Six Socket FM2 Motherboards For AMD's Trinity APUs

Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4

A short and straight naming scheme makes Gigabyte’s F2A85X-UP4 easier to write about and remember, though we haven’t tested enough UP4-series products to know how their features are supposed to stack up against -UP3 or -UP5 boards. Instead, we see the similarity in features between Gigabyte’s -UP4 and ASRock’s Extreme6 platforms.

Gigabyte includes a secondary USB 3.0 controller, but uses Etron’s EJ168A rather than ASMedia's chip. It puts the F2A85X-UP4’s on-board power, reset, and CLR_CMOS switches in a group on the board’s upper-right corner. Gigabyte also moves its eight-pin auxiliary power connector away from the Socket FM2 interface. But none of those changes detract from the board’s value. In fact, we see the power connector placement as an improvement that makes larger heat sinks easier to work around.

We also find three PCIe x16-length slots that automatically switch from x16-x0-x4 to x8-x8-x4 lane configurations whenever a card is detected in the middle slot. But Gigabyte gives up the second PCI slot in favor of a third PCIe x1 slot, and that’s probably not an improvement, since the x4 slot drops to x1 mode whenever a card is dropped into the third x1 slot. AMD's chipset simply runs out of PCI Express connectivity when all of this board's slots are populated.

If you complement AMD's APU with a double-slot add-in card for Dual Graphics operation, you'll lose access to the second x1 slot. So, Gigabyte’s decision to share the third x1 slot with its x4 interface is questionable at best. We would have rather sacrificed the less-useful second slot in the interest of retaining the x4 connector's full bandwidth. 

The seventh internal SATA connector faces outward along the F2A85X-UP4’s bottom edge, which could also cause it to be blocked by a graphics card. Fortunately, it’s so far forward that most graphics cards (at least the ones you'd install on a Socket FM2 motherboard) are too short to hide it.

The F2A85X-UP4 installation kit includes a generous six SATA cables, which is only one shy of the seven ports this board boasts. The chipset's eighth SATA port is devoted to eSATA on the rear I/O panel.

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    Top Comments
  • americanbrian
    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....
    14
  • cangelini
    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
  • cangelini
    I fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.
    12
  • Other Comments
  • buzznut
    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.
    0
  • Cryio
    Why, why do you keep posting Skyrim as being a DirectX11 title? It IS NOT. It's just DX9
    -8
  • Crashman
    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?
    10
  • Sakkura
    CrashmanWhy don't you point to where you see that?

    Sneaky, lol. Now he's going to be downvoted.
    4
  • Crashman
    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...
    8
  • cangelini
    I fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.
    12
  • abbadon_34
    Sounds like someone is owed an apology
    -5
  • Darkerson
    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...
    5
  • Anonymous
    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!
    7
  • cangelini
    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! :)
    10
  • americanbrian
    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....
    14
  • Someone Somewhere
    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.
    0
  • cangelini
    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
  • silverblue
    Also, a detailed look at the effects of undervolting Trinity. :)
    1
  • silverblue
    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.
    7
  • blazorthon
    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:
    5
  • bentonsl_2010
    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.
    -3
  • blazorthon
    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.
    6
  • unempit
    It must be Monday...my first thought was how did they get 6 sockets on one motherboard... :)
    3
  • Onus
    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).
    1