Which A88X-Based Board Should You Buy For Your Kaveri APU?

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gadgety

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To me the point of Kaveri is great graphics in a small package, thus the MB would have to be as small as possible. M-ITX is currently the smallest. Someone should bring out a NUC sized board for the Kaveri.
 

ta152h

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The IO device is called PS/2, not P/S 2. It stands for Personal System/2, the IBM product line from 1987. Also, there's a chance there's a big performance gain from Catalyst 14.2, instead of 14.1. Another site did benchmarks comparing 13.6 and 14.2, and the difference was dramatic. It most likely was the somewhere in the 13.6 to 14.1 range, though. I thought the days of one motherboard having significantly faster memory timings than the other died with the IMCs. After being shocked at the horrible performance of the Kaveri, and the almost complete failure of it, between the driver update, and advantage the Asus has, it's clear AMD pulled another "Hawaii", and put their technology in the worst possible light by not packaging it with the proper associated support technologies. Considering the long development cycles for these devices, it's hard to understand how AMD couldn't figure out a proper cooler for the Hawaii, or have drivers degrade performance so much for Kaveri, that within a month or so they were able to increase performance so dramatically. And now, it's clear the memory performance optimizations were far from complete. And Kaveri was a delayed product. It boggles the mind that they consistently fail to find such obvious shortcomings, when everyone else finds them pretty quickly. Clearly, their testing procedures need serious revision in scope.
 

ferooxidan

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"To me the point of Kaveri is great graphics in a small package, thus the MB would have to be as small as possible. M-ITX is currently the smallest. Someone should bring out a NUC sized board for the Kaveri."No, the best NUC will be Haswell + Maxwell, period.
 

almarcy

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Thank you for a useful grid of the current products. I am migrating from my current dinosaur. I am not at all interested in smaller, sleeker, tighter. Just faster. ~4 GHz with 2.4 GHz DDR3 for under $500. seems pretty irresistible :)
 

beerdette

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"No, the best NUC will be Haswell + Maxwell, period."The point of Kaveri on a NUC would be not to have the space that a graphics card takes. So it wouldn't be the best NUC because then you need to add space for that card.
 

vertexx

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Even beyond price, ATX seems pointless with a Kaveri APU. Myself, I'm waiting for the A8-7600 to build a very small (< 3 liters) ITX HTPC running the APU in 45W mode. Although I'm very excited about doing that build, I can't see any use case that makes sense for a Kaveri APU in an ATX form factor. Perhaps the A88x chipset has some feature benefit for building something using the 750 or 760k CPU in a budget build. But the only build I would even think about using a Kaveri APU in would be a mini-ITX PC/HTPC or laptop.

Beyond that, I would love to see Lian-Li come out with a tiny case like the PC-Q02, PC-Q09 or PC-Q12, but with the design for a single 120mm CLC and a 300W SFX PSU to allow a decent overclock on a 7850k APU with the smallest form factor possible (i.e. < 8 liters). That type of build might get me jazzed up for the 7850k.
 

yeah. but uatx or mini itx doesn't give easy access to that many sata or usb ports, usually.
imo, the atx boards make for great media and casual gaming builds with 8 sata ports (at that price).
in gigabyte's case, dual usb 3.0 headers open up more inputs for external storage.
the typical apu buyer goes for cheaper uatx boards, followed by full or slightly narrower atx motherboards.
 

vertexx

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Ok, so I'm just cracking up at the thought of a Kaveri APU build with 8 drives, dual graphics, and a big air cooler hanging off it - maybe it's just me, but it seems counter to the whole concept of the APU.

I mean, the ASRock FM2A88X-ITX board is quite capable. 6 SATA 6.0Gb/s, 1 mPCIE/mSATA, 32GB RAM, total of 4 USB 3.0 and 8 USB 2.0.

But you're right, that is my preference/opinion....
 

felix666

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I just built a system using the A88X-Pro, and an A10-7850K. I wanted a full ATX board in order to install an enormous CPU heat sink ( a Zalman CNPS-14X) and have a silent system, as the box sits two feet away from my face. Mission accomplished! Funnily, under a heavy load the CPU temp has not exceeded 36 Celsius, so far. The box is a cheap Coolermaster mid-tower; there is plenty of space for future upgrades, as I keep my machine for quite a while. Of course the main drive is an SSD and this system rocks!Just one thing about these newer mobos, the CPU is not positioned at exactly the same place as the older ATX specifications. It made it necessary to cut the metal under the mobo, in order to install the reinforcements that come with the large heat sinks. All in all it isn't a bad thing, as it gives more clearance around the heat sink.
 

