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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 06 > GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

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11-06-2015


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Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H: review and testing

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H is an entry-level solution of microATX format. It has quite interesting combination of useful technologies, traditionally high quality of execution, as well as quite decent and modern equipment.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

The model is based on chipset AMD A68H, which is intended to replace the AMD A58 as a chipset for processors series AMD Kaveri or solutions of lineups AMD Trinity/Richland in budget devices.

The specs:

Producer  

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-F2A68HM-DS2H (rev 1.0)

Chipset

AMD A68H

Processor socket

Socket FM2+

Supported CPUs

AMD A / AMD Athlon

Memory frequency

2400* / 2133 / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 МГц

(*OC)

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM- slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 x PCI

Disk subsystem

AMD A68H chipset supports:

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, JBOD

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111G (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

2/4/5.1/7.1-channel sound  

S/PDIF Out

Power

24-pin power socket ATX

8-pin power socket ATX12V

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

2 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x D-Sub

1 x HDMI

1 х LPT

1 x COM

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

3 x audio jacks

1 х PS/2 (mouse or keyboard)

Internal I/O

2 x USB 2.0, with support of two USB 2.0

4 x SATA 6 GB/s

1 x S/PDIF Out

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

BIOS

2 х 64 Мb AMI UEFI BIOS

PnP 1.0а, DMI2.7, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

microATX

226 х 182 mm

Producer website

GIGABYTE
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Package and content

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H comes in a cardboard box decorated with quality printing in a corporate style. The package contains the model name and the manufacturer. Slightly below you can notice logo of branded concept Ultra Durable 4 Plus, which includes the following features:

  • Ultra Cool & Perfomance - the CPU power circuit uses high-performance field effect transistors with low on-resistance (Low RDS (on)) and long-life solid capacitors.
  • Ultra Safe - this model is equipped with an additional protection of ports USB and LAN ESD. Each LAN and USB port is paired with a special protective filter that is able to withstand severe electrostatic discharge, which protects the system against voltage surges, even during a storm. Also here is the presence of protective circuits, safeguard internal components from overvoltage, and an improved installation of fiberglass-based, thus reducing the negative impact of moisture.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

The reverse side contains a major schematic view of the configuration of the motherboard and interface panel. Also here there is a short list of characteristics of the device and the mention of the key advantages of new item:

  • area of the PCB with soldered sound system, shielded with a special metal strip;
  • audio subsystem uses special upscale audio capacitor Series Nippon Chemicon ARE;
  • special technology GIGABYTE On/Off Charge allows charge your media devices even when the PC is off.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Package of GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H includes only the most necessary, namely the interface panel plug, two SATA cables, CD with software and user manual.

Design and features

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

The test model is implemented on a dark brown printed circuit board in format microATX. It is compact but at the same time has slightly non-standard dimensions (226 x 182 mm), so that half SATA ports are located at the bottom of the board, while the other half is the right side. However, this feature is not a disadvantage, because the graphics card, even with dual-slot cooler will not cause the connection of drives.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Also note that the installed accelerator did not interfere with the connection and disconnection of memory modules, despite the fact that the DIMM-slots are equipped with latches on both sides.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Looking at the back of the motherboard, we can note the standard base plate of the socket and the plastic fastening clip of single radiator, which is responsible for cooling the chipset.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF out, as well as front panel connection module and two sockets to connect system fans. Also here are two modules for connection of additional interfaces USB 2.0. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: four are internal and four on the interface panel. Also there are two for USB 3.0.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented four ports SATA 6 Gb/s arranged perpendicular to the surface of the board. All of them operate due to chipset. There is support for arrays SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and JBOD.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

The tested model is equipped by two DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard that are equipped with latches from both sides. Modules operating at frequencies up to 2133 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 2400 MHz in overclocked mode are supported. Despite the stated support for 64 GB of RAM, the actual maximum amount is no more than 16 GB due to lack of modules larger than 8 GB. However, this is more than enough to handle all the tasks set by the user to a compact low-cost system.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Cooling system of the product includes one aluminum radiator that removes heat from chipset AMD A68H. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:  

  • radiator of chipset cooling – 61°C;
  • field-effect transistor of processor power subsystem – 75.1°C;
  • chokes of processor power subsystem –71.5°C.

Demonstrated results tell us that the overheating is impossible for key components as there is a large reserve up to the critical temperature.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Processor power supply is performed via 5-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. The transformer is based on PWM controller ISL62773. The circuitry is made by high quality components such as: solid capacitors, MOS transistors with low resistance of open channel and chokes with ferrite cores. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

To extend the functionality of the product user has three slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x16;
  2. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  3. PCI.

In this case it is possible to install only one video card in a single slot PCI Express 3.0 x16. There is a possibility of its operation in mode AMD Dual Graphics with integrated graphics core. Note that when connecting a video card with dual-slot cooling system, you will have free access only one slot PCI, which means that if you want to install a discrete sound card you will be limited by models with interface PCI.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Multi I/O capabilities are based on chip ITE IT8620E which controls the operation of the system fans, COM, LPT and PS/2 ports, as well as provides the monitoring.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

To support network connections there is a GB LAN-controller Realtek 8111G.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Sound subsystem of model is based on the 8-channel codec Realtek ALC887which supports audio formats 2/4/5.1/7.1.  It uses high quality Japanese audio capacitors of series Nippon Chemicon ARE.   

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

 

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 х COM;
  • 1 x LPT;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 2 x USB 3.0;
  • 4 х USB 2.0;
  • 1 х PS/2 (mouse or keyboard);
  • 3 x audio jacks.

Note number of ports USB, the presence of two video outputs, including a modern HDMI, as well as ports COM and LPT that are useful in case of building the office or industrial system. The features include inconvenient connection of multichannel speakers, where you need to use the audio ports on the front panel or the audio signal through the interface HDMI.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

The possibility of organizing the cooling system inside the body of GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H is very standard. There are three 4-pin fan connectors, one of which serves to cool the CPU, while the others are intended for the system fan.

UEFI BIOS

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

The tested model is equipped with modern firmware UEFI based on microcode AMI with a nice graphical user interface, the ability to control via mouse and support for drives larger than 3TB. In addition it has two chips BIOS (Technology GIGABYTE DualBIOS), which will keep the operation of the system in the event of damage of the main chip.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Most of the settings related to changes in frequency of the CPU, integrated graphics core and RAM are grouped under «MB Intelligent Tweaker» («M.I.T.»).

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Multiplier allows you to set the frequency of the memory modules as part of the 800 MHz to 2400 MHz.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

If necessary the section “Advanced Memory Settings” can provide the access to settings of memory latency.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

Also there is ability to fine tune of voltages on basic components of system.

Adjustments required to optimize the system:

Parameter

Menu

Range

Step

CPU multiplier

CPU Clock Ratio

8 – MAX

1

RAM frequency

System Memory Multiplier

800 – 2400

 

 

CPU Clock Control

100,00 – 140,00

1,00

 

Processor Graphics Clock

300 − 2000

1

 

CPU NorthBridge Frequency

800 − 1600

100

CPU voltage

CPU Vcore

+0,000 – +0,300

0,006

 

NB Core

+0,000 − +0,300

0,006

RAM voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,200 – 1,900

0,010

RAM timing

Timing Control

CAS, tRCD, tRP, tRAS, tRRD, tWTR, tWR, tWTP, tWL, tRFC, tRTP, tFAW

 

GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2H

The section «PC Health Status» opens access for monitoring the temperature of the processor and chipset, as well as speed of installed fans. Additionally you can monitor the voltage at the processor core, memory modules and power supply rails +12V and +3.3V.


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