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Gigabyte F2A55M-HD2 review

Katharine Byrne
21 Mar 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
54
inc VAT

You’ll have to make do without SATA3 and USB3, but this FM2 is still quick and useful if you're building a tiny PC

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Specifications

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

The F2A55M-HD2 is a tiny AMD FM2 microATX board that's skinnier than most boards designed to this standard. Which is probably why it's also comparatively cheap, compared to the competition.

Part of the low price though is accounted for by the budget A55 chipset, which makes some compromises compared to more expensive boards. In particular, there's no USB3 support (header or rear ports) and there are only SATA2 ports for storage. While the four SATA2 ports should provide enough storage, you won't be able to run an SSD at full speed, which is a bit disappointing.

Gigabyte F2A55M-HD2

There are just two DIMM slots for memory. Gigabyte states that motherboard will support up to 64GB of RAM, via two 32GB DIMMS. Given that this will cost over £1,000 in today's prices, you're more likely to install 4GB or 8GB of RAM. This should be fine for the type of PC you're likely to build with this motherboard and you can always replace RAM should you want to upgrade at a later date.

Aside from those limitations, the motherboard is otherwise quite well stocked given its small size. At the back there are four USB ports, three 3.5mm audio jacks, Gigabit Ethernet and a legacy PS/2 port. For the processor's integrated graphics, there are three outputs: VGA, DVI-D and HDMI, so there's plenty of choice for running any monitor.

Gigabyte F2A55M-HD2

If you'd prefer to add a graphics card, there's a PCI-E x16 slot. Install a card in here will block the PCI-E x1 slot, although there's still a PCI slot for older expansion cards that will remain free.

While the F2A55M-HD2 feels like a slight compromise on features, it certainly won’t slow down your CPU. With an AMD A10-5800K processor and 4GB of 1,600MHz DDR3, our benchmarks returned a score of 64 overall, which is exactly what we’d expect to see from this processor. If you want to get more out of your processor, Gigabyte's UEFI BIOS gives you full overclocking control, even though the interface is a bit clunky.

Gigabyte F2A55M-HD2

In terms of performance the F2A55M-HD2 does well and lets you get the most of your processor. It also has a decent range of expansion options, but the lack of SATA3 and USB3 is disappointing in this day and age. Given that you'll need a very specific tiny case for this motherboard, we think you're better off buying a traditional microATX motherboard with more features. The Gigabyte F2A85XM-D3H is only a little bit more expensive, but has all of the features you could want. It's the better choice for most people.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Processor socketFM2
Form factormicroATX
Size225x174mm
Processor supportAMD 2nd gen A-series
Processor external bus100MHz (HyperTransport)
Chipset north bridgeAMD A55
Chipset south bridgeAMD A55
Passively-cooled north bridgeyes
Integrated graphicsYes
Supported memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory speedPC3-15000
Memory slots2
Maximum memory64GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information

Price£54
Supplierhttp://www.technextday.co.uk
Detailswww.giga-byte.com

Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots1
Dual graphics architecturenone
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots1
PCI slots1
Fan headers2
Floppy ports0
IDE ports0
Serial ATA ports4
RAID chipset (max disks)AMD A55 (RAID 0, 1, 10, JBOD)

Features

Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC887 (optical S/PDIF, 3x analogue)
USB2 ports / headers4/2
Firewire ports / headers0/0
Legacy portsPS/2
Other portsnone
Cables included2x SATA
Brackets includednone
Software includedNorton Internet Security (OEM)

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/chipset
CPU clock max adjustmentN/A

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