Biostar Hi-Fi A85W Motherboard Review
When it comes to computers most people think that they have to spend a lot of money to be able to do every day tasking. Tasks on our computers can range anywhere from surfing the web to editing our favorite home videos. It is true, to a point, that the more money you put into your computer the faster the computer can do whatever tasking is needed to be done at that time. At the same time, though, we don’t always need to spend 1500+ USD to have a general purpose computer at our disposal. Most people can get away with an affordable computer and still manage to get their tasks done easily, effortlessly, and quickly.
Then as games start to become a part of our daily hectic lives, most people cannot afford to spend 1500+USD on a gaming computer, especially when there are Console systems that can be purchased for 300USD.
Since AMD introduced the Llano APU a couple of years ago, this single APU (GPU/CPU combination) has shaken the very computing world. Because now we not only can build an affordable computer that has all of the benefits of a much larger computing system, we now can have the ability of a gaming system while having it at the cost of a console system.
We here at legit Reviews are going to be looking at a motherboard from Biostar that is specifically built for the new AMD Trinity APU. This new type of APU from AMD operates at a much higher core frequency, as well as has an AMD 7660 GPU built right alongside the CPU. So let’s turn the page and see what exactly the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard can do while being paired up with an AMD 5800K Trinity APU.
Biostar Hi-Fi A85W Motherboard Specifications
|CPU SUPPORT||AMD A10 Processor
AMD A8 Processor
AMD A6 Processor
AMD A4 Processor
AMD E2 Processor
AMD Athlon™ II X4 Processor
Maximum CPU TDP (Thermal Design Power) : 100Watt
|MEMORY||Support Dual Channel DDR3 2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866/1600/1333/1066/800 MHz
4 x DDR3 DIMM Memory Slot
Max. Supports up to 64GB Memory
|EXPANSION SLOT||2 x PCI-E x16 2.0 Slot (x16 + x4)
2 x PCI-E x1 2.0 Slot
2 x PCI Slots
|STORAGE||8 x SATA3 Connector
Support SATA RAID: 0,1,5,10
|USB||2 x USB 3.0 Port
1 x USB 3.0 Header
4 x USB 2.0 Port
2 x USB 2.0 Header
|LAN||Realtek RTL8111F - 10/100/1000 Controller|
|INTEGRATED VIDEO||By CPU model
AMD Dual Graphics Technology
|CODEC||Realtek ALC892 8-Channel Blu-ray Audio|
|REAR I/O||1 x PS/2 Keyboard
2 x USB 3.0 Port
4 x USB 2.0 Port
1 x HDMI Connector
1 x DVI Connector
1 x VGA Port
1 x RJ-45 Port
6 x Audio Connector
|INTERNAL I/O||1 x USB 3.0 Header
2 x USB 2.0 Header
8 x SATA3 6Gb/s Connector
1 x Front Audio Header
1 x Front Panel Header
1 x S/PDIF-OUT Header
1 x CPU FAN Header
2 x System FAN Header
1 x Serial Header
1 x CIR Header
|DIMENSION||ATX Form Factor Dimension: 30.5cm x 23.5cm ( W x L )|
|OS SUPPORT||Support Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8|
|ACCESSORIES||4 x SATA Cable
1 x I/O Shield
1 x DVD Driver
1 x User Manual
|FEATURES||Windows 8 Compatible
Supports PURO Hi-Fi
Supports Smart Speed LAN
Supports 100% Solid capacitor
Supports Rapid Switch
Supports Rapid Debug3
Supports Charger Booster
Supports BIOS Online Update
Giving the Specifications a quick look through, we can see that the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard supports all AMD socket FM2 APUs. We also can see that this motherboard can handle up to 64GBs of memory that is rated up to 2400MHz (Overclocked). As far as the PCI-E/PCI expansion ports, this motherboard only supports up to a 16 X 4x configuration on two full length PCI-E VGA expansion ports; what this means is that we will not be able to run a fully compliant AMD Crossfire configuration, but you will still be able to run AMD Crossfire configuration; just your mileage will vary greatly. The Audio that is being used on this motherboard is from Realtek. In the past this audio chip has provided with decent high quality sound. The South Bridge is fully compliant with all SATA ports to fully support SATA 6GB/s interfacing, unlike Intel's ability of only supporting up two SATA 6GB/s storage interfacing ports. The only other thing I am going to touch base on is the limited number of USB 3.0 ports; this particular board can only use up to four total USB 3.0 ports.
