM2 Motherboards For AMD’s Trinity APUs ( Photos )

Penulis : Mohamed Abdo on Friday, March 29, 2013 | 1:29 PM

After just one generation, Socket FM1 is dead. We test six Socket FM2-based motherboards able to take AMD’s newest APUs built using the Trinity architecture. Can any of these platforms, armed with AMD A85X Fusion Controller Hubs, get us to upgrade?
Once upon a time, processor reviews were simpler. Isolating x86 performance made it easy for us to draw comparisons. Today, though, we have on-board graphics, integrated memory controllers, and ISA extensions to look at. The benchmarks we run play a huge part in exposing the benefits of each piece of a modern host processor, and we’re naturally very careful about testing as thoroughly as possible.
In those stories, we discovered that AMD’s Piledriver-based modules are faster than their predecessors based on the Bulldozer architecture. But because AMD never released a Bulldozer-based APU, we also had to face the fact that, in some cases, older Llano-based parts were as quick or quicker. Hardly a reason to toss your old Socket FM1 motherboard and upgrade to Socket FM2, right?
Fortunately, the new APUs do manage to nudge graphics performance forward. And because AMD’s on-die graphics engines are already significantly faster than Intel’s best effort, the extra speed only served to hammer that point home.
And so, you’re faced with an interesting conundrum. On one hand, we wouldn’t mind a Trinity-based APU specifically for its 3D capabilities. On the other, we’re still compelled to build with an add-in graphics card in mind. Really, then, the ideal customer for an APU is someone able to enjoy the cost savings of an A10 or A8, who won’t be stymied by the chip’s limitations, and who won’t then go get frustrated and buy a discrete GPU. At that point, you’re just watering down the platform’s value and compounding its power consumption.

With that in mind, we’re curious about AMD’s latest driver optimizations. We also wonder if motherboard vendors have any graphics performance-optimizing tricks up their sleeves. So, rather than dropping some unrealistically-expensive discrete board into today’s test beds, we’re evaluating six Socket FM2-equipped platforms using an AMD A10-5800K operating all on its own.

Socket FM2 Motherboard Features

ASRock
FM2A85X Extreme6
Asus
F2A85-V Pro
ECS
A85F2-A GOLDEN
PCB Revision 1.04 1.01 1.0
Chipset AMD A85X FCH AMD A85X FCH AMD A85X FCH
Voltage Regulator Ten Phases Eight Phases Five Phases
BIOS P1.30 (10/12/2012) 5104 (09/14/2012) 10/12/12
100.0 MHz RCLK Variable Variable Variable
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 3.0 x16 None None None
PCIe 2.0 x16 3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) 3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) 2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
PCIe x1/x4 2/0 2/0 3/0
USB 2.0 3 (6-ports) 4 (8-ports) 3 (6-ports)
USB 3.0 1 (2-ports) 1 (2-ports) 1 (2-ports)
SATA 6.0 Gb/s 7 7 7
SATA 3.0 Gb/s None None None
4-Pin Fan 2 5 1
3-Pin Fan 4 None 2
FP-Audio 1 1 1
CD-Audio None None None
S/PDIF I/O Output Only Output Only Output Only
Internal Buttons PWR, RST BIOS Flash, MemOK, DirectKey None
Diagnostics Panel Numeric None None
Legacy Interfaces 2 x PCI, Serial 2 x PCI, Serial 2 x PCI, Serial
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2 1 1 None
USB 3.0 4 4 4
USB 2.0 2 2 2
IEEE-1394 None None None
Network 1 1 1
eSATA 1 1 1
CLR_CMOS Button Yes No Yes
Digital Audio Out Optical Optical Optical
Digital Audio In None None None
Analog Audio 5 6 5
Video VGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, DVI-D VGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI
Other Devices None None None
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA 7 x SATA 6Gb/s
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s
7 x SATA 6Gb/s
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s
7 x SATA 6Gb/s
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10, JBOD 0, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATA None None None
USB 3.0 ASM1042 PCIe (2-ports)
A85X Integrated (4-ports)
ASM1042 PCIe (2-ports)
A85X Integrated (4-ports)
ASM1042 PCIe (2-ports)
A85X Integrated (4-ports)
IEEE-1394 None None None
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LAN RTL8111E PCIe RTL8111F PCIe RTL8111E PCIe
Secondary LAN None None None
Audio
HD Audio Codec ALC898 ALC892 VT1819S
DDL/DTS Connect Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified
Warranty Three Years Three Years Three Years

Socket FM2 Motherboard Features

Gigabyte
F2A85X-UP4
MSI
FM2-A85XA-G65
Sapphire Pure
Platinum A85XT
PCB Revision 1.0 1.1 1.0
Chipset AMD A85X FCH AMD A85X FCH AMD A85X FCH
Voltage Regulator Eight Phases Eight Phases Eight Phases
BIOS F3g (10/03/2012) V1.1 (10/09/2012) 0.40 (09/12/2012)
100.0 MHz RCLK Variable Variable Variable
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 3.0 x16 None None None
PCIe 2.0 x16 3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) 2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8) 3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)
PCIe x1/x4 3 (1 shared with x4) / 0 3/0 2/1
USB 2.0 4 (8-ports) 3 (6-ports) 2 (4-ports)
USB 3.0 1 (2-ports) 1 (2-ports) 1 (2-ports)
SATA 6.0 Gb/s 7 8 7
SATA 3.0 Gb/s None None None
4-Pin Fan 5 3 1
3-Pin Fan None 2 5
FP-Audio 1 1 1
CD-Audio None None None
S/PDIF I/O Output Only None Input andOutput
Internal Buttons PWR, RST, CLR PWR, RST, CLR, OC Genie PWR, RST, CLR, ROM selector
Diagnostics Panel Numeric None Numeric
Legacy Interfaces PCI, Serial 2 x PCI, Serial (mini) 2 x PCI, Serial
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2 1 1 2
USB 3.0 4 2 2
USB 2.0 2 4 4
IEEE-1394 None None None
Network 1 1 1
eSATA 1 None None
CLR_CMOS Button No No No
Digital Audio Out Optical Optical Optical
Digital Audio In None None None
Analog Audio 6 6 6
Video VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, DVI-D
Other Devices None None Bluetooth Transceiver
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA 7 x SATA 6Gb/s
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s
8 x SATA 6Gb/s 7 x SATA 6Gb/s
1 x mSATA 6Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes 0, 1, 5, 10, JBOD 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATA None None None
USB 3.0 EJ168A PCIe (2-ports)
A85X Integrated (4-ports)
A85X Integrated A85X Integrated
IEEE-1394 None None None
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LAN RTL8111F PCIe RTL8111E PCIe RTL8111F PCIe
Secondary LAN None None None
Audio


HD Audio Codec ALC892 ALC892 ALC892
DDL/DTS Connect Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified
Warranty Three Years Three Years One Year

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