It is the weirdest thing, the Tinity based APUs as released by AMD really are entry level products, I meant he most expensive APU is like 125 USD/EUR and that's a quad core processor with an embedded GPU. So the dynamic then is weird, as the motherboards submitted by Gigabyte is to be considered mainstream even with enthusiast looks, I mean look at it ... that's a drop dead gorgeous motherboard loaded and stacked with cool features.
Realistically, and I've stated this in another A85X based review already but really when you have had the new Trinity APUs in your hands and at the test benches, the only thing you can conclude is that PCs based upon these APUs are low-end / entry level products. Okay CPU performance versus really good integrated GPU performance.
But yeah, being entry-level product based I am a little surprised to see motherboard manufacturers jump onto A85X as much as they do. Honestly I expected much more simple motherboards. But take today's tested example, the UP4 that Gigabyte put on the market is just chucked and loaded with features with killer looks.
Now if you understand the product positioning a little better (entry level) and then look into all the features ... then it's a pretty amazing offering. You pick up the motherboard, APU, some memory, PSU, a HDD/SSD and literally you already have formed a perfectly fine PC that offers decent performance but most of all, and here we go again, features ... I mean you can drive three monitors with a motherboard like this, included is HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI and DSUB VGA. Audio wise you got your 8-channel Realtek based sound, Ethernet wise a nice Gigabit RJ-45 is present and then you'll spot 4x USB 3.0 and seven SATA3 ports + one for eSATA. SATA3 SSDs wun really well on this controller we must note, they manage 500 MB/sec easily.
Overclocking -- You'll have noticed that we lack the overclock results. We tried a couple of motherboards at this time and fact remains that the APU's are fairly poor overclockers. Another 200 Mhz is realistic on heatpipe cooling. If you need more you'll need to invest in much better cooling. So overclocking wise, please do not expect miracles whatsoever.
That last fact makes this setup btw ridiculously interesting for your own home made NAS setup as these 8 devices can be setup in a varyity of RAID options as well. And then the added MSI lovin, power/reset buttons, a cool black design with appropriate heatsinks, the three x16 PCIe Express slots, three x1 slots and then even a PCI slot.
So regardless of what we might thing of processor performance of the APU, fact remains that these setups offer true value for money. We see huge potential for it as NET PC, Entry level PC, NAS functionality and obviously excellent HTPCs. So if you are in the market for a simple PC to internet on, do a little work, play a simple game, listen to music on then it won't get much better then this.
The Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 motherboard simplt is smoking hot looking and offers an excellent featureset with a fantastic build quality. Can I say 'YAY' for the black PCB ? We love it. Recommended, if this is what your requirements and needs for a PC are of course.
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