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Gigabyte A75M-UD2H Mainstream FM1 Motherboard

Gigabyte A75M-UD2H Mainstream FM1 Motherboard

July 11, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Gigabyte A75M-UD2H

FM1 microATX Motherboard
Manufacturer
Gigabyte
Street Price
US$100

Earlier this month AMD made a splash by launching Llano for the desktop, a socket/platform (FM1) for their newly improved line of APUs featuring K10 based processing cores and low-end DirectX 11 graphics grafted onto the same package. This combination turned out to be a more balanced all-in-one integrated solution than Sandy Bridge as Intel's HD 3000/2000 onboard graphics simply couldn't compete in 3D performance.

AMD's current flagship APU, the A8-3850 is a pretty solid value, boasting a quad core CPU component running at 2.9 GHz and graphics that compete with the Radeon HD 5570 all for US$135. Intel doesn't have a quad core anywhere near that price-point, with or without an integrated graphics chip. The new APU is also capable of Dual Graphics, essentially teaming up with a discrete HD 6450, 6570, or 6670 card in CrossFire.



Chipset block diagram.

The supported motherboards that have been released thus far complement the modest pricing of these new APUs nicely. Boards based on the A75 chipset can be found for as low as US$70 and support a wide variety of amenities including native USB 3.0, SATA 6 Gbps, and FIS port multiplier switching (for multi-bay eSATA enclosures/docks). If you don't need all those fancy features, you may want to wait for boards based on the less advanced A55 chipset which should cost even less.



The box.

Our first FM1 motherboard sample is the Gigabyte A75M-UD2H, a mainstream microATX model that is both feature-rich and affordable. It sports USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps of course thanks to the A75 chipset, but also offers an all solid-state capacitor design, eSATA, FireWire, and both HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, all for a street price of just US$100. We've browsed around checking boards from the various manufacturers and this one seems to pack the most bang-for-your-buck, something Gigabyte is known for.



Package contents (APU not included).

While packed with plenty of features the package itself is quite basic with just manuals, a driver disc, I/O shield and four SATA cables included.

Gigabyte A75M-UD2H : Specifications

(from the product
web page
)
APU FM1 Socket: 1. AMD A series & E2 series processors(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)
Chipset 1. AMD A75 chipset
Memory 1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory (Note 1)

2. Dual channel memory architecture

3. Support for DDR3 1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules (Note 2)(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)
Onboard Graphics APU: 1. 1 x D-Sub port

2. 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 2560x1600 (Note 3) (Note 4)

3. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200

4. 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 2560x1600(All integrated graphics ports do not support Hot plug. If you want to change to another graphics port when the computer is on, be sure to turn off the computer first.)
Audio 1. Realtek ALC889 codec

2. High Definition Audio

3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel

4. Support for Dolby® Home Theater

5. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN 1. 1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots 1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16) (Note 5)

2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)

3. 1 x PCI Express x1 slot

4. (All PCI Express slots conform to the PCI Express 2.0 standard.) 1 x PCI slot
Multi-Graphics Technology 1. Support for AMD Dual Graphics technology

2. Only A series APU support AMD Dual Graphics. Support for AMD CrossFireX technology
Storage Interface Chipset: 1. 5 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors supporting up to 5 SATA 6Gb/s devices

2. 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s port on the back panel supporting up to 1 SATA 6Gb/s device (Note 6)

3. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, and JBOD
USB Chipset: 1. Up to 8 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

2. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
IEEE 1394 VIA VT6308 chip: 1. Up to 2 IEEE 1394a ports (1 on the back panel, 1 port available through the internal IEEE 1394a header)
Internal I/O Connectors 1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector

2. 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector

3. 5 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

4. 1 x APU fan header

5. 1 x system fan header

6. 1 x power fan header

7. 1 x front panel header

8. 1 x front panel audio header

9. 1 x S/PDIF Out header

10. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers

11. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header

12. 1 x IEEE 1394a header

13. 1 x serial port header

14. 1 x parallel port header

15. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header

16. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors 1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port

