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GIGABYTE F2A85X-UP4 (AMD A85X) Motherboard Review

We take a closer look at the F2A85X-UP4 motherboard from GIGABYTE that we used in our original AMD Trinity coverage.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Nov 27 2012 1:08 AM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Package

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While we found ourselves impressed with the new Trinity based APU from AMD that we looked at just the other day, we continued to be left with a sour taste in our mouth due to the simple fact that while AMD make a strong product, it will continue to have trouble gaining market penetration because of the way it will be promoted... or not promoted for the most part.

Having looked at the APU in detail already we're taking the time today to take a closer look at the board we used in our original coverage. While we took a quick look at the GIGABYTE FMA85X-UP4 we'll today looking at it a bit closer. Along with that we'll also be taking the time to overclock our A10-5800K APU which is something we hadn't looked at in our original coverage.

Along with taking a closer look at the board itself we'll also be running the APU through our motherboard line-up of benchmarks which differs slightly to the CPU / APU ones we ran the other day. Before we look at that, though, we've got a few things to do with the first being taking a look at the package.

Once we've taken a look at the package we'll move into the board itself. While we did take a look at it in our original coverage, we'll get in a bit closer today and check it out in a little more detail. Next on the list is a look at the BIOS before we take a look at the test system setup here today and check out the overclocking side of things, which is something we're extremely interested in. Let's check out what's going on with the package first, though.

Package

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Checking out the front of the box there's nothing too unusual going on with a fairly standard setup being shown. You can see some of the main features here including Ultra Durable, 3D BIOS and a new feature to the AMD A85X chipset - CrossFire support.

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Turning over to the back you can see some more detail on the Ultra Durable feature that is on offer along with information on the Dual BIOS feature and some of the other core features including VirtuMVP, 3D BIOS and Digital Power.

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Being a lower end board it comes as no surprise that we don't have much going on when it comes to the bundle. You can see the normal line up of paperwork, driver CD, I/O plate and six SATA cables. Overall nothing too exciting, but ultimately everything you need to basically get up and running.

GIGABYTE F2A85X-UP4 Motherboard

GIGABYTE F2A85X-UP4 Motherboard

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Looking at the board the first thing we notice is the look. Being a more lower / mid-range board we expected the baby blue color scheme on it. When we pulled it out of the box, though, we found ourselves pleasantly surprised with the matte black theme. This helps make for a really great looking board with some grey highlights being seen throughout.

Looking at the expansion slot side of things we've got three PCIe x16 slots which run at x16 / x8 / x4 - including the new AMD A85X chipset means that CrossFire is supported. Along with that we've got three PCIe x1 slots and an older legacy PCI slot.

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We've got our typical line up of headers including Audio, COM, TPM, four USB 2.0, front panel header and also a single SATA II port down here.

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Turning the corner we can see the debug reader on the left side and next to that we can see two BIOS chips. Looking at the SATA side of things you can see we've got six SATA III ports which all run off the AMD A85X chipset.

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Heading to the top half of the board you can see four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to up to 64GB of DDR3 at speeds of up to 1866MHz DDR. Below that you can see the front panel USB 3.0 header, main 24-pin ATX power connector, a little blue reset switch, a larger power switch and CMOS switch button in the upper corner.

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Towards the back of the board in a fairly standard position you can see the 8-pin CPU power connector. We can see that the socket area is fairly clean. We've got a heatsink in the top part of the board, but apart from that, there's really not much else to report.

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Finishing up our look at the F2A85X-UP4 we get over to the I/O side of things which sees a combo PS/2 port alongside four USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports. On the video side of things we've got VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity. Audio comes in the form of a single optical out and six auxiliary ports which run off the Realtek ALC892 Codec. Finally we've also got an eSATA III port and Gigabit LAN which runs of the Realtek chipset.

BIOS

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Getting into the BIOS for the first time you'll find yourself looking at the 3D BIOS. We've never been a huge fan of it. While it looks kind of cool we find ourselves always jumping straight into the advanced section which greets us with a more familiar setup.

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If you're heading into the BIOS the chances are you're going to find yourself mainly in the M.I.T. section which gives us the overclocking options. Even though we're looking at an AMD based APU instead of an Intel CPU, the overall overclocking options are fairly similar with nothing that should surprise you too much.

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Going through the rest of the BIOS you can see a fairly standard setup with all the usual options being present.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Overclocking

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight and Corsair.

