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Posted by on Dec 12, 2012 in Featured, Reviews |

Review: Asus F2A55 Motherboard – AMD APU A8 M – 5600K [Socket FM2]

Review: Asus F2A55 Motherboard - AMD APU A8 M - 5600K [Socket FM2]

fm2 is a socket released by in the second half, and represents a return to its roots, as it is not only to replace its predecessor, FM1, but try to take a piece of cake to the socket AM3 +, which until this release, were the owners of the best AMD processors. FM2 is a platform that supports the FX processors litter-Series and A-Series, which makes it really attractive platform for the cash-strapped gamer.

FM2 is a platform to try to compete with the promise to be cheaper and offer from the start rather than graphics performance wise, incomparable, at this point, really with Intel integrated solutions.

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The platform allows the user FM2 normal to get a team more than appropriate for the office, a media center that can play all your videos, and a gaming platform without spending extra money for a dedicated video card, using this, its integrated graphics graphics in Trinity APU ®, however, if your set or job aspirations are higher, you have two paths, incorporate a video card or higher capacity FX-series processor (plus a video card).

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In short, FM2 is projected as the revival of the spirit of old AMD deliver products with high performance, economical and compatible on several fronts for some time.

And without further ado …, then we leave the review of Motherboard together processor.

First Look

F2A55-M is one of the first motherboards for launched, has a chipset A55 FCH (Hudson D2) ®, a graphical interface in the BIOS (UEFI BIOS), 10 USB 2.0 ports (4 rear), 2 USB ports 3.0 (rear), four DDR3 memory slots (up to 2400MHz by overclocking), two PCI Express x16 (x16/x4), a regular PCI, HDMI video outputs, DVI and D-Sub, a network port (Realtek ® 8111F Gigabit LAN control) and audio with up to 8 channels (Realtek ® ALC887 audio).

ASUS also equips this board with two very useful technologies

  • DIGI + POWER CONTROL : Technology that regulates the voltage of the APU, either automatically as a personalized, surrendering efficiency or performance according to the scheme we use.
  • ASUS USB 3.0 Boost : Technology that allows using the protocol UASP (USB Attached SCSI) ports for USB 3.0, and a yield up to 170% higher.

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Packaging and accessories

The packaging is quite competent but low, includes two SATA connectors 2 guard for the rear ports, a disk with drivers and utilities, and two brochures for assembly and configured.

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Cooling system default

It has cooled a single block, which is responsible for keeping cool the chipset ® A55 FCH (Hudson D2), which under normal ambient testing and remained near 30° C. The only problem in this section is that the anchor is plastic.

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BIOS

Like most modern boards, comes equipped with a fairly intuitive visual interface and complete to manipulate most parameters to without fear. In the main section, plus find basic information, the language selection menu.

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Power Control DIGI + is one of the best implementations graphic to get the most out of the platform when required to do overclock, is simple and intuitive, integrates a brief explanation to the right and has protection overclock failed by bios or the physical button MemOK plate! (RAM memory problems).

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Advanced options allow you to set the combinations of configurations for the SATA controller, audio, network and USB 3.0.

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The BIOS also incorporates a system monitor, we can see the temperatures, voltages and fan speed on.

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The penultimate paragraph of the bios gives us botting parameters, such as allowing or not boot from USB or LAN, order, or permit or no startup signed insurance systems ( secure boot ).

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When using UNIX systems, preferably in security enabled boot parameters >> OS Type [other legacy & UEFI], because if you do not have a digital signature operating system may not be initiated.

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In Tools find the utility to update the BIOS using flash storage, and information and settings to increase performance of our system.

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Testing

Methodology

Test was used to evaluate various aspects critical platform in general be performed three times and report the average result. For graphic tests will use the same methodology, however be made compare to 1360 X 768 and 1920 X 1080 (1080p).

