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ASRock A75M-ITX Motherboard Review

AMD’s nascent A-series APUs make sense as general-purpose processors for a mainstream PC, for they have reasonable CPU performance allied to above-average integrated graphics qualities.

Multimedia performance – high-definition video playback, Blu-ray support, etc – is high on AMD’s list of priorities for APUs, and each chip is plumbed with an eclectic array of display possibilities. Combine this with reasonable power-draw credentials and one has the basis of a modern, cheap home theatre PC (HTPC).

Board

ASRock understands how the A-series APU, feature-filled supporting core-logic (A75), and an HTPC form factor can be linked. To that end it has released a Mini-ITX-sized board called the A75M-ITX, so let’s take a closer look.

The Mini-ITX form factor demands board space be limited to 17cm by 17cm, thereby imposing certain design decisions on manufacturers. ASRock uses the top-line A75 chipset, and such is its integration, that layout looks neat and tidy. A75 integrates SATA 6Gbps ports, USB 3.0, while HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI can all be run off the APU.

Dominated by the FM1 socket – which can take in any A-series APU – and heatsink-retention clips in the centre, ASRock includes two full-size DDR3 DIMM slots. These can run 1,866MHz-rated memory off the bat, increasing to an improbable 2,400MHz if overclocked. Higher memory speeds definitely benefit A-series APUs, as the chip’s onboard graphics use it as their framebuffer.

Neatly tucking away three fan-headers, the board’s layout is surprisingly good. We’d relocate the four-pin power connector from the centre to the edge, but that’s our only gripe.

Read the full review at hexus.net.

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