|MSI 990FXA-GD80 AM3+ Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Thursday, 20 October 2011|
Page 17 of 17
MSI 990FXA-GD80 Conclusion
A motherboard is the foundation of your rig, and thus merits the lion's share of your attention when deciding on components. If you're building a new AMD system, I think a 990FX platform is the way to go, especially for gamers: you can run any AM3 CPU in it and there are lots and lots of PCI-E lanes, so you don't have to worry about disabling a SATA6 or USB 3.0 port when you add that second or third graphics card.
The performance of the MSI motherboard was excellent. I can't explain why it was often better than the ASUS motherboard, but there are the numbers, right there.
Appearance is always subjective. Personally, I prefer ASUS red-and-black scheme to MSI's blue-and-black, but I'm sure there are others out there with the opposite preferences. MSI arguably goes a little overboard with the labels and silk-screen legends on its heat sinks and circuit board, but it's still a fairly handsome piece of kit.
As you'd expect of any modern Taiwanese motherboard, the construction quality is excellent. And remember that MSI isn't just throwing "Military Grade" around as a marketing term: the components it brags about actually meet mil-spec standards.
You give up a little hardware functionality as compared to some top-end 990FX motherboards, but the features the MSI doesn't have aren't features even most enthusiasts will miss, and there are enough extras, like a POST code display, power phase LEDs, and high-current USB ports, to keep most hackers happy. I think MSI should spend some more time on their BIOS and manuals, though, as both of these items impact the user experience with the motherboard.
Value-wise, this is a hard board to beat: AMD's top-end chipset, a smattering of enthusiast features, and great performance, all for well under a mere $174.99. Sounds like a deal to me!
+ Excellent performance, surpassing more expensive ASUS motherboard
- UEFI BIOS needs usability work
Final Score: 9.1 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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