ASUS F2A85-V PRO Motherboard Reviewformerstaff -
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Last month AMD introduced the second generation of its innovative APUs in the form of the Trinity 'A' series lineup. After benchmarking and reviewing the platform it became obvious that it is actually beneficial to view it as just that; a platform in its entirety or the sum of all its parts. With the fastest on-die GPU in the market (about the equivalent of an HD 6670) and a middle of the road L3-less Piledriver quad-core CPU both doing their thing under the same IHS, the platform is not out to break any overclocking records. You wouldn't know that to look at the incredible motherboards the partners are turning out for the A85X chipset, with 6+2 'Digi+Power' phasing feeding the components and the ability to run three monitors in Eyefinity among the long list of features. If you are in the market for a lot of versatility and not a big price tag, there is plenty to be excited about these days for users who want a budget friendly and versatile computing experience.
Today's example we're having a look at is the ASUS F2-A85-V PRO, the top rung chipset for the Trinity/FM2 series. Let's take the wrapper off this piece of hardware and see what you can do with a $120 motherboard as the hub of an A series machine.
The packaging for the ASUS F2-A85-V PRO is a snappy looking black box with white dots densely populating the entire box and fading off from the middle of the box. As far as retail packaging goes, it's one of the better looking and tasteful ones out there. The upper right quadrant is occupied with a feature that I am very interested in running through the paces: the Digi+Power Control VRM that controls the power fed to both the APU and the memory modules. Along the bottom edge are five more of the features and ASUS letting us know this board is Windows 8 ready.
The sides of the box have very little information about the product. One edge is blank and the others just have the make and model of the board. Nothing to see here, moving on.
The back of the box is packed with as much info as ASUS could fit. The left side has a labled image of the entire board, while the right side focuses in and gives us some specifics about 'Dual Intelligent Processors' (an unfortunate acronym), ASUS' Remote GO!, Fan Xpert, and Network iControl. Along the very bottom of the box, ASUS lets us know how green it is by printing with soy and all, and slips in the three-year warranty label.
Lifting the hood we get a first look as the camera flash penetrates the protection of the anti-static bag. Yes I have used that before but I like the way that sentence rolls. The accessory bundle is pretty standard stuff. You get four SATA cables, an I/O plate with EMS protection, a driver/utility disk, full manual, and a 'Q' connect that makes installation of the front panel connections a bit easier. Fairly standard, but the extras are actually attached to the board with this one.
Time to go around the horn and have a look at the board and feature sets of the ASUS F2-A85-V PRO.