2. 1 x D-Sub port

3. 1 x DVI-D port

4. 1 x HDMI port

5. 1 x DisplayPort

6. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector

7. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports

8. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports

9. 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s port

10. 1 x RJ-45 port

11. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller 1. iTE IT8720 chip
H/W Monitoring 1. System voltage detection

2. APU/System temperature detection

3. APU/System fan speed detection

4. APU overheating warning

5. APU/System fan fail warning

6. APU/System fan speed control (Note 7)
BIOS 1. 2 x 32 Mbit flash

2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS

3. Support for DualBIOS™

4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features 1. Support for @BIOS

2. Support for Q-Flash

3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue

4. Support for Download Center

5. Support for Xpress Install

6. Support for Xpress Recovery2

7. Support for EasyTune (Note 8)

8. Support for Smart Recovery

9. Support for Auto Green

10. Support for ON/OFF Charge

11. Support for 3TB+ Unlock

12. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software 1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System 1. Support for Microsoft® Windows 7/Vista/XP
Form Factor 1. Micro ATX Form Factor; 24.4cm x 24.4cm
Note (Note 1) Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.(Note 2) The 1866 MHz memory speed is supported only when one or two DDR3 1866 MHz DIMMs are installed. It is not supported when four DIMMs are installed. (Dual channel memory mode must be enabled when installing two DIMMs.)(Note 3) The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.(Note 4) The resolution of 2560x1600 is supported only when Dual Link DVI mode is enabled.(Note 5) For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.(Note 6) Actual transfer rate is dependent on the device being connected.(Note 7) Whether the APU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the APU/system cooler you install.(Note 8) Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
Remark 1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.

2. Most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME/2000/XP SP1/SP2. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The A75M-UD2H is laid out similarly to previous AM3 microATX boards. Most of the connectors are placed at the edges of the board where they are easily accessed though the 4-pin AUX12V connector is in the top left corner, making it a pain to connect in cases with top-mounted power supplies.



The only noticeable difference between the A75M-UD2H and previous Gigabyte microATX AM3 motherboards is the elimination of the Northbridge chip, allowing the APU socket to sit a little lower than usual.



The board sports an all solid-state capacitor design, five SATA ports, two PCI-E 16x slots (the second one runs at 4x though), FireWire, and USB 3.0 with an onboard header located under the FCH (chipset) heatsink.



The area around the socket is cleanly arranged but like past AMD boards the memory slots are a little too close for comfort. If a large third party heatsink will be installed, memory with high heatspreaders should be avoided as they may cause interference.



The plastic retention bracket has been slimmed down, but AM2/AM3 heatsink compatibility remains. The pin array has been changed with FM1's 905 pins arranged around a small rectangular hole at the center.



All the common display options are available on the rear panel: VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort. S/PDIF, FireWire, eSATA, and USB 3.0 connectors are also offered.



The chipset heatsink is held on with spring-loaded screws while the VRM heatsink is secured with plastic pushpins. The backplate appears to be identical to those on AM3 models.

BIOS

For enthusiasts, the options available within the BIOS/UEFI can turn
a good board into a great one. The ability to manipulate frequencies, voltages,
and fan control settings vary depending on the hardware and the amount of trust
placed in the users' hands by the manufacturer.



Frequency and voltage options.




Fan control settings.


BIOS Summary: Gigabyte A75M-UD2H
Setting
Options
CPU Frequency 100 to 500 MHz
CPU Voltage -0.600V to +0.600V in 0.005V increments
CPU PLL Voltage 2.100V to 2.900V in 0.02V increments
CPU NB VID -0.600V to +0.600V in 0.005V increments
FCH Voltage
0.625V to 1.735V in 0.005V increments
APU VDDP Voltage 0.725V to 1.835V in 0.005V increments
IGP Frequency 300 to 2000 MHz
IGP Memory Size 256MB, 512MB, 1024MB
Memory Clock x5.33, x6.66, x8.00, x9.33
Memory Timing Control Basic
Memory Voltage
1.025V to 2.135V in 0.005V increments
Memory VTT Voltage 0.515V to 1.145V in 0.005V increments
Fan Control
CPU Smart Fan Control Enabled, Disabled
System Smart Fan Control Enabled, Disabled

While the A75M-UD2H lacks a UEFI, its Award BIOS has an option for EFI booting with drives larger than 2.2TB and there are a vast array of frequency and voltage settings that should satisfy both casual and experienced overclockers alike. There are liberal ranges of control available for all the main subsystems (CPU, chipset, memory, and IGP) including undervolting settings.

