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MSI A88X-G45 Gaming Assassin's Creed Edition Review

Author: Josh Walrath
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Results: SiSoft Sandra 2014

The problem with motherboard reviews is that we do not see the performance deltas that we used to due to the integration of so much functionality onto the CPU.  Instead of comparing memory controller designs from VIA, Intel, and NVIDIA we are now left with the units built into the processors.  AM3+ still uses HyperTransport to connect the CPU to the northbridge, and then onto to the PCI-E bus.  FM2+ gets rid of HyperTransport and uses PCI-E to communicate between the APU and the FCH.  As such, it is good to see if there are any particular variances between boards even though so much performance and functionality is already integrated into the CPU.  We also take special note of I/O performance, as it can be affected quite a bit by a poor BIOS implementation.

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The two boards are nearly identical in overall performance here.  This is not a surprise, as they should be well matched.  So much of the technology that was once distributed around the board now resides in the APU itself.  The only real outlier is the VIA USB 3.0 device.  It was significantly faster than the built-in AMD USB 3.0 unit.  UASP and Turbo Mode were not enabled for this basic test.

July 23, 2014 | 05:06 PM - Posted by RedShirt (not verified)

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

:)

July 23, 2014 | 05:25 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 | 08:24 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 | 09:29 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 | 05:56 PM - Posted by Sean Sinha (not verified)

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

July 23, 2014 | 05:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Can you calm down please?

July 23, 2014 | 06:02 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 | 11:22 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 | 11:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

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

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

Does it have a Discharge Button?

July 24, 2014 | 12:01 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Sadly... it does not.

July 24, 2014 | 05:36 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 24, 2014 | 02:33 AM - Posted by AbhishekS (not verified)

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

July 24, 2014 | 06:22 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 | 06:38 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 25, 2014 | 02:51 AM - Posted by abhishek

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

July 26, 2014 | 08:51 AM - Posted by sixstringrick

but where is the discharge button?

July 27, 2014 | 09:48 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 | 12:37 PM - 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 | 02:00 PM - 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 | 04:58 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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