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MSI A75MA-G55

Six A75-Based Motherboards For AMD’s A8 And A6 APUs
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The third high-end contender in this comparison is MSI’s A75MA-G55, which is the only board with its pair of PCIe x16 slots spaced properly to support two double-slot graphics cards within a microATX case.

MSI doesn’t forget that one of the Llano APU's biggest features is its adequate on-board GPU, adding the DVI connector that many less-expensive platforms lack. We might have preferred a combination of display outputs and bundled adapter blocks, if only to make room for more USB 2.0, though four of those legacy ports is probably enough for most users.

Two of the A75 FCH’s four USB 3.0 ports are moved to an internal header, located two slots below the middle graphics card. That extra space could make the A75MA-G55 the only choice for a second mid-range graphics card, though AMD’s controller limits the slot to only four lanes of bandwidth.

That same slot is also somewhat limited by SATA port placement; two ports are blocked off by the ends of long expansion cards, so you really need to be careful what you install there.

MSI's A75MA-G55 lacks the FireWire controller found on Gigabyte's A75M-UD2H, as well as the extra USB 3.0 controller on Asus' F1A57-M Pro. MSI seems to understand that most builders no longer need FireWire, and the lack of any additional USB 3.0 controller helps the firm keep its price $10 lower than the competing Asus model. Unfortunately, the loss of FireWire does not result in a lower online price compared to the Gigabyte board, though many users may still choose MSI's offering simply for its layout.

MSI includes only two SATA cables with the A75MA-G55, but adds an HDMI cable. As we were deciding whether to feel slighted or lucky in our finding, we only had to consider that an HDMI cable is far more valuable than an extra pair of SATA cables.

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