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Six A75-Based Motherboards For AMD’s A8 And A6 APUs

AMD's A75 Platform: The Triumph Of Adequacy

Never before has the term “adequate” sounded so good.

Following years of what we were expected to recognize as groundbreaking advances in integrated graphics (which were almost always completely insufficient for gaming, mind you), the Llano APU’s Radeon HD 6500-series graphics processors are the first to actually support a minimum level of playability across many popular 3D titles. While we discovered that fast DDR3 memory plays a role in improving graphics performance, this is incidentally what we were led to expect from Intel's HD Graphics 3000, but never actually saw.

Going head-to-head against Intel’s low-cost second-gen Core i3 lineup, AMD's solution doesn't just have a better graphics processor. Its accompanying A75 chipset also features integrated USB 3.0, potentially cutting motherboard cost. The APU also sports four additional PCIe 2.0 lanes, and AMD wouldn’t want us to forget its often-forgettable support for Dual Graphics.

These capabilities join up to enable a low-cost, low-energy platform with far better 3D performance than the competition offers. If that's the combination you're looking for, the hardest decision is going to be picking the right motherboard. And that's where we step in to help. Our first A75-based round-up consists of six contenders from as many manufacturers.

A75 Motherboard Features
ASRock A75MAsus F1A75-M ProECS A75F-M2
PCB Revision1.021.021.0
ChipsetAMD A75 FCHAMD A75 FCHAMD A75 FCH
BIOSP1.40 (07/21/2011)8630 (07/10/2011)A752B720 (07/20/2011)
100.0 MHz Clock99.8 (-0.2%)100.0 (+0.0%)99.8 (-0.2%)
Internal Interfaces
PCIe x161 (Full x16)2 (x16/x4)1 (Full x16)
PCIe x1/x41/01/02/0
Legacy PCI211
USB 2.03 (six ports)4 (eight ports)2 (four ports)
USB 3.0None1 (two ports)1 (two ports)
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Serial Port111
Parallel Port1None1
SATA 6.0 Gb/s566
SATA 3.0 Gb/sNoneNoneNone
4-Pin Fan231
3-Pin Fan111
FP-Audio111
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput Only
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2211
USB 3.0442
USB 2.0226
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Network111
eSATA1NoneNone
Digital Audio OutOpticalOpticalHDMI Only
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio563
Video OutVGA, HDMIHDMI, VGA, DVI-DVGA, HDMI
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA5 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s6 x SATA 6Gb/s6 x SATA 6Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 100, 1, 100, 1, 10
Add-In SATANoneNoneNone
USB 3.0FCH IntegratedFCH Integrated, ASM1042 PCIeFCH Integrated
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Networking
Gigabit LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIe
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892ALC892ALC662
DDL/DTS ConnectNoneNoneNone

A75 Motherboard Features
Gigabyte A75M-UD2HJetway TA75MGMSI A75MA-G55
PCB Revision1.01.01.0
ChipsetAMD A75 FCHAMD A75 FCHAMD A75 FCH
BIOSF3 (07/12/2011)A02 (07/19/2011)V1.2 (07/05/2011)
100.0 MHz Clock100.0 (+0.0%)99.8 (-0.2%)99.8 (-0.2%)
Internal Interfaces
PCIe x162 (x16/x4)1 (Full x16)2 (x16/x4)
PCIe x1/x41/02/01/0
Legacy PCI111
USB 2.02 (four ports)2 (four ports)2 (four ports)
USB 3.01 (two ports)1 (two ports)1 (two ports)
IEEE-13941NoneNone
Serial Port111 (Mini)
Parallel Port1None1 (Mini)
SATA 6.0 Gb/s546
SATA 3.0 Gb/sNoneNoneNone
4-Pin Fan212
3-Pin FanNone11
FP-Audio111
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput Only
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2121
USB 3.0222
USB 2.0424
IEEE-13941NoneNone
Network111
eSATA1NoneNone
Digital Audio OutOpticalHDMI OnlyHDMI Only
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio636
Video OutVGA, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPortVGA, DVI-D, HDMIHDMI, VGA, DVI-D
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA5 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s4 x SATA 6Gb/s6 x SATA 6Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 100, 1, 100, 1, 10
Add-In SATANoneNoneNone
USB 3.0FCH IntegratedFCH IntegratedFCH Integrated
IEEE-1394VT6308P PCINoneNone
Networking
Gigabit LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIe
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC889VT1705ALC892
DDL/DTS ConnectNoneNoneNone
  • dogman_1234
    Thank You for the Review. I am glad to see you guys taking this and pushing it to the limits. Can't wait until SB-E and Bulldozer reviews.

