Asus F2A85-V Pro A85X Motherboard Review with AMD A10-5800K APU
Published on July 11th, 2013
When building a gaming PC or an all purpose system, you need to choose the right motherboard and the right processor that would fit your needs. But there are tons of motherboard out there and different processors to choose from. If you have to money to spend, it’s easy, you always have the option to buy the best that the market can offer. But what if your on a budget and you need to decide carefully? What if you are looking for a motherboard and a processor that is not entry level, and can handle what a PC enthusiast or a Gamer on budget throws at it. Today, let’s take a look at Asus’ mid-range motherboard, the Asus F2A85-V Pro, based on AMD A85X FCH Hudson D4 chipset, with socket FM2 supporting A-Series processors. And also a mid-range processor, the AMD A10-5800K APU, with builtin AMD Radeon HD 7660D.
The Asus F2A85-V Pro A85X FM2 Motherboard
First, let’s take a look at the motherboard itself. The Asus F2A85-V Pro is one of the more popular boards introduced last year, together with the AMD Trinity APUs (CPUs with builtin GPUs). It is based on AMD A85X FCH chipset and supports Socket FM2-based A-Series processors, up to 4 cores and Turbo Core 3.0 technology. It has four DIMM slots that supports Dual Channel memory up to 64GB.
The Asus F2A85-V Pro doesn’t have an integrated graphics processor, instead it makes use of the integrated graphics processors from the A Series processors. It also supports multiple-GPU in up to 3-Way CrossFireX, and it also has LucidLogix Virtu MVP Technology (the same software seen in Intel Z68 motherboards).
If you are familiar with LucidLogix Virtu MVP or Lucid Virtu MVP, it’s a software that basically improves the overall graphics performance of your system. It boosts responsiveness to the game at any frame rate, improves gaming frame rates 30-70%, increases Vsync frame rates – up to 120 FPS and beyond and, sharpens visual quality without tearing. If you are not satisfied with your gaming or multimedia experience, specially if your not using a high performance or high end graphics card, I suggest you try to make use of this feature and see if there is an improvement. Although setting it up can be a little bit tricky.
The Asus F2A85-V Pro features Dual Intelligent Processors 3 with New DIGI+ Power Control, giving you complete control and monitoring of your system. It also has Direct Key, a dedicated button at access the BIOS directly. Then there’s also the USB BIOS Flashback, Fan Xpert 2, USB Charger+, USB 3.0 Boost, Network iControl and many more. The F2A85-V Pro is also Windows 8 ready, meaning you can run Windows 8 operating system without any problems at all.
Below is a complete and detailed specifications of the Asus F2A85-V Pro motherboard.
Asus F2A85-V Pro Specifications
[table id=78 /]
Packaging and A Closer Look
The packaging of the Asus F2A85-V Pro is just the same with other entry level to mid level motherboards from Asus. The board itself is protected by an anti static wrapping, and underneath the board are the accessories; which include manuals, Drivers, SATA cables, pin connectors and I/O back plate. By the way, Asus’ I/O back plates are better compared to other brands out there. They are not all metal anymore, and the holes or ports are properly labeled.
And finally we see the full ATX F2A85-V Pro motherboard in Blue-White-Black color scheme. This is the same color scheme used by Asus with this generation of boards, except for the ROG and TUF series.
From a quick glance of the board, you will notice a heat pipe that connects the MOSFET heatsink down to the heatsink of the AMD X85X FCH chipset. This is not new, since heat pipes were already used before by other board manufacturers like Gigabyte and XFX. But it does help distribute heat from one heatsink to another, thus getting rid of the heat faster.
In the I/O panel of the Asus F2A85-V Pro, you will see one PS/2 port for either a mouse or keyboard, a couple of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, 1xOptical S/PDIF out, DVI and D-Sub ports, DisplayPort and HDMI ports, an eSATA port, a LAN port, and audio ports.
The Asus F2A85-V Pro doesn’t have SATA 3Gbps ports anymore, instead you will see 7x SATA 6Gbps ports, which I think is a good thing. The SATA ports are already backwards compatible, so you won’t be needing them anyway.
There are also several switches and buttons like the DirectKey button, MemOK, TPU and EPU switches and others as mentioned in the specifications table above. But the problem here is that these buttons and switches have a small (if not very small) labels. So you might need to look at the motherboard carefully. Unlike with ROG or high-end models where you can easily see the OC button and dedicated power buttons.
