Well its not that tiny, but a Crossfire board in the $90 range isn’t usually kitted out this well. AMD’s socket FM2-compatible Trinity processors have been receiving good reviews and all indications are that this family, based on Piledriver, could help nudge the company back to profitability. Check out the board, its sickeningly well-endowed.
Stop and just count the SATA ports alone – there’s eight of them, all compatible with the SATA 6GB/s standard. There’s two PCI-Express slots but the board lacks a proper lane switcher so the top slot runs with 16 lanes while the bottom one runs at 4x only. Its not too bad, but I would have liked to see the ability to have both lanes running at 8x while the extra four lanes get used for something else, like a Thunderbolt port. Strangely enough, Gigabyte states that the board can support up to 64GB of DDR3-1866 RAM, but we aren’t even seeing affordable 16GB modules yet, so even 32GB is a stretch of the imagination.
Looking elsewhere, its a pretty barebones package. There are no heatsinks on the 4+1 phase VRM but there are four native USB 3.0 ports, two of them reserved for the front-panel header. Audio is limited to 5:1 but considering the low price of the board and its target market, that’s not too bad. Gigabit ethernet is standard as well as VGA, Dual-link DVI and one HDMI port compliant with the 1.4a standard. Its strange that the board still comes with the outdated AMI BIOS and I’d recommend all users upgrade to EUFI if they’re thinking of getting a board like this one.
The GA-F2A85M-HD3 is open for pre-order in Europe and the US/Canada at $90.55, with the rest of the world expected to receive stock in early January. Anyone building a cheap media server?
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