Unfortunately there isn't any customization that can be done to BIOS fan control. The board can control both fan headers, but the only option available is to have it either enabled or disabled. You can't dictate when it kicks in or how fast it speeds up, at least not until the O/S is loaded at which point you can have software take over, e.g. Gigabyte's EasyTune utility or SpeedFan.

TEST METHODOLOGY

Test Setup:



Test configuration device listing.



Measurement and Analysis Tools

Video Test Clip



1080p | 24fps | ~22mbps

H.264: Crash is a 1080p x264 clip encoded from the
Blu-ray version of an science fiction film. It features the aftermath
of a helicopter crash. It has an unusually high bitrate for video of this type.


Estimating DC Power

The following power efficiency figures were obtained for the
Seasonic SS-400ET used in our test system:

Seasonic SS-400ET Test Results
DC Output (W)
21.2
41.6
60.2
81.9
104.7
124.1
145.2
AC Input (W)
32.0
58.0
78.0
102.0
128.0
150.0
175.0
Efficiency
66.3%
71.7%
77.1%
80.3%
81.8%
82.8%
83.0%

This data is enough to give us a very good estimate of DC demand in our test
system. We extrapolate the DC power output from the measured AC power input
based on this data. We won't go through the math; it's easy enough to figure
out for yourself if you really want to.

Testing Procedures

If available, the latest motherboard BIOS is installed prior to testing. Certain services/features
like Indexing, Superfetch, System Restore, and Windows Defender are disabled
to prevent them from causing spikes in CPU/HDD usage. We also make note if energy
saving features like Cool'n'Quiet/SpeedStep or S3 suspend-to-RAM do not function
properly. If a WiFi adapter is present, it is enabled but left unconnected.

Our main test procedure is designed to determine the overall system power consumption
at various states (measured using a Seasonic Power Angel). To stress CPUs we
use either Prime95 (large FFTs setting) or CPUBurn depending on which produces
higher system power consumption. To stress the IGP, we use FurMark, an OpenGL
benchmarking and stability testing utility. Power consumption during playback
of high definition video is also recorded.

TEST RESULTS

Power Consumption

The consolidated APU design and die-shrink gives the FM1 socket a substantial advantage when idle and on low load over AM3 when running on integrated graphics. The A8-3850/A75M-UD2H combination used 10W and 16W less when idle and playing HD video respectively compared to an X3 720 paired with a Gigabyte 890GX mainboard. These figures can also be considered on par with Sandy Bridge H67 based PCs if you factor in the power draw of an equivalent graphics card (HD 5570) to the APU's HD 6550D.

Unfortunately there was no improvement on load as the A8-3850's four central processing cores ate up 40W more than the X3 720 which is more or less what you'd expect from an Athlon II X4. Intel's energy efficiency can't be beat in this regard.

Unfortunately it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much of the energy draw is generated by the APU, as the amount of power pulled from the AUX12V connector depends on how power regulation has been implemented by the manufacturer. Though both the 890GPA-UD3H and A75M-UD2H have 4+1 power phase designs, on load the FM1 board pulled more than 80% of the total system power draw from the 4-pin AUX12V connector compared to 60~70% for the AM3 model.

Cooling

To test the board's cooling, we stressed the CPU for ~15 minutes with Prime95/CPU Burn. Temperatures of the boards' chipset and VRM heatsinks (if applicable) were recorded using a spot thermometer. The highest temperatures were taken for comparison.

Given the power draw of the A8-3850 on load, the A75M-UD2H heatsink temperatures were impressively low, just 30°C and 44°C above ambient for the chipset and VRM heatsinks respectively. The 890GPA-UD3H's VRM heatsink measured 13°C higher, but this a bit misleading as it is connected to the Northbridge heatsink with a heatpipe, so it has a higher thermal burden to deal with. This illustrates one of the advantages of chip consolidation: fewer components to cool.

