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MSI 990FXA GD-80 Review

ccokeman    -   November 10, 2011
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Closer Look:

MSI has updated their uEFI BIOS to make it look more in line with what a high performance motherboard BIOS should look like. Rolled out first on their latest Z68 offerings, Click BIOS II now has a home on their AMD lineup. Across the top of the main page is a wealth of information including the date & time, boot sequence, installed processor and clock speed, amount of memory and speed. There are three different modes to choose from, Eco, Standard, and OC Genie II. Eco locks certain parameters to ensure that the board and CPU run using as little current as possible, Standard gives full control of the BIOS so that it can be tailored to run as the user likes, including manual overclocking and OC Genie II to lock certain parameters to allow the OC Genie II Functionality. Taking screen shots of the BIOS is now a possibility by pushing the F12 key to paste an image to an installed thumb drive making it easier to share settings or for diagnostic purposes. One other addition is the ability to use 3TB and larger drives to their full capacity by moving to a uEFI BIOS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settings:

This first section contains the System Status, Advanced, Boot, and Save & Exit drop down menus. The System Status menu shows the date and time, the connected system drives, and system information on the installed processor. The Advanced drop down has more detail and is where you can configure the integrated peripherals, such as the system drives mode (IDE, AHCI, RAID), enable or disable the LAN controllers, and enable or disable the audio controller. The Hardware Monitor is where the fan controller settings can be configured, as well as monitoring the CPU and System temperatures. There are a few more settings, but these few are where the most time can be spent. The Boot menu is where the drive boot order is established. It can be done at the top of the main menu by dragging and dropping the drives in the correct order or preference. Additionally, the full screen logo can be turned on or off to suit the end user's preference.

 

 

 

 

Overclocking Setting:

Under this tab is where all the overclocking goes on. At the top is the reference clock and clock ratio tuning, the CPU/NB clock ratio, OC Genie II can be enabled or disabled, Turbo Core can be enabled or disabled to lock the clock speed, DRAM frequency adjustments cap at 1866MHz but can go higher with overclocking, DRAM timings opens another window to manually tweak the memory primary and secondary timings. All of the voltages can be tweaked and are sufficient to get the clock speeds out of your processor. The one missing item is a means to control voltage droop. Overclocking profiles enables the user to save up to six specific profiles. Each profile can be named independently of each other. This makes working on settings much easier after a failed overclock. CPU Specifications details the frequency, CPU Microcode, L1/L2 cache size and VID. Memory-Z shows the information on the installed memory's SPD chip including any vendor specific profiles. CPU Specifications allows the user to turn on or off AMD's Cool and Quiet technology and enable or disable C6 states.

 

 

 

 

ECO:

This section is where the energy saving features are enabled or disabled, CPU C1E, CPU Phase control, DDR Phase control, Core C6 States, and motherboard LED control can be turned on or off here. EuP 2013 is the Standby mode supported with this implementation not to exceed 1.00 watt of power in standby or off mode when priding a display. Voltages can be checked here, as well as the power draw through the Green Power Genie section.

 

Utilities:

In the utilities section, HDD Backup, Live update, and M-Flash can be accessed. HDD Backup and Live update can be used from either MSI's Linux based Winki quick boot software or in the operating system and by clicking either of these icons that is where the direction goes. M-Flash is used as an easy way to flash the BIOS with a simple to use utility that looks for the replacement BIOS ROM file on removable media like a thumb drive.

 

 

 

Password Security:

In this section, admin and user passwords are configured. Chassis Intrusion settings are configured here for a one stop shop for the security needs of the board.

 

Compared to the earlier attempts at the uEFI BIOS at the beginning of this year, MSI has come a long way towards giving a new look and making it easier to navigate through it. I had some issues initially with the first BIOS sent for the board. With my Logitech MX 510 as my mouse I was unable to navigate through the BIOS, as the mouse cursor would move opposite the direction intended, which made things difficult. Navigating with the keyboard was fine. MSI stepped up and resolved the issue with a revision to the BIOS so that going forward the latest BIOS is ready to go.




  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: Continued
  3. Closer Look: Programs & Utilities
  4. Closer Look: The BIOS
  5. Specifications & Features
  6. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, GeekBench, Bibble 5
  8. Testing: Office 2007, PovRay, Proshow Gold, Handbrake
  9. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2011,AIDA 64
  10. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HD Tune, PCMark 7
  11. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  12. Testing: Battlefield Bad Company 2
  13. Testing: Civilization V
  14. Testing: 3DMark 11
  15. Conclusion:
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