Biostar Hi-Fi A85W Features
Hi-Fi PowerAudio power is an important factor in audio quality. Most AV equipment isolates the power supply for each analog and digital signal to gather high-quality sound reproduction. Equipped with BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Power technology, it will utilize audio components with independent power design for a significant reduction in electronic noise and superb sound quality.
Hi-Fi GroundBIOSTAR Hi-Fi Ground presents noise-blocking multi-layer PCB design which isolates analog audio signals from digital sources. The unique PCB layout is ideal for exceptional clarity and high fidelity sound. It’s focused on improving sound quality beyond the regular motherboard designs.
Hi-Fi 192/24BIOSTAR Hi-Fi series motherboards have a sampling rate of 192kHz/24-bit which delivers a high quality audio through an analog connection to your home theater system, multi-channel speakers and high-end headphone. You can enjoy real Blu-ray grade high-definition sound that you’ve never experienced before.
High Quality ESDBIOSTAR Hi-Fi series motherboards provide high quality ESD (Electro-Static Discharge) solution for its front I/O panel. This function prevents static electricity and reduces the damage to the motherboards when you are plugging or unplugging your headphones.
Hi-Fi AMPThe built-in amplifier can drive major high-end headphones with over 100dB loads and offer wide band-width, low noise, high slew rate and low distortion audio source from front panel I/O. Gaming enthusiasts can enjoy a fuller range of dynamic sound with crisper details and less distortion.
Smart EarSmart EAR is a windows-based audio utility which allows you to easily adjust system volume. With its user-friendly GUI, you can also increase or decrease the impedance setting (Low/High Gain) to optimize your headphone performance. You can easily enjoy high-quality and awesome sound.
Hi-Fi ResistorMetal-oxide film resistors are made of metal oxides such as tin oxide. The electric characteristics are greater stability and reliability than regular metal film resistors when operating in an extremely broad working temperature range. This special component is used in applications with high endurance audio demands.
Hi-Fi CapBIOSTAR Hi-Fi series motherboards come with high quality ‘Non-Polarized Electrolysis Electric audio capacitors’ for each audio channel circuit. The customized audio capacitors deliver low noise, low distortion, and wide bandwidth to achieve the highest sound resolution and sound expansion. The critical component will ensure the most realistic sound effects to gaming enthusiasts.
SmartSpeedLANSmartSpeedLAN is a free software application which monitors and manages your PC’s network behavior. With user-friendly GUI, it allows you to select and prioritize different types of network traffic, including gaming, media streaming, communications or web surfing. You can also set any specific applications, choosing to prioritize or block accordingly. SmartSpeedLAN can feature automatic management options that use adaptive networking intelligence to ensure that you are getting the best online experience possible.
USB 3.0Experience Fastest data transfers at 5 Gbps with USB 3.0--the new latest connectivity standard. Built to connect easily with next-generation components and peripherals, USB 3.0 transfers data 10X faster and is backward compatible with previous USB 2.0 components.
100% Solid CapsWith armor-plated Biostar Technology, all capacitors are placed with 100% solid capacitors that have a lasting life cycle, durability and stability for crucial components.
G.P.U (Green Power Utility)BIOSTAR G.P.U (Green Power Utility) is a new function that enhances energy efficiency by disabling extra phases while CPU is under light loading. It integrates a friendly GUI to monitor the resourcing and response of your CPU thus optimizing the power saving function in your system. G.P.U. constantly sets up the best power efficiency in your system, be it for heavy 3D gaming, Internet or MSN charting. more...
