Asus F1A75-V Pro review

The desktop Llano board in the lead at the moment

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One of the things that really impressed us about the AMD A8-3850 Fusion APU was the amount of overclocking headroom there was in the chip.

We've been playing around with Stars-based AMD CPUs for a good while and we're rarely seen a chip take an almost 1GHz overclock before.

The Asus F1A75-V Pro was no bystander in this, being a key component to getting that speed out of the chip itself.

AMD supplied an MSI microATX FM1 board, the MSI A75M-G55, as part of the review kit and we could barely get a squeak out of it.

The Asus BIOS gave us full access to the Llano APU's baseclock; as it stands that's the only way to boost this multiplier-locked chip. That said the APU multiplier setting in the BIOS was susceptible to the odd tweak, displaying huge frequency boosts in Windows but offering no actual performance increase in the real-world.

Still, the F1A75-V Pro gave us an A8-3850 running happily at 3.7GHz.

Compared to the 2.9GHz stock speeds it comes with out of the box, that's a hefty ol' kick in the clocks.

Going along with that baseclock tweaking it also pushes up the DRAM frequency as well as the onboard graphics too, and yet it remained stable across the board.

Where the MSI board was initially reticent to allow us to up the memory frequency the Asus board was only too happy to oblige, indeed seeing the G.Skill RipJaws RAM at its native 1,600MHz speed straight out of the packaging.

Dual Graphics didn't present a problem for us either.

All it took was a single tweak in the BIOS to enable multi-monitor support and the board happily enabled the CrossFire settings in the Catalyst suite on booting into Windows.

In fact our only real snag with the board came on trying to plug in a discrete card alone, without running through the onboard graphics portion of the APU. After much installing and uninstalling we found our OS was now ignoring all devices plugged into the various USB ports despite our best attempts.

But that's a fairly minor thing.

With a board and chip coming in at around £200 all in you can afford to drop a £75 Radeon HD 6670 in as a Dual Graphics array and come up with some surprisingly playable frame rates.

While FM1-socket boards are still in their infancy, this Asus F1A75-V Pro is currently setting the bar high. With a combination of solid overclocking support and a decent feature set this board is going to be tough to beat.

We liked

The overclocking performance the board allowed us to squeeze out of the A8-3850 APU is thoroughly impressive. We wouldn't have known the untapped potential of the chip without it.

The A75-series boards all come laden down with purely SATA 6Gb/s ports, and a healthy smattering of USB 3.0 sockets too.

We disliked

Our only gripe came in the shape of the APU multiplier settings lying to us and a struggle trying to get the discrete cards running on their lonesome.

Final word

It's an impressive Asus debut for the A75-series of motherboards, giving the A8-3850 a serious platform.