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ECS A85F2-A Golden Motherboard Review

2
Posted February 5, 2013 by Kenny in CPU & Motherboards
Closer Look (2)

Rating

Price
 
 
 
 
 


Performance
 
 
 
 
 


Installation
 
 
 
 
 


Warranty
 
 
 
 
 


PureOC
 
 
 
 
 


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Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Price at time of Review: $126.99 on Newegg.com
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Great Overclockable Motherbaord, Crossfire ready Application. Aesthetics appeal
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

One SATA Port location is off
 
BOTTOM LINE:
If you are looking for a budget friendly APU motherboard with great overclockability and many features, the ECS A85F2-A is a great buy at the price point.
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by Kenny
Full Article
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Trinity: The next AMD APU Evolution

The concept of AMD’s Fusion Technology does not change with Trinity. Just as AMD engineered the GPU on-die with Zacate and Llano, Trinity follows with the same concept. AMD’s APU’s (Accelerated Processing Units) cannot be compared on an apple to apple level (no pun intended) with Intel. This is because IvyBridge CPU’s simply dominate AMD on the processing side, but AMD’s 7660D graphics dominate Intel’s integrated 4000 graphics. This is the conundrum for the consumer. At lower price points, consumers want the best bang for the buck. With the popularity of video encoding, movies and YouTube at an all time high, AMD is betting that their graphics will be the ultimate winner. Better still, AMD’s lower pricing will also attract consumers. Let’s take a look at the Llano to Trinity change.

Here is Llano. One area where AMD separate themselves from Intel with both Llano and Trinity is they dedicate more die space for the GPU. As we see, Llano uses four 32nm x86 “Stars” cores. This was not far off AMD’s retired Phenom II processors in CPU performance. The x86 cores each have 1MB of L3 cache.

With Trinity, AMD still dedicates a large amount of the die to the on-die GPU, but the cores change to AMD’s new Piledriver architecture, which comes with 2MB L2 cache (Llano had 1MB L2 cache). AMD also carries on their 32nm fabrication, and each module has two integer cores & a floating point. A four core Trinity APU has 2 modules (4 integer cores and 2 floating points per core).

Piledriver

Earlier this year, AMD released Bulldozer and they hoped it would put them back on the performance map. The release had mixed reviews and the performance did not live up to most expectations. However, it was brand-new architecture designed from the ground up, and it still included some remarkable innovations. AMD used x86 technology in a unique way by putting 2 cores on one module, and all the cores were connected through pipe-lines. Some speculate that Bulldozer did not live up to all the hype because AMD did not have the instruction sets all figured out.

AMD’s main focus with Piledriver was to improve the instruction sets and frequencies, creating better performance and a more efficient APU. By no means is anyone expecting Intel IvyBridge performance here, but increased performance over Bulldozer cores would certainly be welcome. Another change with Trinity is the GPU. The GPU cores are based on AMD’s Northern Islands and their 7650/7550D plus have up to 384 cores. Just as Llano had crossfire abilities, so does Trinity with the same discrete Radeon 6660 or 6670 for some serious graphic performance. Here we see Piledrivers improvements:

With AMD’s transition to the APU (Accellerated Processing Unit), Intel still uses what they call a CPU. Intel has also migrated to an on-die GPU and the immediate difference is the size each dedicates to the on-die GPU. AMD uses more die space while Intel’s is rather small. From an outside perspective, AMD’s total package looks much more balanced than Intel’s. We all know Intel dominates on the CPU side but AMD offers very good performance and much better graphics as mentioned earlier. In the mainstream arena, consumers look for the best value, and a more balanced package fits that bill in our opinion. This keeps the AMD train rolling, and we love to see the innovations moving forward.

With YouTube, movies and encoding are ever more popular… the graphics part of computing has become at least as important to regular computing. The UVD (Unified Video Decoder) that AMD uses is based on an ATI video processor. This is incorporated into the same die of the GPU for hardware decoding videos, along with the Advanced Video Processor (AVP). UVD handles decoding of video codecs entirely in hardware. Moving back in time, we saw UVD+ in the Radeon 3000 days, UVD 2 in the Radeon 4000 days and UVD 2.2 in RV770 and RV730 series of GPUs. Today, AMD uses UVD 3. UVD3 (Universal Video Decoder 3) is a new version for smoother and better video.

Now let’s move forward and take a look at the new A85X chipset and FM2 Socket.

 

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2 Comments


  1.  
    Peter Cox

    I thought this was a great review. The only thing I would have liked to have seen is what boost the i3 would have had with the ATI 6670 video card. That would have been a bit more “apples to apples” approach to video games portion of the review.

    Also, if you took a similarly priced FX cpu and the ATI 6670 video card in a $120.00 ECS AM3+ board… how would it compare?

    I do have to say that this socket/cpu/gpu combination is not a desktop part that I would choose. In a laptop, it sounds very appealing.




  2.  
    Kenny

    “I thought this was a great review. The only thing I would have liked to have seen is what boost the i3 would have had with the ATI 6670 video card. That would have been a bit more “apples to apples” approach to video games portion of the review.

    Also, if you took a similarly priced FX cpu and the ATI 6670 video card in a $120.00 ECS AM3+ board… how would it compare?

    I do have to say that this socket/cpu/gpu combination is not a desktop part that I would choose. In a laptop, it sounds very appealing.”

    Hi Peter, Thanks for your message, also thank you for reading the review. Unfortunately at the time of this review, we didn’t have the i3 processor on hand for running additional test. The data for the i3 was taken from the last review comparing the A10-5800k processor. However, even if we did I would say that the performance on the AMD APU platform would have been better due to the reasons of the hybrid crossfire with the onboard GPU die. This gave the better advantage for any graphically benchmark while the i3 would have ran the 6670 as a single card application and the results would have been purely on the 6670 in the graphical arena.

    Regarding comparing the FX with the 6670, that is a great question. Unfortunately I don’t have a similar FX processor to put that to the test for comparison, however based on its architecture and processing matter, the APU might have a slight edge over the FX chip running similair (core for core) hardware again due to the fact of being able to crossfire the 6670 with its onboard GPU die. However when it comes to raw CPU performance the FX chips will have its benefits and take a leap in front of the APU. I would say, if you are looking for just raw CPU performance, I would look into the FX processors rather then a APU.

    While the APU design factors were not meant to replace a high powered desktop PC (thats what the FX series are there for), it’s primary design feature if give consumers a budget friendly platform that can provide a above standard performance given the amount of money you spend. At the price point of the mobos/CPU/and GPU, can get create a great budget friendly HTPC and everyday use desktop replacement for very little money.

    Hope this answers some questions you may have and please feel free to add any additional comments. Also if you want to join in on a discussion. Please sign up for our forums.. We have a great group of people here and look forward to everyones feedback.

    Kenny





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