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ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 (AMD A85X) Motherboard Review

ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 (AMD A85X) Motherboard Review

We take a look at an AMD A85X powered motherboard from ASRock with an A10-5800K CPU that includes a hnady auto overclocking function. Worth considering? Let's find out.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Jan 22 2013 12:04 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: ASRock

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 38 IMAGES

Last year we got the chance to check out the latest CPU and APU offerings from AMD. The AMD FX-8350 and A10-5800K both did a good job of impressing us relatively well, but we knew that both models would be plagued with the same issues AMD have always been plagued with. The lack of marketing behind both processors mean that they would fall under the blue limelight of the king, Intel.

After having a look at both models we then took the time to check out the GIGABYTE F2A85X-UP4 and saw that when it came to the overclocking side of things on normal everyday coolers that the results weren't fantastic. Looking around, though, and talking to other editors, we knew it wasn't us and our fairly limited 4.5GHz overclock on the A10-5800K was standard.

A month on, though, we've got some new boards and some updated BIOS's to play around with. We wonder if anything has changed in that time. We've seen some amazing numbers come out of the latest AMD CPU's when it comes to pure speed, but they're all based on extreme LN2 cooling. Today we'll take the time to check out an ASRock FM2 offering in the form of the FM2A85X Extreme6 motherboard.

What has ASRock brought to the FM2 table? Well, there's only one way to find out and the first thing we'll do is check out the package. Once we've done that we'll move onto the board itself before checking out the BIOS and the options that are on offer there. We'll then look at our testbed and cover the overclocking side of things before we finally get into the meat of it all and find out how performance looks.

Package

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ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 (AMD A85X) Motherboard Review 04 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the box it's just that typical ASRock design with a large focus being on the XFast technology that the company has implemented for a while now. Turning the box over we go into some more details in regards to the features which include Premium Gold Caps, Digi Power and 8+2 Power Phase Design.

Along with that, though, we've got other features like Lucid Virtu MVP, XFast technology which we mentioned at the start, Fast Boot, UEFI BIOS and DDR3 2600+ support via overclocking. The big feature pushed on the back, though, is none of these and is instead the new X-Boost technology that's shown up at the top of the box.

We don't know a whole lot about this new feature and we won't go into too much detail here since we'll take a closer look at it when we move to the overclocking side of things. Looking above, though, you can see that the general feel is that it's an easy to use overclocking solution.

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Moving to the inside of the box there's nothing too unusual going on with the contents. We've got the normal paperwork along with some information on Lucid Virtu MVP and XFast technology. We've also got a driver CD, I/O backplate and four SATA cables.

ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 Motherboard

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While we've got a dark PCB it's not a black one like we saw from the GIGABYTE FM2 offering. We've got those typical black, silver and gold highlights that we're used to seeing on Extreme based motherboards from ASRock.

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Moving in closer to the motherboard we can see what's going on with the expansion slot side of things. We've got a total of two older legacy PCI slots, two PCIe x1 slots and three PCIe x16 slots which run in at x16 or x8 / x8 if you're running a CrossFire setup. The final PCIe x16 slot is wired at only x4.

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Moving across the bottom of the board we can see all the normal culprits here with COM1 header, HD Audio header, multiple USB 2.0 headers, fan header along with both a power and reset button also being present. Above the power and reset button you can also see an LED debug reader that makes solving any boot issues easier.

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ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 (AMD A85X) Motherboard Review 10 | TweakTown.com

Turning the corner we can see a total of seven SATA III ports and not a whole lot else. As we move further up the board you can see four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting memory from 800MHz DDR up to 2600MHz+ DDR via overclocking. We've also got the main 24-pin ATX power connector here and to the left of that you can see a USB 3.0 header.

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ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 (AMD A85X) Motherboard Review 12 | TweakTown.com

Moving around to the CPU area side of things you can see the main 8-pin CPU power connector and moving back a little we get an idea of what's going on with the actual socket area. Like most modern motherboards these days it's pretty clean looking and you can see the gold caps present that are promoted on the box. You can also see a heatsink to the left of the socket area with the Extreme labeling present.