Platform

Processor AMD A8-5600K
Motherboard Asus F2A55-M
Memoirs KHX1333C9D3B1/4G Kingston HyperX (2x4GB)
Video Card HD 7560D APU (Devastator)
Power Supply EarthWatts Green 500W (EA-500D)
Processor Cooling Thermaltake Contac 30
Storage OCZ Vertex 3 SATA III – 2.5 “SSD
Monitor LT22B350 Samsung LED 22 “1080p
Cabinet Cooler Master HAF 912
Platform Microsoft Windows 8 Pro
Drivers Video Controller AMD Catalyst â„¢ Display Driver 12.8
Controller Chipset AMD 2,010,262
Realtek Audio Driver 6.2.9200.16384
Realtek Network Driver 8.3730.2012
Benchmarks, yutilidades games x264 HD Benchmark
Cinebench
SuperPi mod
Wprime
SiSoftware Sandra
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64
CPU-Z 1.61.5
GPU-Z v0.6.5
HWMonitor 1.20 64-bit
Trackmania Forever
AIDA64 Extreme Edition v2.300.1900
PCVantage 7

Overclock #1

In all tests use overclock to compare results and performance of the platform, in this case raise the frequency stock from 3600 until the 4321MHz without blackouts or overheating problems.

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APU … and in the 760 to 950 MHz, reporting on our experiences a change in temperature of between 28-39° C.

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Disk Controller Performance

This board incorporates only a SATA 2 (3Gb / s) making it one of the possible and probable cause bottleneck after the incursion of the SSD solid state disks , however, the performance achieved is nothing wrong, 256.6 MB / s in sequential read, 85.5% of theory using glass port Disk Mark, while the performance test of SiSoftware Sandra sequential read speeds of 265.4 reported MB / s represents 88.5% of theory.

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The tests were performed under conditions and overclock stock reaching a variation of less than 1% independent of the test results applied.

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More is better

Performance Memory Bandwidth

Frequently used memory 1333, which is in the practical sense a bottleneck more likely for the platform unit to depend on the integrated graphics processor APU speed RAM.

The memories were tested using AIDA64 Extreme Edition, in normal and reading overclocking was not altered significantly, while achieving scale reading writing more than 7% yield.

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More is better

CPU Performance

Performance Multimedia Processor

In video coding x264 test , the result of this stage is 4.67 fps stock while overclocked reaches 5.20 fps. With these results, this processor is between an AMD Athlon II X4 640 and AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE stock performance is nothing wrong if we compare the Phenom MSRP (USD $ 77.99) with the A8-5800K (USD $ 99 , 99), but with the bonus of incorporating a more than competent graphics unit.

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More is better

Arithmetic Processor Performance

The processor arithmetic performance was analyzed by several tests, a general way, this point is critical for high performance applications that make heavy use of floating point calculations and, as Matlab, Maple, Mathematics or SPSS.

The first test performed, Super Pi Mod, not globally threw one of the best results, confirming the fact that AMD processors are a bit behind in this type of work, but they make up for its price against Intel alternative. The good news is that doing overclock, scaling is achieved over 10.4% yield (from 1492.7 to 1337 seconds).

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More is better

The arithmetic performance was also analyzed by Wprime, the results achieved to scale up to 12% better (from 18.4 to 16.18 seconds).

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Less is better

Finally to consolidate data from this item, performance was tested using SiSoftware Sandra arithmetic achieving a significant improvement of 111.7% (the increase achieved overclock gigaoperaciones per second from 41.79 to 46.66).

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More is better

Cryptographic Performance

This capability allows developers to save lines of code and increase security using the processing core operations of encryption, decryption, hashing, signa, etc., And using these algorithms protect data without reducing performance dramatically.

We measured by SiSoftware Sandra cryptographic capability, thereby increasing the yield from 1,012 to 1,086 Gb / s, which represents an increase of the capacity of 7%.

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More is better

Energy Efficiency

This point is key, and involves the process efficiency of energy utilization for a workload. Overall, this is a highly prized item among those seeking a workstation rather than a play center.

Using measured Sandra SiSofware processor energy efficiency, throwing it in stock condition performance is between an AMD Athlon ™ II X2 260 and an Intel ® Core ™ i3-3225 CPU with GIPS 4.966, and overclock, its performance is between AMD FX-6100 X6 ™ and AMD Athlon ™ II X4 640, almost overshadowing an AMD Phenom ™ II X6 1090T. These results make it energetically mediocre performance of 36% of the sample SiSofware database Sandra, is raised to 61% through clocking.