USB 3.0 Performance

AMD's new native USB 3.0 controller has an advantage over third party controllers found in Intel boards. A large file transfer from a USB 3.0-connected WD VelociRaptor 600GB to a SATA-connected WD Caviar Black 2TB was 4 MB/s faster than the Renasas controller in the Asus P8H67-I Deluxe and 18 MB/s faster than the VIA controller in the Zotac H67-ITX. Not only was it faster, there was very little overhead as a SATA to SATA transfer was only 0.3 MB/s faster. This is as close as it gets to "full" USB 3.0 performance.

Boot Time

To test boot time we optimized the BIOS menu (hard drive and other delays set to minimum) and measured the time it took to reach the Windows loading screen (we stop here because this is the point where the O/S drive speed becomes a factor).

The A75M-UD2H edged out P67 motherboards from Gigabyte and Asus but couldn't match the swiftness of H67 mini-ITX models which tend to have a faster POST/boot sequence.

Fan Control



Fan control via EasyTune.

The BIOS can control two fan headers with both 3-pin and 4-pin fans, but only the CPU fan adjusts dynamically. Our observations match the default settings described in EasyTune application, which shows the CPU fan starting at 28% speed at a CPU temperature of 20°C, and rising linearly to full speed at 66°C. Using EasyTune, the speed can be lowered to a minimum of 10%. The same cannot be said for the System fan header which runs fans connected to at about 60% speed whether the CPU temperature is 0°C or a 100°C.



SpeedFan screen with correlations inputted.

The latest beta version of SpeedFan plays well with the A75M-UD2H, offering more functionality than both the BIOS and EasyTune. Full control of both headers can be unlocked by changing the PWM modes to "Software controlled" under the IT8720F chip in the Advanced menu. Speed01 and Speed02 adjusts the fan speed by varying the voltage while Speed03 will control the CPU fan using PWM.

SpeedFan has two functioning temperature sensors, one for the CPU and one for the FCH which correlate to the same values in the BIOS and EasyTune (FCH is labeled "System" instead).

FINAL THOUGHTS

As the first A75 chipset board we've tested, we can't say with any degree of certainty that the Gigabyte A75M-UD2H offers a better or worse experience than its competitors. That being said it has all the hallmarks of the great value-oriented mainboards that Gigabyte has been known to produce. Though priced at only US$100 it offers more than any of the microATX FM1 boards released thus far.

The A75 chipset blesses the A75M-UD2H with SATA 6 Gbps, a very fast native USB 3.0 controller, and Dual Graphics support. Gigabyte filled the rest of the cupboard with an all solid-state capacitor design, eSATA, FireWire, and even a DisplayPort; only WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity would've made it a more complete package. Though the A8-3850 is not very energy efficient on load, the FCH and VRM heatsinks provide a good level of cooling. As the CPU and GPU reside on the same die, overclocking may be limited compared to AM3, but if the potential is there, the BIOS can unlock it as it offers an excellent range of voltage and frequency control.

Our only real complaint is with regards to fan control. The board supports fan control for both 4-pin and 3-pin fans but the BIOS has no customization options, and only CPU fan's behavior can be altered in Gigabyte's EasyTune utility. The System fan runs at a constant 60% speed regardless of temperature. For Windows users this isn't a huge deal as SpeedFan can be used to take over and implement full control on both fan headers. However at this point of the game we expect more than rudimentary stock control.

Fan control aside, we feel the Gigabyte A75M-UD2H provides almost everything one would want in a mainstream motherboard without breaking the bank. In this regard it follows the same philosophy behind AMD's new line of APUs, a completely integrated experience with decent performance at a reasonable price.

Our thanks to Gigabyte
for the A75M-UD2H motherboard sample.

* * *

Articles of Related Interest

AMD A8-3850 Quad Core Desktop APU (updated July 10)

Asus P8H67-I Deluxe Mini-ITX Motherboard

Zotac H67-ITX: Sandy Bridge for Mini-ITX

Asus E35M1-M Pro: AMD Fusion Motherboard

Asus P8P67 and P8P67 Pro Motherboards

Gigabyte P67A-UD4 & Intel DP67BG P67 Motherboards

* * *

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