ECS A85F2-A Golden motherboard review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 11/12/2012 09:13 AM [ 2 comment(s) ]
The A85 chipset and Socket FM2
With the launch of Llano alongside came A75 Fusion controller hubs (FCH) based motherboards, with Trinity that would be A85 (or I should really say A85X). The APU's all have an embedded Northbridge, the motherboards do need some sort of a Southbridge for external connectivity and other controllers. This takes the form of the A75/A85X chipset, also known as the Southbridge or FCH. It connects from the APU's PCI-Express 2.0 bus over four links to the chipset.
New is the A85X series chipsets for FM2 socket processors. It's a little more enthusiast in terms of features.
In regard to chipset differences, the tier 1 motherboards will ship with either a A85X or A75 FCH. Now please understand that A75 can actually be used with both Llano and Piledriver APUs so you can expect channel availibility with brands using the actuall A75 FCH being tagged as 'A85'. Then there is A85X which has eight SATA 6 Gbps ports embedded (as you can see from the upper example) native opposed to six on A75. Aside from RAID 5 support that really is the biggest difference, well besides its PCIe lane configuration.
Now then to add to the confusion, A85X can support 2x8 lane for Crossfire multi-GPU configurations.
This is all alongside 10 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 1.1 ports and yes, four native USB 3.0 ports straight out of the A85 chipset. Obviously the chipset also offers support for the older PCI slot, up-to three of them actually.This is all managed inside the FCH, thus motherboard manufacturers do not have to purchase extra USB 3.0 and SATA controllers, making the bill of materials a chunk smaller and cheaper.
An interesting point with Trinity processors is that AMD introduces a new socket FM2.
Otherwise, you’re looking at the same combination of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports (4 + 10), the same four-lane Unified Media Interface, four lanes of second-gen PCIe, and four-channel audio (along with FIS-based switching, mSATA support, legacy PCI, and so on). AMD has not yet added PCI Express 3.0 support to any of its platforms, and isn’t expected to for some time.
The Trinity APUs overview
At launch AMD will be releasing six Trinity based APUs with two different TDPs (100/65W). Have a look at the overview below as to what you may expect.
For this article we test and review the ECS A85F2-A Golden motherboard. This motherboard is intended for AMDs Trinity APU architecture processors which offer tremendous value for money when it comes to the massive features this cute little motherboard offers. ECS delivered the Golden edition, meaning a black motherboard with gold themed components. And that sure;y makes a difference aesthetics wise.