AMD’s upcoming Zen architecture is predicted to offer a very competitive alternative to enthusiast Intel CPUs and could instigate a pricing war. This is great news for the consumer, as Intel currently dominates the higher-end CPU market, and is in need of some strong competition. That’s not to say the current AMD offerings aren’t a suitable choice, but they struggle to match Intel’s performance across the board. This is expected though given AMD’s current ageing sockets with both AM3+ and FM2+. Even though most hardware aficionados are waiting for AMD’s new CPUs which bring DDR4 support and a new socket, it doesn’t mean the older products are suddenly worthless. Perhaps, you want to build a HTPC or on a tight budget. It is quite strange to see new FM2+ motherboards being released in 2016, but at least it provides a better selection of features for those with a FM2+ based processor.
Gigabyte’s latest foray into the FM2+ scene is based on AMD’s A88X chipset and designed as a mid-range motherboard. The F2A88X-D3HP features the standard 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and includes a 6-phase VRM design. Additionally, there’s a single PCI-E 3.0 X16 expansion slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), two legacy PCI to house older cards and three PCI-E 2.0 x1. The motherboard also supports up to 64GB of dual channel DDR3-2400 memory, and incorporates eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports.
Gigabyte integrated a total of two USB 3.1 ports, with one adopting the Type-A connector and the other uses Type-C. There’s another four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear, and two more via internal headers). In terms of display options, you can choose from HDMI 1.4a, dual-link DVI, and D-Sub. As you might expect, the motherboard has 8-channel HD audio with an isolated section of the PCB and electrolytic capacitors. When it comes to networking, there is a Gigabit RJ45 port, and the motherboard utilizes Gigabyte dual UEFI BIOS technology.