AMD A85X Mobo Roundup: ASRock, Gigabyte, Asus

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ASRock FM2A85X Extreme4-M

The Asrock FM2A85X Extreme4-M is the only micro-ATX motherboard in this roundup, and at $90 it’s much cheaper than the other two boards we tested. Despite this, the board looks great, with a black PCB and black plastic bits. The southbridge cooler has a subtle gunmetal grey color with gold ASrock logo. 




ASRock FM2A85X Extreme4-M
Specifications & Features
CPU: Supports FM2 100W Processors
4 + 2 Power Phase Design
Supports AMD Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
UMI-Link GEN2

Chipset: AMD A85X (Hudson-D4)
Memory: Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
Supports DDR3 2600+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Max. capacity of system memory: 64GB
Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2 and AMD Memory Profile (AMP)
 
Graphics: Integrated AMD Radeon HD 7000 series graphics in A-series APU
DirectX 11, Pixel Shader 5.0
Max. shared memory 2GB
Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
Supports HDMI 1.4a Technology with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
Supports Dual-link DVI with max. resolution up to 2560x1600 @ 75Hz
Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 1920x1600 @ 60Hz
Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
Supports Blu-ray Stereoscopic 3D with HDMI 1.4a
Supports AMD Steady Video™ 2.0: New video post processing capability for automatic jutter reduction on home/online video
Supports HDCP function with DVI and HDMI ports
Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback with DVI and HDMI portss
Audio: 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec)
Premium Blu-ray audio support
Supports THX TruStudio™
LAN: PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
Realtek RTL8111E
Supports Wake-On-LAN
Supports LAN Cable Detection
Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
Supports PXE
Slots: 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (PCIE1 @ x16 mode; PCIE3 @ x4 mode)
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
1 x PCI slot
Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™, CrossFireX™ and Dual Graphics
SATA3: 7 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
 
USB 3.0: 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports, support USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
1 x Front USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports), supports USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
Rear Panel: 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
1 x D-Sub Port
1 x DVI-D Port
1 x HDMI Port
1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
4 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
1 x eSATA3 Connector
2 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Ports
1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
HD Audio Jack: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
Form Factor: Micro ATX Form Factor 

It has many of the same features as the other boards, but only two PCIe x16 slots. The second physical x16 slot only operates at x4 speeds, so this is not a board to use if you want a high-powered CrossFireX setup--even though the board “supports” up to Quad CrossFireX. Since Virgo is meant for builds with integrated graphics, this isn’t a big loss, but it’s worth mentioning, especially since FM2 is supposed to default to x8/x8 if both x16 PCIe slots are populated. The board also has seven 6Gb/s SATA ports--the eighth is an eSATA port in the mobo’s I/O panel. The only rear panel outputs missing from the ASRock board are DisplayPort and a second pair of USB 3.0 ports. 

Asrock bundles the board with plenty of additional software, including a program called “XFast RAM,” designed for 32-bit systems with more than 4GB of RAM, to allow the unused memory to be used as a RAMdisk. It also has XFast LAN--designed to optimize Web traffic--and XFast USB. Overclocking tasks are handled in the OS by Asrock’s Extreme Tuning Utility.

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