BIOS Settings & Test Setup
The motherboards have implemented UEFI BIOS software that support mouse inputs. The Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM-D3H motherboard deserves special mention as it features 3D BIOS which is the company's own implementation of the UEFI BIOS. Though graphically more appealing, there was some lethargy with mouse responses. For the rest of the boards, regardless of their form factors, their UEFI BIOS utility menus were well-organized and properly implemented with proper documentation in their respective manuals. They were organized into broad categories of functionalities with tabbed navigation menus. We skipped the easy mode and went to the advanced modes during our BIOS configuration efforts.
We have highlighted the voltage settings of the boards which we have had to modify during our overclocking efforts. The UEFI BIOS utilities from ASUS and Gigabyte offered the most detailed voltage settings among the compared boards. For the DRAM Timings, we took the default values offered by default settings of each board. We have used a new set of DDR3 memory modules for this round of testing, so do refer to their specifications listed below.
|Model||CPU Voltage||DRAM Voltage||Other Voltage Settings|
|ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6
||-0.300 to +0.600V (Offset Voltage) (0.005V steps)||1.165 to 1.80V
||0.00625 to 0.50000V (Offset Voltage)
|1.35 to 2.00V
||0.006 to 0.300V (Offset Voltage)
|1.20 to 1.90V
|MSI FM2-A85XA-G65|| 0.0.9000 to 1.65000V
| 1.297 to 1.891V
This is the test configuration for our AMD A58X-based motherboard roundup.
- A10-5800K 'Black Edition' APU @3.8GHz
- Motherboards:- ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6, ASUS F2A85-M, Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM-D3H, MSI FM2-A85XA-G65
- 2 x 4GB Crucial Ballistix Elite Series DDR3-2133 running @ DDR-1866 (Memory timings were left at auto)
- Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
- AMD Catalyst Control (Version 12.11 )
Note 1: As we mentioned from the onset of this article, the compared motherboards aren't the most ideal, but these were the best options available across the motherboard vendors locally at the time of evaluation (in January 2013). There are differences in some frills and the obvious extra features of an ATX motherboard, but they cost more as well. As such, the price differential between the mATX and ATX boards would act as a checkpoint to balance against feature benefits that may be present.
Note 2: Normally, we would fix the memory frequency and DRAM timing. However we found the boards rather finicky with the memory timings. As such, we decided to use auto DRAM timings after having spent quite a bit of time troubleshooting to possibly get a memory timing that might have been comfortable across the boards.
The following benchmarks were used to test the motherboards:
- BAPCo SYSmark 2012 (ver 1.05)
- SPECviewperf 9.0 & 11.0
- Futuremark PCMark 7
- Futuremark 3DMark11 (ver 1.03)
- Battefield: Bad Company 2
A new additional to our motherboard benchmark suite is SYSmark 2012. It is designed to test the performance of the system on its pre-determined scenarios while tackling a number of content creation application simultaneously; after which it would generate a general score.