It’s time to put the AMD A-Series processor and the Gigabyte motherboard to the test! If you don’t know what we’re talking about, take a look at our First Look post of the AMD A10 APU and the Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H motherboard aka “MOBO”. First off, we assembled them with what we had in our office, which isn’t much, but here it is!
Setting It Up
As previously mentioned, we scrounged around the office to build up our CPU, so here’s what it’s made off:
- Cooler Master Centurion 5 Mid Tower Series (2005 version)
- Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 460w(120mm Fan Series)
- Western Digital 320GB, Scorpio Blue/Blue HDD (SATA)
- 8GB (4GB x 2) Kingston Hyper X Genesis DDR3 @ 1866MHz
- Viewsonic 21.5″ 2 HDMI Port Wide LED Screen
Installing the MOBO into the casing was easy but due to the design of the MOBO which is slightly smaller than standard (even for an ATX MOBO), we had to be careful attaching it to the casing. The back panel of the board has a HDMI port with a metal shielding which looks a tad flimsy, so you might want to be careful if you’re assembling this yourself.
A few notable things about this board:
- There are no IDE ports, so be warned on this (you shouldn’t need IDE anyways, unless you’re planning to use some legacy devices).
- The power that is required for the internal graphics card is 12V, which requires 8-pins from the power supply instead of 4-pins in previous motherboards. So, if you intend to buy and install a separated graphics card for this MOBO, ensure you have the correct cables and sufficient power.
Once the CPU is assembled, the tricky part comes. Windows Setup. The MOBO’s BIOS setup is using a 3D Graphics User Interface which has 2 settings; beginner and advance. We didn’t have a working DVD-ROM (who uses them anyway, right?), so we had to copy the drivers and Windows Setup to a flash drive to boot.
Anyways, do attach any USB device or Windows Boot Devices through the USB 3.0 ports. While setting up, the MOBO did not detect any devices in these ports, probably due to driver installation issues. We got stuck figuring out what went wrong when we were in the Windows Setup menu and the mouse and keyboard did not work at all. We found that the USB 3.0 won’t function unless the drivers are properly installed, so make sure they are connected to the non-blue colored ports which are USB 2.0 ports.
After Windows was setup and ready to go, next came the drivers. The driver installation menu by Gigabyte is easy to navigate and allowed us to choose what we wanted to install. In this case, we just chose to install only the main drivers and skipped the utilities. Several restarts later, we had the latest AMD Catalyst Driver downloaded and installed from the AMD website since they’d have the more recent drivers. This will be handy when you want to run AMD Overdrive or to adjust any graphics options for the internal card. By installing the latest drivers, BETA or non-BETA Catalyst drivers, the internal graphics card will perform better and setting your screen resolution to Full HD (1920 x 1080) will not be a problem.
The MOBO has a generous amount of USB ports on the back panel. Basically, you can use the USB 3.0 ports once the drivers are installed. There are 6 USB ports on the back panel, 2 of which are USB 3.0 ports. There is also a P/S 2 port (what? really?), for old-gen keyboards and mice.
Right out of the box and into the casing, the Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H and AMD A10-5800k APU doesn’t require any special settings or tweaking to get the performance you need. On the get go, you’ll have approximately 2.8Ghz of power at your finger tips; for more advanced users, that could be tweaked to 4.2Ghz or slightly more. The Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H comes with a built-in Radeon 7760D graphics card, which does carry some firepower for your graphics work and gaming needs.
We installed Torchlight II via STEAM and set the game to the highest settings and with a little tweaking, managed a minimum of 30 FPS to 70 FPS, depending on how much is going on the screen. No tweaking was done on the graphics card, as Torchlight II is considered a low- to mid- range graphics game, the
Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H A10 APU was able to provide decent performance. The on-board GPU is also DX11 ready, so new-age games shouldn’t be an issue.
Using the Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H and AMD A10-5800K APU for work and surfing would under utilise its power, so I suggest doing something with it. As for graphics work, it would help with basic editing, but it’s definitely not the best option for post processing and 3D animation.
The Gigabyte F2A85X-D3H is priced at USD $99.90 (slightly above the RM300 mark) and AMD A10-5800k APU is priced at RM499.00. You can likely get it cheaper via online means or as a bundle from your local PC or IT hypermarket, so do check on the pricing before purchase.
When the Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H and AMD A10-5800K APU came out of the box and into the casing, I was expecting major tweaking and setting changes to run games smoothly. However, I was surprised that the MOBO and APU automatically set everything for me, a surprise considering how less-than-optimum AMD drivers can be.
The best thing about this combo is pricing. Getting a MOBO that has a powerful internal graphics card and a 2.8Ghz quad core processor that can be tweaked to 6.5Ghz with AMD Overdrive for under RM1000 is a steal. In addition, despite having an onboard GPU, it still retains PCIe slots, which would allow me to upgrade assuming the onboard graphics doesn’t cut it.
This would be a good combo for those who want a decent PC without too much burden on their pockets.