|MSI 990FXA-GD80 AM3+ Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Thursday, 20 October 2011|
Page 16 of 17
AM3+ Motherboard Final Thoughts
It was strange to see the MSI motherboard post better scores than the ASUS motherboard with its CPU running at a lower clock speed. Here's a summary of the overclocked results. Remember, I was only able to get the FX-8150 running stably at 4.6GHz on the MSI 990FXA-GD80 while it was at 4.8GHz on the ASUS Crosshair V Formula:
The performance improvement when averaged isn't much, but I'm still at a loss to explain why there should be any performance improvement when running 200MHz slower.
The MSI 990FXA-GD80 is a mid-level enthusiast board, which means you'll do without some of the features of the more expensive ASUS board. For example, only the CPU fan header is a 4-pin PWM header; there's no load-line voltage calibration, and so forth. But look at the performance: it's overall better than the ASUS in these tests. Sure, it's by a tiny average margin, but still.
My complaints about this board are not about the hardware (it's hard to argue with the results), but about software and documentation. The UEFI BIOS needs some usability work, especially since it makes overclocking (IMO) unnecessarily dangerous by not visually flagging dangerous voltages. Also, the manual might politely be described as "skimpy" (recall that some of the POST codes I saw aren't covered). ASUS' manual easily contains twice the information the MSI manual does. More documentation is always better.
Cost of course is a factor. The ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard sells for $229 at Newegg.com, while the MSI 990FXA-GD80 is only $175. That $54 difference is enough for an extra 4G of enthusiast-grade memory these days, and that's something to consider carefully when you're building a system.