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Finally we finish off with the I/O side of things and you can see the PS/2 combo port on the left along with four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and an eSATA III connector. Video connectivity comes in the form of VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort while we've also got a clear CMOS button present. Finally we finish off with Gigabit networking via the Realtek RTL8111E controller, five auxiliary ports and an optical out all running off the Realtek ALC898.

BIOS

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Firing up the BIOS you can see we're greeted with that typical ASRock UEFI BIOS that we've seen for a while now. ASRock continue to be in the top two when it comes to the BIOS side of things and its UEFI design with the only other company that really offers an experience as smooth and easy being ASUS.

If you're in the BIOS the chances are that you're going to go to the overclocking section and that's done in the OC Tweaker area. We've got all the normal options you'd expect here that give us the ability to adjust the multiplier, voltages, RAM speeds and more.

Moving across the rest of the BIOS there's no real surprises with the above images really painting the perfect picture of what we're dealing with. The ASRock UEFI BIOS continues to be one of the best out there.

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.

Before we get into the overclocking side of things we'll cover the motherboards that you'll see in our graphs here today. Along with the ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 we've also got the FM2 based GIGABYTE offering we looked at in the form of the F2A85X-UP4. Along with those two AMD offerings we've also got the Z77 based ASRock OC Formula with the i7 3770k and ASRock X79 Extreme4 with the i7 3960X to round off that side of things. When it comes to our ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6, though, we'll be looking at it in three ways today with the first being the out of the box performance.

The second way we'll be looking at it will be with the new X-Boost feature that we mentioned on the first page. This is the first time we've seen this feature and while one button overclocking isn't anything new, it's new here for ASRock today. Like any one button overclocking the most important ability is that it's easy to use and really it can't get much easier then what ASRock is offering us here today.

We've got a couple of options from companies. ASUS is probably the most advanced, but requires installing its own software in Windows. To date, though, it has always offered the best automatic overclocking because it slowly increases both the CPU multiplier and the BCLK / FSB. The next big one is probably MSI in the form of OC Genie. It's not bad and generally easy to use. You can go into the BIOS and enable it or press the OC Genie button on the motherboard. The problem is if you don't want to open the case or feel uncomfortable in the BIOS, it's something that may not be as easy to make use of.

The option from ASRock is really good. You boot your system up and in the top right section it tells you if X-Boost is on or off. If you want to enable it you simply press the X button on your keyboard while the machine is booting. The machine will quickly turn off and turn back on and you'll then see X-Boost is enabled.

ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 (AMD A85X) Motherboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com

Not knowing what the clock speeds of our A10-5800K would go to we headed straight into CPU-Z to have a look. We had a look and as you can see above we're running at 4192MHz which is really just the "Boost" speed of the CPU. Because of this we didn't really expect much to happen in performance. We then remembered, though, that while the maximum "Boost" speed of the A10-5800K is 4.2GHz, it doesn't always hit that. Instead it depends on how many cores are being used, and the amount of load on the APU. In the end we knew the only way that we would find out how it differed to the out of the box performance was going to be via testing it so that's exactly what we did. Of course before we get into the testing side of things we want to cover the manual overclocking aspect.

We headed into the BIOS and started to mess around with voltages and the multiplier. Using 4.5GHz as our main target as that was the speed we achieved on the GIGABYTE offering, we started there. While we had no issue getting into Windows, we had problems as soon as we started our MediaEspresso encode, which is always the best test for stability when it comes to overclocking.

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We headed back into the BIOS and continued to adjust some setting. Finally we ended up running 100% stable at just 4291MHz - just 100MHz higher than the X-Boost auto speed we got. This isn't the greatest overclock and it hardly seems worth comparing it against the X-Boost speed. Because we took the time to find the maximum overclock, though, which is ultimately the hard part for users, we will benchmark at this speed to see just how it compares.

