AMD A85X Motherboard Roundup

Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM-D3H

Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM-D3H

 The second mATX motherboard is the GA-F2A85XM-D3H from Gigabyte. Like the ASUS F2A85-M, there  is a glaring absence of VRM heatsinks at the FM2 socket area. This is due to the fact the board features a simple 4 + 2 power phase configuration, just like the ASUS board.

In terms of expansion slots, there is a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot next to the legacy PCI one. And expectedly, there are two PCIe 2.0 x16 PEG slots are capable of operating in x8 / x8 mode when two discrete graphics cards are installed; while the first PCIe x16 slot operates at full x16 mode when there is only one compliant graphics card in the setup.

The manual of the GA-F2A85XM-D3H motherboard states the official supported maximum clock speed of the memory modules is DDR3-1866; however, Gigabyte has certified the board with some DDR3-2133 memory modules that include kits from Kingston, G-Skill, Corsair and Patriot. For a full list of the supported memory modules, do visit this link.

The area around the FM2 socket is relatively uncluttered due to the absence of the VRM heatsinks while the power connectors for the CPU and system cooling fans are located away from the edge of the PCB, which is most uncommon for any respectable motherboard vendor.

In the photograph shown below, note the vertical orientation of the onboard SATA 6Gbps connectors; this goes against the increasingly common angled connectors that aim to streamline the profile of the SATA cables, reduce the number of bends and decrease the cable distance to the storage drives. Despite that, the Gigabyte board's simple (and cheaper) vertically aligned SATA connections will make connecting SATA cables to the board easier, especially when the board is already mounted within a small chassis.

The rear I/O panel of the board appears to be very similar to the ASUS counterpart, however, the Gigabyte board lacks an eSATA port and it lacks surround audio output options for center, rear and side speakers. This is despite the fact that the both mATX boards share the same onboard Realtek ALC887 CODEC chip.

In order to increase the reliability of the board, Gigabyte has featured its Ultra Durable 4 Classic range of technologies and backs them up with its classic DualBIOS feature as a safeguard against any possible corruption of the board's BIOS.