ASUS F2A85-V Pro Software

The software package provided by ASUS is often cited by us as one of the best software packages with a motherboard, and this is still true on the FM2 socket and Trinity processors.  The install CD is the same platform used by ASUS on their Intel products, with one menu for software and another for utilities.  Each of these menus allows for a one-click ‘Install-All’ option, and clicking through allows users to deselect certain options that may not be relevant to them.

Within the software package, Daemon Tools Pro was installed by default.  I have used Daemon Tools for years – it is a great piece of software for mounting disk images.

The main software package revolves around ASUS’ AI Suite.  This software acts as an interface for the smaller additional programs that ASUS create for use on the motherboard.

ASUS AI Suite

The main bar of AI Suite splits the sub-programs up into groups, with two of the major utilities having their own buttons.  In the case with the F2A85-V Pro this is the Auto Tuning option for overclocking and the Remote Go utility for media and file organization over network connections to tablets and smartphones.  We will go through these in turn.

TurboV Evo

TurboV Evo is the operating system based overclocking tool provided.  It allows for changes of all the important voltages and frequencies onboard, as well as providing the Auto Tuning options for ‘Fast’ and ‘Extreme’ overclock settings.  I usually find TurboV Evo a good bit of kit when overclock testing, though I would like to put in some values by numbers rather than having to fiddle with sliders all the time.

DIGI+ Power Control

In order to give users better control over the power delivery, ASUS implements their DIGI+ Power Control on the FM2 boards as well.  There are fewer options here than on some of their higher end Intel board offerings, but if a user wants to give more current capabilities or adjust load line calibrations through the OS for overclocks, the options are here for both the CPU/APU and the DRAM.

In a similar vein, we also have the EPU (Energy Processing Unit) menu and settings, designed to adjust and power gate different parts of the motherboard to save energy.

Fan Xpert 2

ASUS are well known in the motherboard space for using better fan controllers that the rest of the motherboard industry – typically one per fan header which is configurable within the BIOS and in software.  The beauty of these fan headers lie in their independent control – the system has access to the RPM output and can adjust the speed on the fly.  Pair that up with some software that actually can manipulate such a system and we have a nice fan configuration.  The software behind this is Fan Xpert 2 – bundled as part of AI Suite, it will test all the fans in the system and provide RPM vs. Power applied graphs (as this relationship is rarely linear).  This allows users to adjust the temperature/RPM curves as required – the only thing missing is the ability to apply hysteresis.

USB 3.0 Boost

As part of the ASUS methodology, we have onboard an ASMedia controller which can take advantage of the most up to date USB 3.0 transfer protocols.  By attaching a compatible USB 3.0 device, and a click of the USB 3.0 Boost interface, the software will apply a driver over the standard ASMedia driver in order to enforce these under the hood commands.  As we have shown in previous reviews, this affords a nice bump in the speeds provided at low transfer size workloads, making a USB device more tenable for everyday random access use rather than just storage.  USB 3.0 Boost can also apply a modified driver to the chipset USB 3.0 ports for a similar boost using BOT protocols rather than UASP.  (Note, this should become moot for Windows 8, where UASP will be a part of the standard driver package.)

Network iControl

For the past couple of years it has been clear that users in the motherboard industry would prefer the ability to manipulate the network ports onboard their system.  While doing some epic downloading while playing a twitch FPS online is a little bit of an odd combination, using software tools in the OS to manage the priority of these programs is never a bad thing.  On the ASUS side this comes in the form of Network iControl, and within this software the user can adjust the software that uses the Ethernet connections and rank them in order of priority.  Alternatively the system can be left on automatic, and the program will use a series of pre-defined rules to prioritize a lot of the well known programs that typically rely on low-latency throughput.

Elsewhere in AI Suite we have advanced charging software in the form of AI Charger+ and USB Charger which will manipulate the current output of specific USB ports if the appropriate device is connected.  This will help greatly with charging devices, using up to 1.5A rather than 300mA.  I have been asked to test this feature in future reviews, and when I have an accurate setup I will start to test these charging features.  Specifically AI Charger+ is for Apple products, and USB Charger is for other devices (Kindles, smartphones et al.).

ASUS also use their USB BIOS Flashback software here, allowing users to update the BIOS without having a CPU, Memory or VGA connected.  This is a feature that helps protect the product in case new CPUs are released and microcode updates are needed.  If a user buys a board that is not compatible with their processor, in the past an older processor had to be found in order to update the BIOS.  This is no longer the case with USB BIOS Flashback.

