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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 Detailed Features

The MSI A75MA-G55 Motherboard, like all of the new A55 and A75 motherboards, will sport the FM1 socket. The FM1 is a 905-pin socket, a little smaller than previous generation processors and also smaller than the bulldozer processors will be. Because of the different socket size, the older AM3 processors obviously won't fit the FM1 motherboards. They will fit in the 990FX chipset, however. Still, the FM1 socket uses the same size heatsinks as the AM2, AM2+, AM3, and AM3+ sockets. That's outstanding, especially for aftermarket heatsink manufacturers who won't have to change a thing to accommodate the new socket.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Top.jpg

The MSI A75MA-G55 Motherboard supports up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM in its four DIMM slots. The A75 chipset supports RAM speeds of up to 1866MHz. This a significant increase as Intel's Sandy Bridge only supports RAM speeds up to 1333MHz. That being said, the technical specifications for the MSI A75MA-G55 Motherboard have 1866MHz listed as overclocked only. The default voltage for the RAM is 1.5V. The color scheme for the DIMM slots on the A75MA-G55 motherboard uses alternating blue and black slots. For dual-channel memory, you'll want to use both slots of the same color.

MSI_A75MA_G55_DIMM.jpg

As you know, the FM1 socket APUs come with a decently powerful GPU on-die, as compared with current alternatives. With that in mind, the PCI expansion on the A75MA-G55 motherboard offers quite a bit. There are a total of two PCIe 2.0 slots. The first one runs on a full 16 lanes. The second one, however, runs at x4. While some motherboards may offer the ability to divert PCIe lanes with multiple cards and make it x8/x8, the MSI A75MA-G55 does not. These slots are stuck at x16/x4. Still, you can pair a discrete GPU in CrossFire with the integrated GPU. This is something we haven't seen before the A75 chipset from an on-die graphics solution.

MSI_A75MA_G55_PCI.jpg

The MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard doesn't go overboard on the USB headers, and in a way, I appreciate that. Mid-board there are just two USB 2.0 headers and a single USB 3.0 header, for which MSI provides you with an expansion port. While this is nice because it is unlikely that you will find a case that has more than four USB ports, it also doesn't take full advantage of the A75 chipset, which supports a total of 12 USB 2.0 ports. Another two headers would fit, but they are probably unnecessary. I know I'd never use all of them. That the A75 chipset supports native USB 3.0 at all is a step in the right direction.

MSI uses a few different third-party controllers to increase the functionality of the A75MA-G55 motherboard. We mentioned a couple of them, the Realtek ALC887 Audio Codec and the Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit Ethernet controller. Both are fairly standard across the board.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Box_Chips.jpg

Another important feature of the MSI A75MA-G55 Motherboard is the SATA ports. There are six of them on the motherboard and each and every one of them is a SATA 6Gb/s port. Since the ports are backwards compatible with SATA 3Gb/s drives, I see no reason not to make them all support the faster speeds. The really cool part about that is that they are all natively driven off the A75 chipset. The Sandy Bridge chipset only natively supports two SATA 6Gb/s ports.

MSI_A75MA_G55_FCH.jpg

Before moving on, I want to take a look at some of the software based features included with the MSI A75MA-G55 motherboard. For overclocking enthusiasts, the A75MA-G55 motherboard comes with OC Genie II, MSI's overclocking tool. The tool is pretty useful. It automatically overclocked the voltage and CPU settings to the same level that I found to be most stable through manual adjustments. I didn't spend a whole lot of time manually tuning the components, but I was impressed by OC Genie II's overclocking ability nonetheless.

Another feature I found extremely useful was i-Charger. I wonder today who doesn't have a mobile device or some other gadget that can be charged by a USB port. The problem is, it's usually much more effective to plug it into the wall, especially if you intend to use it while you charge it. USB ports don't push a lot of power, so the devices may end up still draining battery life while you are using them, even if they are plugged in. MSI's i-Charger intends to change that. It detects when a charging device is plugged into the USB port and increases the amount of power sent to the port to facilitate faster charging. MSI isn't the only motherboard manufacturer implementing changes such as this, ASUS has a similar solution called USB Charger+.

MSI_A75MA_G55_Box_Back.jpg

MSI includes their graphics overclocking tool, Afterburner, on the utilities disc as well. Afterburner does a good job of automatically overclocking a GPU or allowing you to tune it manually. Paired with the A75 chipset's ability to add a second Radeon HD 6000 series card and connect it in CrossFire with the on-die GPU, MSI Afterburner offers easy overclocking and tuning and can yield some good performance increases.

Finally, MSI has included an innovating piece of software unlike anything I have seen yet from competitors. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, I just haven't seen it yet. I'm talking about the Winki 3 OS. This tiny, linux-based OS offers a free alternative to users that don't use their PC for much more than web-browsing and document creation. It comes ready with OpenOffice.org as an alternative to Microsoft Office. It's web-based and offers internet surfing, e-mail, instant messaging, etc. It even has a skype application built in. Winki supports wired and wireless networking options, so you can connect it immediately and start surfing. I must admit that I am quite impressed with this ChromeOS-esque interpretation on making the operating system free. It doesn't offer a lot of functionality, but for someone that doesn't require a lot, it saves a few hundred dollars by eliminating the need to by Windows and Office.



 

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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