It’s safe to say that AMD's FM1 socket is aimed squarely at the mid-range section of the PC market. The sub-£100 A8-3850’s CPU portion offers a reasonable amount of grunt, while the GPU is fine for medium-resolution gaming. In combination, they’re a strong pairing for an affordable system.
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However, it doesn’t make much sense to entice people with the convenience and price of an APU, but then scare them off with overpriced motherboards. As a result, we were a little wary of the Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H when it was first presented to us – at £82.50, it’s around the maximum price that we’d want to pay for an FM1 motherboard.
The board conforms to the micro-ATX form factor, which is common among FM1 boards, as having less PCB space keeps material costs down. A smaller PCB also gives you the option of opting for a smaller case, which is potentially useful when building a relatively low power machine.
The UD2H’s layout is sensible, and makes good use of the limited space. The large 24-pin ATX power connector is near the edge of the board and the RAM slots are a good distance away from the APU socket. Our only grumble is that the five on-board SATA 6Gbps ports use old 90-degree connectors, rather than the more modern (more expensive) edge-mounted ones that make cable routeing easier.
Meanwhile, there are two rear-mounted USB 3 ports and an on-board header that enables you to add two more. Also on the rear I/O panel are DVI, D-Sub, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, so you certainly shouldn’t struggle to connect the UD2H to the monitor of your choice. However, you can only use one display output at a time.
The VRM circuitry is also a pleasingly chunky seven-phase affair. Four phases supply power to the CPU portion of the processor, with one phase dedicated to the memory controller and the final two phases servicing the integrated GPU. You could argue that this is overkill for a budget PC (and inflates the price unnecessarily), but at least the board should overclock well.
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Chipset AMD A75
CPU support FM1 A-series APUs
Memory support 4 slots: max 64GB DDR3 (2,400MHz)
Expansion slots Two 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots (one 16x, one 4x), one PCI, one 1x PCI-E
Sound 8-channel HD Audio via Realtek ALC889
Networking Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit Ethernet
Overclocking CPU Clock 100 – 500MHz, CPU Ratio 8 - 47; max voltages, CPU +0.6V, CPU PLL 2.9V, RAM 2.135V, FCH 1.735V, APU VDDP 1.835V, CPU NB +0.6V
Ports 5 x SATA 6Gbps, PS/2, 8 x USB 2, 4 x USB 3, 2 x FireWire, LAN, 4 x surround audio out, line-in, mic, optical S/PDIF out, eSATA 6Gpbs, Display Port, D-Sub, DVI, HDMI