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Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 & AMD A10 5800K Review (w/ discrete)

Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4

The Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 is the companies flagship motherboard and it has has proven a worthy pairing for AMD’s A10 5800k processor. The colour scheme is very dramatic, simple dark greys and blacks give the board an ominous appearance. This is a much nicer design than the ASUS F2A85-V Pro which incorporates a mixture of light and dark blue slot colours.

On a technical level the F2A85X-UP4 is without reproach, delivering perfect stability throughout the last week of intensive stress testing. We love the new A85X chipset, comprising an array of USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps ports. There are no concerns now with checking if the SATA ports can deliver maximum performance with your new Solid State Drive – just simply plug and play.

Gigabyte supplied us an updated bios just before we started the review, which was good timing and a refreshing change. We had no problems overclocking the A10 5800k processor, achieving 4.6ghz with minimal effort. Higher speeds are possible, but the core voltage settings needed to be pushed past 1.5V, which is not recommended by AMD for long term stability.

The A85X chipset can support up to 64GB of memory, and we used the latest Corsair Dominator Platinum 2,666mhz sticks for our testing today. The Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 wouldn’t detect the native XMP profile, offering a 2,133mhz compromise instead. While the Asus F2A85-V Pro did highlight 2,400mhz settings, these were not stable, so we wonder have Gigabyte preempted possible problems with 2,400mhz and 2,666mhz settings and just omitted them entirely.

Regardless, both Asus and Gigabyte boards delivered similar results when we tested memory bandwidth.

The Gigabyte Bios is not quite as intuitive as the ASUS motherboard. Gigabyte use a system of multiple menu panels with settings for processor and memory voltages, as well as other timing panels. I find myself spending a lot of time navigating in and out of panels when I use Gigabyte boards, and I really do wish they would centralise all of these settings within a single, scrollable panel. In a similar fashion to ASUS.

As we go to press, we have a confirmed pricing of around £100 inc vat for the Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4. Even though this is their flagship motherboard, I don’t expect many people in this target audience to spend more on the motherboard than the processor. The companies need to drop their board prices a little to attract a wider audience.

You can buy direct from ARIA for £101.94 inc vat.

Pros:

  • Very stable.
  • excellent connectivity.
  • overclocking headroom available.
  • strong power delivery.
  • Attractive appearance.

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to the A10 5800K.
  • Memory speeds over 2,133mhz not working.

Kitguru says: An excellent motherboard from Gigabyte that offers a very strong challenge against the Asus F2A85-V Pro.

AMD A10 5800K

This is our second review featuring the latest AMD A10 5800k processor today. Initially I was slightly disappointed with the new chip as results with Cinebench, Sandra and SuperPi hinted at some bandwidth restrictions.

In our other review we compared the A10 5800k against the Intel 3770k with onboard HD4000 graphics. We have never seen current titles such as F1 2012 or Dirt Showdown playable from an integrated chip solution. If you had told me a few weeks ago that 2x anti aliasing was also possible at 1920×1080, I would have raised a eyebrow in disbelief.

When we compare again the 3770k with Intel HD4000 graphics, the differences are literally night and day. Not only does the A10 5800k deliver smooth, playable frame rates with F1 2012 and Dirt Showdown, but the image quality is significantly better.

As the foundation for a high definition media center we have no hesitation recommending the AMD A10 5800k, the image quality produced from the new processor is almost at the same level as a stand alone discrete solution, often costing 3 or 4 times as much money.

In this review we focused on pairing the AMD A10 5800k with a high end AMD HD7970 GHZ Edition. We compared the system against an Intel Core i3 and Core i7 system using the same graphics card. The Core i3 system was relegated to last position and as we would expect the Core i7 system took the top spot.

While this isn’t a surprise and you may question the reasons for testing such an expensive configuration, our answer is simple. Many gamers claim that you don’t need a very expensive processor if all you do is play games.

If you have skipped the review just to read the conclusion then I urge you to refer back to the Total War: Shogun 2 test page.

When CPU limiting isn’t such an issue at 720p, we can see the Core i7 970 processor is capable of delivering 175 frames per second, compared to only 104 frames per second from the A10 5800K system. The interesting point arises when we increase the image quality settings and resolution to 1080p. The same AMD 5800K system produces 76 frames per second, against the Intel i7 970 system which now manages 83 frames per second. This system wide 71 differential in frame rate drops to 7 when moving from 720p to 1080p.

There was a time when buying a 1080p (1920×1080) monitor was expensive. Today you can pick up a good quality 1080p 24 inch panel for only £113.99 inc vat. Why would a gamer be concerned now with 720p results?

We feel there is some merit when a purist gamer says that saving money on a processor is better invested into a higher specified graphics card.

You can buy direct from ARIA for £93.54 inc vat.

Pros:

  • Only £95 inc vat.
  • Outclasses the Core i3 2105 in all areas.
  • fantastic integrated graphics performance.
  • headroom for overclocking.
  • image quality is approaching discrete solutions.

Cons:

  • For processor intensive tasks such as 3D rendering and video editing, it can struggle.
  • A85X motherboards are expensive.

Kitguru says: The A10 5800K is a fantastic budget gaming processor and it might be all that some people will ever need.


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Rating: 9.0.

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