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Asus F2A55-M review

Chris Finnamore
29 Oct 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
63
inc VAT

A good-value FM2 board with some useful features, but you'll have to do without SATAIII

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Specifications

FM2, microATX, AMD A55 FCH chipset, supports: AMD 2nd gen A-series

The F2A55-M is the first motherboard we've seen with AMD's new FM2 socket. This socket is required for the second-generation AMD "Trinity" A-series processors, which replace the "Llano" chips we saw last year.

ASUS F2A55-M

This MicroATX board has the low-end AMD A55 chipset, which has certain limitations compared to the higher-spec A75 and A85X. Chief among these are the lack of native support for USB3 or SATAIII. Asus has got around the USB3 limitation with a third-party ASMedia controller, so you still get two USB3 ports on the rear of the motherboard alongside four USB2. There are no USB3 headers, though, so you won’t be able to connect up the USB3 front panel ports in some PC cases.

The lack of SATAIII is more of a problem. Although SATAII is quick enough for all mechanical hard disks, you need SATAIII to take full advantage of the quickest SSDs. For example, a Corsair Performance Series Pro SSD can write large files at 406MB/s when connected to SATAIII, but this drops to 298MB/s over SATAII.

ASUS F2A55-M

If you're going to stick to mechanical hard disks or cheaper SSDs, such as Crucial's made-for-SATAII V4 SSD, you'll be fine with the F2A55-M's six SATAII ports. You also get four memory slots for up to 64GB of DDR3 RAM. As it's a MicroATX motherboard there was never going to be that much room for expansion, but you do get a PCI slot and a PCI Express x1 slot, as well as two PCI Express x16 slots. The PCI Express x1 slot will be blocked if you fit a graphics card, however.

AMD's A-series processors have powerful built-in graphics chipsets, and the motherboard has VGA, DVI and HDMI outputs to take advantage of this. You can use all three ports to run three monitors at once. The HDMI port is limited to a resolution of 1,920x1,080 and the VGA plug maxes out at 1,920x1,600, but you can use the dual-link DVI port to run high-resolution screens at up to 2,560x1,600. The rear panel is well-equipped for sound, with six analogue outputs for up to 7.1 surround and an optical S/PDIF output for amplifiers without HDMI inputs.

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