BIO-Remote 2BIO-Remote2 Technology is featuring users a better Home Theater environment. Users who own either Android mobile or Apple goods are able to access and control your PC remotely; at this moment, your smart device became an intelligent and functional remote controller. More than that, BIO-Remote2 also includes both function of mouse pad and power point presentation mode. more...
Charger BoosterCharger booster is the best and most efficient charger solution for apple devices such as iPad and iPhone. Basically, Charger booster Technology is able to boost the charging time to be more efficiency and faster once any apple goods connect to our Motherboard. With charger booster technology, you are able to charge your apple devices up to 42 % faster. more...
Blu-ray AudioUpgrading your Audio performance in the easiest way is choosing BIOSTAR ultimate Motherboard. It does support Blu-ray audio DRM (compatible driver/software) and provide the higher audio output of 24 bit/ 192KHz than the 16 bit/ 48KHz from the normal MB. You will experience the high quality sound effect with pure Blu-Ray Audio.
Hi-Fi A85W Packaging
Biostar keeps the packaging of the Hi-Fi A85W motherboard pretty simple. We are giving just enough information to let you know what this particular motherboard is capable of providing us, and its primary key feature. This main feature that is predominate on the Hi-Fi A85W motherboard is the high quality sound system: the onboard audio. Also Biostar lets us know that this motherboard is Windows 8 compatible, and this review will be run on Microsoft’s newest Operating System Windows 8.
Biostar keeps the accessories pretty simple; there is not a whole lot that gets included, just the absolute basics just for us to get this motherboard up and running. I will go more into what gets included in a few.
As is the traditional style of packaging, the Hi-Fi A85W motherboard is wrapped inside of an anti-static bag, which is placed on the lower compartment of the box itself.
As I mentioned earlier there is not a lot that comes with this motherboard. We get 4 SATA cables, a Driver disk, an instruction manual, and finally the rear IO plate cover.
This is what the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard looks like once it has been removed from the confines of the box and the anti-static bag.
So far my first initial thoughts of this motherboard are rather pleasant. The board does appear to be well laid out, but we will go more into detail on the layout on the next page.
Hi-Fi A85W Layout
We are starting off around the area of the Southbridge then will make our way around the entire motherboard. I am going to start on the bottom right and I will go left then up. This motherboard as we can see can utilize up to eight SATA 6GB/s (SATA 3) based HDD/SSDs. We can also use RAID 1,0,10 on this particular motherboard. To the left of the SATA ports is the CMOS chip, to the far left hand corner is the LED Diagnostic indicator. Making our way up the left hand side edge of the motherboard we start off with the Front IO on/off header, located directly above the header is on board on/off and reset buttons. Moving up we can see that this motherboard supports up to four front USB 2.0 ports. Nestled directly above the CMOS and the Diagnostic indicator LED is the ITE chip that will monitor fan speeds and various temperatures of the motherboard.
We are now making our way over the PCI-E/PCI expansion ports, or top left hand corner of the motherboard. On the far left hand edge of the motherboard right above the USB 2 headers is fan header #1 (I am counting these as I see them), followed by two COM headers, a SPDIF Audio header, and up by the corner is the front audio header.
Looking at the PCI-E/PCI expansion ports, starting from the right moving left, Biostar includes a PCI-E x1 port, followed by a full length PCI-E x16 port (these ports are only PCI-E Gen 2 and not the newer standard of PCI-E Gen 3). Biostar places the CMOS batters and the clear CMOS jumper in the space of no expansion ports, because our video cards typically will also occupy the adjacent port/space, so this should allow us enough room to be able to clear the CMOS while we have a video card(s) installed onto this motherboard. Still making our way left, we are given another PCI-E x1 port, then an additional full length PCI-E x16 expansion port. Now, keep in mind this expansion port is only rated at a x4 bandwidth, and not the full x16, or half x8 lanes. You can run AMD's Crossfire on an x4 PCI-E but the performance will take a hit on the limited bandwidth of this expansion port. Looking down the second full length PCI-E expansion port is a header; this is the front USB 3 motherboard header (I will comment a bit more on this later). Then moving to the left side of the second full length PCI-E x4 expansion port are two standard PCI expansion ports.
