ASUS F2A85-V PRO Motherboard Review
ASUS is known not only for their quality components, but also because of their feature rich packages that provide value unmatched by other manufacturers at times. The ASUS F2A85-V PRO is one such motherboard that throws a ton of features for a chipset meant for budget gaming or as an HTPC.
One of the most obvious things about the ASUS F2A85-V PRO is its focus on overclocking. We have their DIGI+ Power Control system which allows for efficient power delivery to the CPU and integrated GPU, as well as the memory when tweaking speed and voltage controls within the BIOS. Of course, the Auto Tuning software will give you a pre-defined overclock based on your CPU, so you don’t even have to worry about anything else. Still, the automatic overclock isn’t as aggressive as what custom tuning can achieve.
Another feature that’s becoming popular in most new motherboards is the ability to charge your devices even when the computer is turned off, not just in hibernation or sleep state. As such, ASUS promises 3x faster charging compared to normal USB trickle charge.
Another cool feature to touch upon is the Remote Go! Software which allows you to share files from your PC to DLNA devices over WiFi as well as Remote Desktop capability. It just streamlines the whole process of sharing media in your house without the need to dig deep into menus.
There are other helpful software that make tweaking the system a lot of fun, such as Fan Xpert2 and Network iControl and Turbo V, but of course one can completely ignore these, although that would sort of defeat the purpose of getting a board as feature rich as the ASUS F2A85-V PRO.
The basic Blue and Black theme of the F2A85-V PRO continues as it has in most of ASUS’ mainstream motherboards. The CPU area with its capacitors, VRMs and chokes is kept cool by the cool looking heatsink. Its minimal design, but useful if you’re planning to put a large (area) heatsink.
Expansion for graphics card is done via two PCIe Gen 2.0 x16 slots which can be setup in CrossFire, with support from LucidLogix Virtu MVP Technology as well.
To the right are 7x SATA III (6Gbps) ports with full support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD. Al little more towards the back you’ll see the Direct Key, which takes you directly to the UEFI BIOS without the need for holding the DEL key during startup. It’s extremely convenient during failed overclocks.
To the top we have the 4x DIMM slots which support up to 64GB DDR3-1866MHz memory, going up to speeds of 2400MHz when overclocked. The dual-channel architecture support AMD’s memory profile as well.
On the rear panel we have 2x USB 2.0 and 4x USB 3.0 ports in addition to an eSATA (6Gbps) port. For visual setup we have VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort, with audio coming from Optical S/PDIF and 6x 3.5mm surround sound jacks. The P/S2 connector and Realtek Gigabit LAN controller finish the panel.
For testing the ASUS F2A85-V PRO the following setup was used.
Overclocking the ASUS F2A85-V PRO was simply a matter of turning the CPU ratio up to x44 with voltage set to 1.5v and onboard GPU speed up to 1031MHz. Things went smoothly from there on, although any higher resulted in system crashes.
Starting the benchmarks are the two most popular data compression software: WinRAR and 7-zip. For both of these programs I have used the built-in benchmarking software. A higher score is better. Note: the new version of WinRAR (4.20) is used for this benchmark with makes more effecient used of multiple cores, hence the significant speed bump compared to the older version run on other motherboards.
The next test is Cinebench R11.5 wherein a 3D image is rendered using the CPU. This test stresses all the CPU cores, maximizing the threads. Results are given in points, the higher the better. The second test x264 HD 4.0 is a video encoding test in which a small HD video file is encoded in x264 format. The results are measured in frames per second, in that the faster a processor, the higher the fps.
PCMark 7 and Performance Test stress tests all the resources of a system. Since almost all the components in our testbed are one of the best in the market right now, the entirety of the performance will depend on how good our test motherboard is. As usual, the higher the score, the better.
3DMark 11 is an industry standard graphical benchmark, and while it mostly stresses the graphics card, the CPU is also highly stressed for specific tests. The higher the score, the better.
The ASUS F2A85-V PRO performs in line with other motherboards in this class. While there’s nothing remarkable about stock performance, it’s worth noting that overclocking the system was also very easy. Add to this the extra features coming exclusively from ASUS, and you’ll have a hard time picking something else. Still, the competition has a lot to offer, so at the end of the day you’ll need to see which of the extra features are worthwhile and what brand to go for.