Gigabyte GA-F2A75M-D3H Budget FM2 Motherboard

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Compared to the more expensive ASUS F2A85-M Pro, the Gigabyte F2A75M-D3H lacks a DisplayPort connector, eSATA, and 8x/8x CrossFireX. However, you could argue that most monitors still don't use DisplayPort, USB 3.0 will replace eSATA (or an internal SATA port with a eSATA adapter is a simple alternative), and CrossFireX is unlikely to be used in a value APU-based system. The main things expected in a modern motherboard are present, namely SATA 6 Gbps and USB 3.0, native to the A75 chipset.

Also missing are a few intangibles not clearly specified in the features list. Users who heavily overclock to get the most for their money will be disappointed as the UEFI/BIOS is a bit restrictive. All the basic frequency and voltage settings are available but in a narrow range. It's also not as well cooled as most motherboards due to the absence of a VRM heatsink. The fan control system is rudimentary though all three fan headers are controllable, which is rare on such an affordable board. Windows users have the option of using SpeedFan as a more capable replacement to Gigabyte's EasyTune utility.

The F2A75M-D3H has outstanding idle power consumption at 17W DC (27W AC measured at the wall), a sizable 5W less than the ASUS F2A85-M Pro. If you're concerned about energy efficiency, it's one of the more frugal options for a low demand system like a server or home theater machine. However, the harder you push it, the more it uses; on full load, it ended consuming a couple of watts more than the ASUS board and we surmise that trend would continue with a higher power or overclocked processor.

The Gigabyte F2A75M-D3H doesn't offer a lot of features but that's forgivable given the price. It's a better fit than the premium A85X models as Trinity is AMD"s value platform. If you're really strapped for cash, boards based on the A55 chipset start at ~US$50 but lack pretty much everything mentioned above. An A75 board for US$80 hits much closer to the sweet spot.

Our thanks to Gigabyte for the GA-F2A75M-D3H motherboard sample.

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