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Chipset & Motherboard
A85 chipset block diagram.
The new flagship chipset for FM2 is called A85 but it sports a very similar design to A75 for FM1. A75 incidentally, is also available for FM2, as is the barebones A55 chipset. The only notable difference in A85 is the inclusion of two extra SATA 6 Gbps ports.
The F2A85-M Pro.
Our test motherboard is the ASUS F2A85-M Pro, a feature-rich microATX model with a pair of PCI-E 16x slots (8x/8x in CrossFireX), seven SATA 6 Gbps ports (the eighth supported port is routed to the back for eSATA) and four USB 3.0 connectors. S/PDIF, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs are also offered. The board retails for about US$130.
Trinity APU in FM2 socket of ASUS F2A85-M Pro motherboard
The layout of the socket hasn't changed, still parked very close to the memory slots. The plastic heatsink retention mechanism has also been carried over once again so while it won't take older processors, you can at least reuse the cooler.
When considering the cost of a system, the CPU/APU is only part of the equation as the price of motherboards varies greatly from platform to platform. In the chart above, we added the current street price of the chips compared today to those of an average compatible motherboard from Newegg. These criteria were used for the motherboards: retail versions, Asus/Intel/Gigabyte/MSI branded, microATX/ATX form factor, SATA 6 Gbps and USB 3.0 controllers (outrageously priced models were omitted).
The average motherboard price turned out to be US$142 for LGA1155, US$125 for AM3+, US$87 for FM1, and US$121 for FM2 (the FM2 figure will likely drop as more boards become available).
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