Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 FM2 Motherboard Review: Overkill for Trinity?
Installation, Impressions, and Setup
Installation and Impressions
The board was a breeze to install. Updating the BIOS was again very easy within the BIOS. Downloading the BIOS image to a USB flash stick is all it takes anymore. Even if a user somehow destroys the BIOS image being copied over, Gigabyte has been using dual BIOS solutions to make sure that a bad flash is easy to recover from.
We see the Realtek audio codec somewhat isolated and surrounded by solid caps. It features sound that is good enough for most users, but certainly is not audiophile quality.
Hardware placement was also very easy. Once the board was attached to the case, it was easy to route all cables where needed and any other video card installation went without problem. There is adequate space around the CPU socket, but it is a little tight when considering how close the memory is. This is a universal problem with both AMD and Intel processors, and the cooling guys have figured out ways to get around tight spacing constraints.
The four fan headers are strategically placed around the board so they can service the different fans throughout the case. In terms of components, all of the hardware is really top quality. They advertise Japanese polymer caps and other high end components which make up the “Ultra Durable 5” specification.
The FM2 socket supports the latest AMD Trinity based processors. This particular board can handle every current Trinity processor from the A4 to the A10 series. The top end processor is the A10-5800K, but we can safely assume that the upcoming “Richland” APUs will work perfectly fine in this particular board with a BIOS update.
Here we have the primary I/O area. The seventh SATA 6G port is at the bottom, which keeps it from being covered by graphics cards. Note as well the USB 3.0 front panel header.
I did all tests without a standalone video card. The graphics portion of the Trinity APU is pretty robust and can handle a wide variety of games at medium quality and playable resolutions. I left the native resolution at 1280x1024, and it was able to handle quite a few games at high quality levels at that resolution.
I compared the Gigabyte board against the Asus F2A85M-Pro. Both parts are A85X based and are around the same overall price. The A10-5800K was used for performance testing and overclocking.
We see the three buttons on the baord very clearly here. These are more handy for open air test benches than when installed in a case. There is a fair amount of space around the memory slots and CPU socket.
AMD A10-5800K APU @ 3.8 GHz
Corsair TX750W Rev. 2 Power Supply
2 x 4GB GSkill DDR-3 1866 @ 188.8.131.52 timings
1TB WD Caviar Black 7200 RPM HD
Lite-On DVD R/RW
Coolermaster CM690 II Advanced Case
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit Edition
Catalyst 13.1 WHQL Drivers