Date Joined: 09/19/04
Pros: Built in SATA and USB work well. Having 3 choices of ports to drive a monitor is nice. BIOS was easy to update. You can't beat this price if you want 4 DIMM slots in your AM4 system. Good match for an APU, you can build a cheap and cheerful Bristol Ridge system around this board and upgrade it to Raven Ridge later.
Cons: With a Bristol Ridge (A-series APU) this motherboard does not allow you to load an XMP profile, or configure RAM timings manually. It only allows for RAM voltage control, and the option to use "Advanced Boot Training" or not. In practice this means that my DDR4-2400 only ran at -2133. Is there any RAM that would work at more than -2133 in this board with an A-series APU? I don't know.
Maybe with a Ryzen CPU, RAM timings and XMP profiles would become available. The similar AB350 Pro4 motherboard works this way: many more RAM tuning knobs are available in the BIOS with a Ryzen than with an A-series processor, so I'm guessing that's the case for the A320M Pro4 also.
According to the manual, max memory speed is higher if you use 2 DIMMs and a little lower if you use 4. Also it matters if the DIMMs are "single rank" or "dual rank" as some can run faster than others in this board. Read the manual if you are planning to use all four slots. For whatever reason, DRAM shopping has gotten trickier in recent years!
Pros: Performance is good for the price.
There's never noticeable heat coming out the back of the PC even under a full load (eg. parallel linux kernel compiles.) The stock cooler is perfectly adequate, if a bit whiny sounding. You might want aftermarket cooling but you won't need it. This "65 watt" part uses the same die and runs at similar clock speeds as the 35 watt A10-9700E processor. Differences between that part and this one are minor, so I suspect its worst case power dissipation is not much more than 35 watts!
The AM4 socket gives you an upgrade path to Raven Ridge. Raven Ridge will be a much more capable APU. It's likely to cost more than a Bristol Ridge, and it's not likely to be available as a boxed desktop processor until the middle of 2018. Meanwhile Bristol Ridge is your only option for APUs on the AM4 socket, and this part is the best value among the Bristol Ridges.
I had no trouble using the integrated graphics in Linux with the older 'radeon' driver. The newer 'AMDGPU PRO' driver doesn't seem to support Bristol Ridge yet, as of this writing. But the older generations of AMD drivers are still able to run the integrated GPU on Linux, at least for basic desktop stuff. I haven't tried gaming.
Cons: Performance could be better if this APU had 4MB of on-die L2 cache. Older APUs like Kaveri and Trinity had 4M available, but the Bristol Ridge parts top out at 2M of L2 cache. AMD claims the L1 caches are improved and that 2M is adequate, but it feels like a step backward. Maybe AMD is worried that if they make this part too good it will cannibalize Ryzen sales, so it's crippled a bit. And that's a shame. It would be more future-proof and could handle difficult workloads better with a 4M cache, or more! C'mon AMD!
The cheap A8-9600 and the top-of-the-line A12-9800 are equally crippled in terms of L2 cache, so you might as well save the cost difference between them if you are looking at any Bristol Ridge. The lowly -9600 is just as good as the -9800 in every respect except for core clock rates. Unless you game, you'll never notice that difference.
Pros: Fast, sleek, modern phone. Good price.
Cons: No encryption support in the stock OS. I didn't know you could get Android without encryption support, but there it isn't.
I wanted to link this phone with my work account. My company has a "device policy" which requires encryption. So that's not happening.
As of March 2017 there's no LineageOS support for the A7 Mini either (which would address the encryption issue, if it were an option.)
Pros: Inexpensive. Its BIOS supports the AMD IOMMU v2 on your APU.