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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 02 > GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

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26-02-2015


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GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH motherboard: review and testing

New GIGABYTE’s product which will be discussed in this material is a very interesting combination of a compact microATX PCB, a number of useful technologies and a good set of video outputs. This set of features allows you to pre-estimate the GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH as a very interesting solution to build an inexpensive compact multimedia system.

On the other hand, the tested model has a TPM-module and supports the technology DASH (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware), which is designed for remote control of desktop and mobile systems, which makes it quite an interesting model for the building of office or industrial PCs.

Due to the name, the basis for new item is the second oldest chipset - AMD A78, which means that it is intended to work with series processors AMD Kaver or solutions of lineups AMD Trinity / Richland.

Now let's take a closer look at all the features of the new model.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

The specs:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-F2A78M-DASH (rev 3.0)

Chipset

AMD A78

CPU socket

Socket FM2+

Supported CPUs

AMD A / AMD Athlon

Memory frequency

2400* / 2133 / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM- slot with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (CPU)

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (PCH)

х16

х16+х4

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 x PCI

Disk subsystem

AMD A78chipset supports:

6 x SATA 6 Gb/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, JBOD

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111EP (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

2/4/5.1/7.1-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

24-pin ATX main power connector

4-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

2 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 х DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 х HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

3 x audio jacks

1 х PS/2 (mouse or keyboard)

Internal I/O

2 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

2 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0

2 х COM

1 х LPT

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x S/PDIF Out

1 x CMOS

BIOS

1 х 64 Мb UEFI BIOS

PnP 1.0а, DMI2.7, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

4 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

microATX

244 х 244 мм

Producer website

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

Package and content

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH comes in a small cardboard box and decorated with quality printing in a corporate style. First of all, the design attracts attention by a model name and the manufacturer. Slightly below is the logo of branded concept Ultra Durable 4 Plus, which includes the following features:

  • Ultra Cool – there are high-quality field-effect transistors with low heat release and long lasting solid capacitors.
  • Ultra Performance – circuitry of new product is designed due to exclusively high quality components such as solid capacitors and FETs with low channel resistance (Low RDS (on)). They are distinguished by an increased level of efficiency, stability and reliability.
  • Ultra Safe - this model is equipped with additional protection of USB and LAN ports from electrostatic discharge. Each LAN and USB-port works in conjunction with a special protective filter that is able to withstand severe electrostatic discharge, which protects the system from power surges, even during a thunderstorm.

Do note the support for DASH technology for system remote control.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

On the reverse side you can draw attention to a large schematic representation of the motherboard and the configuration of the interface panel. Also here there is a short list of characteristics of the device and the mention of the key advantages of new item:

  • additional protection against humidity, voltage and high temperatures;
  • the presence of two connectors COM;
  • use of a separate fuse for each USB port on the interface panel that in case of failure.

Important integrated technologies are GIGABYTE ON/OFF Charge and 3x USB Power, the description of which you can see in one of our previous articles.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

Scope of delivery includes only the most necessary, namely interface board plug, four SATA cables, CD with software and user manual.

Design and board features 

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH is made on dark brown PCB in the format microATX (244 x 244 mm). Do note the design of the product: despite its relatively affordable price, the novelty looks quite discreet and stylish.

As for the on-board elements layout, all ports and connectors are located on the best places. The only disadvantage may cause a close proximity of connector PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots with DIMM-slots equipped by latches on both sides. Therefore, to extract the memory modules you need previously disable the graphics card.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

Looking at the back side of new item, you can pay attention to the standard base plate of the socket, as well as the fact that the chipset heatsink is attached by the plastic clips.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, S/PDIF Out, two socket COM, CMOS and two modules for connection of additional interfaces USB 2.0 and one for USB 3.0 and front panel connection module. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is six: four are internal and two on the interface panel. As for USB 3.0 ports, their number is eight: four are internal and for are external. Internal interfaces are realized by chipset while the external operate due to the controller VIA VL805. 

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

Due to the lack of space at the bottom of the board, LPT connector is placed over the slot PCI Express 3.0 x16.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by six SATA 6 Gb/s, arranged perpendicular to the surface of the board. There is support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, and JBOD. The work of all six slots is available due to the chipset.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

The tested model is equipped by four DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard that are equipped with latches from two sides. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. You can install it into first and third slot or into second and fourth one. 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 by manufacturer support for 64 GB of RAM, the actual maximum amount will not exceed 32 GB due to the absence of modules larger than 8 GB. However, this is more than enough to handle all the tasks set by the user.

Do note the second block for connecting remote panel with ports USB 3.0 located on the right side of the board.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

Cooling system of the product includes one radiator that provides heat removal from chipset AMD A78. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed: 

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 53.3°C;
  • elements of power subsystem in top part of the board  –  80.2°C;
  • elements of power subsystem behind interface panel – 54.1°C.

Despite the relatively small area of the radiator, demonstrated results tell us that it copes with cooling, as there is a reserve to the critical temperatures.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

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-F2A78M-DASH

To extend the functionality of GIGABYTE GA-F2A68HM-DS2 user has four slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х16);
  2. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  3. PCI;
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (mode х4);

Despite the support for technology AMD CrossFireX and the presence of two full-length PCI Express x16 slots, this model is increasingly designed to have only one graphics card. In the case of connecting of two graphics cards the lines are distributed under the scheme x16+x4, would not allow to reveal the potential of their joint operation.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

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 monitors.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

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

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

Sound subsystem of model is based on the 8-channel HAD-codec Realtek ALC887 which supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 audio systems.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASHA distinctive feature of the hero of this review is the presence of module of cryptographic protection soldered on the PCB that is based on the chip SL89635TT12 by Infineon Technologies.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x PS/2 for mouse or keyboard connection;
  • 3 x audio jacks.

It is a pretty good configuration of interface panel, which offers six USB ports for connection of peripherals and four video outputs, including digital HDMI, DVI-D and DisplayPort. A special mention given to the possibility of imposing on the interface PC board of two COM ports and one LPT using the corresponding connectors on the PCB.

As for features, in this case we note only inconvenient connection of multi-channel speakers.

GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH

The means of organizing the cooling system inside the case of GIGABYTE GA-F2A78M-DASH are quite standard. There are three 4-pin fan connectors, one of which is used for CPU cooling system, while the others are designed for system fans.  


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