|MSI 990FXA-GD80 AM3+ Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 19 October 2011|
Page 4 of 17
Closer Look: MSI AM3+ motherboard
The box is MSI's now-standard semi-hologrammed glitter thing, with lots and lots of feature callouts. The three-year warranty is nice, although other companies are matching it now.
This is one of the larger accessories bundles I've seen with a motherboard; lots of manuals and guides (although the rather thin primary manual has four languages, with the result that there's really not a lot of information covered). MSI includes an I/O panel cover, three SLI bridges, 4 angled and latching SATA cables, a Molex to SATA power adapter, a USB 3.0 back panel you can plug into the motherboard header if your case doesn't have a USB 3.0 connector, and a "Certificate of Quality". Not shown is a separate little bag containing connectors into which you plug your case front panel wires, similar to the ones ASUS has had for a while. This makes wiring up the board a lot easier, since you can plug your case wires into a clearly labeled connector and then plug that assembly onto the motherboard.
The board itself uses MSI's corporate black, blue, and silver color scheme. The black CPU socket identifies it as AM3+. Personally I don't care for a PCI-E x1 slot in the first position, but that's really a matter of taste. The heat sinks over the voltage regulators and chipset are huge chunks of machined aluminum.
At the back we have (surprisingly, 'cause it's late 2011!) PS/2 mouse and keyhboard ports; a clear CMOS button, analog and optical audio, and FireWire, USB, eSATA, and Ethernet ports. The slightly odd appearance of a couple of the lower USB ports marks them as combination eSATA/USB ports.
These LEDs near the edge of the board, by the DIMM sockets, will illuminate in sequence as the motherboard shifts more phases to the CPU and northbridge power. Not shown are separate LEDs for the two phase RAM power. These blue LEDS are very bright.
Let's delve a little deeper into this motherboard...