Directly above the PCI-E/PCI expansion ports is where the Hi-Fi audio chip is located. The actual audio controller is underneath the shiny metal cover with Puro Hi-Fi imprinted on it. To the right of the Hi-Fi audio controller are some capacitors, and some resistors that will help clean up the audio signal while giving us a much clearer and crisper sound out of the onboard audio.
The placement of the front USB 3.0 header is in an awkward spot; the front USB cable from our chassis can be rather thick as well as not very flexible, which may cause some minor problems on our cable management.
We are now making our way over to just in front of the rear IO ports of the Hi-Fi A85W motherboard. Biostar places the EPS CPU power in between the mosfets and the rear IO ports. I actually did not care for its placement because it did make plugging in the EPS power cable a bit difficult (I guess I got spoiled by previous motherboard that placed this power plug onto the far edge of the motherboard). Biostar is using a six phased power distribution for the APU itself. Considering the AMD Trinity 5800K APU only uses up to 100 Watts of power this should provide us with more than enough power to feed our APUs. Directly above the PCI-E x1 expansion port is fan header # 2.
Here we are looking at the memory DIMMs of the Hi-Fi A85W motherboard. The AMD Trinity APU only has the capability of running our memory in dual channel, but this motherboard can utilize up to 64 Gigabytes of memory. Just below the memory DIMMs is the main 24 pin power plug. Now on the right hand side edge of the motherboard and directly above the memory DIMMs is fan header #3.
The APU socket area is fairly clean and is free of any large obstacles so that we can use a multitude of different CPU coolers on this motherboard. I should mention that we can use previous generation AMD CPU/APU coolers directly. We are not able to mount a Llano based APU onto this motherboard; the socket pin layout is different from what the AMD Llano APU uses.
Here is a better picture of the Hi-Fi capacitors and resistors that Biostar included that will help make our sound from this motherboard clearer. BIOSTAR told Legit Reviews that the capacitors that they are using are also used on Onkyo and Yamaha receivers, so they are not using generic or cheap Chinese made stuff.
Here is a close up shot of the ITE chip that is being used to control the vitals of the Hi-Fi A85W motherboard.
This is the backside of the motherboard; again, it looks pretty clean and nothing should give us any issues when installing this motherboard into our chassis.
The eight SATA 6GB/s ports are all at a 180° orientation to the motherboard.
Here are the rear IO ports of the motherboard, starting left and working right. Biostar includes a PS2/2 USB 2.0 header and an HDMI VGA port, followed by a D-Sub/DVI VGA header. To the right of the D-Sub/DVI VGA header is the included Gigabit Ethernet/two USB 2.0 port header, then we get included two USB 3.0 rear motherboard headers. To the far right is the included 7.1 channel analog audio port header. This motherboard does not come with an Audio Optical port/header. This did not quite settle right with me, because I no longer use the analog connectors and only have the Toslink Audio optical cable to my home stereo amplifiers.
I went ahead and removed the Southbridge cooler to get a better look at this controller chip.
I also wanted to see what kind of thermal interfacing material was being used on this motherboard. Biostar uses the traditional pink thermal interfacing pad; I never really cared for this type of thermal interface material myself.
Removing the APU Phased power heat sink reveals that Biostar uses 18 traditional mosfets that will power the AMD APU.
We are looking at the underside of the APU phased power heat sink. Again, much the traditional thermal pad material I have seen on multiple different motherboards.
I went ahead and installed the AMD 5800K Trinity APU into the motherboard. Just make sure that you lift the little silver lever on the side of the socket area prior to installing the APU. Also make sure you align the pins of the APU to the socket properly. DO NOT force the APU into the socket; if it does not go in smoothly, then the APU and socket is not aligned properly.
UEFI BIOS of the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W
Biostar utilizes the UEFI BIOS onto the Hi-Fi A85W motherboard, but unlike previous UEFI interfaces that I have used on other motherboards Biostar keeps the layout to that of the more traditional BIOS layout and look.
While this layout was easy to navigate and easy to read I found the BIOS on the Hi-Fi A85W somewhat unrefined, and a bit sluggish while moving across the menus.