RedJaron

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I'm inclined to agree as well.


I'd also rather have the Extreme6 than this, but usually the explanation is "Because the manufacturer didn't submit that model."


I think this is more often the point of the APU as well. But I will grant that anyone can have a niche desire for a build. Take Felix's build. Slap an oversized cooler on a mainstream CPU, dial the fan speed down and you get yourself a near silent and competent daily driver for cheap.


I usually go for ASRock products, but this particular model is hard to get behind. They pull the eSATA, half the SATA cables, and still keep limiting the 4-pin fan headers. PLEASE, Tom's, can you tell these manufacturers that all fan headers should be PWM?

And I don't get the PCI connectors either. Sure, someone may still have one legacy PCI device, but two? Meanwhile the PCIe x1 slots almost always bracket the top x16 slot so the lower one is usually blocked off. Here's an idea: put one of the old PCI slots right below the top x16 slot. My guess is the people who still have PCI cards are also the ones who don't have dual-slot GPUs, and vice versa. That way people who don't use the PCI slot never have to worry about covering up something they may actually need in the future.
 

vertexx

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Don't get me wrong - I've got no problem with ATX or uATX form factors. I have a uATX under my desk as my 2nd office PC (a laptop for work & uATX desktop for gaming, ripping or whatever when I need a break). It's still running an AMD Phenom II X4 965 that I paid $75 for plus a new R9 280x. AMD just hasn't given a good enough incentive to upgrade from that point, and I'm frankly considering a switch-over to an I5 for that system. I'm reluctant to upgrade in the AM3+ path, and the FM2 platform just hasn't provided anything better than what I have now.

I'm also pretty excited about Kaveri in general, but for the ITX form factor. Felix666 above has a pretty good use case for Kaveri on ATX. An I3 with a fanless R7-250 would be faster but ~$40 more expensive (assuming you would still need the same heat sink). Anyway - didn't mean to ruffle any feathers....
 

horaciopz

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I just hope that in the mid term of this year or late of it, AMD refresh they line of FX 8 processors in the FM2+ package, a Kaveri 8 core of 95w tdp may yield respectable numbers and these boards seem to be able to run that kind of processors pretty good. But since there arent any rumors of refreshing FX lineup and the roadmap shows that Piledriver will last the whole 2014, the hope is gone... Darn!
 

Crashman

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You're not going to believe this, but ASRock actually sent BOTH on different days and, when asked, requested the Killer board be tested.Had I tested two ASRock products, everyone else gets two and then everyone is forced to wait as I double the completion time.

Why full ATX? One of the companies said "Our new lineup is so well-developed, we can even make Full ATX on Kaveri look like a good idea" and I said "OK, prove it". Low-cost OpenCL machines appear the best market for double or triple graphics FM2+ boards, but marketing departments have slightly different priorities.
 

RedJaron

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Interesting indeed. Any insight in why these mboard manufacturers keep wasting space on VGA and old PCI, or why they still skimp on 4-pin fan headers? ( ASRock the main offender )
 

RedJaron

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2400 amps? That's a HELLUVA circuit breaker you've got in your house, to say nothing of your PSU. ;)
 

Crashman

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Probably because its primary market is still using 3-pin case fans? I know I was disappointed when I built my mini PC that Asus didn't provide voltage-level fanspeed control on its SECOND header, and the reason I was disappointed is because both the pump and the fan on this mini liquid cooler were 3-pin.
When I realized that letting the manufacture select its board makes it responsible for whether or not its brand wins the comparison. That method invalidates all "You selected the wrong model" complaints aimed at me :)

 

vertexx

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That's funny, so did they prove it?

What's the use case or application for a low-cost OpenCL machine, and how does Kaveri make that more compelling in a multi-GPU setup? I suppose I could understand low cost OpenCL with no discrete GPUs, and in that case uATX would make the most sense.
 

Crashman

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It didn't win...

I can ignore the integrated GPU when making the case for a low-cost OpenCL platform, and limit my criteria to motherboard price, CPU price and slot capabilities. But now you have me wondering whether I should add the integrated GPU to my mining configuration :)

 

RedJaron

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Yeah, I know a lot of people still use 3-pins. But I thought the whole point of 4-pin PWM was that it would be backward compatible with standard 3-pin too. Just make them all PWM and both 4- and 3-pin consumers would be happy. What would the cost difference be?


I'm scratching my head here too. If the point is to get just enough CPU to run the multi-GPUs, wouldn't an i3 be the cheaper option? Or even a 760K? If the IGP isn't reasonably adding the the OCL output, why pay extra for it?
 
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