Gigabyte GA-F2A85XN-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

CPUs|Motherboards | Do-It-Yourself Systems
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Given the size of the mini-ITX form factor, layout really isn't important as long as there are no glaring interference issues. As they typically aren't installed in tower cases and there's so little space on the PCB, the ATX layout paradigm gets thrown out the window. While it's an FM2 motherboard, the F2A85XN-WIFI's layout is similar to most Intel mini-ITX models with CPU socket is on the bottom half of the board and most of the peripherals and connectors are located on the upper portion.

Starting with LGA1156, almost all Intel mini-ITX boards have had the CPU socket positioned close to the PCI-E 16x slot. I cringed every time I saw it but as it was the norm, it felt pointless to criticize it. Seeing this on the AMD side though is a disappointment as there are other models available with a more "traditional" layout. The 4-pin AUX12V positioning might also be problematic for some users.

Helping cool the six phase power regulation circuitry is a funny looking 30 mm tall heatsink mated to the MOSFETs.

Both the F2A85XN-WIFI and its H77 counterpart are equipped with a woefully tiny chipset heatsink. However in my experience the A75/A85 FCH doesn't heat as much as Intel's PCH.

Plugged into the mini PCI-E slot is a half-size Atheros-based WiFi and Bluetooth combo adapter. Note that some electrical components prevent the use of a full-size card.

The back panel is stocked with usual assortment of connectors, though the video outputs are an odd combination. Rather than DisplayPort or VGA connectors, Gigabyte went with dual HDMI and DVI-D, the latter of which lacks the analog pins necessary to connect a VGA adapter.

The included WiFi antenna is as sleek as one can be. The cables are 75 cm long and the base is magnetic so you can stick it on top of a case without worrying too much about knocking it over accidentally. The antenna swivels in a 180 degree arc to suit your needs accordingly.

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