MSI 990FXA-GD80 review

Can a one touch overclock button make up for a lack of features on this 990FX motherboard?

TODO alt text


  • One touch overclock
  • Versatile GPU support


  • Average performance
  • Overpriced

The big difference between this 990FXA-GD80 and MSI's much cheaper 970A-GD45 (besides the befuddling array of characters) is the chipset.

The 990FX chipset will let you play with multiple graphics cards, whether they're Nvidia or AMD-flavoured. So if you're one of those rare slobbering maniacs with two Nvidia graphics cards and a penchant for AMD processors, this board will allow you to play out your sick SLI fantasy.

Does that justify double the expense of the 970A-GD45? Certainly not – let's hope there's more on offer than just versatile GPU support and a lightening of the wallet.

At £135 it's looking quite an expensive proposition. It does little more than right the wrongs of cheaper boards – ASRock's Fatal1ty 990FX Professional and the Asus Crosshair V Formula shower extra features on the ever grateful user. So, whatcha got, MSI?

Okay, well it does have the OC Genie. The 248 per cent performance boost it promises is complete rubbish of course, but it's a hassle-free way to overclock and a great starting point for further tweaking.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

AMD 9-Series

CPU video encoding performance
X246 v4: Frames per second: Higher is better
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX: 33
Asus M5A99X EVO: 33
Asus RoG Crosshair V: 33
Asus Sabertooth 990FX: 32
Gigabyte 970A-UD3: 33
Gigabyte H67MA-UD2H: 33
Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7: 33
MSI 970A-G45: 33

CPU rendering performance
Cinebench 11.5: Index score: Higher is better
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX: 5.86
Asus M5A99X EVO: 5.86
Asus RoG Crosshair V: 5.86
Asus Sabertooth 990FX: 5.72
Gigabyte 970A-UD3: 5.78
Gigabyte H67MA-UD2H: 5.83
Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7: 5.74
MSI 970A-G45: 5.71

OC control

You can take a bit more control over overclocking in this BIOS of course, and even change exactly how that OC Genie button works when you press it – how far it ramps up the FSB, or CPU clock ratio, let's say.

The big issue though is the price. At £100-odd we could understand its feature set compared to the competition. At £135, said competition is just too close in price and too good – this board's capable, but out-classed by its rivals.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset Model990FX
Multi GPU SupportedSLI, CrossFireX
Onboard VideoNo
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots4
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket AM3+
Brand NameMSI
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedAthlon II X3, Athlon II X4, Athlon II X2, Athlon II, Phenom II, Phenom II X3, Phenom II X4, Phenom II X2, Phenom II X6, Sempron
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, RoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots1
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces6
HyperTransport Speed2600 MHz
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports2
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports3
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports2
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots6
Memory Form FactorDIMM
Number of eSATA Ports2
Processor TechnologyHyperTransport 3.0 Technology, Cool'n'Quiet Technology
Width305 mm
Depth244 mm
ManufacturerMicro-Star International Co., Ltd
Product Model990FXA-GD80
Product Name990FXA-GD80 Desktop Motherboard
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part Number990FXA-GD80
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Thank you for choosing the 990FXA-GD80 Series (MS- 7640 v2.X) ATX mainboard. The 990FXA-GD80 Series mainboards are based on AMD 990FX & SB950 chipsets for optimal system efficiency. Designed to fit the advanced AMD 64 bits Phenom II X6/ X4/ X3/ X2, Athlon II X4/ X3/ X2 and Sempron processor, the 990FXA-GD80 Series deliver a high performance and professional desktop platform solution.

Package Contents
  • 990FXA-GD80 Desktop Motherboard
  • Driver / Utility DVD
  • User Guide
  • Back I/O Shield
  • SATA Cable
Limited Warranty3 Year