AMD’s change of socket for its APU platform is disappointing so early into the eco systems life, but in time for Computex the first socket FM2 boards are starting to appear. Gigabyte’s first model is the GA-F2A85X-UP4 and is as the model name suggests based on AMD’s new A85X chipset.
The two most important improvements that AMD added to the A85X chipset includes official CrossFireX support, albeit in dual x8 mode and support for up to four displays. Sadly, the new FM2 processors won’t bring PCI Express 3.0 support which is surprising considering that AMD have been selling PCI Express 3.0 graphics cards for nearly six months now.
The F2A85X-UP4 sports three x16 PCI Express slots of which the first two shares bandwidth and the last being a x4 slot. The board also has three PCI Express x1 slots and one PCI slot. Throw in seven SATA 6Gbps ports – one via a third party controller – the new PowIRstage’s and all the usual connectivity and this is a pretty high-end board for the segment.
Around the back we have a PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports – of which two are via an Etron controller – an eSATA port, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and a DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and D-sub connector for some quad display action.
Gigabyte has come up with a more than decent enough motherboard and AMD’s new chipset looks set to bring the platform up a notch in terms of functionality, but the question is if AMD’s Trinity APU’s will be good enough to justify the more advanced features like CrossFireX. We have a feeling that Intel has won the high-end gamers overs completely and we have a hard time seeing anyone going for a dual graphics card setup paired up with an APU, but we’ll have to wait and see how the desktop parts perform before we make any final judgement.
Kitguru says: Another quality board from the Gigabyte team.