Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H review
The GA-A75M-UD2H is the first Micro-ATX socket FM1 motherboard we've seen, and is suitable for building a compact PC based on an AMD Llano processor. It's around £20 more expensive than most Micro ATX Llano motherboards, but has an impressive specification and plenty of overclocking options.
The rear panel has every connector you could need; there's a PS/2 port for either a keyboard or mouse, four USB2 and two USB3, FireWire and eSATA. You have six analogue audio outputs for a 7.1 PC speaker system and optical S/PDIF to connect to a surround sound amplifier, as well as VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs to let you connect to any kind of monitor. You can use two of these video ports at once - we had no problems connecting a DVI and an HDMI monitor at the same time, or a DVI and VGA model.
If your case has the necessary connectors, you can add a further four USB2 ports and two USB3 using the headers on the motherboard, or even connect COM and Parallel port brackets to the legacy headers if you have some really old peripherals. You don’t get an IDE port for older hard disks and optical drives, but there are five SATA3 connectors for more modern models, and there's support for RAID 0, 1 and 10.
The main impact of the motherboard's smaller size is that there are fewer expansion slots; there's only a single PCI slot, and the PCI Express x1 slot will be blocked by a dual-slot graphics card. However, there is a second PCI Express x16 slot, which will accept a second graphics card in CrossFire mode or a PCI Express x1 or x4 card.
Along with its comprehensive expansion options, you're also paying a premium for the UD2H's overclocking capabilities. You may get a normal BIOS rather than the fancier UEFI, but everything you need to adjust the processor multiplier, bus and memory speeds and processor, chipset and memory voltages is there. AMD's Llano processors won't let you increase the multiplier, but the UD2H lets you decrease it; this means you can increase the system's bus while tweaking the multiplier to get the processor running at just the speed you want.
We managed to get the system stable with a stock AMD cooler with the bus speed increased from 100MHz to 120MHz, which increased the speed of our reference AMD A8-3850 processor from 2.9GHz to 3.48GHz. This led to our memory running at 1,600MHz, but if your RAM isn’t rated so highly you can adjust its multiplier separately to clock it down a few steps. The overclock led to an increase in our benchmarks from 66 overall to 78 - an increase of 15%, and a great result for a £100 chip. It also increased gaming performance from the A8-3850's integrated graphics; after the overclock, we saw a smooth 36.1fps in Dirt 3 at 1,920x1,080 and Medium detail settings, compared to 29.8fps at the processor's stock speeds.
Gigabyte's GA-A75M-UD2H is a fairly expensive socket FM1 board, but it's still great value; fast and with an impressive specification and overclocking abilities. If you're looking for a basis for a fast AMD Llano PC, it's a great buy.
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