The ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 is a motherboard based on the most high-end chipset for the new FM2 platform, the A85X (codenamed “Hudson D4”), and is targeted to the second-generation APUs from AMD, codename “Trinity.” Let’s see what this motherboard has to offer.

APU is a name that AMD coined for their CPUs with integrated video. They are also known as A-series, as models start with the letter “A” (A4, A6, A8, and A10).

There are three chipsets available for the new FM2 platform: A85X, A75, and A55. The A75 and A55 chipsets were released in 2011 with the FM1 platform, which is used by the first-generation of APUs from AMD. The A85X is a new chipset, released this month. In the table below, we compare the main differences between these three chipsets. As you can see, the main difference between the A85X and the A75 is the addition of two more SATA-600 ports on the A85X.

Feature A85X A75 A55
PCI Express 2.0 x1 4 4 4
USB 1.1 2 2 2
USB 2.0 10 10 14
USB 3.0 4 4 0
SATA-300 0 0 6
SATA-600 8 6 0
FIS-Based Switching Yes Yes No
UMI 2 GB/s 2 GB/s 2 GB/s

“FIS-based switching” is an eSATA port multiplier technology, which allows you to install more than one hard drive to a single SATA port. Click here to learn more. UMI stands for Unified Media Interface; it is the interface that connects the CPU to the chipset.

AMD APUs have an embedded PCI Express 2.0 controller, with one PCI Express 2.0 x16 port and four PCI Express 2.0 x1 ports. Second-generation APUs allow the x16 port to be divided into two x8 ports. It is important to understand that this is a feature provided by the processor, not by the chipset.

In addition, the FM2A85X Extreme6 supports the Virtu Universal MVP, which allows you to combine the performance of the integrated graphics processor available in the CPU with the performance of any video card installed. This is similar to what occurs with the Hybrid SLI and ATI Hybrid Graphics technologies, with the notable difference of not being limited to GPUs from a specific manufacturer.

In Figure 1, you see the ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 motherboard. It is based on the standard ATX form factor (12 x 9.6 inches or 305 x 244 mm).

ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 motherboardFigure 1: ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 motherboard

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.