Asus has announced two new FM2+ motherboards for AMD's upcoming Kaveri accelerated processing units (APUs,) even as reports circulate that the chips themselves are to be delayed.
Confirming that AMD's Kaveri processors, which are designed to replace the current-generation Trinity parts, will require a motherboard upgrade for those with FM2 boards, the announcement covers two headlines products in what Asus claims will be an entire range to be further detailed later this year.
The first of the two boards is the A88XM-A, which includes the new FM2+ socket - backwards-compatible with existing FM2 Richland and Trinity parts - running on an AMD A88X chipset along with four DDR3 sockets, six SATA 6.0Gb/s storage ports, a single 16-lane PCI Express 3.0 alongside a single-lane PCI Express 2.0 slot, and a legacy PCI slot. The rear of the board includes two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports, with a further two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports available using on-board headers, an RJ45 socket for the on-board Realtek 8111G gigabit Ethernet controller, audio connectors for the Realtek ALC887-VD 8-channel HD Audio sound chip, HDMI, DVI-D and VGA video outputs, and legacy PS/2 ports for peripherals.
The second is the lower-end A55BM-A/USB3, based around the AMD A55 chipset. While supporting the same APUs as its more expensive brethren, the A55BM-A has six SATA 3.0Gb/s ports and only two DIMM sockets, although includes the same PCI Express and rear-panel connectivity. Both boards include a UEFI BIOS on a 64Mb flash ROM, and use the mATX form factor.
While the presence of PCI Express 3.0 is to be welcomed, there is one cautionary note for those looking at building a new APU-based system: when used with Richland or Trinity APUs, the PCI Express 3.0 slot on both boards will operate as PCI Express 2.0; it's only when coupled with a Kaveri APU that the full functionality of the board is available.
Asus has yet to confirm pricing or availability, but has stated that additional FM2+ boards will be announced later this year - hinting, perhaps, that it hopes AMD will be on-track for its originally planned 2H 2013 Kaveri launch schedule.
The company has published full specifications for the A88XMA
on its website.