Looking above you won't see anything new when it comes to the testbed side of things except for the addition of the AMD FX-5100K which is the chip for our FM2 based GIGABYTE F2A85X-UP4 motherboard.

This is the first time we've overclocked the new A10-5800K so we didn't know what to expect. What we've noticed, though, is that most people seem to be hitting around the 4.5GHz mark on the new APU. Considering the fact the chip runs at 4.2GHz when Turbo is added into the mix, this isn't a huge overclock at all.

Being a K series chip means that we're able to adjust the multiplier and that's exactly what we did. Heading into the BIOS we adjust our core voltage to 1.475v and our multiplier to 47x. After hitting F10 to save our settings and rebooting, our system fired up and we got into Windows. As soon as we fired up MediaEspresso our system crashed straight away so it was time to head back into the BIOS and adjust our multiplier.

We moved down to a 46x Multiplier and while we managed to get a little further with MediaEspresso we again couldn't finish it. Back in the BIOS we moved to a 45x Multiplier and found ourselves in Windows with no problem this time.

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Since everything worked well we thought we'd head back into the BIOS one more time and see if adjusting the BCLK was an option to move past 4.5GHz. We tried everywhere from 101 to 104, but didn't have any luck at all. Looking above you can see we ended up with a 45x Multiplier while our BCLK remained at the default 100.

This really isn't much of an overclock with it being only 300MHz higher than the turbo speed. This doesn't seem to be an issue with the GIGABYTE board, though. Just looking at the results from other people, 4.5GHz seems to be what most people are hitting when it comes to using standard cooling (not LN2 or similar level).

CPU Benchmarks

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Starting with HyperPi you can see that when overclocked the A10-5800K lines up with the Bulldozer based FX-8150. Looking at AIDA64 numbers we can see performance is pretty good and overclocking helps boost performance a little further.

System Benchmarks

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

Developer Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

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MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/products/mediaespresso/overview_en_AU.html?fileName=overview&r=1

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheaterâ„¢ video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

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PCMark 7 performance isn't bad and comes out ahead of the FX-8150 here at stock. Overclocked we see that performance go a little higher. MediaEspresso performance just overall isn't great and shows the difference of the APU against other CPUs here in a real-world situation.

USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 performance you can see it's fairly standard and lines up with other boards and chipsets here.

SSD Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

Developer Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Buy It Here

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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Looking at the performance of our SATA III drive you can see it's strong and lines up with the other stronger performing boards here.

Memory Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Out of the box memory performance isn't great, but when overclocked we can see a decent boost. Overall, though, you can see we're still behind all our other setups.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com//

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Looking at gaming performance you can see when we're not under the most intense pressure our A10-5800K setup lags. This can be seen under the 3DMark 11 Performance preset and at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 when looking at Metro 2033 performance.

Overclocking sees a boost in these numbers, but also when we move onto higher resolutions, performance between the setups become quite minimal.

Power Consumption

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Power draw on a whole is a little disappointing on the new FM2 platform.

Looking above you can see that while idle isn't too bad coming in lower than our other systems, you can see at load, we're ahead of the higher end Z77 based systems.

Final Thoughts

At $129.99 the GIGABYTE F2A85X-UP4 is an aggressively priced motherboard. What we really like about the board is the look of it at this price point. When you're talking low $100 based motherboards, you expect them to look pretty ordinary. The matte black setup that GIGABYTE has going on with the F2A85X-UP4 looks fantastic and makes for a board that looks more expensive than it is.

Combined with the $129.99 A10-5800K and a decent priced 16GB RAM kit you can have yourself a really nice little system here that manages to hit at a really strong price point. The big problem is going to be marketing behind the platform. While GIGABYTE is more than capable of drawing attention to the FM2 based motherboards, without the proper support from AMD, the FM2 based processors are going to continue to struggle getting attention like the original FM1 based APUs did last year.

Overall GIGABYTE has put together a really nice motherboard and while the package is a little on the slim side, the nature of where the motherboard sits in the market and the aggressive price point means that it comes with the exact kind of bundle we'd expect.

If you're going to jump on a Trinity based FM2 APU then this is a really nice motherboard. Overclocking wasn't amazing, but like we mentioned earlier, the 4.5GHz clock we managed today seems to be in line with what the A10-5800K is capable of doing with regular cooling.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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