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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ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 (AMD A85X) Motherboard Review 32 | TweakTown.com

Out of the box you can see that performance between the ASRock and GIGABYTE offering are quite similar with little separating them. You can see the ASRock board is slightly ahead in HyperPi while under AIDA64 we see the GIGABYTE offering come out in front.

When it comes to the overclocking side of things you can see the incremental improvements as we move from the stock speed to 4.19GHz and then slightly higher to our manual 4.29GHz overclock.

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 TrueTheater 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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Checking out PCMark 7 performance we can see that performance is fairly similar to that of the GIGABYTE offering. As we move up in clock speeds you can see that we gain a slight boost in performance that helps separate the board from our stock numbers.

MediaEspresso numbers see the ASRock offering come out slightly ahead at stock, and as you'd expect, as we move up in clock speeds, performance becomes better. In typical AMD fashion we can see that performance is behind the Intel based offerings.

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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Thanks to XFast technology we see strong USB 2.0 performance that is ahead of the competition. Moving into USB 3.0 performance you can see that all our boards sit fairly close to each other with really nothing much separating them.

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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Getting into SATA III performance of our SSD you can see the numbers on our ASRock offering are both strong with performance being nearly identical with the GIGABYTE offering.

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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Memory performance is strong and you can see as we move up in speed that performance also increases in certain areas.

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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Checking out gaming performance we can see no real surprises. Under the less intensive sections we can see nothing too major happening in 3DMark 11.

Metro 2033 on the other hand sees some extra performance as we overclock as we move past the APU speed limitation. As we move into the higher resolution area and the Extreme preset performance between all our setups are quite similar as we are limited by our video card more than anything else.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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One of the issues that we've had with the latest APUs from AMD is power draw.

Considering the lower end nature of the chips you'd hope that power draw would also sit lower. Looking above, though, you can see on our ASRock offering that power draw numbers are actually higher than our Z77 setup at both idle and load.

Final Thoughts

I think the first thing we have to talk about before we go anywhere is the overclocking side of things. When it comes to the manual overclocking side, performance wasn't as strong as we had both hoped or expected. We thought we'd be closer to 4.5GHz mark that we saw on the GIGABYTE offering, but you can see today, we're about 200MHz shy of that number.

What's really nice, though, is this new X-Boost feature that ASRock has implemented into the FM2A85X Extreme6 motherboard. You can see at a click of a button we get straight to 4.2GHz and overall that gives us a nice little boost in performance. From an auto overclocking perspective it's probably one of the easiest we've used.

Moving away from overclocking performance and looking at the stock performance you can see that for the most part both A85X based motherboards we've tested so far at stock perform very similar to each other with little separating them across the board.

Outside of the performance side of things there's nothing too out of the ordinary when it comes to the package on a whole. Being a lower end / mid-range board there's not a whole lot to the bundle. Feature wise the board manages to stand out, though, with some good features in typical ASRock fashion with the bigger ones being the Gold CAPs and DigiPower setup. The one we really love, though, is the new X-Boost function.

At $107.99 the price of the ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 is towards the middle of the pack. The Extreme 4 comes in at $94.99 and the Micro-ATX version comes in slightly cheaper again at $89.99. Compared to the GIGABYTE offering we looked at this is slightly cheaper than the $129.99 F2A85X-UP4.

What really makes the FM2A85X Extreme6 for us is the X-Boost feature that makes overclocking extremely easy. While being skeptical that performance wouldn't change much from the default number since the 4.2GHz offered is just inline with the "Boost" speed of the A10-5800K, you can see thanks to the fact it's constantly at 4.2GHz and not just at it when not all cores are used, performance on a whole is improved.

If you're looking at jumping on the APU bandwagon and want a larger ATX board, this is a nice option. If you're interested in overclocking with out doing anything more than pressing a button or if you've never overclocked in the past, take a look at this motherboard.

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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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