MSI 990FXA Gaming
Moving up the price scale we have an entry from MSI’s Gaming range, which was released late last year and ticks all the right boxes for those wanting to build the ultimate AMDbased performance and gaming system.
The 990FXA Gaming is an AM3+ Socket motherboard that, along with six SATA 6Gbps connectors, features four DDR3 memory slots, three PCIe x16 slots, two PCIe x1 slots and a single legacy PCI slot.
The rear I/ O backplate houses a single PS/ 2 keyboard and mouse port, eight USB 2.0 ports, a pair of USB 3.1 ports, gigabit ‘ Killer’ Ethernet, optical S/ PDIF out and a sixport audio block. The eagleeyed among you will have undoubtedly noticed that the rear I/ O is sadly lacking in any video outputs, which is a shame, as you’re now locked into buying a graphics card as opposed to utilising the, realistically half- decent, AMD APU technology.
As we mentioned above, this is a performance motherboard, designed for multi- GPU gaming setups and extreme overclocking. As such, MSI has supplied the 990FXA with an arsenal of gaming features. The likes of Audio Boost offers highquality sound production, along with EMI shielding and the Killer gaming LAN port is said to eliminate lag, boosting in- game communication between your PC and the server by prioritising the gaming specific traffic.
In design, the 990FXA has military class components, adhering to MSI’s strict focus on quality. And of course the overall design and layout of the motherboard bears a sporty, aggressive gaming look, complete with MSI dragon badge southbridge and a black and red theme throughout with a red LED indicating the isolated audio PCB.
Alongside the hardware and looks, MSI’s Click BIOS 4 makes an appearance. This is one of the best UEFI BIOS examples currently available, although in all fairness it does lack the hand- holding element that the Gigabyte UEFI BIOS has. Within Click BIOS 4 you can set all manner of overclocked or custom settings quickly and easily, as well as various profiles that can be activated with a click of a mouse button.
The MSI 990FXA Gaming is certainly an impressive motherboard. It has everything a performance system builder is looking for in a motherboard and it only costs in the region of £ 135. However, by its gaming nature it has alienated itself from the vast majority of other system builders, those who still want a performance system but require elements such as rear I/ O video outputs, for example.
Still, for the price, there’s a lot to like about the MSI 990FXA Gaming motherboard.