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 Post subject: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:29 am
Posts: 3
For years I've tried non expensive ways to quiet my old system, but never with quite the result I was looking for.
Now I'm planning to build a new desktop system and I want to do it the right way: by selecting components based on quality and low noise production :)

So far I have selected the following components:

APU: A10-5700
Cooler: Scythe Big Shuriken 2 rev b
PSU: Seasonic G360
Case: Re-using an old Compaq pressario case (+ dvd drive)
RAM: 2x4 Gb (not decided on exact type and brand yet)
HDD: WD 1Tb green
SDD: If I decide to add one, it will be a 128 Gb Samsung 830
Mobo: ?

I'm looking for advice on the selection of the mobo.
Based on local availability, form factor (matx), hdmi and price, I'm left with these options:

ASRock FM2A75 PRO4-M
Asus F2A85-M
Asus F2A85-M LE
Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM-D3H
MSI FM2-A75MA-E35

Either the A75 or A85 chip-set will be fine (I don't really need the extra features of the A85 chip set though).

The Asus F2A85-M LE and the MSI board only support 2 dimms, but with 2x4 Gb it might be unlikely that I'll ever want to add more.

The MSI one has extra USB ports at the back panel (8 instead of 6), which could be nice.

The Asus F2A85-M is the most expensive one of the bunch, but I don't realy see any relevant differences with the LE version (besides the number of supported dimms). Am I overlooking something?

I might want to undervolt a bit. I know it's possible with the Asrock and Asus mobo's. I'm not sure about the Gigabyte (I excluded the Gigabyte GA-F2A75M-D3H from the list, because I read that it can't be undervolted). I read that the MSI board supports undervolting, but only down to 1.35 V.
Will cool 'n Quiet still work if I undervolt? Does it even make sense to undervolt if cool 'n quiet is enabled?

Asus has good fan control, or so I've read. Asrock apparently can't lower fan speed below 46% or so. The Gigabyte seems to have quiet a lot of options, but how well does it all work? The MSI has something called "smart fan function", which the manual doesn't further explain.

So, I'm looking for good fan control, ability to undervolt and reliability and can't make up my mind.
Possibly I'm making to big a fuss about it and should just go with the cheapest one :lol:

Do you have any advice?


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 Post subject: Re: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4674
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Go with an Asus mobo for the fan control. Pick one that has the features you need and not extra stuff that'll just consume power. Note, you can compare features side by side on their website using the "add to compare list" feature.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Re: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 1:19 am
Posts: 489
Location: Australia
i'm very interersted in this since i'm in the same position.

for fan control i think it's easier to rely on software, most of the time the options within the bios are too limiting, if you're using windows then the spcr reviews already point to good speedfan support. if you don't like the idea of running another program download the manuals and read the bios options, quite often the fan control options are detailed just enough.

undervolting is a tricky one.
i'm not sure how well offset will work since trinity seems to have a much larger voltage range, most likely the minimum v required will limit your max undervolt.
the other bios option seems to be to set it manually, i assume this just limits the voltage during the highest p state. this would work out fairly well since it will lower the all important max power consumption during load.
there is also the software route.
the only program i have found so far that works on trinity is amd pscheck, it's similar to k10stat in that it allows you to alter the voltage and multiplier for each p state individually. it's windows only i think, it's an extra program to run, it will take time to set up, it's still beta(!), but it will provide the best results and i'm pretty sure it doesn't rely on the motherboard.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:29 am
Posts: 3
I've ordered the Asus F2A85-M LE. I didn't find more info, besides what I already knew, about the other boards. The Asus one seem to able to do what I want and was only EUR 10,- more expensive than the cheapest option.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 1:19 am
Posts: 489
Location: Australia
be sure to tell us (just me probably... no trinity love here it seems :() how it goes, especially the bios options though i guess they're probably similar to the spcr asus review.
it's probably a long shot but if you have a power meter some numbers would be great too.

i've got an a6-5400k on the way, and i'll be getting an msi fm2-a55m-e33.
the msi is the cheapest fm2 mb money can buy and has a pretty barren bios, but i'm expecting some very low idle power consumption due to the simple power circuitry around the cpu socket.
i'll be reporting back once i've set up and done the testing.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 3:38 am
Posts: 43
Location: Free Union, VA, USA
Trust me, there are a few of us watching and waiting. I'm currently modifying my "htpc" machine to be a suitable NAS (FreeNAS) and as that completes, I will then go to Trinity for the HTPC. Looking forward to your results.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:29 am
Posts: 3
porkchop wrote:
be sure to tell us (just me probably... no trinity love here it seems :() how it goes, especially the bios options though i guess they're probably similar to the spcr asus review.
it's probably a long shot but if you have a power meter some numbers would be great too.

