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Review: Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM-D3H

by Tarinder Sandhu on 29 January 2013, 09:00 4.0

Tags: Gigabyte (TPE:2376)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabr2n

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BIOS, System Setup and Notes

Gigabyte's UEFI BIOS is easy to navigate and, as expected a stripped-down version of those found on higher-end boards. Adjusting voltages (middle picture) is a little annoying as there's no way of knowing the maximum amount without having to cycle through every setting; you can't key in a desired voltage and neither can you reduce the voltage below default: undervolting. Instead, the CPU's and northbridge's goes up to +0.3V, while memory ranges from 1.20V to 1.90V.

Memory frequencies run in dividers all the way up to 2,400MHz, but don't be surprised if your RAM doesn't manage to go that high on an FM2 platform. Tweaks to the base clock can push the frequency even higher; the various busses are are linked in together. On-chip graphics benefit from a boost in speed, and an A10-5800's default 800MHz clock can be changed from 300MHz (why?) to an improbable 2,000MHz.

Fan speed, on the other hand, is better. The CPU and two system fans can be controlled via voltage or PWM, and the user can determine the fan-speed slope if setting manually, though bear in mind that both system fans are tied to one joint profile. To be absolutely fair to Gigabyte, micro-ATX motherboards haven't traditionally been hot on enthusiast-type BIOSes; this one is perfectly functional and sets out the various parameters in a clean-looking layout.

System setup and notes

Comparison systems

Motherboard Gigabyte F2A85XM-D3H ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 ASRock A75M-ITX
Motherboard BIOS F1 1.70 F3G 1.60
Chipset driver AMD Catalyst 12.8 SB
Processor AMD A10-5800K AMD A8-3870K
Memory Patriot IEM 8GB (2x4GB)
Memory timings 9-9-9-24-1T @ 1,600MHz
Graphics AMD HD 7660D (onboard) AMD HD 6550D (onboard)
Graphics driver AMD Catalyst 12.8
Disk drive Samsung 830 Series 256GB SSD
Chassis Corsair Graphite 600T
Power supply Corsair AX750
Operating system Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

CPU and memory benchmarks

HEXUS.PiFast
Our number-crunching benchmark stresses a single core by calculating Pi to 10m places
PCMark 7
An all-encompassing test to evaluate system performance
CINEBENCH 11.5 Using Cinebench's multi-CPU render, this cross-platform benchmark stresses all cores

GPU benchmarks

3DMark 11 DX11, run with the entry preset
3DMark Vantage DX10, run at the default performance preset
DiRT Showdown DX9, 1,280x720 medium-quality settings

General benchmarks

Power consumption While idling and when running CINEBENCH and DiRT: Showdown

Notes

We're throwing the Gigabyte micro-ATX board up against another one in the form of the ASRock A75 and, to obtain a wider picture of the AMD desktop landscape, against a top-line A85X board from Gigabyte, thereby showing you just how well the cheaper board stacks up against an offering that's designed for performance. We've also added in numbers from an ASRock Mini-ITX board running the last-generation A8-3870K APU. The purpose here is to evaluate, as a platform, the advances made by AMD and its partners over the last 18 months or so.