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Gigabyte A75-UD4H FM1 Motherboard Preview

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Before the release of any new platform, we usually get a sudden rush of motherboards being sent our way. The upcoming introduction and availability of AMD’s Lynx platform has been no different since motherboard manufacturers have been anxious to support what should be a highly appealing mainstream socket.

The Fusion architecture has been talked about for years now, but it has only been within the last few months that we’ve finally been able to see the fruits of AMD’s labor. This was accomplished through the introduction of Accelerated Processing Units, or APUs. An APU combines standard CPU cores with some high performance graphics capabilities for a better all-round computing experience.

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The APUs available were the highly regarded Ontario and Zacate chips which formed the Brazos platform’s heart. These dwarf-sized processors were targeted towards entry-level consumers, small form factor PCs and lower-end notebooks / netbooks.

AMD’s next APU lineup was once again focused upon the mobile computing market and on June 14th the Llano architecture with the Sabine platform was launched. Unlike the Brazos platform, Sabine will be available on mid-range and slightly higher-end notebooks while still retaining excellent battery life. We’ll have more information in some upcoming notebook reviews rather than trying to glean performance from a test mule system.

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The highest rung on the current APU ladder is the Lynx platform which consists of the A8, A6, A4 and E2 branded processors along with the A75 and A55 motherboards. This platform is being used as the Llano architecture’s gateway into the desktop market and it uses a new socket called FM1. Since there’s an embargo for the next few weeks, we can’t reveal much more at this point but let’s just say prices for the boards and their associated processors are very, very reasonable. Performance? Well, we’ll just have to see…

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For the time being, we will be looking at Gigabyte’s first A75 motherboard: the A75-UD4H. At launch, this will be their most feature-rich FM1-based product but it should retail for under $120. What does that svelte price get you? Let’s take a look…
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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A Closer Look at the Gigabyte A75-UD4H

A Closer Look at the Gigabyte A75-UD4H


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While Gigabyte’s A75 and A55 motherboards will span the mATX and even mini-ITX ends of the spectrum, the UD4H sticks with a standard ATX form factor. Unlike some of their other boards, we can also see that Gigabyte has decided to stick with their usual blue and white colour scheme this time.

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The FM1 socket and its retention bracket are placed on an area of the board that is reasonably clear of obstacles which should make mounting heatsinks easy. We can also see that the large square AM2/AM3 heatsink bracket we’re all used to seeing has been replaced with the FM1’s two individual brackets.

AMD’s reference spec for these boards includes an 8-pin power connector for A8 processor compatibility since some of the higher-end Llano chips will hit and possibly exceed the 100W threshold. To cope with the possibility of overclocking adding more power draw on top of the 100W TDP, Gigabyte has used an 8+2 phase power distribution grid for their A75-UD4H.


What’s this? Pictures of an almost three year old heatsink in the preview of an unreleased motherboard? No, this isn’t a cruel joke but rather a demonstration that any AM2, AM3 or AM3+ compatible heatsink will fit like a glove onto the FM1’s retention brackets….even an old but still fully functional Arctic Cooling Alpine 64. So anyone upgrading their older AMD system shouldn’t worry about buying a new heatsink or expensive and very rare stand-alone adaptors.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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12,841
Location
Montreal
An Even Closer Look at the Gigabyte A75-UD4H

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One of the primary marketing shticks that Gigabyte uses for this board is “Super 4”. Super 4 consists of four (no really?) separate features on this board and before we go on, please remember that it wasn’t us that came up these names…

“Super Safe” encompasses the fail-safe features on this board like Dual 16MB BIOS chips, separate fuses for each individual USB port and long life solid capacitors. “Super Savings” refers to the supposed efficiency energy and thermal efficiency of the Lower RSD (on) MOSFET designs used on the UD4H, while “Super Speed” denotes this board’s Ultra Durable 3 design elements and USB Power Boost capabilities. Finally, the 108dB SNR lossless audio playback and Dolby Home Theater certification make up the “Super Sound” moniker.

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The I/O connectors on the board itself and the backplate are complete to say the least. Internal connectors include five native SATA 6Gbps ports and pin-outs for four front-panel USB 3.0 (through a pair of onboard controller chips) and eight USB 2.0 ports.

The backplate connector holds a number of surprises like four USB 3.0 ports which are natively supported by the A75 chipset rather than third-party controllers. There is also a DVI output that supports a resolution of 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz, unlike the DVI output on the Intel’s new Z68 boards which only supports 1920 x 1200. Aside from these two stand-outs, there are also outputs for HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort, VGA, toslink HD audio and 8-channel individual analog audio. There are also two USB 2.0 ports, an IEEE 1934 connector, a LAN jack and a PS/2 keyboard / mouse port. All in all, there’s really nothing else that someone could want from a sub-$150 board.

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The expansion slot layout on the UD4H is generous to say the least. There is a pair of x16 PCI-E slots, with plenty of space between them, which feature 2-Way CrossFire support through an x8 / x8 link when two AMD cards are installed. All A75 and A55 boards also have some additional graphics features which stem from a joining of the A-series onboard graphics processor and some lower-end AMD GPUs, but we’ll talk about that in detail within the Lynx platform review. SLI certification hasn’t been granted yet for the A75 chipset, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the future. There are also three PCI-E x1 slots placed above and between the primary graphics slots, and a pair of legacy PCI slots closer to the PCB’s lower edge.


So that wraps up our whirlwind tour around the Gigabyte A75-UD4H. At first glance it looks like a well-rounded, budget-friendly board that will go very well with AMD’s plans for the Lynx platform.

And to throw a wrench into the works and confuse you a bit before we sign off from this quick preview…here is the full Gigabyte FM1 motherboard lineup consisting of both ATX and mATX products:

 
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