The above screenshots are in the O.N.E. (Overclocking Navigator Engine) sub-menu of the UEFI BIOS. This is where we can make our own personal adjustments of this motherboard to our tastes. The one thing that caught me off guard was the location of the APU multiplier adjustment. Biostar buried the APU multiplier adjustment under a couple of submenus and not easily identifiable.
Under the AMD P State configuration submenu we will be greeted with the above screenshot. Then we have to locate Custom P States and then enable that, then locate Core FID and then we can adjust the APUs multiplier. We can also adjust the NB frequency once it has been enabled.
Biostar should have placed this adjustment on the main page, and made it easily identifiable for us to see it, and quickly make an adjustment. Not force us to go through a couple of sub menus, this makes it difficult for not only us overclocking veterans it also makes it even more difficult for those of us who are just got into computers.
Legit Review Testing Methodology
How I configured the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard.
I will perform all of my testing of the 5800K Trinity APU on water cooling. All tests will be run at a minimum of 3 runs per benchmark to ensure my results were accurate and no erroneous readings were present during my testing. I will be comparing the Hi-Fi A85W motherboard with a MSI A55M-P33 with a 3870K APU, and I will be adding an ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with a Core i7 3820 CPU.
On the two APUs (3870K Llano, and 5800K Trinity) during the graphic testing portion of this review I will be including both onboard GPU and include runs while using an AMD Radeon 6970 video card. All Graphic settings will be using maximum detail settings, and at a resolution of 1280 x 720. This is so I can get a better side by side comparison between all of the tested platforms.
Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard - $94.99 plus shipping
Intel Test Rig
|Processor||AMD 5800K||Live Pricing|
|Motherboard||See Above||Live Pricing|
|Sound Card||Creative Fatality X-FI||Live Pricing|
|Storage Device(S)||Crucial M4SSD2128 SSD x2
2 X Seagate Momentus 320 HDDs
|Video Card||AMD Radeon HD6970||Live Pricing|
|Cooling||Koolance CPU water block
Koolance 697 Video card water blocks
Danger Den 240mm Radiator
|Power Supply||Cooler Master 1000w|
This is a complete breakdown of the computer components that were used during testing of the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard.
I will be using the same exact configuration on all tested platforms; this is to ensure that all of my testing is as accurate as I possibly can make it. Once again, all programs that are being used in this review have been run at least three times per benchmark, to ensure accuracy as well as erroneous readings were kept at a minimum.
The default settings used during testing.
SiSoftware 2013 1919 Memory Performance
The motherboard with the lowest memory divider determined the base frequency of the memory. This will give us a better comparison with each of the tested computer configurations. In this case it was the MSI A55M P33 motherboard that could operate the memory at a maximum speed of 1866MHz with 10-10-10-30 2T timings. All other tested platforms will be using the same exact memory and frequency.
The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!
Looking at SiSoft memory bandwidth testing we can see that the AMD Trinity 5800k has a bit lower overall memory bandwidth than its predecessor the AMD Llano 3870K APU. The question remains, will this slight memory performance loss effect the overall outcome of our computers?
Once again SiSoft prefers the AMD Llano 3870K APU over the newest APU the Trinity 5800K when it comes to the latency of the memory.
X264 and Cinebench R11.5 Performance
Simply put, the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports 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 this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test.
Now turning our attention over to a real world benchmark X264, and taking the averages of each of the 2 runs times 4 passes. We can see that the Intel Core i7 3820 CPU just clearly decimates the two APU based platforms. But when we compare the two APU platforms, Trinity and Llano, we can see that the newer APU Trinity from AMD does have a bit better performance over the older Llano APU.
Once again the Intel Core i7 3820 leaves the two APU based platforms in the dust. And looking at the comparison between Trinity and Llano based APU platforms the newer Trinity 5800K APU does outperform the older 3870K APU.
We are starting to see with these two tests that even the overall memory bandwidth and lower memory latency does not hinder the overall output of performance from the AMD Trinity 5800K APU.
