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ECS A85F2-A Golden

Six Socket FM2 Motherboards For AMD's Trinity APUs
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At long last, ECS is acting on our complaints about confusing the various models in its line-up by putting the word "Golden" into the name of this specific board. Previous examples simply used gold packaging to indicate the difference. Online searches are text-based, though, leaving way too much room for confusion. By naming the A85F2-A Golden more descriptively, it's a piece of cake to find on sites like Newegg.

Just because this board bears ECS' flagship designation doesn't mean it includes all of the same features as past golden-class boards, unfortunately. The Port 80 diagnostics display present on ECS' higher-end Intel boards is now missing, along with the third four-lane graphics card slot offered by most competing A85X-based products. ECS does add the same secondary USB 3.0 controller as the first two competitors in today’s round-up. It also keeps the same suite of display outputs and has a similar suite of seven internal and one external SATA 6Gb/s ports as ASRock and Asus.

A handy I/O panel CLR_CMOS button and a CPU power connector that’s too close to the CPU socket are both matched by ASRock, yet the A85F2-A Golden lacks the modestly-valued internal buttons of that competitor.

It's possible that ECS decided the A85F2-A Golden’s missing features weren’t worth the cost of implementation. More than likely, nobody is going to bother installing three high-end graphics cards on AMD's value-oriented Socket FM2 platform, and the on-board power and reset buttons offered by other motherboard companies aren't worth much once you button the side of your case up. With a new understanding that ECS' Golden label is relative (and not indicative of a certain feature set), we now have to hope that the company's flagship costs less than ASRock's Extreme6 model, which comes loaded with more features.

Surprising us with seven SATA cables for seven ports, it appears that ECS knows math a little better than its competition. Most customers will only use two or three of the seven cables, but we still count the complete installation kit in considering the A85F2-A Golden’s overall worth.

Display all 55 comments.
Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 8:32 AM
    americanbrianWhy no GPU OC as has been requested many times? This platform allows easy GPU OC's as mentioned in your previous PD articles. You still have never posted your 1GHz+ clocked GPU results. I am also upset that you didn't run the gaming benches with the OCed RAM. I want to know how a PROPERLY configured setup like this could perform.8% gains approx from going to 1866 over 1600, does higher clocks after this have any effect?How does OCing the GPU part limit your CPU clock OCs? or is the heat not too bad ? So many questions unanswered....

    These sound like great ideas for a platform-oriented story. In fact, Thomas and I have discussed doing a piece on memory and Trinity. Maybe we could expand that to include an exploration of graphics and processor bottlenecks, too. Thanks for the feedback!
  • 14 Hide
    americanbrian , November 26, 2012 8:26 AM
    Why no GPU OC as has been requested many times? This platform allows easy GPU OC's as mentioned in your previous PD articles.

    You still have never posted your 1GHz+ clocked GPU results.

    I am also upset that you didn't run the gaming benches with the OCed RAM. I want to know how a PROPERLY configured setup like this could perform.

    8% gains approx from going to 1866 over 1600, does higher clocks after this have any effect?

    How does OCing the GPU part limit your CPU clock OCs? or is the heat not too bad ?

    So many questions unanswered....
  • 12 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 6:29 AM
    I fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    buzznut , November 26, 2012 3:27 AM
    And I would penalize Asrock for the brown PCB. Its an otherwise nice looking board, but this is a trend I don't care for.
  • -8 Hide
    Cryio , November 26, 2012 4:16 AM
    Why, why do you keep posting Skyrim as being a DirectX11 title? It IS NOT. It's just DX9
  • 10 Hide
    Crashman , November 26, 2012 4:42 AM
    CryioWhy, why do you keep posting Skyrim as being a DirectX11 title? It IS NOT. It's just DX9
    Why don't you point to where you see that?
  • 4 Hide
    Sakkura , November 26, 2012 5:38 AM
    CrashmanWhy don't you point to where you see that?

    Sneaky, lol. Now he's going to be downvoted.
  • 8 Hide
    Crashman , November 26, 2012 6:00 AM
    SakkuraSneaky, lol. Now he's going to be downvoted.
    Not sneaky, I just see a lot of sniping in here. I checked the article and didn't find it, and I really need to find it before I can gripe at the person who made the final revisions to this article. His comment could be completely false for all I know...
  • 12 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 6:29 AM
    I fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.
  • -5 Hide
    abbadon_34 , November 26, 2012 7:06 AM
    Sounds like someone is owed an apology
  • 5 Hide
    Darkerson , November 26, 2012 7:18 AM
    buzznutAnd I would penalize Asrock for the brown PCB. Its an otherwise nice looking board, but this is a trend I don't care for.

    Penalizing a company over a PCB's color is asinine and petty. Even if you have a case with an acrylic window, do you stare into your PC all day and night? If so, that is trend I don't care for.

    There are much more important things to worry about, like quality, price, and features, to name a few...
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , November 26, 2012 8:20 AM
    cangeliniI fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.

    "Adoby Creative Suite"

    just one?

    :lol: 
    who cares, good job to crash and the rest of the crew . . .

    edit: i had to fix a typo . .oh karma!
  • 10 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 8:25 AM
    looniam"Adoby Creative Suite"just one? who cares, good job to crash and the rest of the crew . . .edit: i had to fix a typo . .oh karma!

