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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
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 Motherboard Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

MSI has been around the motherboard manufacturing community for a long time now and they have set a standard for high quality products. The MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard falls right in line with that vision. The Military Class concept has evolved for MSI and they have continued improving the quality of their components. They are well into the second generation of that concept and the Military Class II components add longevity and durability to their products. The A75MA-G55 motherboard upheld our expectations and provided all of the features considered necessary for computing today as well as many that extras.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Angle.jpg

New Processing designs like the APU and the A75 chipset take away some of the choices for motherboard manufacturers in terms of on-board features like GPU and even third-party controllers for USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s. At the same time, the costs saved by the integration of these components onto the chipset allow for further innovation by manufacturers as to what they will include on their finished products. The inclusion of higher quality components is one of those options. As far as the APU performance is concerned, the A75 chipset looks like it is going to be a big competitor for lower-end Sandy Bridge platforms. The A8-3850 APU keeps right up in there with the similarly priced i3-2100. At the same time, the integrated GPU on the A8-3850, the Radon HD 6650D, outperforms the 2nd Generation Intel HD graphics by a long shot. In fact, it graphically outperforms the much more expensive i5-2500K processor. For entry-level systems, this chipset is a force to be reckoned with.

Where appearance is concerned, it looks like MSI tried to stick with their major feature set, the Military Class II components and build off of that. The blue and black theme is complemented by metallic gray throughout the board, giving the appearance of a high-tech, high quality machine. There is a little flare on the MOSFET heatsink, but only a little. The other components appear to be very functionally formed. This is consistent with the Military Class theme. Like the ASUS A75 motherboard I reviewed previously, the MOSFET heatsink itself looks like it's probably mostly cosmetic, as the PWM isn't covered. It's not as though the PWM is going to generate a whole lot of heat powering the Lynx APU anyway.

There is a lot to be said for the construction quality of the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard. The fact that they advertise their Military Class II components over anything else on the box pays tribute to that fact. They start off their Military Class II components with Highly-conductive polymerized capacitors that tout a tantalum core. Tantalum is a very hard metal that is corrosive resistant and tends to form a protective oxide surface layer. Since this oxide layer is very thin and can be used as a dielectric, tantalum capacitors can achieve a high level of capacitance in a very small volume. Tantalum cores are predicted to have a life-span about 8x longer than traditional solid capacitors. Up next is the Supper Ferrite Chokes. You have undoubtedly seen ferrite chokes on the ends of your USB or other cables. They are the big, round bump before the tip of the cable. Ferrite doesn't dissipate the energy running through it; it simply filters out high-frequency interference. This makes it great for power management, as it runs very cool. Finally, MSI uses Solid Capacitors. These are quickly becoming the industry standard and have a life-span of over 10 years. You can still find some motherboards made without all Solid Caps, but they are becoming rarer. As one final note on the construction of the A75MA-G55 motherboard, I found it difficult to locate and use the front panel headers for the power and reset switches and LEDs without using the manual. Sometimes they are labeled on the motherboard. On the A75MA-G55 they are not.

MSI really put in the effort to provide extra functionality with the A75MA-G55 motherboard. Some of that effort paid off, and some of it didn't. Mainly, when I say some didn't, I'm talking about the ClickBIOS. Rather than use a uEFI, MSI went with a traditional BIOS with some upgraded features. For one, it supports 3TB and larger drives. For another, it supports a mouse. The mouse support is spotty, however, and may be looked at in future BIOS upgrades. Those should be easy enough with the M-Flash functionality, allowing you to flash from a USB drive. Additionally functionality comes in the many programs included on the utilities disc. The i-Charger program helps to improve mobile device charging times. The OC Genie II helps you to overclock the A75MA-G55 to its full potential and it can do so automatically. It even auto sets the voltage, which is rare in an overclocking program. Another overclocking utility, MSI Afterburner, is designed to overclock your GPU. Finally, Winki 3 is a fantastic addition that comes with the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard. Winki 3 is a fully functional linux-web-based OS that comes ready to go with OpenOffice.org and Skype, as well as IM and web-browsing features.

As of September 7th 2011, the MSI A75MA-G55 would cost you $99.99 at Newegg. That sits right about middle-of-the-road for an A75 motherboard. That being said, in my opinion, the features of the MSI A75MA-G55 are not middle-of-the-road. Starting right from the front you get their Military Class II components in addition to a slew of software items that enhance the functionality of the motherboard. Winki 3 by itself could potentially save you a couple hundred dollars off a whole system. There are two PCIe slots where the lower-end competitors have only one. Also, MSI gives you a USB 3.0 expansion port in the box. You won't generally find MSI at the bottom of the price scale, but their components make a difference and the additional features bring a lot to the table. In this case, I have to give good marks to MSI for the value of the A75MA-G55 motherboard.

Pros: goldentachaward.png

+ Winki 3 Linux-based OS Included
+ i-Charger USB Charging Increase
+ Military Class II Components
+ OC Genie II Overclocking Software
+ USB 3.0 Expansion Port Included
+ Good Value

Cons:

- ClickBIOS - Bad Mouse Integration
- Legacy PS/2 Ports Takes Up Space
- Second PCIe x16 slot runs at x4

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.00
  • Appearance: 9.00
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.00
  • Value: 9.50

Final Score: 9.20 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

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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.
I┤ve 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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