SATA 6GB/s Testing Results
I used a Crucial M4 SATA 6GB/s SSD in both a single drive configuration and in RAID 0. I was also running a pair of Seagate Momentus 320GB HDDs in RAID 0 on all tested platforms. The MSI A55M-P33 motherboard does not support SATA 6GB/s speeds; it is only capable of reaching SATA 3GB/s speeds so I did not test the performance of this motherboard.
Single Crucial 128GB M4 SSD
Crystal Disk Mark
Looking at our SATA 6Gb/s testing numbers we can see that the Biostar HiFi A85W motherboard is keeping up quite well with the Intel counterpart the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard.
Looking at HDTune performance numbers, HDTune just reconfirms that both of the tested platforms during SATA 6Gb/s Crucial M4 128GBs SSD performance is on par to what we would expect from these SSDs.
RAID 0 Crucial 128GB M4 SSD Testing
Crystal Disk Mark
Once I paired the two Crucial M4 128GB SSDs in a RAID configuration we can see here that the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard has given me the best overall performance out of the RAID’ 0 Crucial M4 128 GBs SSDs.
HDTune performance testing reconfirms that the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard had slightly better performance over the tested X79 based platform.
Looking at the SATA 6Gb/s testing we can see that both of the tested platforms, ASUS P9X79 Deluxe and the Biostar HiFi A85W motherboards, performed right on par to what we would expect from a single Crucial 128GBs M4 SATA 6Gb/s SSD and the performance is on par once we paired up another Crucial 128GBs M4 SATA 6Gb/s SSD in RAID 0. I will mention that currently only AMD can run more than two SATA 6Gb/s storage devices without the need of an extra controller.
RAM Disk Performance Testing
RAMDISK is a free utility where we can allocate a portion of our memory and convert that to a Volatile storage device, and we can use this Volatile storage device for various things that can help improve our overall computer's performance. We can use this volatile storage as a ready boost (for those who are using HDDs for their Operating Systems) or use RAMDisk temporary files for windows or for specific programs to utilize as a temporary folder.
Crystal Disk Mark
During our RAM Disk testing we can see the superiority of Intel’s Quad channel X79 based platform. As we compare the older Llano APU to the newer Trinity based APU, we can see that even though the memory bandwidth of the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard is hindered, it still manages to outperform the older Llano APU based platform.
Looking at HDTune’s performance testing of RAM Disk reconfirms that the Trinity APU clearly is outperforming the older Llano APU based platform.
Futuremark 3DMark 11 Performance Testing
3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
3Dmark11 Testing was performed while using the performance preset, with the AMD Radeon 6970 video card(s) Control Panel set to default settings.
3DMark 11 with 6970 Testing
Reminder: on these next few pages, I will be showing the performance levels of these few gaming benchmarks while using a single 6970 video card, and as well as the onboard GPU of the Trinity and Llano based APUs. The resolution will remain at a 1280 x 720 resolution for a better comparison on how the tested platforms compare to one another.
Granted the two tested APUs, Trinity 5800K, and the Llano 3870K, do not stand a chance against the mighty Core i7 3820 CPU. I am going to be more concerned with the Graphics (GPU) testing portion of 3DMark11. And looking at just the Graphics (GPU) testing we can get an idea that the CPU/APU does influence the single 6970 video card but it is not a large amount of influencing as all tested platforms were within 100 or so points of each other.
3DMark11 APU testing
Since the Core i7 3820 does not have a GPU built into it I left this portion of testing out with this CPU. This is only an APU to APU comparison. The newer Trinity APU while being strapped to the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard outperformed the Llano based MSI platform in all but the Physics testing, which got me scratching my head a little on that portion of testing.
PLA Benchmark Performance Testing
PLA Benchmark is a Chinese based benchmark utilizing Epic's newest game engine, Unreal Game Engine 3.
On this newer benchmark that utilizes the new Unreal 3 engine that fully supports Direct X 11 while using the 6970 video card in with all tested platforms the performance differences are really and truly moot. We are only talking about 2-3 FPS difference from each of the tested platforms, which is not enough to say or claim one is better than the other. Our performance is well above the magical 30FPS average FPS.
