Good overclocking facilities are what the majority of customers look for in contemporary motherboards. In this light, the manufacturers establish various price ranges, depending on the product’s overclocking potential. As usual, boards from budgetary lines cannot boast such potential, though there are some exclusions. Biostar A55MD2 is considered to be one of the cheapest solutions for FM2 platforms. Still, its layout marvels by the availability of CPU boost facilities, as well as gigabit network interface.
Design and Layout
Motherboard Biostar A55MD2 distinguishes itself by rather compact dimensions: 226x178 mm (uATX form-factor). The model accommodates an amplifying board that is made of a metallic fusible element. The chipset is cooled down by a small-sized aluminum heatsink, while field transistors are avoid of any cooler. This might signify about some inconsideration pertained to thermal environment. Power supply activity is realized by means of 24-contact and 4-contact connectors. APU monitoring is ascribed to PWM controller ISL62773, which computing section employs three-phase power converter and built-in northern bridge – two-phase converter. The rear facet of the board isn’t differentiated by any peculiar features.
This model is based on AMD A55 chipset and employs Socket FM2 CPU slot. It is ready to welcome AMD processors of Series A4/A6/A8/A10 and Athlon IIx4 with the built-in Radeon HD 74xx/75xx/76xx graphics core. Memory subsystem consists of two DIMM slots which support DDR3 SDRAM of up to 1866 MHz frequencies. The maximal memory capacity might approach 32 GB.
Expansion facilities are introduced by a single PCI and a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots. Audio subsystem is monitored by Realtek ALC662 controller, while network interface (gigabit Ethernet) is supervised by Realtek RTL8111F controller. Interface panel consists of D-Sub and DVI video ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, two PS/2 slots, one internal LPT and one COM port. In addition, the user is given a chance of creating various RAID arrays (0, 1, 10), thanks to the integration of four SATA 3 Gb/sec ports. The nominal delivery set of the motherboard contains quick startup user’s manual, CD with drivers and software pieces, case plug, and a pair of SATA 6 Gb/sec cables.
CD with package software consists of several useful sections. ‘Drivers’ tab embraces a set of installation drivers, including all necessary items compatible with Windows 8 platform. ‘Software’ tab offers several useful applets (BIOS Update Utility, BIOSCreen Utility, Temperature Monitor Utility, firmware update). ‘Manual’ tab contains all vital documentation in PDF format, while ‘About’ tab uncovers information about the board.
Biostar A55MD2 employs unusual AMI BIOS, though its navigation sticks to a classical BIOS template. Let’s survey the most vital sections. ‘Advanced’ section traditionally offers CPU Configuration options. The user is able to set Turbo Core mode that sounds like Core Performance Boost option with Biostar. SATA Configuration offers four dedicated working modes for the connected drives.
‘Chipset’ section is notable by the availability of GFX Configuration, FB Location and Boot facilities. The latter allows for disabling of a short speaker’s beep that signifies about successful POST procedure pass. This is also the place for adjusting a desirable level of interaction with the OS loader.
‘Performance’ section boasts the availability of a special option dedicated to the adjustment of a reference frequency. It’s feasible to alter memory and graphics frequency but there is no physical possibility of altering voltage index. The process of CPU overclocking is enabled due to AMD Pstate Configuration option with available multiplier, voltage and NB frequency change.
The model is claimed to have the maximal 4500 MHz frequency potential. However, system stability here is in question, especially when it comes about conditions on loading. Testing results demonstrated that CPU frequencies dropped to 1400 MHz after a few minutes of a strained work. It appeared to be rather difficult to alter voltage or final frequency index. Quite the contrary, RAM overclocking potential proved to be stable. UEFI functional provides for a hassle-free overclocking up to 2200 MHz frequency.