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Which A88X-Based Board Should You Buy For Your Kaveri APU?

Overclocking

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
ASRock FM2A88X+ KillerAsus A88X-ProGigabyte F2A88X-UP4MSI A88X-G45 Gaming
Reference Clock100-136 MHz (1 MHz)80-300 MHz (1 MHz)100-200 MHz (1 MHz)90-190 MHz (0.1 MHz)
CPU Multiplier14-63x (1x)8-63x (1x)8-79x (1x)8-63x (1x)
DRAM Data Rates800-2400 (266.6 MHz)800-2400 (266.6 MHz)800-2400 (266.6 MHz)800-2400 (266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.60-1.55V (6.25 mV)0.80-1.90V (6.25 mV)0.80-2.30V (6.25 mV)-0.10 to +0.50 (10 mV)
CPU NB0.60-1.55V (6.25 mV)0.80-1.75V (6.25 mV)0.80-2.10V (6.25 mV)-0.10 to +0.50 (10 mV)
A88X Voltage1.10-1.40V (10 mV)1.10-1.40V (100 mV)1.00-1.50V (10 mV)1.35-1.80V (10 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.17-1.80V (5 mV)1.35-2.14V (5 mV)1.10-2.62V (10 mV)1.10-1.40V (10 mV)
CAS Latency5-16 Cycles5-16 Cycles5-16 Cycles5-16 Cycles
tRCD5-19 Cycles2-19 Cycles2-19 Cycles2-19 Cycles
tRP5-19 Cycles5-19 Cycles5-19 Cycles5-19 Cycles
tRAS15-42 Cycles8-42 Cycles8-42 Cycles8-42 Cycles

Most of the boards in today’s test reached 4.6 GHz, except for Asus’ A88X-Pro at a similar 4.55 GHz.

Maximum reference clock could be important to memory overclockers who’ve already exceeded the Kaveri architecture's top 24x DRAM multiplier, or to anyone who somehow ends up with a multiplier-locked APU. Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI are closely matched in this capability.

Asus tops our memory overclocking tests even after also topping our stock-speed memory bandwidth tests. Performance and stability are definitely a killer combo.

MSI's firmware automatically attempted to tighten memory timings when we reduced memory clock rate, even though our frequency reductions were an attempt to recover from failed boots. The A88X-G45 Gaming might have been able to reach a slightly higher DRAM clock with more manual timing adjustments. On the other hand, our most recent tests show that data rates beyond DDR3-2133 provide no performance benefit to recent platforms.

  • gadgety
    To me the point of Kaveri is great graphics in a small package, thus the MB would have to be as small as possible. M-ITX is currently the smallest. Someone should bring out a NUC sized board for the Kaveri.
    Reply
  • blackmagnum
    On the other side of the fence... Haswell+ Maxwell= performance/watt/buck. You're welcome.
    Reply
  • ta152h
    The IO device is called PS/2, not P/S 2. It stands for Personal System/2, the IBM product line from 1987. Also, there's a chance there's a big performance gain from Catalyst 14.2, instead of 14.1. Another site did benchmarks comparing 13.6 and 14.2, and the difference was dramatic. It most likely was the somewhere in the 13.6 to 14.1 range, though. I thought the days of one motherboard having significantly faster memory timings than the other died with the IMCs. After being shocked at the horrible performance of the Kaveri, and the almost complete failure of it, between the driver update, and advantage the Asus has, it's clear AMD pulled another "Hawaii", and put their technology in the worst possible light by not packaging it with the proper associated support technologies. Considering the long development cycles for these devices, it's hard to understand how AMD couldn't figure out a proper cooler for the Hawaii, or have drivers degrade performance so much for Kaveri, that within a month or so they were able to increase performance so dramatically. And now, it's clear the memory performance optimizations were far from complete. And Kaveri was a delayed product. It boggles the mind that they consistently fail to find such obvious shortcomings, when everyone else finds them pretty quickly. Clearly, their testing procedures need serious revision in scope.
    Reply
  • ferooxidan
    "To me the point of Kaveri is great graphics in a small package, thus the MB would have to be as small as possible. M-ITX is currently the smallest. Someone should bring out a NUC sized board for the Kaveri."No, the best NUC will be Haswell + Maxwell, period.
    Reply
  • almarcy
    Thank you for a useful grid of the current products. I am migrating from my current dinosaur. I am not at all interested in smaller, sleeker, tighter. Just faster. ~4 GHz with 2.4 GHz DDR3 for under $500. seems pretty irresistible :)
    Reply
  • Someone Somewhere
    Can we see some benchmarks on the Killer card vs other competitors? It feels like FUD to me.
    Reply
  • beerdette
    "No, the best NUC will be Haswell + Maxwell, period."The point of Kaveri on a NUC would be not to have the space that a graphics card takes. So it wouldn't be the best NUC because then you need to add space for that card.
    Reply
  • vertexx
    Is anyone actually going to buy an ATX Kaveri motherboard?
    Reply
  • de5_Roy
    12925440 said:
    Is anyone actually going to buy an ATX Kaveri motherboard?
    yes. but at a lower price range probably. first, a10 7850k itself has to come down in price by $40-50 outside microcenter.
    Reply
  • vertexx
    12925643 said:
    12925440 said:
    Is anyone actually going to buy an ATX Kaveri motherboard?
    yes. but at a lower price range probably. first, a10 7850k itself has to come down in price by $40-50 outside microcenter.

    Even beyond price, ATX seems pointless with a Kaveri APU. Myself, I'm waiting for the A8-7600 to build a very small (< 3 liters) ITX HTPC running the APU in 45W mode. Although I'm very excited about doing that build, I can't see any use case that makes sense for a Kaveri APU in an ATX form factor. Perhaps the A88x chipset has some feature benefit for building something using the 750 or 760k CPU in a budget build. But the only build I would even think about using a Kaveri APU in would be a mini-ITX PC/HTPC or laptop.

    Beyond that, I would love to see Lian-Li come out with a tiny case like the PC-Q02, PC-Q09 or PC-Q12, but with the design for a single 120mm CLC and a 300W SFX PSU to allow a decent overclock on a 7850k APU with the smallest form factor possible (i.e. < 8 liters). That type of build might get me jazzed up for the 7850k.
    Reply