PLA Benchmark APU Testing
Now running off of the onboard GPU of each of the tested APUs, the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard with the Trinity 5800K APU pulls away from the older Llano 3870K APU by almost 6FPS.
Sniper Elite V2 Performance Testing
Sniper Elite V2 with 6970 testing Results
Sniper Elite V2 is a 2012 tactical shooter video game developed by Rebellion Developments for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is a remake of Rebellion's 2005 game Sniper Elite. The game takes place in the same timeframe and location—the Battle of Berlin in April–May 1945—but now the main character, an American Office of Strategic Services officer, must capture or eliminate the scientists involved in the German V-2 rocket program.
Sniper Elite V2 testing was performed with the official Sniper Elite V2 Benchmark at default settings.
Finishing up our Gaming benchmarks with Sniper Elite V2 benchmark, we can see that while each of the tested platforms maintain around the same performance levels while using a 6970 video card. Once again I am looking that all of the tested platforms maintained an average frame rate above the 30 FPS.
Sniper Elite V2 with APU Testing Results
Now this is where my performance on the Llano based MSI platform take a serious dip in performance. I even ran this benchmark three to four times to ensure that my results were accurate. Once again the Trinity based 5800K platform running on the Biostar HiFi A85W motherboard just crushes the Llano 3870K APU.
Overclocking the Hi-Fi A85W Motherboard
Overclocking the Biostar HiFi A85W motherboard has been one of the most interesting endeavors I ever had in my life.
I did manage to reach a speed of 4680MHz on the 5800K Trinity APU while using a single HDD.
After getting myself familiar with the AMD Trinity 5800K APU and the Biostar HiFi A85W motherboard and trying several different combinations of FSB and memory divider, I decided to settle out on a 4680MHz overclock on the 5800K APU. I had to sacrifice the speed of the memory in order to have a stable overclock.
Power Usage Testing Results
I allowed the tested platforms to idle for one hour and then looked at the wattage usage on a Kill-A-Watt meter. I then ran various programs and then watched the power usage on all tested platforms and the highest reached wattage reached was then recorded.
Power Usage with 6970
Looking at the overall power usage of all of the tested platforms we can see that the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard had the lowest power consumption during both idle and load.
Power Usage with APU
Once again I left out the X79 based platform because it does not have an integrated GPU. This is only used as a comparison between the Llano and Trinity based APUs without any extra peripherals added into the two APU based platforms. During the Idle load results we can see that the MSI Llano based platform had the lowest power draw by almost 5.5 watts. Then when we turn our attention to the load power usage the Biostar Trinity had the lowest power draw by almost 7 watts lower. Is 5-7 Watts enough of a difference to be concerned with? I do not think so.
A word of NOTE: Please keep in mind that every machine is different, and so the power requirements being used will vary differently from one machine to the next, even if two or machines are built exactly the same. These results here are only to give you an idea on how much power each tested platform will be using.
Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard Final thoughts
The Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard is a fairly well designed, solid performing motherboard that will give enthusiasts the ability of having both an affordable and well-rounded performing machine. The Biostar Hi-Fi A85W runs $94.99 plus $5 shipping and the AMD A10-5800K 'Trinity' APU runs $123.79 shipped. That means the board and processor run just under $225 without any rebates or sales, which is very budget friendly. You'll be right around $400 for an entire build when using this platform by the time you factor in the case, power supply, memory kit, hard drive and OS.
There are some minor issues that hurt the overall scoring of this motherboard. One of the minor issues is that the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 motherboard header is in an awkward position. This motherboard also doesn't have Optical SPDIF audio, so make sure you use proper adapters for your audio setup.
The price of the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard is $94.99 plus shipping. Once again this puts this motherboard in a price range that is affordable to most people that want to build an affordable desktop PC with gaming capabilities.
Legit Bottom Line: The Biostar Hi-Fi A85W motherboard is a good candidate for anyone who wants or needs an affordable computer that will not break the bank or our wallets.