MSI 990FXA GD-80 Reviewccokeman - November 10, 2011
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Over the past few years MSI has been a company that has catered to the enthusiast and developed products with the feature sets that we like to see and use. Things like its OC Genie and now OC Genie II one touch hardware-based overclocking system make it easy for the novice to get a boost in performance with little or no overclocking knowledge needed, all by pushing a button and powering on the system. Things like their Military Class(II) build philosophy, DrMOS, Active Phase switching, and more add value, stability and reliability to the motherboards design. New with the 990FXA-GD80 is the addition of a uEFI BIOS that is leaps and bounds above what was offered earlier in the year. This addition brings with it support for 3TB hard drives. Although this board has been out since June, it received support for AMD's FX-8150 8 core processor and is the top of the line AMD based board in MSI's lineup. As such, the expectation is that it will be a high performing board. Let's see how it performs against the competition. If the levels of performance of its Intel-based boards are any indication, than the 990FXA-GD80 should do well.
Packaging-wise the 990FXA-GD80 looks much the same as the latest Intel motherboards that I have recently looked at from MSI. The feature set is pushed up-close and personal with MSI's Military Class II technology graphic taking center stage on the packaging. The warranty period of three years is prominently highlighted on the front panel reinforcing the commitment to quality and reliability. Across the top are the supported technologies including both CrossfireX and SLI multi GPU graphics solutions, support for AMD's FX series of processors and Windows 7 support. USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps are supported on the 990FXA GD-80. The front of the packaging flips up to reveal information about the supported technologies including the implementation of MSI's Click BIOS II uEFI BIOS, Super Charger functionality and the THX TruStudioPro sound solution. A rendering of the 990FXA-GD-80 surrounded by pictures of the highlighted features is shown as well giving the consumer an idea what the board looks like.
Flip open the lid and the size of the accessory bundle is apparent. MSI usually sends a pretty substantial accessory bundle with its higher-end offerings and this board is no exception to that rule. There are two parts to the bundle — the documentation and the hardware. Documentation for the 990FXA-GD80 includes the manual, driver disk, quick start and user guides, MSI product brief, and a software user guide. On the hardware side there are 4 SATA 6Gbp/s cables, a pair of molex to SATA power adapters, a rear slot bracket with additional USB 3.0 ports, the I/O shield, NVIDIA SLI Bridge connectors, and last but not least the M-connectors that make installing all of the front panel wiring a breeze for those of us with big hands.
Knowing what MSI brings to the table and how performance has taken a front seat over the past couple years, I am interested to see how the 990FXA-GD80 performs in relation to what I normally see on their Intel based boards regarding performance and overclocking.