ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 FM2 Motherboard

Posted by on Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 8:00am

The FM2A85X Extreme6 is the flagship motherboard from ASRock for the latest AMD APU products, which are based on the Piledriver core (updated Bulldozer architecture) and go under the codename of "Trinity". The motherboard is visually appealing to the eye and offers load of options from low wattage consumption to an 8+2 phase power configuration for increased stability while chasing down the higher overclocks. One impressive aspect about this particular ASRock flagship board, which we believe everyone in the market for a new Trinity-based system will love, is that the Extreme6 is being had for only $100 from Newegg!

ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 FM2 Motherboard Review

Introduction

We have seen the arrival of a new series of chipsets from AMD just recently, now dubbed simply an 'FCH', or Fusion Controller Hub (akin to Intel's 'PCH') . Codename "Hudson Dx", the series is split into four smaller divisions which will commonly we seen as A45, A55, A75 and the higher-end A85X. Each step up will in turn provide you with better and/or more of RAID, LAN, PCI, USB 3.0 and CrossFire support. Obviously, this does also reflect on the price of the motherboard showcasing these new arrivals.

ASRock's website list several motherboards utilizing three of the aforementioned chipsets, only the A45 is missing from the line-up. We could begin this segment with detailed reasons for why one would choose one chipset over another; however, with the A55 and A75 being essentially unchanged from the previous socket FM1 platform, we've opted to skip over those and focus on what the product in front of us features. What we will do is give you a rundown on the new FM2A85X Extreme6 that we have for review, and what the top end A85X it is packing will offer us all.

The FM2A85X Extreme6 is the flagship motherboard from ASRock for the latest AMD APU products, which are based on the Piledriver core (updated Bulldozer architecture) and go under the codename of "Trinity". The motherboard is visually appealing to the eye and offers load of options from low wattage consumption to an 8+2 phase power configuration for increased stability while chasing down the higher overclocks. One impressive aspect about this particular ASRock flagship board, which we believe everyone in the market for a new Trinity-based system will love, is that the Extreme6 is being had for only $100 from Newegg!

ASRock’s take on the FM2A85X Extreme6

If you weren't so sure about upgrading that old computer sitting in the corner covered with cobwebs, you can stop hesitating now. AMD's newest "Trinity" APUs have finally arrived! With more processing power and advanced onboard graphics, the new APU shows a lot of potential. In addition, the young and innovating company ASRock has exclusively brought a new auto overclocking function named "X-Boost" to all FM2 Series Motherboards, so users may have an extra 15.77% performance boost on the CPU! The FM2 Series starts with the most heavily armed FM2A85X Extreme6, which is equipped with Socket FM2, A85X (Hudson-D4) chipset, Premium Gold Caps, Digi Power, AMD Radeon HD 7000 series graphics and DirectX11.


Specifications

CPU

- Support for Socket FM2 100W processors
- Digi Power Design
- 8 + 2 Power Phase Design
- Supports AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
- UMI-Link GEN2

Chipset

- AMD A85X (Hudson-D4)

Memory

- Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
- 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR3 2600+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 64GB*
- Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2
- Supports AMD Memory Profile (AMP)
*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.

BIOS

- 64Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with GUI support
- Supports "Plug and Play"
- ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
- Supports jumperfree
- SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
- DRAM, APU PCIE VDDP, CPU and CPU NB/GFX Voltage Multi-adjustment

 Audio, Video and Networking

Graphics

- AMD Radeon HD 7000 series graphics
- DirectX 11, Pixel Shader 5.0
- Max. shared memory 2GB
- Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort
- Supports HDMI 1.4a Technology with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
- Supports Dual-link DVI with max. resolution up to 2560x1600 @ 75Hz
- Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 1920x1600 @ 60Hz
- Supports DisplayPort 1.2 with max. resolution up to 4096x2160 @ 30Hz
- Supports DP++
- Supports Multi-Streaming
- Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
- Supports Blu-ray Stereoscopic 3D with HDMI 1.4a
- Supports AMD Steady Video™ 2.0: New video post processing capability for automatic jutter reduction on home/online video
- Supports HDCP function with DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort ports
- Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback with DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort ports

Audio

- 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC898 Audio Codec)
- Premium Blu-ray audio support
- Supports THX TruStudio™

LAN

- PCIe x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Realtek RTL8111E
- Supports Wake-On-LAN
- Supports LAN Cable Detection
- Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
- Supports PXE