ASUS F2A85-V Pro BIOS ASUS F2A85-V Pro In The Box, Overclocking
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  • just4U - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    Have you used ivy bridge or even set up any? Those puppies get quite warm and temperatures are all over the place. Hell I opted for a 2700K just because of that and prices were comparable. Using the 5800 (been working with it a few days now) it runs cool rarely going over 35C and usually staying in the low 20s in my 10 year old lian-li case (/w 3 80mm fans.. doesn't support bigger ones) Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, October 13, 2012 - link

    amd fanboy fails again. It's getting irritating with your idiocy and lies and pretense as if you know something. You know exactly nothing.

    " In case of single-threaded load processors with different microarchitectures demonstrate dramatically different levels of power consumption. And here we have every right to state that Ivy Bridge microarchitecture is the most energy-efficient among all testing participants. Core i3 manufactured with 22 nm process do win the promised 8-10 W of power from their predecessors and demonstrate overwhelming advantage over the competitor’s offerings. "

    No doubt that Core i3 processors from the new 3000 series will make the most energy-efficient systems. Their power consumption and therefore heat dissipation are significantly lower than by all other platforms, and their advantages over the systems with dual-core Sandy Bridge processors is between 10 and 20 W. This makes Core i3 with Ivy Bridge microarchitecture a perfect choice for compact and energy-efficient systems. And, by the way, for these particular systems Intel has special energy-efficient Core i3 CPU modifications with 35 W TDP instead of 55 W.

    LOL - the amd fanboy spews his lies, and gets owned, again, after insulting the poster WHO IS CORRECT.

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-...
    Reply
  • aryonoco - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    At a few points in the article, Ian mentions that the chipset supports RAID5 and might therefore be a good candidate for a SOHO NAS system. My question is, does anyone who builds a SOHO NAS system actually use these integrated hardware RAIDs?

    Sure, nothing beats a good and proper RAID controller, but those cost upward of $300 and from experience, these integrated RAID controllers barely perform well. They are generally much slower than software RAID, and tougher to recover from failures. Nearly everyone I know who has built their own NAS goes for software RAID, and any modern OS has better software RAID than these chipsets generally provide.

    The other reason not to consider Trinity for a NAS build is that power consumption is generally a major factor in a device that's 24/7 on, and Ivy Bridge beats Trinity in that regards hands down. Also, Trinity's main advantage over Ivi Bridge, that of a better GPU, is of no use in a NAS.

    So, I ask again, is Trinity actually such a good choice for a NAS build? I see a place for it in a HTPC build, but pretty much in nothing else.
    Reply
  • zappb - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    Trinity has a lower idle power consumption - depending on the usage scenario, it should be cheaper to run than the ivy bridge in a NAS Reply
  • solarisking - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    Are you guys still working on an iPhone 5 review? It's been weeks!!! Reply
  • Zink - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    If they still don't have that done, how are they going to keep up with all of the Windows releases set to hit in 2 weeks? Flagship Windows phones and tablets probably deserve just as much attention as the iPhone and there are releases covering the whole value spectrum. I hope the iPad Mini doesn't get some 20 page review while windows tablets get the standard windows laptop type review. Reply
  • Snotling - Thursday, October 11, 2012 - link

    There won't be an iPad mini... Unless Apple has lost its sense of direction. (which all things considered might be the case) Reply
  • Phiro69 - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - link

    Ian mentions a few times the motherboard - at $140 - appears overpriced for the performance & such. And yes, this Trinity sku is only somewhat comparable to an i3. But isn't the point of Trinity + FM2 to be somewhat future-insulated? As in, drop in another FM2 sku 6-12 months from now and watch your CPU & GPU performance skyrocket? Didn't AMD say FM2 is going to be around for the this gen and the next gen of processors?

    You might still have to be abit of an AMD fan boy to buy this combo now, but it would make a solid work PC and/or light gaming PC and a year from now, I bet $125 would drop in a huge boost in performance, without having to replace the rest of your system.
    Reply
  • Urizane - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    "But isn't the point of Trinity + FM2 to be somewhat future-insulated?"

    This depends on whether FM2 fades as quickly as FM1 and the length of time implied by 'somewhat'. Perhaps FM1 was around for 'somewhat' of a long time...maybe.
    Reply
  • Mugur - Thursday, October 11, 2012 - link

    HTPC - checked.
    Cheap file-server (8 x SATA 3 ports is great - I wonder whether mATX boards will have all 8) - checked.
    Home Office / light gaming - checked.
    Reply

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