Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum Reviewtacohunter52 - October 13, 2011
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When it comes to processor performance AMD has been the underdog for a long while now. However, this underdog has always had quite a few things going for it. For instance, AMD's low prices have made its chips great for high performance budget rigs. Not only that, but AMD computers are extremely upgradeable in that you can use newer socket chips in some older socket motherboards. However, this has changed with the release of AMD's APUs and socket FM1 motherboards. These new APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) combine AMD Radeon HD graphics with the CPU cores all on one die. This allows for users to build affordable computers with DirectX 11 support, without the need to buy a GPU. You can also combine the APU's graphic capabilities with a 6670, 6570, or 6450 to get even more of a performance boost. While these APUs would also make great budget gaming rigs, I expect the majority of them to be used in budget multimedia/HTPC rigs.
However, no matter what you decide to do with your APU, you'll still need an FM1 motherboard to get it up and running. Today we'll be taking a look at one of Sapphire's FM1 offerings, the Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum. Sapphire is usually known for being a video card manufacturer; however, we've seen a few of its motherboards in the past and each one has performed on par with its competition. So what exactly can we expect from the Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum? Well for one thing it comes equipped with Display Port, DVI-I, and HDMI connectors. Not only that, but it also has two SATA 6Gb/s slots and four USB 3.0 slots. Sure these aren't as cool as some of the features we've seen on other motherboards, but this is a very affordable motherboard which is meant to be paired with an affordable, yet powerful, CPU. Besides, what really matters is the performance right, so let's get this baby set up and start benching!
When you receive a new motherboard the very first thing you do is admire the packaging, so, let's do that. The Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum arrives in a very shiny black and silver box. The front of the box is littered with logos and decals; however we only care about the ones located in the center. These are, of course, the Sapphire and Pure Platinum logos. The back of the box uses the same color scheme, but also features some information on the board. Some of these features are the board's "Pure Speed", "Pure Features", and "Pure Realiability". The one that we should care most about is the Pure Reliability. This feature talks about how the board uses 100% solid capacitors, Dual BIOS, Dual Graphics, and comes with a Diagnostic/CPU Temperature LED display. The sides of the A75 pure Platinum's packaging follow the same color scheme; however, other than a list of the board's specifications, no new information is found.
Once you've opened the main packaging you'll have the secondary inner packaging. This is just a black box that opens upwards revealing the board's included accessories. Removing the cardboard layer that separates the packaging from the A75 Pure Platinum gives us our first glimpse of the board nice and snug in an antistatic bag.
Last but not least, let's look at the board's included accessories. First up, you'll get a driver CD, an owner's manual, and an I/O shield. You'll also get a coupon for a free copy of Dirt 3 through steam. However, chances are good that you already got a copy of Dirt 3 with your llano CPU. Moving on, you'll also receive four SATA cables, and a front panel USB box which will take up a single 5.25" bay.
Now that we've unpacked everything, let's get up close and personal with the Sapphire A75 Pure Platinum!