Skip to main content

Six Socket FM2 Motherboards For AMD's Trinity APUs

AMD's Answer To Ivy Bridge-Based Core i3

Once upon a time, processor reviews were simpler. Isolating x86 performance made it easy for us to draw comparisons. Today, though, we have on-board graphics, integrated memory controllers, and ISA extensions to look at. The benchmarks we run play a huge part in exposing the benefits of each piece of a modern host processor, and we're naturally very careful about testing as thoroughly as possible.

AMD's Trinity architecture received a lot of attention from us when it launched:

AMD Trinity On The Desktop: A10, A8, And A6 Get Benchmarked!
AMD Desktop Trinity Update: Now With Core i3 And A8-3870K
Gaming At 1920x1080: AMD's Trinity Takes On Intel HD Graphics
AMD's Trinity APU Efficiency: Undervolted And Overclocked

In those stories, we discovered that AMD's Piledriver-based modules are faster than their predecessors based on the Bulldozer architecture. But because AMD never released a Bulldozer-based APU, we also had to face the fact that, in some cases, older Llano-based parts were as quick or quicker. Hardly a reason to toss your old Socket FM1 motherboard and upgrade to Socket FM2, right?

Fortunately, the new APUs do manage to nudge graphics performance forward. And because AMD's on-die graphics engines are already significantly faster than Intel's best effort, the extra speed only served to hammer that point home.

And so, you're faced with an interesting conundrum. On one hand, we wouldn't mind a Trinity-based APU specifically for its 3D capabilities. On the other, we're still compelled to build with an add-in graphics card in mind. Really, then, the ideal customer for an APU is someone able to enjoy the cost savings of an A10 or A8, who won't be stymied by the chip's limitations, and who won't then go get frustrated and buy a discrete GPU. At that point, you're just watering down the platform's value and compounding its power consumption.

With that in mind, we're curious about AMD's latest driver optimizations. We also wonder if motherboard vendors have any graphics performance-optimizing tricks up their sleeves. So, rather than dropping some unrealistically-expensive discrete board into today's test beds, we're evaluating six Socket FM2-equipped platforms using an AMD A10-5800K operating all on its own.

Socket FM2 Motherboard Features
ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6Asus F2A85-V ProECS A85F2-A GOLDEN
PCB Revision1.041.011.0
ChipsetAMD A85X FCHAMD A85X FCHAMD A85X FCH
Voltage RegulatorTen PhasesEight PhasesFive Phases
BIOSP1.30 (10/12/2012)5104 (09/14/2012)10/12/12
100.0 MHz RCLKVariableVariableVariable
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 3.0 x16NoneNoneNone
PCIe 2.0 x163 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)
PCIe x1/x42/02/03/0
USB 2.03 (6-ports)4 (8-ports)3 (6-ports)
USB 3.01 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)
SATA 6.0 Gb/s777
SATA 3.0 Gb/sNoneNoneNone
4-Pin Fan251
3-Pin Fan4None2
FP-Audio111
CD-AudioNoneNoneNone
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput Only
Internal ButtonsPWR, RSTBIOS Flash, MemOK, DirectKeyNone
Diagnostics PanelNumericNoneNone
Legacy Interfaces2 x PCI, Serial2 x PCI, Serial2 x PCI, Serial
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 211None
USB 3.0444
USB 2.0222
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Network111
eSATA111
CLR_CMOS ButtonYesNoYes
Digital Audio OutOpticalOpticalOptical
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio565
VideoVGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMIHDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, DVI-DVGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI
Other DevicesNoneNoneNone
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA7 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s7 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s7 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10, JBOD0, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATANoneNoneNone
USB 3.0ASM1042 PCIe (2-ports) A85X Integrated (4-ports)ASM1042 PCIe (2-ports) A85X Integrated (4-ports)ASM1042 PCIe (2-ports) A85X Integrated (4-ports)
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111F PCIeRTL8111E PCIe
Secondary LANNoneNoneNone
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC898ALC892VT1819S
DDL/DTS ConnectNot SpecifiedNot SpecifiedNot Specified
WarrantyThree YearsThree YearsThree Years

Socket FM2 Motherboard Features
Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4MSI FM2-A85XA-G65Sapphire Pure Platinum A85XT
PCB Revision1.01.11.0
ChipsetAMD A85X FCHAMD A85X FCHAMD A85X FCH
Voltage RegulatorEight PhasesEight PhasesEight Phases
BIOSF3g (10/03/2012)V1.1 (10/09/2012)0.40 (09/12/2012)
100.0 MHz RCLKVariableVariableVariable
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 3.0 x16NoneNoneNone
PCIe 2.0 x163 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)2 (x16/x0 or x8/x8)3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)
PCIe x1/x43 (1 shared with x4) / 03/02/1
USB 2.04 (8-ports)3 (6-ports)2 (4-ports)
USB 3.01 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)1 (2-ports)
SATA 6.0 Gb/s787
SATA 3.0 Gb/sNoneNoneNone
4-Pin Fan531
3-Pin FanNone25
FP-Audio111
CD-AudioNoneNoneNone
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyNoneInput andOutput
Internal ButtonsPWR, RST, CLRPWR, RST, CLR, OC GeniePWR, RST, CLR, ROM selector
Diagnostics PanelNumericNoneNumeric
Legacy InterfacesPCI, Serial2 x PCI, Serial (mini)2 x PCI, Serial
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2112
USB 3.0422
USB 2.0244
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Network111
eSATA1NoneNone
CLR_CMOS ButtonNoNoNo
Digital Audio OutOpticalOpticalOptical
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio666
VideoVGA, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPortVGA, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPortHDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, DVI-D
Other DevicesNoneNoneBluetooth Transceiver
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA7 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s8 x SATA 6Gb/s7 x SATA 6Gb/s 1 x mSATA 6Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 10, JBOD0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATANoneNoneNone
USB 3.0EJ168A PCIe (2-ports) A85X Integrated (4-ports)A85X IntegratedA85X Integrated
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNone
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANRTL8111F PCIeRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111F PCIe
Secondary LANNoneNoneNone
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892ALC892ALC892
DDL/DTS ConnectNot SpecifiedNot SpecifiedNot Specified
WarrantyThree YearsThree YearsOne Year
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Cryio
    Why, why do you keep posting Skyrim as being a DirectX11 title? It IS NOT. It's just DX9
    Reply
  • Crashman
    CryioWhy, why do you keep posting Skyrim as being a DirectX11 title? It IS NOT. It's just DX9Why don't you point to where you see that?
    Reply
  • Sakkura
    CrashmanWhy don't you point to where you see that?Sneaky, lol. Now he's going to be downvoted.
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • cangelini
    I fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.
    Reply
  • abbadon_34
    Sounds like someone is owed an apology
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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! :)
    Reply