ASRock’s A88M-G/3.1: A Review

Bringing USB 3.1 and Type C to socket FM2+

A couple of months ago I was testing out a lot of AMD’s APUs. As they often do the motherboard I was using released its own brand of funky smelling magically white smoke. So I picked up this little treat from ASRock. The A88M-G/3.1 is an mATX motherboard sporting AMD’s A88X chipset and Fm2+ socket. It sets itself apart from most socket FM2+ motherboards thanks to the inclusion of USB 3.1 port and a USB type C port. It also has a tactful red and black color scheme to boot.

You can see the ports in question down on the left-hand side of this image. The light blue USB 3.1 port and the tiny USB Type-C port sitting below it. The rest of the A88M-G/3.1’s I/O offerings are the standard fare of audio jacks, display connectors, and spare USB ports.

The slot layout on this motherboard is a decent setup with room for a hypothetical CrossFire configuration. Of course, that will never happen on this board. It just doesn’t make sense given the degree to which an exotic GPU setup would be bottlenecked by AMD’s current crop of APUs.

ASRock did a good job with the heat sinks. A very simple low-profile design. It’s easy to seat CPU coolers on this motherboard. Both AMD’s Wraith cooler and the Arctic cooler I replaced it with went on super easy.

The one issue have with this motherboard is the lack of buttons. I really like having physical power, reset, and bios reset buttons on motherboards. It may not be a big deal if you’re building office PCs but when you’re benchmarking like crazy and swapping components it really simplifies the process of troubleshooting significantly.

Overall ASRock’s A88M-G/3.1 is an excellent motherboard with a standout feature set for the aging FM2+ socket. It also has a great price point at about $70 on Amazon. If you’re in the market for a replacement socket FM2+ motherboard then the A88M-G/3.1 is a great option.S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.