The A88X-PRO is a socket FM2+ motherboard from ASUS, based on the most high-end chipset for this new platform, the A88X. It is targeted to the forthcoming FM2+ “Kaveri” APUs, but it is also compatible with socket FM2, 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).
AMD launched three chipsets for socket FM2+ platform: A88X, A78, and A68. They are pretty much updated versions of the A85X, A75, and A55 chipsets, but with eight SATA-600 ports instead of six and the support for RAID 5, which is not available on the previous models. A difference between the A85X and the A88X is the support for XHCI 1.0 and Debug Port on the USB 3.0 ports of the A88X, while the A85X supports XHCI 0.96.
Socket FM2 APUs have an embedded PCI Express 3.0 controller, with one PCI Express 3.0 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. Keep in mind that socket FM2 APUs have a PCI Express 2.0 controller, and therefore PCI Express 3.0 won’t be available if you use a socket FM2 processor on this motherboard.
The ASUS A88X-PRO does not 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.
In Figure 1, you see the ASUS A88X-PRO motherboard, which is based on the ATX form factor (12.0 x 9.6 inches or 305 x 244 mm).