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Written by Hank Tolman   
Sunday, 11 September 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI A75MA-G55 AMD FM1 Llano Motherboard
Closer Look: MSI A75MA-G55
MSI A75MA-G55 Detailed Features
AMD A-Series A75 Fusion Chipset
MSI A75MA-G55 Specifications
Testing and Results
AIDA64 Extreme Edition v1.1 Benchmarks
Passmark PerformanceTest
3DMark Vantage DX10 Benchmark Tests
3DMark Vantage DX10 Benchmark Tests
PCMark Vantage Benchmark Tests
SiSoftware Sandra
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
DX10 and DX11 Gaming Benchmarks
Video Transcoding Tests
A8-3850 Overclocking, Power, and Temperature
MSI A75MA-G55 Motherboard Conclusion

MSI A75MA-G55 AMD FM1 Motherboard Review

Manufacturer: Micro-Star International Co., LTD.
Product Name: A75MA-G55 FM1 Motherboard
Price as Tested: $99.99 at Newegg

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by MSI.

The Lynx platform, otherwise known as Llano for desktop, is out in full force now. The new chipset offers something of an alternative to low-end Sandy Bridge systems with comparable CPU power and extremely heightened GPU power. These APUs don't themselves a system make, however, and all the usual manufacturers have been providing a plethora of motherboards in which to place your new Lynx APU. In this article Benchmark Reviews is taking a look at the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard. The MSI A75MA-G55 sports the new FM1 socket which takes Llano APUs. Currently the two available are the A8-3850 and the A6-3650, which come ready to rock with Radeon HD discrete level graphics. We have already seen the performance of the AMD A8-3850 APU, now let's look at the MSI design for the A75 chipset and how they differ from the competition.

The A55 and A75 chipsets that use the FM1 socket and are powered by the Llano APUs are the culmination of five years of work at AMD since their acquisition of ATI. The idea was to build a processor capable of handling CPU functions and GPU functions. And, just for kicks, they threw the northbridge on the die too. Well, Intel's Sandy Bridge beat AMD to the punch back in January 2011, but that didn't end things. AMD released the Llano chips for netbooks and notebooks early in 2011 and finally launched Llano for desktop in June 2011. The main difference between the Intel Sandy Bridge processors and the AMD Lynx APUs is that AMD uses ATI Radeon HD graphics as the on-die GPU. This brings up the level of graphics far above what Intel offers in the Sandy Bridge.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Angle1.jpg

The Sandy Bridge processors, however, reach far ahead of the Lynx APUs, if you are willing to spend the money. The A8-3850 that we reviewed performed on par, and usually somewhat better, than the Core i3-2100 that we tested it against. But the A8-3850 is, so far, the top of the line of Lynx APUs. The Core i3-2100 is near the bottom of Intel's line-up. AMD hasn't given up on higher level performance, though. Just before the Llano for desktop release, they released the 990FX chipset, an upgrade from the 890-series. This release continues on AMD's mid- to high-end offerings and will be compatible with the new Bulldozer CPUs as well as the older Phenom-II and Athlon-II CPUs.

The Lynx platform comes in two flavors, the A55 chipset and the A75 chipset. While manufacturers have released some A55 motherboards, I wouldn't expect them to be too common. The A75 motherboards are already coming in at extremely affordable prices and the features they offer over the A55 alternative are well worth the extra couple bucks. The A55 chipset doesn't offer support for USB 3.0 or SATA 6Gb/s.

The AMD Lynx APUs offer somewhat more that just superior graphics performance in comparison to similarly priced Intel processors. They also offer support for newer technologies that Intel left out. For one, the A75 chipset brings native USB 3.0 support to the table. The Radeon HD Graphics on the APUs support DirectX 11 as well. On top of that, AMD offers the ability to pair a discrete graphics card with the on-die graphics in a hybrid CrossfireX configuration for even better graphics. Of course, to use all of this new technology, you need a motherboard to put the APU in. That is why we are taking a look at the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard. We've seen the ASUS F1A75-M Pro and what it has to offer. Let's see what MSI does differently and how that affects the performance and price of your potential new Lynx system.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: MSI A75MA-G55 AMD FM1 Llano MotherboardClaydough 2011-09-13 04:42
Per the ps2 not needed argument...
I thought 5 simultaneous button keyboard presses ( w + a movement + shift run with a spacebar jump fer instance ) were still only possible using a ps2 cable or adapter?
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# RE: RE: MSI A75MA-G55 AMD FM1 Llano MotherboardClaydough 2011-09-13 04:43
-edit

