ECS Rolls Out First Socket FM2 Motherboard – A85F2-A Deluxe
ECS jumped the gun with launching its socket FM2 motherboard, the Black Series A85F2-A Deluxe. The motherboard seats AMD's next-generation "Trinity" accelerated processing units (APUs) in the FM2 package, and is based on the new AMD A85 FCH chipset.
The A85F2-A Deluxe from ECS is the industry's first socket FM2 motherboard to be officially launched. The launch comes ahead of Computex 2012, where socket FM2 motherboards from various vendors will be exhibited. The FM2 platform seats second-generation "Trinity" accelerated processing units (APUs) from AMD, which are based on a combination of its new "Piledriver" x86 micro-architecture for the CPU component, and VLIW4 architecture for the Radeon GPU component. The A85F2-A Deluxe is based on a new chipset by AMD, the A85 FCH (Fusion Controller Hub).
The A85F2-A Deluxe is a standard ATX motherboard, which builds on the feature-set of the A85 FCH. The FM2 APU is powered by a 4+1 phase VRM. The VRM utilizes ECS' Super Alloy chokes. The MOSFETs, probably conventional DPAK, are cooled by a chunky gold-colored heatsink. The CPU VRM draws power from an 8-pin EPS connector. The FM2 APU is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, which support up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory, with speeds as high as DDR3-2600 MHz, made possible with overclocking; and two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots. The topmost of the two is electrical x16 capable, while the other is x8 capable, borrowing 8 lanes from its neighbouring slot. AMD CrossFireX is supported, so is Hybrid CrossFire, which allows you to run a compatible mid-range Radeon HD 7000 series graphics card in tandem with the APU's integrated graphics core. Other expansion slots include three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, and two legacy PCI.
There are a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s on the A85F2-A Deluxe, seven of which are assigned as internal ports, and one eSATA. Apart from IDE and AHCI, the A85 SATA controller supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes. The board also has a total of six USB 3.0 ports, four of which are located on the rear panel, and two are given out through a standard front-panel header. The APU-integrated graphics controller gives out display through a range of display output connectors, including DVI, D-Sub, HDMI, and DisplayPort. The new platform supports triple-monitor Eyefinity for productivity. 8+1 channel HD audio (VIA-made CODEC), and gigabit Ethernet (Realtek-made PHY), make for the rest of it.
ECS will likely target a sub-$150 (US) price point with the A85F2-A Deluxe. It will be available when the platform launches, a little later this quarter.
In related news, previous-generation A75 and A55 FCH chipsets are compatible with socket FM2 APUs, and ECS plans to launch a number of value FM2 socket motherboards based on them, namely, A75F2-A2, A75F2-M2, A55F2-A2, A55F2-M3.