The FM2A88X EXTREME6+ is the first socket FM2+ motherboard from ASRock, 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. The integrated video controller found on socket FM2 APUs support up to three video monitors, while the forthcoming socket FM2+ processors will support four video monitors.
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.
AMD socket FM2+ APUs will have an embedded PCI Express 3.0 controller, while the PCI Express controller included with FM2 processors is 2.0. 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.
While socket FM2+ motherboards support socket FM2 processors, when a socket FM2 CPU is installed the PCI Express lanes are only compatible with 2.0 standard.
The ASRock FM2A88X EXTREME6+ 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 ASRock FM2A88X EXTREME6+ motherboard, which is based on the ATX form factor (12.0 x 9.6 inches or 305 x 244 mm).