 Expansion / Connectivity

Slots

- 3 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (PCIE2/PCIE4: single at x16 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4), or dual at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4) ; PCIE5: x4 mode)
- 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
- 2 x PCI slots
- Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™, CrossFireX™ and Dual Graphics

Storage

- 7 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions

USB 3.0

- 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by AMD A85X (Hudson-D4), support USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
- 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by ASMedia ASM1042, support USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
- 1 x Front USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) by AMD A85X (Hudson-D4), supports USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s

Connector

- 7 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors
- 1 x IR header
- 1 x CIR header
- 1 x COM port header
- 1 x HDMI_SPDIF header
- 1 x Power LED header
- 1 x Chassis Intrusion header
- 2 x CPU Fan connectors (1 x 4-pin, 1 x 3-pin)
- 3 x Chassis Fan connectors (1 x 4-pin, 2 x 3-pin)
- 1 x Power Fan connector (3-pin)
- 24 pin ATX Motherboard power connector
- 8 pin 12V CPU power connector
- 1x XFire power connector
- 1x Front panel audio connector
- 3 x USB 2.0 headers (support 6 USB 2.0 ports)
- 1 x USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports)
- 1 x Dr. Debug with LED
- 1 x Power Switch with LED
- 1 x Reset Switch with LED

Rear Panel I/O

- 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
- 1 x D-Sub Port
- 1 x DVI-D Port
- 1 x HDMI Port
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
- 2 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
- 1 x eSATA3 Connector
- 4 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Ports
- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
- 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
- HD Audio Jack: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone

 Other Features / Miscellaneous

Unique Feature

- ASRock Extreme Tuning Utility (AXTU)
- ASRock Instant Boot
- ASRock Instant Flash
- ASRock APP Charger
- ASRock XFast USB
- ASRock XFast LAN
- ASRock XFast RAM
- ASRock Crashless BIOS
- ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard)
- ASRock Internet Flash
- ASRock UEFI System Browser
- ASRock Dehumidifier Function
- ASRock Easy RAID Installer
- ASRock Interactive UEFI
- ASRock Fast Boot
- ASRock X-Boost
- ASRock Restart to UEFI
- Lucid Virtu Universal MVP
- Hybrid Booster:
    - ASRock U-COP

*Lucid Virtu Universal MVP can be supported only with processors which are GPU integrated.
**LucidLogixVirtu MVP only supports Windows® 7 OS or later versions.

Support CD

- Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), AMD Live! Explorer, AMD Fusion, CyberLinkMediaEspresso 6.5 Trial, ASRock MAGIX Multimedia Suite - OEM, Google Chrome Browser and Toolbar

Accessories

- Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
- 4 x SATA Data Cables

Hardware Monitor

- CPU Temperature Sensing
- Chassis Temperature Sensing
- CPU/Chassis/Power Fan Tachometer
- CPU Quiet Fan
- CPU/Chassis Fan Multi-Speed Control
- CASE OPEN detection
- Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore

Form Factor

- ATX Form Factor
- Premium Gold Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)

OS

- Microsoft® Windows® 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit compliant

Certifications

- FCC, CE, WHQL
- ErP/EuP Ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)

Features

  • Support for Socket FM2 100W processors
  • Premium Gold Caps, Digi Power, 8 + 2 Power Phase Design
  • AMD A85X Hudson D4 Chipset Supports Native 8 x SATA3, 4 x USB 3.0 Ports
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 2600+(OC)
  • Supports Intel® XMP 1.3/1.2 and AMD Memory Profile
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™, CrossFireX™ and Dual Graphics
  • Built-in AMD Radeon HD 7000 series graphics, DX 11, PS 5.0
  • Multi VGA Output : D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC898 Audio Codec), Supports THX TruStudio™
  • Supports ASRock X-Boost, XFast 555, Fast Boot, Restart to UEFI, OMG, Dehumidifier, Easy RAID Installer, Interactive UEFI
  • Supports Lucid Virtu MVP, AMD Steady Video 2.0
  • Free Bundle : CyberLinkMediaEspresso 6.5 Trial, ASRock MAGIX Multimedia Suite, Google Chrome Browser and Toolbar

Closer look

The FM2A85X Extreme6 is one of three motherboards to be released by ASRock based on AMD’s newest A85X socket FM2 platform, also known as Hudson D4. This particular platform is meant to go directly with the new Trinity APU the A10-5800K Quad-Core, and so that is what we will be using in our testing.