System Tests

Various tests were performed on the system, to assess the relationship CPU-GPU/APU-Chipset and all, some of them turned and ran other half or simply walked by Incompatibilities with the software in question, or the green controllers.

SiS Sandra evaluated using performance-APU-chipset CPU to process megapixels per second using OpenCL, achieving incredibly boost performance by nearly 25%, from 107.33 to 134.152 Mpix / s.

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More is better

PCVantage 7 is a suite of tests that measured the capabilities of the processor, the memory bus, the graphics processing, the storage capacity and speed, web browsing, and other parameters surrendering at the end of the tests with a score comparable basis data that tells us how good our system objectively. In this case, PCVantage could only be initiated by installing Steam. Versions steam out at the end of this review, incompatibilities caused suddenly stopped the test. However, despite these problems could evaluate the performance of the platform, SiS Sandra confirming what we showed in the graphics processing test-APU-CPU chipset: An increase of approximately 24-25% in the platform from a score from 3715 to 4635 points.

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More is better

PCVantage11, another suite for evaluating the performance of the system could not be started in any way after installation.

Graphic evidence

This platform is clearly not a gamer platform with the tested configuration, while incorporating a premium graphics card, it can become an alternative for the average user trying to achieve that performance. So in that spirit, this section was evaluated with a casual game with good performance to test the qualities of the APU and CPU-scaling.

The title was to test Trackmania Forever , a racing game offline and online, which is not at all demanding in resources, but includes the possibility of 3D racing.

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The results were really interesting, because in one way or another showed two things the gamer’s manual and Members Active:

Scaling is dependent on the processor performance at lower resolutions, in this case the 1360 X 768 configuration used today by most PC users. Under these conditions, managed to climb 77-82 fps average which represents a 7% improvement (63 vs 65 fps were 80 vs 89 minimum and the maximum fps).

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More is better

And second, that at higher resolutions, the gaming performance is given by the combination of CPU-APU/GPU. Although it sounds incredible, AMD has given the nail with your bet, because at 1080p (1920 X 1080) manages to surpass its performance from 41 to 70 fps, achieving an improvement by almost 70% (36 vs 57 fps was the minimum and 41 the maximum fps vs 81).

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More is better

Overclock # 2: For newbies

As the overclock is today something just for experts, Asus makes available two ways to do it without knowing too much about it, but redeemable getting results.

The first way is simply accessing the BIOS, click here to force can choose save mode (less performance but lower energy), normal, optimal Asus (Safe overclock with a single click).

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And the second way to access a specially designed for novice overclock is by ASUS AI Suite II (software included on the disk drivers and utilities). Just install it on Windows and agree to it, and similarly simplified menu of the BIOS, increase performance after reboot.

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Conclusions

Despite being a system that in theory is (ready to use), we notice that there are sections in which the system is still not completely polished, but these problems are largely attributable to the lack of maturity of AMD Catalyst. The trouble running the test properly Sis Sandra Software were solved by updating it after being reported the problem, like PCVantage 7 and 11.

So despite these problems, the truth is that the platform evolves as that Windows 8, the drivers and software ecosystem is accompanying won robustness.

With respect to the platform, it was demonstrated that it is not a platform gamer, let alone a station calculations, but a more than competent platform for the common user to play rather casual, with the added bonus that you can increase your performance with or without knowledge overclock finishes.

The Good

  • The price of the plate and the processor
  • The scaling of processor performance
  • APU graphics performance but salvageable
  • Simplicity to Overclock (although if you like the old school, you can do)
  • It has 2 USB 3.0 and has a graphics port for almost any monitor (hdmi, sub-d and div).

The Bad

  • The chipset cooling system has plastic parts that prevent its removal without fear of leaving without anchor
  • No USB 3.0 front
  • The accessory kit pretty lame.
  • SATA 2 controller for disks
  • The rear ports are uncolored, something quite useful with six ports.

Price / performance ratio: 3/5

Quality Materials: 2/5

Overclock: 3/5

Graphics Performance: 3/5

Thanks, look forward to future reviews of handing over the house using Windows 8 and Linux …

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