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Gigabyte F2A85XN-Wifi 2013

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This might seem like a little bit of one-sided contest when we’re putting an A85X motherboard and its Richland APU up against the mighty Haswell platform, but we have our reasons. We’ve dropped in this Gigabyte motherboard to show that, while there does seem to be a small form factor price premium, which some manufacturers like to cash in on, there are still some budget-oriented options out there to choose from.

This well-specced A85X board from Gigabyte is just $130.6, and when you pair that up with the top A10 APU available, the A10-6800K, it’s still barely a tenner more expensive than just the Asus Impact on its own. When you factor in an i5-4670K chip on top of the cost of the RoG board, that’s immediately another $281.1.


This well-specced A85X board from Gigabyte is just $130.6, and when you pair that up with the top A10 APU available, the A10-6800K, it’s still barely a tenner more expensive than just the Asus Impact on its own.

Spend and save

That might make you think the best thing to do as a gamer would be to save the money on your CPU and mobo and plough that into a better graphics card. Indeed, if you only had a limited budget, you could get a far better GPU going for an APU than a fully-fledged Intel Core CPU, and if the CPU had minimal impact on in-game performance compared to the GPU, that wouldn’t be an issue and AMD would have a big smile on its face. Sadly for AMD, and thankfully for Intel, in certain games it makes a considerable difference to your gaming experience. You may be able to stick a better graphics card in your rig of choice, but the far weaker overall performance of the APU is likely to drag it back down to the level of the cheaper card you’re up against in the Intel rig.

As we said though, this isn’t really about the AMD option trying to compete on a level with the Intel offerings. The small form factor AMD APU can be a really affordable way of getting a tiny PC into the living room. Pair it up with something like a $183.6 GTX 650 Ti Boost and you’ll have a decent 1080p gaming rig for very little money.


That might make you think the best thing to do as a gamer would be to save the money on your CPU and mobo and plough that into a better graphics card.

The catchily-named F2A85XN-WIFI is pretty well kitted out too, with full SATA 6Gbps support across its storage ports, plus the titular Wi-Fi mini PCIe card and a host of video and audio outputs. If you don’t want to fork out on the considerable cost of a full desktop gaming rig just to get a machine in your living room ready for the arrival of SteamOS, the AMD platform isn’t a bad way to go either.

However, it still might not be the way to go just yet. The Kaveri APU is due to arrive in early 2014, and that means up to four of those updated Steamroller cores, making them more like actual physical cores rather than the previous Bulldozer modules. This is in addition to the integrated GCN graphics processing. Stick a mid-range GCN graphics card in with a Kaveri chip, and asynchronous CrossFire might suddenly be quite interesting. This Gigabyte board isn’t going to be part of the Kaveri party though, because it’s bringing a new FM2+ socket, and this motherboard simply won’t be compatible when it does.


The catchily-named F2A85XN-WIFI is pretty well kitted out too, with full SATA 6Gbps support across its storage ports, plus the titular Wi-Fi mini PCIe card and a host of video and audio outputs.

As a proof of concept, as well as a taste of what’s to come, Gigabyte’s mini-ITX AMD offering is definitely worth checking out, even if it’s tough to actually recommend investing in a platform that’s essentially a dead-end.

 

Vital Statistics

 

·         Price $130.6

·         Manufacturer Gigabyte

·         Chipset AMD A85X

·         Socket FM2

·         Memory Up to 64GB @ 2,400MHz

·         Memory slots 2x DDR3 DIMM

·         Storage 4x SATA 6Gbps

·         Ports 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 2x HDMI, DVI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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