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MSI A88X-G45 Gaming Assassin's Creed Edition Review

Author: Josh Walrath
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Power and Overclocking

Power

Kaveri is built to be more power efficient than the previous generations of APUs from AMD.  This comes from a combination of design and process technology.  AMD has also worked quite a few firmware and software tricks to make power go down even more.  The A10-7850K is rated at 95 watts TDP.

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At idle both boards are identical in power draw.  This actually is quite impressive for the MSI board since it does have more hardware on it than the G1.Sniper does.  It is also a larger board with more components overall.  It is nice to see sub-50 watt draws at the wall with desktop parts.

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Under load things change up a bit.  The MSI board allows the 7850K to stay in a boosted state for longer, so it does pull more power overall.  15 watts with identical components is pretty significant.  The MSI board is again bigger with more electrical components throughout the board.  In the big scheme of things 15 watts is not a big deal, especially if a user installs a standalone video card with this combination.

 

Overclocking

There are multiple ways to overclock this particular motherboard.  The customary method of overclocking through the firmware is available.  The firmware also has a setting which will allow automatic overclocking.  Finally we have the OC Genie button on the board that has two modes, one more aggressive than the other.

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The firmware setting for automatic overclocking did not seem to want to work.  I enabled it through the firmware multiple times, but it refused to boot after that.  The OC Genie button was a bit more successful.  At the base setting the overclock came in at 4.25 GHz (42 x 101.25). The gaming mode gave another extra 100 MHz over the base overclock (4.35 GHz).

Using the traditional method in the firmware and manual settings I was able to get this APU to 4.7 GHz.  This is 100 MHz faster than I was able to get this APU with the Gigabyte board.  The 7850K is not the greatest chip for overclocking, so this was a pretty good result for my particular sample.  I was surprised that the 4+2 power setup was able to achieve this overclock, since it is overall quite similar to what Gigabyte offers with the G1.Sniper.  We will likely see variances from board to board, but in this particular case the board really pushed this APU farther than it had before.

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This board still suffers from the same bus speed issues as the previous FM2 parts.  The base clock goes from 100 MHz to 105 MHz without a problem, but once it goes past that then issues with stability crop up.  Things like AHCI become broken.  This is not a huge problem as users do have a little leeway with fine tuning their overclock.  Consider though that the multiplier for the APU is already running at 37x to 42x.  Each MHz jump on the base clock is going to heavily increase the overall clockspeed.  The 5 MHz band that is usable should allow users to fine tune their overclock.

July 23, 2014 | 02:06 PM - Posted by RedShirt (not verified)

I think what everyone wants to know is... where is the CMOS battery located?

:)

July 23, 2014 | 02:25 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

If you bothered to read... it is in the optimal position for a cmos battery.  Excellent placement, solid holder, and easy to access.  What more could one want from a cmos battery?

July 24, 2014 | 05:24 AM - Posted by RedShirt (not verified)

Well I clearly fail at comprehension!

Also failed at 'CTRL-F'ing CMOS just incase I failed at reading.

I suppose if you're going to fail you may as well do it right!

July 24, 2014 | 06:29 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Hey, only 1 in 10 knows what ctrl-f does!  Hell, I didn't!  Talk about a f-up...

July 23, 2014 | 02:56 PM - Posted by Sean Sinha (not verified)

By the Southbridge heatsink. Just look at the board for a minute next time...

July 23, 2014 | 02:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Can you calm down please?

July 23, 2014 | 03:02 PM - Posted by JxcelDolghmQ (not verified)

First page, second to last paragraph: "Hippon Chemi-con". Did you mean Nippon or is this some new startup I've never heard of?

1.288v for the maximum overclock seems a bit low, people were regularly giving Piledriver chips 1.5v, even on air. Is this just the standard voltage range for Steamroller? What cooler did you use? How is the power consumption when overclocked?

Good review and motherboard, 4.7ghz on a 4 phase board is certainly impressive.

July 25, 2014 | 08:22 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

I believe it is in fact Nippon Chemi-con... mistyped that.

AMD scales the voltage up and down, so that screenshot of the overclock had the voltage down.  I believe that the actual peak voltage was around 1.45 (I used an offset of around 0.15v in the firmware).  I used one of the larger AMD stock coolers for the FX-8350.  Temps never got higher than 55C on a warm day and overclocked.  Power consumption did increase by about 30 watts.

July 23, 2014 | 08:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Got a bulldog in my Learjet
Gonna teach him how to fly!
By myself...

July 23, 2014 | 08:11 PM - Posted by dave (not verified)

Does it have a Discharge Button?

July 23, 2014 | 09:01 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Sadly... it does not.

July 24, 2014 | 02:36 PM - Posted by David Kollar (not verified)

Sorry Josh...but why you even bother write review, if this board dosn't have such essential futures like discharge button...i just dont get it...((-:LOL...very nice review BTW.

July 23, 2014 | 11:33 PM - Posted by AbhishekS (not verified)

How unfortunate thet this will never be launched in India.:(

July 24, 2014 | 03:22 PM - Posted by SHRAPNOL (not verified)

HEY CAN I USE MY FX-6300 ON THIS BOARD I HAVE A MSI R9 270X
BUT IN A ASUS BOARD WANT A MSI BOARDANY COMMENTS WOULD HELP

July 24, 2014 | 03:38 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Nope, FX-6300 is AM3+ while this is a FM2+ motherboard.  Totally different sockets, so the AM3+ FX chips will not run in it.

July 24, 2014 | 11:51 PM - Posted by abhishek

The MSI 970 Gaming mitherboard will be out soon, it will run the FX-6300 like a charm.

July 26, 2014 | 05:51 AM - Posted by sixstringrick

but where is the discharge button?

July 27, 2014 | 06:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I expect that MSI ensures the box contents .. no insurance req.
Where the m-itx beef? amd + m-itx ??

July 28, 2014 | 09:37 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Heh, insure/ensure can be somewhat interchangeable... depending on usage.  I guaruntee it?

Gigabyte has a nice m-itx A88X board.  I'm using it for an upcoming review this week.  Not sure if other manufacturers see m-itx boards for AMD as a profitable endeavor.

August 3, 2014 | 11:00 AM - Posted by Bruce Keegan (not verified)

Josh, I just completed a ASROCK A88X-itx build with a A10-7870K. 2400Mhz Team memory. When the APU is bumped up to 4.2Ghz I was amazed how responsive this thing was. I had 6 video streams open and 2 music files playing while I opened 10 more web pages, smooth as silk.

August 5, 2014 | 01:58 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Very nice!  I just wish AMD would start pumping up the clockspeed on these Kaveri parts, but alas... they have yet to do so.

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