GIGABYTE GA-F2A75M-D3H - Perfect Choice For A Budget System

12/13/2012 9:16:39 AM

Exactly what a Socket FM2 motherboard should look like

When buying a motherboard and CPU, it’s usually good to spend more on the CPU than the motherboard. With the A10-5800K retailing for a little over $150, this shouldn’t be too difficult, but with motherboards such as MSI’s A85XA-GD65 and Asus’F2A85-M Pro retailing for $129 and $164 respectively, the cost of A85X-chipset motherboards files in the face of everything Trinity has going for it – the ability to build a cheap gamin system that can better a similar priced Intel setup. Thankfully, Gigabyte’s F2A75M-D3H has nailed the sweet spot.

At just $84, it’s half the price of the Asus, meaning your motherboard and CPU combo, should you opt for the A10-5800K, will cost around $240 instead of over $300. After all, for $300, you could pick up an Ivy Bridge Pentium CPU, a cheap LGA1155 motherboard and a Radeon HD 7770 1GB – a far more potent gaming mix.


The micro-ATX F2A75M-D3H sports AMD’s A75 chipset, but while AMD would have you believe that only the AMD would have you believe that only the A85X chipset allows for two discrete GPUs in CrossFireX, the F2A75M-D3H manages this feat, too. It sports two 16x PCI-E slots, but the downside is that the second slot is limited to just 4x, whereas the MSI offers 8x in both slots in CrossFireX mode. However, those looking to build a dual-GPU setup would be much better off with a higher-end Ivy Bridge setup than an FM2 system anyway, so the point is moot.

The board also has single 1x PCI-E and PCI slots for further expansion, giving you a balanced setup and plenty of options when it comes to sound cards and TV tuner cards, especially as you can use 1x PCI-E devices in 16x PCI-E slots too. The A75 chipset is limited to six SATA 6Gbps ports, although this will be more than enough for a typical Socket FM2 system. As with all the other boards on test, the GA-F2A75M-D3H has a plethora of video outputs too, although it lacks DisplayPort, unlike the MSI and Asus.

Meanwhile, the layout is also generally good. There are no heatsinks on the VRM circuitry surrounding the CPU socket, so there’s very little to get in the way of large CPU coolers. The main PCI-E expansion slot is also positioned so that dual or triple-slot graphics cards won’t foul the SATA ports or USB3 header. However, use the six SATA ports. The DIMM slots are positioned fairly close to the CPU socket too, but most Socket FM2 coolers can be rotated; you could also use two DIMMs in dual-channel mode in slots one and two – the furthest and third-furthest from the CPU socket – giving you a little more breathing space.


We initially found the system crashed when manually setting the RAM to its rated 2, 133MHz speed, but on closer inspection, the timings were a little too tight. Setting them to the RAM’s rated values solved the problem, but we didn’t have this timing-misdetection issue on any other boards. Then again, the board officially doesn’t support memory higher than 1,866MHz, so we can’t really hold that against it. At stock speed, the F2A75M-D3H admittedly didn’t light up our performance graphs, being the slowest board on test in many of them, but usually by less than 5 per cent. Its overall score of 1,372 in our Media Benchmarks was slightly short of the MSI A85XA-GD65, for example – not a deal breaker by any means.

Overclocking proved to be a surprisingly pleasant experience with the GA-F2A75M-D3H. The EFI was excellently laid out and rich in options, apart from the vcore adjustment lacking an absolute voltage mode. Our A10-5800K test chip quickly rose to 4.5GHz after setting the vcore to 1.5V and disabling Cool ‘n’ Quiet and C6 State options. However, increasing this to 4.6GHz with a 1.55V vcore saw temperatures rise to toasty levels and resulted in an unstable system. We also managed to increase the GPU core frequency to 1GHz from 800MHz. The board was able to recover brilliantly from failed overclocks too, which the ASRock FM2A75 Pro 4 and Asus F2A85-M Pro failed to manage on occasions.

Gigabyte’s F2A75M-D3H has nailed the sweet spot

Gigabyte’s F2A75M-D3H has nailed the sweet spot

The increase in CPU speed saw the overall Media Benchmarks suite score rise over 100 points to 1,476, while this and the increase in GPU frequency resulted in the minimum frame rate in Skyrim leaping from 26fps to 29fps. Adding a GeForce GTX 680 2GB to the system for the Crysis 2 test didn’t see a great benefit from the rather tame overclock we managed to achieve on the A10-5800K APU, but this was the same on all our motherboards. The overclock also saw over 60W added to the load system power draw – this is worth bearing in mind if you intend to keep power consumption to a minimum.


Despite slightly slower results than some of the other boards, the bargain tastic GA-F2A75M-D3H was never far behind and managed to overclock our A10-5800K APU as far as the rest of the pack too. Combined with lots of expansion options, and an exceptionally low price compared to the A85X boards on test, it’s difficult not to recommend unequivocally. It also has the edge on the ASRock FM2A75 Pro 4 with its superior EFI and excellent overclock recovery system. It’s the perfect choice for a budget Socket FM2 gaming system.


Gigabyte – Cheap; great EFI; good overclocker

Love bite – Basic feature set; slightly slower performance than A85X boards

Product code: GA-F2A75M-D3H

Price: $84



PS4 game trailer XBox One game trailer
WiiU game trailer 3ds game trailer
Top 10 Video Game
-   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #10 'NETHER DOOM!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
-   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #9 'KING SLIME!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
-   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #2 'LAVA LOBBERS!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
-   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #3 'OBSIDIAN LONGSWORD!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
-   Total War: Warhammer [PC] Demigryph Trailer
-   Minecraft | MINIONS MOVIE MOD! (Despicable Me, Minions Movie)
-   Minecraft | Crazy Craft 3.0 - Ep 3! "TITANS ATTACK"
-   Minecraft | Crazy Craft 3.0 - Ep 2! "THIEVING FROM THE CRAZIES"
-   Minecraft | MORPH HIDE AND SEEK - Minions Despicable Me Mod
-   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 92 "IS JOE DEAD?!"
-   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 93 "JEDI STRIKE BACK"
-   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 94 "TATOOINE PLANET DESTRUCTION"
-   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 95 "TATOOINE CAPTIVES"
-   Hitman [PS4/XOne/PC] Alpha Gameplay Trailer
-   Satellite Reign [PC] Release Date Trailer
Game of War | Kate Upton Commercial