|Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 AMD FM2 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Thursday, 25 October 2012|
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Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 Motherboard Review
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE Technology Co., Ltd.
Product Name: FM2 AMD A85X Motherboard
Model Number: GA-F2A85X-UP4
Price As Tested: $129.99 (Newegg)
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Gigabyte.
The second generation of AMD A-Series APUs is now among us. Hopefully you have been able to read our articles about the newest AMD Trinity Processors. Those APUs are nice, but they amount to nothing without a motherboard to pair them with. At Benchmark Reviews, we tested those APUs with the Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 Socket FM2 A85X Motherboard. While the A85X chipset brings a few minor changes to the FCH, Gigabyte has added a lot of their own features to the F2A85X-UP4 motherboard to ensure that it meets all of the needs of early FM2 adopters.
Both AMD and Intel are working frantically toward moving everything they possibly can onto the CPU die. North and south bridges are a thing of the past. The CPUs themselves have taken over the functions of the now defunct Northbridge and, in the case of AMD, the Southbridge has been rebranded as the Fusion Controller Hub (FCH).
As the next step in this move toward single-chip dominancy, AMD has released the second generation of A-Series APUs, built on the Piledriver CPU and named the Trinity series. I find it a little odd that this generation of APUs is called Trinity, when it consists of four series of APUs; the A10, A8, A6, and A4. Last generation's APUs were the A8, A6, and A4, which may have made more sense in terms of trinity. Either way, with the APUs came a new socket and a new FCH. The socket is the FM2 socket, which holds the 904-Pin Trinity APUs. This socket replaces the FM1 socket, which held the 905-Pin Llano APUs. Unfortunately, the two sockets are mutually exclusive and neither can support the other's APUs.
The new FCH is the A85X chipset. The previous generation's A75 and A55 chipsets are still used with the new generation of AMD A-Series APUs as well. This could lead to some confusion in naming as the purchase of an A75 or A55 motherboards doesn't necessarily equate to automatic support with the APU, which could be a Llano or Trinity model. Luckily, if you buy an A85X motherboard, you can be sure that it only supports FM2 APUs. For a sure bet, look for the F1 or F2 moniker in the motherboard name.
So, without much competition in the FM2 motherboard market as of yet, especially with board sporting the A85X chipset, what exactly does Gigabyte offer with the F2A85X-UP4? Follow along inside to find out.