We have mentioned before that AMD A series processors are a good basis for building a HTPC. The CPU might be slower than Intel processors, but the GPU performance is actually better compared to Intel CPUs of the same price. You can read our review of the latest generation AMD processors here (opens in new tab).
If you want to assemble a compact Mini ITX system using Trinity or Richland AMD A processors, there aren't that many motherboards to choose from. There are just four in total, and only one that uses the AMD A85X chipset. Today we will take a closer look at it - the ASRock FM2A85X-ITX.
The AMD A85X doesn't have that much added value for ITX boards, at a first glance. It has eight instead of six Serial ATA 600 ports and is possible to split the PCI-Express lanes from the CPU in two, for Crossfire. Using more than two video cards isn't an option for Mini ITX, however, since there physically isn't any space for two graphics cards slots. And it's doubtful whether you will actually use that many SATA ports, but for a small server it could be practical.
On the ASRock board, the Socket FM2 processor socket is combined with two DDR3 RAM slots. The only expansion slot is the PCI-Express x16 slot. Here you could place a graphics card, but PCI-Express x1 or x4 expansion cards will also work. Out of the eight Serial ATA 600 ports from the A85X chipset, seven are internal and one is used for eSATA. The board features 4x USB 3.0 and 8x USB 2.0, half of which are located on the back by the I/O connectors. You can read the rest of ASRock FM2A85X-ITX preview on Hardware.info (opens in new tab).