The Asus F2A85-V Pro has three PCI Express 2.0 x16, and supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX. However, you can only maximize the x16 speed with a single card, and you get x8 for dual GPU. Whereas the third PCI Expree 2.0 x16 slot is just x4 mode. There’s also two PCIE 2.0 x1 for components like sound cards, and two PCI slots.
On the right side of the Socket FM2 are four DIMM slots that support DDR3 dual channel memory, and you can install up to 64GB in total capacity. Supported memory speeds starts from 1066MHz up to 2400MHz in overclock mode.
The Asus F2A85-V Pro has a socket FM2 and supports Athlon series processors and A-Series processor (the A6, A8 and A10). For this review, we will be using the A10-5800K quad core APU, although the A10-6800K would be a better pair.
Asus F2A85-V Pro UEFI BIOS
Since the born of the UEFI or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface BIOS, I haven’t seen an Asus board that uses the old-fashioned BIOS these days. The ASUS UEFI BIOS is very user friendly and consist of an EZ (easy) mode and Advance mode. Overclockers and system tweakers are very much familiar with this environment since they visit this regularly.
In the UEFI BIOS Utility EZ Mode, you can see a summary of the system. You can see the CPU and motherboard’s temperature, voltage, clock speed, as well as fan speeds. From the EZ mode you can also set your system to run in a power saving mode, normal or overclocked. The overclocked will just set the CPU to Turbo Boost. You can also easily assign the boot priority just dragging the drive’s icon.
If you want more options and advance tweaking, you definitely want to visit the Advance mode by pressing F7 or Esc then select Advance mode from the dialogue box. In the Advance Mode, there are six main sections – Main, Ai Tweaker, Advance, Monitor, Boot and Tool.
The Main section will give you a detailed information of your system, as well as security. Nothing much to do here. The Ai Tweaker and the Advanced section is where the real action happens. From these menus and its submenu you can fully customize or tweak your system. These two are the menus that you will definitely visit specially when you are overclocking your system.
The Monitor portion will give you a detailed reading of the temperature, fan speed, voltage, and control your Fans from there. In the Boot Menu, this is where you will set your hard drives and the primary drive to boot. You will also have control on how your system will boot from here. And lastly, we have the Tool Menu. This is were you can save your OC profile, or flash your BIOS using the EZ Flash utility. There’s also the Asus SPD Information that gives you information about the JEDEC and profile SPD tables, similar to what you will see in CPU-Z.
Asus F2A85-V Pro Bundled Software
The Asus F2A85-V Pro also features some useful tools and software included in the Driver CD. Most of these software are for connectivity options and real time system monitoring. You can also set how fast or energy saving your system will be from one of these bundled software. You can also overclock your CPU from these tool. Check out the gallery below, I have taken screenshots of each of the bundled software.
The bundled software are just optional, you may or may not install them. But I would recommend that you install them since most of them are handy mini tools.
Testing the Asus F2A85-V Pro
Moving on, to test the Asus F2A85-V Pro, we are going to power it with AMD A10-5800K APU, a processor with built in graphics processor. I also tested the board and the CPU’s performance together with an Asus GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II (non Ti version), just to have a performance comparison in terms of the gaming capabilities of the A10-5800K.
Just to give you a little background on the processor, the AMD A10-5800K is a socket FM2 Quad Core APU (CPU + GPU), clocked at 3.8GHz and has a turbo speed of 4.2GHz, TDP of 100W, and with DirectX 11 Graphics AMD Radeon HD 7660D (clocked at 800MHz) in one chip. It is based on “Trinity” technology, the predecessor of the recently released “Richland” APUs.
Meanwhile the Asus GeForce GTX 660 is a mid range graphics card, featuring 2GB of GDDR5, GPU clock of 980-1033MHz, 960 CUDA Cores, memory clock of 6008MHz (1502 MHz GDDR5 effective), 192-bit memory interface, and fully supports DirectX 11.1.
Just some notes about this test. In all the tests conducted, I set the APU’s clock speed to 4.3GHz (its Turbo Boost speed), via the EZ menu in the UEFI BIOS. The EPU is also activated, that’s why the clock speed goes down to 1.4GHz after it has done its calculations. All things set to default including the GTX 660.
