ASRock FM2A85X-ITX Motherboard

Introduction

The ASRock FM2A85X-ITX is a Mini-ITX motherboard based on the most high-end chipset for the socket FM2 platform, the A85X (codenamed “Hudson D4”). It is targeted to the second-generation APUs from AMD, codenamed “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).

Currently, there are three chipsets available for the socket FM2 platform: A85X, A75, and A55. The A75 and A55 chipsets were released in 2011 with the socket FM1 platform, which is used by the first-generation of APUs from AMD. The A85X is a new chipset, released with the second-generation APUs. 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.

The ASRock FM2A85X-ITX doesn’t support 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, a feature that is available on some socket FM2 motherboards.

So far, ASRock has released four motherboards based on the A85X chipset; the FM2A85X-ITX is the only one using the Mini-ITX form factor. See table below. Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this article.

Specification FM2A85X-ITX FM2A85X Extreme4-M FM2A85X Extreme4 FM2A85X Extreme6
Form Factor Mini-ITX microATX ATX ATX
Memory Sockets 2 4 4 4
PCI Express 2.0 x16 1 2 (x16/x4) 2 (x16/x4) 3 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)
PCI Express 2.0 x1 0 1 2 2
Standard PCI 0 1 3 2
CrossFireX No Yes Yes Yes
SLI No No No No
SATA-300 0 0 0 0
SATA-600 7 7 7 7
eSATA-300 0 0 0 0
eSATA-600 1 1 1 1
USB 2.0 8 10 8 8
USB 3.0 4 4 8 6
FireWire 0 0 0 0
Gigabit Ethernet 1 1 1 1
VGA Yes Yes Yes Yes
DVI-D Yes Yes Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes Yes Yes
DisplayPort No No No Yes
Audio ALC892 ALC892 ALC892 ALC898
Voltage Regulator 4+2 4+2 4+2 8+2
Price USD 100 USD 90 USD 95 USD 110

In Figure 1, you see the ASRock FM2A85X-ITX motherboard, which is based on the Mini-ITX form factor (6.7 x 6.7 inches or 170 x 170 mm).

ASRock FM2A85X-ITX MotherboardFigure 1: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX motherboard

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Author: Gabriel Torres

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.

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