ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ Motherboard Review
By Hank Tolman
Manufacturer: ASRock Inc.
Full Disclosure: AMD provided the product sample used in this article.
FM2+ Motherboards sporting the A88X chipset started appearing in October 2013, but the improved functionality over the latest FM2 motherboards only became truly apparent with the release of the Kaveri line of APUs in January 2014. Add to that the recent release of AMD drivers supporting the Mantle API, and the FM2+ motherboards start to make sense. Benchmark Reviews has the AMD A10-7850K APU and a couple of FM2+ motherboards on hand. This article is dedicated to reviewing the ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ Motherboard to discover what sets it apart from the rest of the FM2+ crowd.ASRock categorizes their high-end motherboards into three series; Extreme, Overclocking, and Gaming. The three different series of motherboards are easily distinguished by their color schemes. The Gaming motherboards have red highlights on the PCIe and RAM slots while the Overclocking motherboard’s highlights are yellow. The Extreme series motherboards are all black. The FM2A88X Extreme6+ motherboard is ASRock’s flagship FM2+ Extreme series motherboard. It is one of a long line of A88X motherboards released by ASRock. Of course, ASRock isn’t the only manufacturer to release a line of FM2+ motherboards. There is a lot of competition out there. Manufacturers can’t just rely on the chipset features to sell motherboards. Each company adds their specific features, thermal management systems, tweaks, and perks. Let’s get down to business and explore the ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ motherboard to find out what sets it apart.
FM2A88X Extreme6+ Specifications
*Specifications taken from ASRock website.
|A-Style||- Home Cloud – Purity Sound – HDMI-In|
|CPU||- Supports Socket FM2+ 95W / FM2 100W processors – Digi Power design – 8 + 2 Power Phase design|
|Chipset||- AMD A88X (Bolton-D4)|
|Memory||- Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Technology – 4 x DDR3 DIMM Slots – Supports DDR3 2600+(OC)*/2400(OC)/2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory – Max. capacity of system memory: 64GB** – Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2 – Supports AMD Memory Profile Technology (AMP) up to AMP 2400
*DDR3 2600+ is only supported with two DIMMs. **Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows 32-bit OS. For Windows 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
|BIOS||- 2 x 64Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with multilingual GUI support (1 x Main BIOS and 1 x Backup BIOS) – Supports Secure Backup UEFI Technology – Supports “Plug and Play” – ACPI 1.1 Compliant wake up events – Supports jumperfree – SMBIOS 2.3.1 support – DRAM, VDDP, VDDR Voltage multi-adjustment|
|Audio, Video and Networking|
|Graphics||- Integrated AMD Radeon R7/R5 Series Graphics in A-series APU – DirectX 11.1, Pixel Shader 5.0 with FM2+ CPU. DirectX 11, Pixel Shader 5.0 with FM2 CPU. – Max. shared memory 2GB – Four graphics output options: D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort – Supports Quad Monitor with FM2+ CPU. Supports Triple Monitor with FM2 CPU. – Supports HDMI with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096×2160) @ 24Hz – Supports Dual-link DVI-D with max. resolution up to 2560×1600 @ 60Hz – Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 1920×1200 @ 60Hz – Supports DisplayPort 1.2 with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096×2400) @ 60Hz or 4K x 2K (4096×2160) @ 60Hz – Supports DP++ – Supports Multi-Streaming – Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI Port (Compliant HDMI monitor is required) – Supports Blu-ray Stereoscopic 3D with HDMI Port – Supports AMD Steady Video 2.0: New video post processing capability for automatic jitter reduction on home/online video – Supports HDCP with DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort Ports – Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) playback with DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort Ports
*Only FM2+ APU can support up to 4096×2160 resolution display via HDMI port.
|Audio||- 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec) – Premium Blu-ray Audio support – Supports Purity Sound – 115dB SNR DAC with differential amplifier – TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier (Supports up to 600 ohm headsets) – Direct Drive Technology – EMI shielding cover – PCB isolate shielding – Supports DTS Connect|
|LAN||- PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s – Qualcomm Atheros AR8171 – Supports Qualcomm Atheros Security Wake On Internet Technology – Supports Wake-On-LAN – Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az – Supports PXE|
|Expansion / Connectivity|
|Slots||- 2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slots (PCIE2/PCIE4: single at x16 (PCIE2); dual at x8 (PCIE2) / x8 (PCIE4)) – 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 Slot (PCIE5 @ x4 mode) – 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 Slots – 2 x PCI Slots – Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX, 3-Way CrossFireX, CrossFireX and Dual Graphics
*PCIE 3.0 is only supported with FM2+ CPU. With FM2 CPU, it only supports PCIE 2.0.
|Storage||- 7 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug|
|Connector||- 1 x IR Header – 1 x COM Port Header – 1 x Chassis Intrusion Header – 1 x Power LED Header – 2 x CPU Fan Connectors (1 x 4-pin, 1 x 3-pin) – 3 x Chassis Fan Connectors (1 x 4-pin, 2 x 3-pin) – 1 x Power Fan Connector (3-pin) – 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector – 1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector – 1 x XFire Power Connector – 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector – 3 x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 6 USB 2.0 ports) – 1 x USB 3.0 Header by AMD A88X (Bolton-D4) (Supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) – 1 x Dr. Debug with LED – 1 x Power Switch with LED – 1 x Reset Switch with LED – 1 x BIOS Selection Switch|
|Rear Panel I/O||- 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port – 1 x D-Sub Port – 1 x DVI-D Port – 1 x HDMI-Out Port – 1 x HDMI-In Port – 1 x DisplayPort – 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port – 2 x USB 2.0 Ports – 1 x eSATA Connector – 2 x USB 3.0 Ports (AMD A88X (Bolton-D4)) – 2 x USB 3.0 Ports (ASMedia ASM1042) – 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED) – HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone|
|Other Features / Miscellaneous|
|Unique Feature||- ASRock A-Tuning – ASRock Instant Boot – ASRock Instant Flash – ASRock APP Charger – ASRock XFast USB – ASRock XFast LAN – ASRock XFast RAM – ASRock Crashless BIOS – ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) – ASRock Internet Flash – ASRock UEFI System Browser – ASRock UEFI Tech Service – ASRock Dehumidifier Function – ASRock Easy RAID Installer – ASRock Easy Driver Installer – ASRock Interactive UEFI – ASRock Fast Boot – ASRock X-Boost – ASRock Restart to UEFI – ASRock USB Key – ASRock FAN-Tastic Tuning – Hybrid Booster: – ASRock U-COP|
|Support CD||- Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 Trial, Google Chrome Browser and Toolbar, Start8 (30 days trial)|
|Accessories||- Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield – 4 x SATA Data Cables|
|Hardware Monitor||- CPU temperature sensing – Chassis temperature sensing – CPU Fan Tachometer – Chassis Fan Tachometer – CPU/Chassis Quiet Fan – CPU/Chassis Fan multi-speed control – CASE OPEN detection – Voltage monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore|
|Form Factor||- ATX Form Factor – Premium Gold Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality conductive polymer capacitors)|
|OS||- Microsoft Windows 8.1 32-bit / 8.1 64-bit / 8 32-bit / 8 64-bit / 7 32-bit / 7 64-bit|
|Certifications||- FCC, CE, WHQL – ErP/EuP ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)|