AMD A-series Chipset Features

Along with every new processor (or at least most of the time) comes a new chipset.  The AMD Llano APU launch is no different and the desktop landscape will get a pair of new options with which to pair up against the processor.  The A55 and A75 FCH (Fusion Controller Hub) products have some pretty distinguishing differences that are worth pointing out though most of our readers will definitely want to get their hands on the A75.

The new chipsets are available on the Llano-only FM1 socket for the Lynx platform and will include your normal collection of features as well as some interesting surprises.  For starters, while the A55 chipset will including six SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports for a lot of storage connectivity, the A75 option upgrades them to SATA 6G (6.0 Gb/s) ports for even faster storage option.  Should you want to connect a SATA 6G ready SSD to your Llano system then you will be able to take full advantage of the technology.  Both offer support for RAID 0, 1 and 10.  The other storage feature is FIS-based SATA port multiplier support that will only be found on the A75.

Oh!  It should be noted as well that if the motherboard you buy for Llano has a UEFI BIOS then it should support the latest 2.5 TB and 3.0 TB hard drives without the use of any kind of add-in card.  That is good news for those of us that horde data like no tomorrow…

The only other differentiating feature between the two chipsets is the USB support.  While the A55 does include a boat-load of USB 2.0 ports (14 in total) the A75 chipset actually is the first to integrate USB 3.0 support natively with support for four of them.  With 10 USB 2.0 ports also support, the A75 will ironically become one of the most powerful chipsets available on one of the lowest priced overall platforms.  

We have well documented the performance advantages of USB 3.0 on PC Perspective – we love the technology and wish everyone would just freaking adopt it already!  Obviously this information above was provided by AMD so you have to take it for what it’s worth, but it is very apparent to anyone that has used it that USB 3.0 is what we all need.  And, with a native solution built into the chipset that Intel can’t match yet, it is very likely that performance and integration will be much better on Llano platforms going forward.

Before we get into the real hardware of the Llano platform on the next page, this final graphic pretty much defines what AMD views as their advantages over Intel are in the battle ahead for 2011.  Obviously these are formed to give us the best overall view of the AMD A-series of APUs but on the surface, these advantages are definitely REAL.  Whether or not they are enough for us to recommend it over the power of Sandy Bridge based Core i3/i5 processors will be seen later in the review.

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