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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

Closer Look: MSI A75MA-G55

The box that houses the MSI A75MA-G55 Motherboard is bright and catchy. Since one of the major features of a lot MSI motherboards in the Military Class II components, the box mimics a polished steel machine and touts the features all over the front. Just from looking at the box, you will know exactly how great these Military Class features are. There is even an additional stamp letting you know that it's certified to a Military Standard. I have to admit that this is always interesting to me. I was in the military for a long time. In fact, I just got out last November. While most of the weapons and some of the equipment is held to a higher standard than the same equipment available to civilians, a lot of it is the same stuff you can get anywhere else, especially the computer equipment. Anyway, what's surprising is that, while touting all the Military Class components, there is no mention that the A75MA-G55 Motherboard uses a socket FM1 APU or that it's designed for the Lynx chipset. It does say AMD Vision at the top and the A75 should clue you in, but other than that, all it says is AMD Recommended. All I can say is: please don't try to use an Intel chip in this board.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Box.jpg

The back of the box lays out all of the features again, but in a little more detail. These details include the benefits of USB3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s. We also get a little blurb here about one of the most exciting features (for me) of the MSI A75MA-G55 Motherboard; the inclusion of Winki 3. Winki 3 is a full, linux based operating system that is somewhat similar to Google Chrome OS. It basically gives you web-based functionality. You can do almost everything from the web these days, so Winki 3 is pretty useful if you think forking over an extra $100 for an operating system is highway robbery. It won't support any of your programs, but you'll be able to catch up on past articles from BenchmarkReviews.com!

MSI_A75MA_G55_Box_Back.jpg

Inside the box of the A75MA-G55 Motherboard is bunch of accessories. The manuals, driver and utilities CD, I/O shield and SATA cables are pretty standard. There is also a molex to SATA power adapter, which is nice if you have a power supply that is a little on the old side. The most interesting part of the accessories, and a very welcome inclusion, is a USB 3.0 expansion port that fits the PCI slots on the back of your case. So many motherboards now include USB 3.0 headers mid-board. The problem is, not a lot of cases have USB 3.0 ports available yet. That makes the header basically useless unless you buy an expansion port. I have the same problem with the fact that a lot of motherboards include roughly 4 USB 2.0 headers, but cases only come with 2 ports, taking up just a single header. Anyway, I'm glad that MSI included the USB 3.0 expansion port here. There are a lot of devices now that take advantage of the faster speeds and with the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard, you can take advantage of more than just 2 of them.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Accessories.jpg

The MSI A75MA-G55 is a good looking motherboard. The PCB is black and the dark blue, black, and silver color scheme blend smoothly with the Military Class theme. There are only a couple of heatsinks on the motherboard, but they serve their function. The small square one at the top of the board covers the Fusion Controller Hub and the longer one near the APU socket covers, at least partially, the MOSFETs. It says Military Class II on it, which is great because it's shielding some of those military grade capacitors. Speaking of the MOSFETs, it looks to me like the MSI A75MA-G55 is using a 4+2 or maybe even a 4+4 phase PWM. The heatsink is riveted into place, and I'd have to take it off to be sure. Either way, it doesn't give a lot of room for extra power movement, which may not bode well for overvolting. However, the AMD Llano APUs don't use a whole lot of power. That combined with the fact that there is a MOSFET heatsink might allow for some headroom in terms of voltage. Of course, the chokes aren't covered by the heatsink.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Top.jpg

Let's finish up our closer look at the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard with the I/O panel. Then we can get into a more detailed look at the components on the motherboard. The I/O panel is pretty standard for an A75 motherboard. Again, the first thing on there is a legacy PS/2 port. If you read my review of the ASUS A75 motherboard a few weeks back, you know how I feel about that. Remember, of course, that this is my personal opinion. I don't think PS/2 ports are necessary anymore. You may still have legacy equipment. In that case, a PS/2 port would be necessary for you. Well, I would say that an upgrade of keyboard and/or mouse would be necessary for you. Either way, this motherboard only has one port, so one of those peripherals is going to have to be USB.

MSI_A75MA_G55_IO.jpg

Under the PS/2 port there are two USB 2.0 ports. Next to that is an HDMI port followed by a D-Sub port on top of a DVI port. Now, I have the same complaint about VGA ports, considering they pass an analog signal, but I have reconsidered. The reason for this is that I use two monitors. Because the DVI port and the HDMI port use the same single, you can't use them both at the same time. Thus, the addition of the analog, VGA port is necessary for those of us that would like to use two monitors with the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard. Following the video ports is a GbE port powered by the Realtek RTL8111E controller. This sits above another two USB 2.0 ports and beside the two, blue USB 3.0 ports. The I/O panel is rounded out by the six audio jacks powered by the Realtek ALC887 Audio Codec, which supports your 7.1 digital audio. Even though these motherboards are relatively inexpensive, I am glad to see that both ASUS and MSI have included the full six audio ports on their A75 motherboards.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Back.jpg

Before I forget, I want to mention that the BIOS on the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard is your standard, run-of-the-mill BIOS with a single difference. This BIOS has added mouse support. Well, it has 3TB drive support too, but most do now with a flash anyway. Why MSI didn't use a uEFI instead of a BIOS is anybody's guess, but all I have to say is the mouse support is spotty at best and I ended up just using the keyboard to navigate my way through it.



 

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.
Ive 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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