It took some time before I got around to build it, but my new pc is now up and running! :)
The bios has the same options as the one in the spcr review of the Asus F2A85-M Pro.

Unfortunately I don't own a power meter, but maybe there are some other questions I can answer?

Before messing around with manual adjustments I want to see the difference between the three different presets "powersaving", "normal" and "asus optimal". For stress testing I used Prime95 and MSi Kombustor simultaneously. I have no case fan active and the room temperature was 18C.

powersaving mode:
Code:
idle:   mobo 28 C   cpu 23 C   fan 775 rpm   Vcore 0.948 V
load:   mobo 37 C   cpu 47 C   fan 980 rpm   Vcore 0.948 V
Under load the CPU frequency kept mostly at 2,3 Ghz, with occasional jumps to 2,6 or 3,7 GHz.

normal mode:
Code:
load:   mobo 38 C   cpu 49 C   fan 1099 rpm   Vcore 1.008 V
Under load the CPU frequency again kept mostly at 2,3 Ghz, with occasional jumps to 3,7 GHz.

The moment I closed Kombustor (prime95 was still running) I noticed the Vcore jumped up 1,3V and then to 1,22V. The CPU frequency then kept switching between 3,0 en 3,4 GHz, with occasional spikes to 3,7 GHz. Temperatures stayed the same. As soon as I started Kombustor, the CPU frequency and Vcore were lowered again.

Asus optimal mode
Code:
load:   mobo 38 C   cpu 49 C   fan 1074 rpm   Vcore 1.008 V
Frequency was mostly 2,3 GHz with spikes to 2,6 and 3,8 GHz. With Kombustor turned of, the frequency changed to 3,0-3,5 GHz with a Vcore of 1.176-1.248V

It seems as though the CPU frequency is lowered to 70% when the system expects the graphics part of the APU to be generating heat. Apparently it's normal trinity behavior to lower the max CPU frequency when the GPU is under load, but it seems like a very large difference. I would have expected it to just stop going into turbo.

I played around with the CPU voltage offset:
-0.150V: boots, but freezes on starting prime95
-0.125V: boots, but blue screen after 10 seconds of prime95
-0.100V: boots and no problems sofar

I am a bit confused: Asus probe and CPU-Z are giving different values for the core voltage. CPU-Z is about 0.35V higher.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:19 am
Posts: 2
Hi Ibex,

Just put together an HTPC with AMD A10 5700 and MSI FM2-A75MA-E35

I wonder how your experience went with OCing RAM to 1866mhz at all to "take advantage" of the APU sensitivity.

I'm getting lots of BSOD which I haven't troubleshot enough to ask on this forum (thinking bad PSU, failing HDD, and Win7 corrupt install, all of which will take time to work through).

The BIOS is version 1.5 and my Processor was rated 4.8 on WEI. I put in 8GB RAM, and Windows said 7.45 was usable. There is a 1.7 update that doesn't appear to do all that much, but I wonder if you had a similar experience getting your machine going.

Thanks in advance


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 Post subject: Re: Picking a FM2 matx mobo
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:19 am
Posts: 2
For everyone, my environment was sort of patchwork. Had a used 2007 120GB HDD that I didn't properly format (just let Windows format during initial install) and was using a slim profile PSU with only a 20-pin Mobo connector. With all the BSOD's regardless of updates, etc, I put my old HTPC back together and started from scratch on this build.

Right now, I've completed the rebuild with a proper PSU and re-partitioned my 2TB library HDD into 2x 1TB partitions (931GB usable), and the machine is running properly.

WEI scores the processor at 7.2 and graphics at 6.8. I just wanted to relieve anyones' concerns about the board and/or APU.


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