The FM2A85X Extreme6 is a beautifully laid out ATX motherboard with everything integrated being placed on a dark brown PCB (which some may actually say is black). The accents come in the form of the black slots and gold capacitors, with a touch of the purpleish-gray that the solid chokes lend.

ASRock uses an 8+2 power phase arrangement for the APU, with digital PWM adjustment, providing 6 phases for the CPU portion with the +2 supplying the iGPU and IMC. The phase is designed to deliver quality and ample power to get a high level of stable overclocking from the whole APU package.

The area around the socket is well laid out to where you should have no issues installing any size air-cooler. The only potential clearance issue that may arise would be from the lone VRM heat sink. Like we stated earlier the board is designed to be used with AMD FM2 processors which would include the following:

CPU

Speed (GHz)

Turbo (GHz)

Watts

Cores

GPU

A10—5800K

3.8

4.2

100

4

7660D

A10-5700

3.4

4.0

65

4

7660D

A8-5600K

3.6

3.9

100

4

7560D

A8-5500

3.2

3.7

65

4

7560D

A6-5400K

3.6

3.8

65

2

7540D

A4-5300

3.4

3.6

65

2

7480D

The Extreme6 uses a single 8-pin EPS for APU power delivery, fairly SOP these days. Fan connectivity comes by way of four 3-pin headers and has a total of six fan headers with four using 3-pins and two using 4-pin PWN. For a little extra stability to the PCIe lane's power supply, ASRock has included a standard 4-pin Molex connector above the first x1 PCIe slot.

One of the things we have been waiting for Intel to do, something that AMD has had for awhile, is to offer more than two SATA-III 6Gb/s ports. AMD has now implemented a total of eight of these ports into their A85X FCH, up two from the A75 which was top dog of the Llano series. Seven of them are location on the edge of the board in the image below with one residing in the I/O area of the board for eSATA, no additional third party add-in chips necessary for all of this SATA-III lovin'. All ports support RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10, along with Hot-Plug capability.

Just like the SATA controller the, PCI lanes are also controlled by the A85X and are still natively supported on all desktop FCH models . In the case of the FM2A85X there are three x16 length slots, with only the first operating at full x16 bandwidth when a single card is installed. When a second card is installed these changes to x8/x8. The last and final slot operates at x4 regardless, as you can see in the picture being only electrically x4. There are also two of each PCIe x1 and standard PCI slots.

The APU processors natively support memory frequencies up to 1866MHz (with the exception of the A4-5300's DDR3-1600), but the motherboard itself supports frequencies of up to DDR3-2600 when overclocking. There are a total of four DIMM slots for a total support 64 GB of memory. [Editor's Note: Please keep in mind that in order to utilize 64GB of memory that not only will you need an x64 flavor of OS, but also a non-Home edition. Win7 Home-Professional can only utilize a maximum of 16GB and Home-Basic just 8GB, a far cry short of 64GB. Win8 is 128GB in the base version, 512GB in the Pro and Enterprise. See: Here for the limitations on all past and present Windows OSes.  And now you know...yadda-yadda... G.I. JJOOEEEEE!!] 

Like any good enthusiast motherboard, the FM2A85X has an integrated power and reset switch right on the PCB. Good for those that likes to test in the open air. Of even more use, the clr_CMOS also is button resettable, and is located on the back panel as you can see on the last picture. An additional worthy note is that ASRock has kept the extreme-cooling enthusiasts in mind as well, providing a socketed BIOS to easily swap in different chips for your convenience.

  • 1x PS/2 Combo
  • 6x USB ports (4x USB3.0, A85X & ASMedia ASM1042)
  • 1x eSATA3 6Gb/s
  • 1x LAN port (Realtek RTL8111E)
  • 7.1 channel audio (Realtek ALC898)
  • 4x Graphic ports (DVI, VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort)
  • clr CMOS (Red LED illuminated)


Testing Setup

Test Hardware:
1. ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6
2. AMD A10-5800K Processor
3. Kingston HyperX 1866 DDR3 8GB (9-11-9)
4. Kingston V+ 200 120GB Solid State Drive
5. ASUS BC12B1LT BD-Rom Drive
6. Thermaltake Frio Extreme CPU Cooler
7. Microcool Banchetto 101 Open Air Test Bench
8. Silverstone Strider Gold Evolution 850W Power Supply
9. ASUS Nvidia GTX 560Ti 448 Graphic Card

Test Software:

Super PI Modded 1.5
Geekbench 2.3.1
SiSoftware Sandra 2013 19.11
Finalwire AIDA64 Extreme Edition 2.70
Cinebench 11.5
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2
TechARP x264 HD V5.0.1
Futuremark PCMark Vantage v1.0.2
Futuremark 3DMark 11 v1.0.3
Unigine Heaven 3.0
505 Games Sniper Elite V2
Flying Wild Hog Hard Reset

CPU-Z CPU and Mainboard detection.