I haven’t pushed the processor or overclock it since I do not have a proper CPU cooler for the socket FM2 APUs. You might be thinking that I have installed a third party heatsink, but the Megashadow is for Intel Socket 1366, 1156 and 1155 only. I don’t have a mounting kit for socket FM2. What I did was just placed the Megashadow on top of the CPU without and brackets.
I didn’t risk overclocking it since, there was no proper and secure contact between the APU and the heatsink. I might fry the APU accidentally during the test. So for now, the test was limited to Turbo Boost speed only.
In summary, below is the setup:
- Motherboard: Asus F2A85-V Pro
- CPU: AMD A10-5800K APU
- CPU Cooler: Megashadow with Corsair SP120 Fan
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB
- Graphics Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II 2GB (with and without)
- Hard Drive: 1TB WD Blue
- PSU: Corsair HX650
Benchmarking Tools Used:
- 3DMark 11 Advance Edition (with and without GTX 660)
- Cinebench (with and without GTX 660)
- NovaBench (with and without GTX 660)
- Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn (with and without GTX 660)
- WPrime (without GTX 660)
Asus F2A85-V Pro Benchmarks
The 3DMark 11 gave a score of P1604 for the A10-5800K APU alone, and jumped to P5474 when I paired it with the GTX 660. In Cinebench I got 36.74 fps and 3.42 pts for the OpenGL and CPU score respectively, without the GTX 660. The OpenGL score increased to 44.64 fps when I used the GTX 660, but there was only a slight increase in the CPU to 3.44 pts.
The NovaBench Benchmark tool gave the system a score of 744 for the APU only and a score of 1251 with the GTX 660. In wPrime, it was able to finish the 32M test in 16.445 seconds, APU is clocked at 4.3GHz and without the aid of GTX 660.
I used the Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn benchmark tool to test its gaming capabilities. At 1280×720 resolution, the APU only scored 2319 only, good for standard gaming performance. But paired with the GTX 660, the score increased to 8160, and is capable of high performance gaming.
Now, what do these scores tells us about the Asus F2A85V-Pro? The benchmark results will change and vary depending on the CPU an GPU installed in the motherboard. The motherboard won’t produce a good score if the other main components are not good performers as well.
The AMD A10-5800K APU alone, is capable of running games from simple to mid range games. You might be able to install and play games like Battlefield 4, but you will have to set the settings to a lower value to have a decent and playable frame rate. But I’m not really sure if this can handle Crysis 2 and 3. Perhaps you can install the game, but the gaming experience would be very very bad, or not playable at all.
But, by combining the Asus F2A85-V Pro and AMD A10-5800K, together with a discrete graphics card, like the mid-range Asus GeForce GTX 660, gaming experience was significantly improved. Thus you are able to do more and play more, even in high or maximum settings of the game.
Final Thoughts About the Asus F2A85-V Pro
The Asus F2A85-V Pro is a great mid range motherboard, considering that it will only cost you around $130 USD. You have all the necessary features and connectivity options, as well as overclocking capabilities from this mid range motherboard, without spending too much. Paired with a budget friendly APU like the A10-5800K ($122.68 here), you get a decent gaming setup. But if you can stretch your budget a little more, I would recommend that you get the AMD A10-6800K “Richland” APU ($149.29 here). You will get better gaming experience with that APU compared to the 5800K. Locally, the Asus F2A85-V Pro would only cost you Php 6,500 and the A10-5800K Php 5,500. Those are the cheapest prices I could find.
I can understand why Asus didn’t include some features like dual x16 speeds on CrossFireX configurations, dedicated Power Reset and OC buttons, support for both CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU, and other perks that you would find in a high end motherboard, like the Asus M5A99X EVO or Crosshair V Formula. This is to keep the cost at an affordable level, without sacrificing the key features that most of us are looking for.
If you are on a budget and you need a fully featured ATX motherboard, this setup would be a great option for you. If the graphics processing power of the APU is not enough for you, you can spend a little more on a mid-range graphics card. An Intel Quad Core setup would definitely cost you more than this setup. Thus, I would recommend the Asus F2A85-V Pro to Gamers and PC Enthusiasts who are in a budget.