Conclusion

Provided by: Gigabyte - No compensation was received for review of this product.

Price Point

Price: 68.21 USD (shopblt.com)

Class: Budget

The Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 Motherboard is a Budget Motherboard.

Performance

The Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 Motherboard kept up with the A75 nicely. Overall it was only a little bit slower in testing.

Reviewer's Opinion

When I thought about Llano and the Lynx platform, something more like this is what I pictured. I never thought of a full size desktop computer as having an all in one type system really defeats the purpose. I pictured microATX boards in a small, compact case. I envisioned a HTPC system that could actually fit near the TV, and offer desktop like performance. Everything that I saw last CES regarding Llano made me think compact computing, such as notebooks. The first taste of AMD's fusion technology came in their Brazos form which was miniITX. I figured Llano would be a little better in the microATX, while Bulldozer would be the one to hit the enthusiast market in the usual full ATX size.

The Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 does a good job offering all of the performance of a full desktop when paired with the right APU. The A55 FCH is meant to be the lesser of the 2 technologies. As such the cost should be lower and some extra features will be lost. However, these are trivial features that some may find unnecessary when building a budget, or smaller system. I, for one, don't see an immediate need for USB 3.0 or SATA III for the average user. Most of the USB 3.0 devices are storage related, such as HDD docks and flash drives, which average users rarely would use. The perfect situation for the GA-A55M-DS2 is in a budget system. Let me piece together a quick system with price; GA-A55M-DS2 ($68), A6-3650($120), 4GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 ($27); Segate Baraccuda Green 1TB ($50); MicroATX Case w/ PSU ($80); Extras like Optical and Keyboard Mouse ($40). That is a complete budget system in small Micro ATX size that only totals $385. That is the price of a budget laptop, or even some of these all in one miniITX systems.

The only issue that I had with the GA-A55M-DS2 was it's memory support. This board specifications say that it only uses 1.5V DDR3 memory. The problem with that is much of the higher speed DDR3 is rated at 1.65V. This ends up being a problem. In the BIOS there is no fine tuning with the voltages. The base defaults DDR3 ar 1.5V and you can only increase in 0.1V increments. This will cause a problem with a majority of the DDR3 out there. Both of the pairs of ram that I have only run 1.5V when at 1333 speeds, and 1.65V at anything over. Luckily, I was able to run at 1.6V @ 1600 MHz with no stability issues, however overclocking was out of the question.

Overall, I was impressed with the GA-A55M-DS2. Even though it lacks many features the price is low enough to justify the loss of those features. Performance is up there as would be expected with little loss from the A75 chipset. This is a great motherboard for keeping the costs as low as possible when building an all in one Llano APU system. Average users, HTPC enthusiasts, and casual gamers can all benefit from the GA-A55M-DS2.

Pros:

  • A55 Chipset
  • Humidity Protection
  • Electrostatic Protection
  • Power Failure Protection
  • High Temperature Protection
  • Dual BIOS
  • MicroATX Size
  • AMD Dual Graphics Technology

 

Cons:

  • Availibility
  • Memory Support for only 1.5V modules

 

HiTech Legion Gold Award

 

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