Overall and FV
After taking a look at both AMD’s A-Series APU and Sapphire’s PURE Platinum A75 motherboard I have a newfound excitement with both AMD’s mainstream offers and what they will bring to the table with their performance line-up. Sapphire's motherboard was packed with features like the built-in Bluetooth, multiple BIOS’s, power and reset buttons, and even a diagnostic LED that shows your current CPU temperature. We did run into a few issues with the boards USB, but being an early production motherboard it’s not too surprising. Only time will tell how the board will stand quality wise, but I can say Sapphire did a good job putting together a nice feature list that should make for a great PC for mid-range build.
Sapphire packed the PURE Platinum A75 with a wide range of features including an 8-phase VRM to power everything when cracking the APU up to its limit. The mini PCI express slot is an interesting pick considering the ATX form factor but should make it easy to install a wireless card or SSD without taking up any other space on the motherboard. The Native SATA 6 on ALL ports was also very refreshing to see, I hope that we see this more in the future. Along with everything else it was also nice to see the accessories included with the board. Sapphire packed in a two port USB 3.0 hub for your 3.5 inch drive bay on the front. For those without USB 3.0 on their cases this will help take advantage of its high speeds without having to buy a new case. Lastly, adding to the overall value of the board was the included copy of Dirt 3.
AMD's A-Series APU the A8-3800 surprised me with its performance, even though it was un-successful at outperforming most of Intel’s offerings. AMD has their entire lineup priced near Intel’s i3 series making even their APU's a good choice when looking at budget builds. If you are looking for a performance build you should be looking at their 6 core offerings like the 1100T or you could wait for bulldozer to be introduced. What was even more impressive was the A8-3800's overclocking capabilities. I was able to bump it up to 4.75 GHz without adjusting anything other than the multiplier on a seal water cooling setup. AMD has left a lot still on the table with the A8-3800, this may be to leave room for future CPU's or just as a gift to those who are willing to dig in and take it. Either way it’s nice to know it’s there.