MSI 990FXA-GD80 review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 07/18/2011 01:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
So, in the mid-range to high-end AMD segment you'll spot the AMD 990FX chipset motherboards. These motherboards will be based on Socket AM3+, and let me immediately make it very clear; AM3+ is backwards compatible with Phenom II and Athlon II series AM3 processors. This was a much discussed feature over the past few months in our forums alright. Today we'll prove that Phenom II works excellently on Socket AM3+ as the six and eight-core Bulldozer processors that should go alongside this motherboard have not yet been announced and thus have not yet been launched.
We expect Bulldozer (Zambezi family) series processors to arrive as late as August, maybe even September. To get an idea of what you might expect, here's an overview (* compilation courtesy of DigiTimes):
So for now you can at the very least focus on the 990FX chipset, which can be used with the last generation Phenom II X4 and X6 processors. MSI submitted a 990FX motherboard which includes all the hippest gear like support for USB 3 and sure, SATA 3 (6G).
The MSI 990FXA series GD80 is what we'll be placing under our microscope today, styled in black and blue with the coolest look ever. This AM3+ motherboard will be powered by a 10-phase VRM design - it is actually a CPU voltage regulator circuit that has eight phases for the CPU main voltage (VDD a.k.a. Vcore) and two for the CPU VDDNB voltage (integrated memory controller, HyperTransport bus controller, and L3 memory cache).
Therefore, it uses an 8+2 configuration. It comes with four DIMM slots supporting DDR3 clocked to 2133 MHz (overclocked). You'll spot six card slots of which four are PCI-Express 2.0 x16 supporting NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire(X). Two of these slots are x16, one x8 and one x4. Also a legacy PCI slot can be found.
Storage comes in the form of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, six from the SB850 Southbridge, and two from a third-party controller feeding two eSATA ports.
So an interesting fact is that this motherboard series now is SLI compatible, and that's just an interesting feature for any motherboard.
Today we are reviewing the 990FXA-GD80 from MSI, they recently pimped out the 990FX chipset with additional features and plastered it all onto a nice black/blue styled motherboard and are going in for the kill.