BIOS

 


Overclocking Results

 


Results

Futuremark PCMark Vantage v1.0.2
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

SiSoftware Sandra 2013
We are pleased to announce the launch of SiSoftware Sandra 2013, the latest version of our award-winning utility, which includes remote analysis, benchmarking and diagnostic features for PCs, servers, mobile devices and networks. At SiSoftware we strive to ensure that we give our users the best software experience. We observe the industry, try to predict where trends are going, but more than that: we also come up with new ideas on how to measure performance. SiSoftware works with all major hardware vendors to ensure we can accurately measure, report and present performance in the most accurate and informative way. 

Super PI Modded 1.5
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr.Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.


Geekbench 2.3.1
Geekbench provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. Designed to make benchmarks easy to run and easy to understand, Geekbench takes the guesswork out of producing robust and reliable benchmark results.

AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50
FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises.
The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and nVIDIA graphics processors.

Cinebench 11.5
CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.


CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2
Measures hard drive disk performance.

TechARP X264 HD V5.0.1
x264 HD Benchmark is a benchmark that allows you to measure how fast your PC can encode a 1080p video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It allows for an easy comparison because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The x264 video encoder has a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make the x264 HD Benchmark an ideal tool in comparing the video encoding performance of different processors and systems.

Futuremark 3DMark 11 v1.0.3
3DMark 11 is a DirectX 11 video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC's gaming performance. 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of DirectX 11 features including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.


Unigine Heaven 3.0
Heaven Benchmark is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on advanced UNIGINE™ engine. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. Interactive mode provides emerging experience of exploring the intricate world of steampunk.

505 Games Sniper Elite V2
Sniper Elite V2 features detailed sniping simulation with advanced ballistics, taking into account gravity, wind, velocity, bullet penetration, aim stability and more. Guaranteed to provide players with the most realistic simulation of military sharpshooting yet available.

Flying Wild Hog Hard Reset
The world as we know it ceased to exist. Humanity is at the verge of extinction, living in the last closed city of Bezoar. Mankind wages war against the machines controlling vast areas of what became the 'Barrens'. Machines want to control and assimilate 'The Sanctuary' a network that holds billions of digitalized human minds. Our hero, Maj. Fletcher, is a soldier of CLN - a corporation combat unit, established to protect the city. Machines are constantly assaulting the walls of Bezoar. Fletcher moves in when Bezoar's protective barrier is breached.


Conclusion

It’s nice to see that someone cared enough to build an enthusiast-grade motherboard for those sitting on a budget. ASRock has provided all the ins and outs of a very solid overclocking motherboard for the budget-minded AMD APU processors. The Extreme6 not only provide for good overclocking with its stable 8+2 phase power configuration but has all the extras as well. We are talking numerous USB 3.0 and SATA III ports along with support for CrossFire, and even TriFire setups (albeit with the third card limited to PCIe x4).

Not only does the board have nice features, it looks great inside the case and on top of that is rather well laid out. In today's market, you not only have to perform well, but also look good doing it. The FM2A85X Extreme6 shares the same basic visuals of ASRock’s other higher-end motherboards. There is plenty of space between the PCIe slots for video cards, and if the user decides to use a dedicated audio solution then there is an x1 slot that will remain open even in CrossFire configurations. In the end we are talking good air flow between the cards.

The only thing I saw out of place was the CLR CMOS jumpers on the board itself. They are place just along the second PCIe slot making it difficult to get to should you need, but on the flip side, ASRock have provided you with the rear-mounted button on the I/O panel. The onboard power and reset buttons are great for use by open-air benchers.

At $100 this motherboard when mated with any of the Trinity APUs is one heck of a deal. We do prefer the A10-5800K for it's unlocked multiplier, but also for the higher Turbo frequency and GPU clocks. However, for about $20 less you can pick up it's quad-core sibling, the A8-5600K, still get a great overclocking experience.

     

{aseadnetadblock|ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6|ASRock FM2}

 

Category: