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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 05 > GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-DS2

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GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-DS2 motherboard review and testing

The hero of today’s review the motherboard GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-DS2 is one of the most affordable microATX solutions based on the flagship chipset AMD A88X key features of which we have already introduced you earlier. This model is designed to work with processors AMD Kaveri or solutions of AMD Trinity or Richland.

The novelty has quite moderate cost and support of some actual functionality provided by chipset. Of course here are some useful proprietary technologies from GIGABYTE and usual high build quality.

But let's move on to the review and find out the pros and cons of the test model.


The specs:




GA-F2A88XM-DS2 (rev 3.0)



SPU socket

Socket FM2+

Supported CPUs

AMD A / AMD Athlon

Memory frequency

2400* / 2133 / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 MHz


Memory support

2 x 1,5В 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 A88X chipset supports:

4 x SATA 6 GB/s



1 x Realtek 8111F (10/100/1000 Мб/с)

Sound subsystem

Realtek ALC887 codec

7.1-channel sound



24-pin ATX main power connector

8-pin ATX12V power connector


1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)


Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 х DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

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

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

4 x SATA 6 GB/s

1 х COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PDIF Out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS  jumper



PnP 1.0а, DMI2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0а


User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

2 x SATA cables

1 х faceplate of interface panel

Form-factor, dimensions


225 х 174mm

Producer website

Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content


The motherboard GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-DS2 is shipped in standard carton box. The front side is given to the model name and the manufacturer. Also here is a logo of concept Ultra Durable 4 Plus, which includes the following features:

  • Ultra Cool - for chipset cooling the new sample radiator which demonstrates improved efficiency is used.
  • Ultra Performance – the circuitry of the product is collected from high quality components such as solid-state capacitors and field-effect transistor with low channel resistance (Low RDS (on)). They are distinguished by a higher level of efficiency, stability and reliability.
  • Ultra Safe - this model is equipped with two chips with firmware BIOS (main and backup) that will allow you to avoid a visit to the service center in case of main chip damage. Also here is a separate additional protection of USB and LAN ESD ports. Each LAN and USB-port is paired with a special protective filter that is able to withstand severe electrostatic discharge which protects the system from power surges, even during a thunderstorm.


On the reverse side there is a schematic representation of the motherboard, its interface panel, and the description of the key benefits of new item. Also we want to note some interesting features of the product:

  • additional protection of circuit board against moisture and high temperatures;
  • use of a separate fuse for each USB port.

By tradition, the product supports technology GIGABYTE ON/OFF Charge and 3x USB Power the description of which can be found in one of our previous materials.


Supplied set of this model is fully consistent with its affordable cost. It includes only the most necessary, namely plug interface panel, two SATA cables, CD with software and user manual.

Design and features


The device is implemented on dark brown printed microATX circuit board (225x174 mm). As the product is equipped only with two DIMM-slots, smaller width printed circuit board is used which improves its compatibility with the compact body. As regards the arrangement, due to the small number of the on-board elements they are arranged at optimum locations and at a sufficient distance from each other. Perhaps the only thing that can be noted, it is unusual location of leading-in socket to connect remote panel with USB 3.0 ports at the bottom which is caused by non-standard width of the PCB.


In addition to the usual enforcement plate of processor socket on the reverse side of the model there is a plastic clip for fastening the radiator.


At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in sockets, S/PDIF Out, COM port, CMOS jumper, two leading-in sockets for activation of additional USB 2.0 interfaces and one front panel leading-in socket. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: four are internal and four on the interface panel.

Separately note leading-in socket for connecting external panel with ports USB 3.0. The product can boast with the support for four relevant ports: two internal and two on the interface panel.


The possibilities of organize a disk subsystem are presented by four SATA 6 GB/s ports. All of them operate due to AMD A88X chip. There is a support of SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10 and JBOD.


The system board has two DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 standard which are equipped with clips on both sides. Modules operating at frequencies from up to 2133 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 2400 MHz in overclocking mode are supported.

Despite the stated RAM support of 64 GB the actual maximum amount is no more than 16 GB due to lack in the sale of modules with capacity more than 8 GB. However, this is more than enough for most tasks set by the user.


Cooling system of the product includes only one aluminum radiator fixed due to plastic spring clips. It provides the heat removal from AMD A88X chipset.In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 55.1°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 52.6°C.

The received results are characterized as acceptable.



Processor power supply is performed via 5-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ISL62773. The circuitry is made by high quality components. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.


To extend the functionality of GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-DS2 user has three slots:

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

Taking into account the affordable price it is not surprising that the new product is designed to install only one graphics card. In this case specification PCI Express 3.0 is activated only when using APU AMD Kaveri. In case of installation of CPU of AMD Trinity or AMD Richland series, PCI Express x16 connector will work in line with the standard PCI Express 2.0. Also note the presence of expansion slot PCI which may be required for the installation of certain boards.


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


To support network connections there is a GB LAN-controller Realtek RTL8111F.


The sound subsystem is based on the HDA-codec 8-channel sound HDA-codec Realtek ALC887 that supports the sound system of 2/4/5.1/7.1 format.


Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

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

A similar arrangement can be considered as good for an affordable motherboard, because it offers the availability of USB 3.0ports, as well as two video outputs. Additionally, we note the ability to connect remote panel with port COM that significantly expands the list of supported peripherals.

The special features include an inconvenient connection of multichannel speakers.


The organization of the cooling system inside the case is pretty standard for a compact model. There are two 4-pin fan connectors. One of them is used for the CPU cooling system, while the second is designed to connect a system fan.



Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-DS2 is equipped with modern UEFI firmware based on microcode AMI with mouse control and support for drives with capacity more than 3 TB. Also it has two BIOS chips (DualBIOS technology). It will keep the performance of the system in case of damage of the main chip firmware.

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