    Qne question, what does the APU,( either the A6 or the A8), have on F@H applications?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    dogman_1234Thank You for the Review. I am glad to see you guys taking this and pushing it to the limits. Can't wait until SB-E and Bulldozer reviews.Qne question, what does the APU,( either the A6 or the A8), have on F@H applications?Since I haven't joined F@H, I can only recommend going to a F@H forum to find someone who's tried it.

    I know F@H is a great cause, might cure cancer etc, but wouldn't it be more geeky to search for radio signals of little green men?
    Reply
  • _Pez_
    what about blue-ray playback? and power consumption when playing it. I'm planing a HTPC. And those small form factor are really appealing. especially Gigabyte’s A75M-UD2H, I will get that one.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    _Pez_what about blue-ray playback? and power consumption when playing it. I'm planing a HTPC. And those small form factor are really appealing. especially Gigabyte’s A75M-UD2H, I will get that one.SFF properly translates to DTX and Mini ITX. These are Micro ATX...

    I checked the CPU reviews and didn't see anything there either. You know it's going to be low utilization for these processors, which means it will be closer to the idle power than to the full-load power...
    Reply
  • buzznut
    I remember when the Gigabyte board first was launched, I though it looked pretty sweet then even posted a poll on it. I'd have to agree, it seems like the board to have for A8. Looks good too, although I a find Gigabyte's non-blue/white scheme offerings more attractive. Just ordered my 990FX UD5, can't wait!
    Reply
  • buzznut
    CrashmanSFF properly translates to DTX and Mini ITX. These are Micro ATX...I checked the CPU reviews and didn't see anything there either. You know it's going to be low utilization for these processors, which means it will be closer to the idle power than to the full-load power...
    I think micro atx fits into plenty of SFF cases. Maybe we need to redefine..

    I'd like to see a showdown of mini itx boards though, I think Anand did something like that recently. That's probably where the A8 CPU's need to go head to head with atom anyway, most reviews I've seen show the CPU's aren't all that cut out for desktop. Maybe the next batch that comes out in Q4/Q1 2012 will be better for desktop.
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    buzznutI think micro atx fits into plenty of SFF cases. Maybe we need to redefine..I'd like to see a showdown of mini itx boards though, I think Anand did something like that recently. That's probably where the A8 CPU's need to go head to head with atom anyway, most reviews I've seen show the CPU's aren't all that cut out for desktop. Maybe the next batch that comes out in Q4/Q1 2012 will be better for desktop.lol wut? Dude you got this QUAD CORE based on the phenom II architecture mixed up with the e-350 or the c-50 those are the ones that are going up against Atom.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    buzznutI think micro atx fits into plenty of SFF cases. Maybe we need to redefine.That would make you part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    1.) SFF originally stood for Shuttle Form Factor and was proprietary, using 2-slots.
    2.) It was copied by companies like First International Computer and AOpen
    3.) AMD established a standard for "open architecture" systems of similar design, called DTX.
    4.) ITX is smaller than DTX and fits DTX cases.

    Notice this has nothing to do with Micro ATX. People who claim that anything shaped like a cube is SFF need only be shown a full ATX cube before they start making excuses. People who point to horizontal cases and say SFF need only look at ancient AT desktops before they're forced to come up with excuses.

    2-slots. That's what makes Shuttle copies different from everything else. Cubes can be any "size", HTPC's can be any "size", if SFF is a size standard it can only be used to apply to two-slot cases.

    Some competitors have been trying for years to expand the definition of SFF. They are, of course, wrong.

    Nobody's perfect, one of Tom's old team members once said that barebones always refers to SFF systems (even though full sized barebones existed long before SFF). But at least Tom's tries to fix those types of errors rather than force them into the vernacular.

    I'm just asking people to be specific. If you mean cube, say cube. If you mean desktop, say desktop. If you mean mini-tower, slim tower, or slim desktop, just say it. Then apply a form factor "Mini ITX slim tower" or "Micro ATX desktop". And if you're saying "SFF" rather than media center, well it's obvious that SFF can do other things so just be specific and say media center.

    If you're not specific, you might find yourself in a discussion about what the meaning of "is" is.

    Reply
  • noob2222
    I have the gigabyte board and undervolted by .2 running stock speeds. Its used for my HTPC setup so for me making it silent and less power draw were the key points. I have an oversized fanless heatsink and never have issues. When I do run a game on it for fun, the case fan will kick up, but watching movies it stays silent.

    Would love to see some benches on the gigabyte with those max overclock numbers as the GPU would benefit greatly from the memory oc.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    noob2222I have the gigabyte board and undervolted by .2 running stock speeds. Its used for my HTPC setup so for me making it silent and less power draw were the key points. I have an oversized fanless heatsink and never have issues. When I do run a game on it for fun, the case fan will kick up, but watching movies it stays silent.Would love to see some benches on the gigabyte with those max overclock numbers as the GPU would benefit greatly from the memory oc.Good News! Tom's Hardware is working on a memory article using one of these boards, and has included games in the test!
    Reply