MSI 990FXA GD80 Review

MSI 990FXA GD80 Review, Best AM3+ MotherboardIf you’re looking for a tough motherboard with lots of overclocking headroom, it’s time for you to know about the MSI 990FXA-GD80. This board is a high end socket AM3+ motherboard from MSI. It came from a military class II series therefore; we can expect a tough board. You can take advantage of the OC Genie for a quick safe and effortless overclock, this will also unlock any possible hidden core to maximize its usage.

The Looks

The MSI 990FXa-GD80 looks good in black and blue color combinations. The 4 DIMM slot are nicely color coded in black and blue for you to easily distinguish the dual channel pairing. All PCIe slots are in blue, in between these are the PCIe 1x and PCI in black. It provides 6 SATA III ports in white color mounted in right angle manner for easy access. The back I/O panel is a typical enthusiast port with USB, eSATA, Firewire, ps/2 keyboard mouse, LAN, 6 ports audio and optical.

What makes the MSI 990FXa-GD80 Tough?

As I mention before, the MSI 990FXa-GD80 belongs to a military class II motherboard that promotes longer life span and stability. This board is equipped with tantalum Hi-c CAPs which MSI claims an eight times better than solid caps and SFC (Super Ferrite Choke).

More Features Ahead

The most useful features I see here is the on-board OC Genie button, this is the fastest way to overclock it without the need to go on the BIOS settings. Another is the reset button this also includes at the back panel, the most convenient way to reset the system without opening the casing for easy access. The drawback noticeably here is the shortage of SATA and USB 2.0/3.0 ports.

You can now backup your BIOS settings the easy way with the MSI M-flash. Other motherboard uses an extra BIOS chips, the MSI uses the M-Flash that doesn’t need an extra components to backup your settings. The M-Flash saves all your BIOS files can be save in your USB drive, another advantage for this that, it can be use to boot up your PC.

To complete your audio visual entertainment the THX TruStudio PRO was included. This is a high end home theater audio that produces true surround that almost you’re in the live show environment. In addition to that is the LossLess HD audio, only MSI offers the 109 SNR dB value for the clearest audio quality.

Charge your smart phone while using your PC with the MSI Super Charger, this provides a powerful supply on USB port. Save energy with the APS (Active Phase Switching) technology. It will automatically adjust the supply according to its power load needs. It also has USB Safeguard that protects you USB drive from being damage due to ESD (Electro Static Discharge).

Keep your BIOS and drivers updated, this is made possible with the Live Update 5. By installing it on your system from the bundled CD it will automatically detects the latest version online. The DrMos introduces the world’s first fastest MOSFET switching power supply. This provides 400% faster than traditional MOSFET that improves stability for voltage control, this is excellent for overclocking applications.

Specs

CPU Support: AMD socket AM3+ FX series, Socket AM3 Phenom II/Athlon II/Sempron 100 Series Processors

Chipset: AMD 990FX North Bridge and AMD SB950 South Bridge

Memory: Dual channel DDR3 2133(O. C. )/2000(O. C. )/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz up to 32 GB of system memory

Graphics: 2-way/3-Way NVidia SLI and 3-Way AMD CrossFireX multi GPU technology

Expansion Slots:

4 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots

2 x PCI slot

Connectors:

6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

8 x USB 2.0 ports (4 x back panel, 2 x internal USB headers)

3 x USB 3.0 ports (2 x back panel, 1 x internal USB headers)

2 x eSATA/USB 2.0 combo

1 x IEEE 1394a FireWire connector

6 x HD Audio port 8-channel

1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

MSI 990FXA GD80 Review

The MSI was tested using the Phenom II X4 980 BE, if you like to do overclocking better used a Black Edition processor. If you want to overclock it the easy way, take advantage on the OC button. Although it offers the safest overclocked speed some enthusiast were not happy with the small gain.

We can use the AMD’s OverDrive software which is available for download. This is compatible with any windows based OS, this will give you an easy manual overclocking any given processor. Using the AMD Overdrive, you can adjust the CPU voltage up to 1.55V and increase the multiplier. Get along with it and find the maximum stable speed you can reach and then finalized its values on the BIOS settings.

The maximum stable overclocked speed is at 4.3GHz, with the bus speed remains at 200MHz bumping up the voltage at 1.5V and multiply it by 21.5 giving you a final results of 4300MHz. From the stock of 3.7GHz (200MHz x 18.5) a huge gain of 600MHz is easily achieved, this shows tremendous improvements in its performance.

The temperature rises gradually, you need a better cooling system to protect the processor. Another thing is that, at this speed the processor sucks more power and demands higher supply.

Conclusion

The MSI 990FXA-GD80 is no doubt a solid performer with Military Class II level, this truly a very dependable board. As we always expected from AMD, socket AM3+ is fully backward compatible to all AM3 processors making it possible for you to enjoy your previous Athlon II and Phenom II processors.

The addition of the on-board OC Genie II, power and reset button on back panel provides all easiness of usage we can have. There’s few drawback we can see in here, first, the shortage in SATA and USB ports is a bit lack. Second, the EFI BIOS remains the old way of controlling its settings that makes it harder for us to navigate. We expect that MSI will do much better than this because; most of its competitor improves vastly by providing a GUI EFI BIOS control system.

Using the Phenom II X4 980BE never let us down, with the release of the new octa core Zambezi processor, you can expect that this board turns your PC into a total beast. Overclocking results are outstanding, far way better than any of the previous boards with 890FX chipsets. With the new 990FX a faster HyperTransport speed and the support for the SLI multi GPU further adds to its value, this alone is a worthy upgrade.

MSI keep the price on the mid-range level to make it affordable to anyone who’s willing to build a powerful AM3+ PC platform. If the flaws don’t bother you that much, this board is definitely an excellent choice.Click Here to get it at its Lowest Price!