    Heh, apparently, editing motherboard round-ups in a Thanksgiving food coma is not conducive to catching typos. Got that one as well--thanks looniam! :) 
  • 14 Hide
    americanbrian , November 26, 2012 8:26 AM
    Why no GPU OC as has been requested many times? This platform allows easy GPU OC's as mentioned in your previous PD articles.

    You still have never posted your 1GHz+ clocked GPU results.

    I am also upset that you didn't run the gaming benches with the OCed RAM. I want to know how a PROPERLY configured setup like this could perform.

    8% gains approx from going to 1866 over 1600, does higher clocks after this have any effect?

    How does OCing the GPU part limit your CPU clock OCs? or is the heat not too bad ?

    So many questions unanswered....
  • 0 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , November 26, 2012 8:32 AM
    Is it just me or is there no list of prices for the boards? There's relative price, and some board is worth $25 more than another (which is enough if you want to do half a page of simultaneous equations), but I can't find an actual list.
  • 14 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 8:32 AM
    americanbrianWhy no GPU OC as has been requested many times? This platform allows easy GPU OC's as mentioned in your previous PD articles. You still have never posted your 1GHz+ clocked GPU results. I am also upset that you didn't run the gaming benches with the OCed RAM. I want to know how a PROPERLY configured setup like this could perform.8% gains approx from going to 1866 over 1600, does higher clocks after this have any effect?How does OCing the GPU part limit your CPU clock OCs? or is the heat not too bad ? So many questions unanswered....

    These sound like great ideas for a platform-oriented story. In fact, Thomas and I have discussed doing a piece on memory and Trinity. Maybe we could expand that to include an exploration of graphics and processor bottlenecks, too. Thanks for the feedback!
  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , November 26, 2012 11:59 AM
    Also, a detailed look at the effects of undervolting Trinity. :) 
  • 7 Hide
    silverblue , November 26, 2012 12:08 PM
    buzznutAnd I would penalize Asrock for the brown PCB. Its an otherwise nice looking board, but this is a trend I don't care for.

    Well, in days gone by we'd have had green or gold boards. To be perfectly honest though, unless you're going to have a side window, you're not likely to care about the PCB colour. I'm far more interested in features and performance than the aesthetics, personally.
  • 5 Hide
    blazorthon , November 26, 2012 12:52 PM
    buzznutAnd I would penalize Asrock for the brown PCB. Its an otherwise nice looking board, but this is a trend I don't care for.


    I thought that the brown PCB meshed decently with the black and grey color scheme utilized by most of the rest of the board. Hey, at least it doesn't look like those ugly low end FoxConn boards :lol: 
  • -3 Hide
    bentonsl_2010 , November 26, 2012 2:08 PM
    CrashmanWhy don't you point to where you see that?


    Here is a relevant quote from a randomly-googled article:

    Longtime Elder Scrolls fans hoping Skryim would take full advantage of the PC's strengths: unfortunately we have to disappoint you. Game director Todd Howard says besides higher quality textures and bigger resolutions, it "looks the same" as on consoles, and it's "mostly a DirectX 9 game in terms of how the shaders work."

    He does note DirectX 11 support is a possibility down the line, however: "When it comes to DirectX 11 there are things they get us for free, like performance gains. You’re going to get performance gains out of it versus an older version. But the specifics DX11 does, like tessellation and all that kinda stuff, we aren’t taking advantage of that right now. That doesn’t mean we won’t in the future. We aren’t right now because we want to author it so it looks great.”

    On the bright side, the new engine means Skyrim looks quite lovely as is, just nothing mind-blowing, which it could be. No doubt the modding community will improve the situation before long, though.
  • 6 Hide
    blazorthon , November 26, 2012 2:38 PM
    Bentonsl_2010Here is a relevant quote from a randomly-googled article:Longtime Elder Scrolls fans hoping Skryim would take full advantage of the PC's strengths: unfortunately we have to disappoint you. Game director Todd Howard says besides higher quality textures and bigger resolutions, it "looks the same" as on consoles, and it's "mostly a DirectX 9 game in terms of how the shaders work."He does note DirectX 11 support is a possibility down the line, however: "When it comes to DirectX 11 there are things they get us for free, like performance gains. You’re going to get performance gains out of it versus an older version. But the specifics DX11 does, like tessellation and all that kinda stuff, we aren’t taking advantage of that right now. That doesn’t mean we won’t in the future. We aren’t right now because we want to author it so it looks great.”On the bright side, the new engine means Skyrim looks quite lovely as is, just nothing mind-blowing, which it could be. No doubt the modding community will improve the situation before long, though.


    He wasn't asking for proof of what DX is utilized by Skyrim, he was asking where in the article was it claimed that Skyrim used DX11.
  • 3 Hide
    unempit , November 26, 2012 2:42 PM
    It must be Monday...my first thought was how did they get 6 sockets on one motherboard... :) 
  • 1 Hide
    Onus , November 26, 2012 2:52 PM
    That 16C over ambient on the ASRock board is a little worrisome. That looks like the only real outlier in all the measurements. Was that at stock clocks, or with the OC?
    As far as performance goes, there doesn't appear to be any difference worth noting (which I'd expect).
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