oops meant 4 presses..
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# I don't know.Hank 2011-09-13 07:09
If that is true, I will have to re-think my opinion. I do play games, after all, and that would certainly come in handy. I'll look into it and get back with you.
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# 6KROHank 2011-09-13 15:13
Sooo.. It is true that USB Keyboards are limited to 6 simultaneous key presses. They are known as 6KRO (Key Roll Over). PS/2 Keyboards are known as NKRO because there is no limit to the amount of keys that can be pressed at the same time and still register. Also, 6KRO USB Keyboards are limited to 4 modifier keys out of the 6 that can be pressed simultaneously. Modifier keys are alt, ctrl, shift, etc. They modify what the next key press does.

So, in that case, my opinion still stands. Even gaming, I'm not sure when I would push more than 6 keys at a time and I'm relatively sure I've never used more than 3 modifier keys at once.

Also, PS/2 keyboards have other limitations. Sure, you can press 188 keys at once, but you can't use a function key. Also, any of those specialty keys, mostly used for media functions, won't be found on a PS/2 keyboard. Oh, and those gaming keyboards? Forget about it.

-Hank
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# ghostingclaydough 2011-09-14 19:24
Researching myself, besides an interesting debate with the mechanical keyboard-centric purist @ geekHack:
#geekhack.org/showthread.php?5572-USB-vs-Ps2-Keyboards/page3
Where the consensus seems to be that ps2 polling is less intrusive, potentially less cpu intensive and in the end more responsive...
The ghosting problems ( multi-button rollover fail ). Doesn't seem to be limited to USB anyway. My sidewinderx6 seems to behave with most all my important navigation combinations cept for ctrl failing with certain combinations. ( in which case the ability to map crouch to at least press on/off is greatly appreciated ) But then again I found A ps2 version of intellipoint Pro that I might try morrow. But again ghosting seems to be a problem anyway with any given keyboard whether it's Supposed to support at least 6 rollover keys or not. :-(
Neat geekHacks thread read either way.
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# RE: MSI A75MA-G55 AMD FM1 Llano MotherboardTino 2011-12-17 18:31
Great review.

I couldn't find if the DVI port is Single-link or Dual-link. It doesn't say in the MSI's page.
Iīve got a Dell U2711 (2560x1440), and I need a mobo with DVI-DL or DisplayPort to use it in native resolution. HDMI or DVI-SL only shows 1920x1080.
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# RE: MSI A75MA-G55 AMD FM1 Llano MotherboardTino 2011-12-17 18:35
About the FIS Switching, is necessary for using eSATA docks like TT BlacX Duet. Without FIS, you can use one port only (unless you use the USB 2.0 interface).
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# RE: RE: MSI A75MA-G55 AMD FM1 Llano MotherboardFred 2012-10-08 18:10
regarding the FIS switching the review says that the A75 FCH can utilize FIS based switching but the A55 cannot.
anybody know what the best graphics card works with an A6-3550 soon to be upgraded to an A8-3870 and what the benifits are to do dual graphics?
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# Apu `s and the a75 mbA6 6530d liano owner 2013-09-26 13:27
i am very happy i bought the buldozer Apu a6 its an monster al the new series Apus are stabalized core mine is still more powerfull then the current a 10 buldozer its powerfull but its stabalized and easyer to un lock if mine is fully unlocked then i need to sit on my system cuase it will fly away did an bench mark and came to my discovery tha it has cntrole mannidgeable self sutain system it means 12 core cluster of 5.8 ghz 8 for power 4 for distrubution controle to keep eth other 8 in check

i peaked over 72.0000 mhz an sec per core cluster not funny i can run 32x multyplyer and then its stable enough to do some bad as ripping it whas faster then the i7 pentuim and i9 had serious trouble its an awsomecombination this a75 chipset with the first gen a6 liano i can push it to 3.8 in optimalisation if i go water cooling i push 5.8 could go to 6.2 but thats dangerously risky just with the right tuning that system just uses his fins thill 3.8 and it wont get higher then 75 degrees i find that verry impressiv i down graded it to respectfull 3.2 thats perfect for gaming blew 3 gddr5 graphics cards in the last 2 years this year in doing it right shuff in 4 x 8 gb mem 2200 mhz heh and and decent expensive grahics card and am contend for the next 15 years
its has capabillaty of 64ggb memory insurtion

thats some bad as power and my mb has 2 x pci xpress 16x slots and 2 regular and the 6gb works like an charm no delays for some on that wants to buld an good pc for low costs this is it defently
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