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MSI FM2-A85XA-G65

Six Socket FM2 Motherboards For AMD's Trinity APUs
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It’s been a while since we’ve seen a -G65 board from MSI, the most recent being a microATX model. We expect a larger board to have more slots, and AMD's newer chipset helps enable the FM2-A85XA-G65’s expanded feature set.

The A85X Fusion Controller Hub even lets MSI give up an add-in controller, since the core logic integrates four USB 3.0 ports. The chipset also integrates support for DisplayPort output, and MSI chooses to ditch eSATA in favor of more internal ports.

Sporting a pair of second-gen PCI Express x16 slots that automatically switch from x16-x0 to x8-x8 transfers whenever the second is filled, the FM2-A85XA-G65’s closest layout match in today’s comparison comes from ECS. Both boards lack a x4 slot that competing boards do offer, so we're hoping to see lower prices accompany the feature reductions of both products.

The FM2-A85XA-G65 adds a few minor features compared to its closest rival, including power, reset and CLR_CMOS buttons. MSI OC Genie is also present, alongside a handy row of voltage detection points. Those additions are most useful to reviewers and the hardcore overclockers who use open test beds on a regular basis. Because AMD's Socket AM2 platform is decidedly budget-focused, competitive overclockers probably won't be spending much time tuning APUs. These features would come in handy if MSI ever decided to to sponsor a budget-oriented overclocking event.

One minor layout issue is that the front-panel audio connector might be a little too far away from the associated jacks for the cables of certain cases to reach. That’s really a chassis problem though, and it still affects many older enclosures. As a result, you see us pointing out when a motherboard manufacturer moves this connector into a more accessible position. Forward-facing SATA ports can also be problematic for certain older cases, though most folks prefer this design for its ability to avoid conflicts with long graphics cards.

A small bag of extender leads for the FM2-A85XA-G65’s voltage detection points adds a little value to MSI's installation kit, but four SATA cables is barely adequate for this eight-port board.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 8:32 AM
    americanbrianWhy no GPU OC as has been requested many times? This platform allows easy GPU OC's as mentioned in your previous PD articles. You still have never posted your 1GHz+ clocked GPU results. I am also upset that you didn't run the gaming benches with the OCed RAM. I want to know how a PROPERLY configured setup like this could perform.8% gains approx from going to 1866 over 1600, does higher clocks after this have any effect?How does OCing the GPU part limit your CPU clock OCs? or is the heat not too bad ? So many questions unanswered....

    These sound like great ideas for a platform-oriented story. In fact, Thomas and I have discussed doing a piece on memory and Trinity. Maybe we could expand that to include an exploration of graphics and processor bottlenecks, too. Thanks for the feedback!
  • 14 Hide
    americanbrian , November 26, 2012 8:26 AM
    Why no GPU OC as has been requested many times? This platform allows easy GPU OC's as mentioned in your previous PD articles.

    You still have never posted your 1GHz+ clocked GPU results.

    I am also upset that you didn't run the gaming benches with the OCed RAM. I want to know how a PROPERLY configured setup like this could perform.

    8% gains approx from going to 1866 over 1600, does higher clocks after this have any effect?

    How does OCing the GPU part limit your CPU clock OCs? or is the heat not too bad ?

    So many questions unanswered....
  • 12 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 6:29 AM
    I fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    buzznut , November 26, 2012 3:27 AM
    And I would penalize Asrock for the brown PCB. Its an otherwise nice looking board, but this is a trend I don't care for.
  • -8 Hide
    Cryio , November 26, 2012 4:16 AM
    Why, why do you keep posting Skyrim as being a DirectX11 title? It IS NOT. It's just DX9
  • 10 Hide
    Crashman , November 26, 2012 4:42 AM
    CryioWhy, why do you keep posting Skyrim as being a DirectX11 title? It IS NOT. It's just DX9
    Why don't you point to where you see that?
  • 4 Hide
    Sakkura , November 26, 2012 5:38 AM
    CrashmanWhy don't you point to where you see that?

    Sneaky, lol. Now he's going to be downvoted.
  • 8 Hide
    Crashman , November 26, 2012 6:00 AM
    SakkuraSneaky, lol. Now he's going to be downvoted.
    Not sneaky, I just see a lot of sniping in here. I checked the article and didn't find it, and I really need to find it before I can gripe at the person who made the final revisions to this article. His comment could be completely false for all I know...
  • 12 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 6:29 AM
    I fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.
  • -5 Hide
    abbadon_34 , November 26, 2012 7:06 AM
    Sounds like someone is owed an apology
  • 5 Hide
    Darkerson , November 26, 2012 7:18 AM
    buzznutAnd I would penalize Asrock for the brown PCB. Its an otherwise nice looking board, but this is a trend I don't care for.

    Penalizing a company over a PCB's color is asinine and petty. Even if you have a case with an acrylic window, do you stare into your PC all day and night? If so, that is trend I don't care for.

    There are much more important things to worry about, like quality, price, and features, to name a few...
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , November 26, 2012 8:20 AM
    cangeliniI fixed the typo earlier tonight guys, thanks.

    "Adoby Creative Suite"

    just one?

    :lol: 
    who cares, good job to crash and the rest of the crew . . .

    edit: i had to fix a typo . .oh karma!
  • 10 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 8:25 AM
    looniam"Adoby Creative Suite"just one? who cares, good job to crash and the rest of the crew . . .edit: i had to fix a typo . .oh karma!

    Heh, apparently, editing motherboard round-ups in a Thanksgiving food coma is not conducive to catching typos. Got that one as well--thanks looniam! :) 
  • 14 Hide
    americanbrian , November 26, 2012 8:26 AM
    Why no GPU OC as has been requested many times? This platform allows easy GPU OC's as mentioned in your previous PD articles.

    You still have never posted your 1GHz+ clocked GPU results.

    I am also upset that you didn't run the gaming benches with the OCed RAM. I want to know how a PROPERLY configured setup like this could perform.

    8% gains approx from going to 1866 over 1600, does higher clocks after this have any effect?

    How does OCing the GPU part limit your CPU clock OCs? or is the heat not too bad ?

    So many questions unanswered....
  • 0 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , November 26, 2012 8:32 AM
    Is it just me or is there no list of prices for the boards? There's relative price, and some board is worth $25 more than another (which is enough if you want to do half a page of simultaneous equations), but I can't find an actual list.
  • 14 Hide
    cangelini , November 26, 2012 8:32 AM
    americanbrianWhy no GPU OC as has been requested many times? This platform allows easy GPU OC's as mentioned in your previous PD articles. You still have never posted your 1GHz+ clocked GPU results. I am also upset that you didn't run the gaming benches with the OCed RAM. I want to know how a PROPERLY configured setup like this could perform.8% gains approx from going to 1866 over 1600, does higher clocks after this have any effect?How does OCing the GPU part limit your CPU clock OCs? or is the heat not too bad ? So many questions unanswered....

    These sound like great ideas for a platform-oriented story. In fact, Thomas and I have discussed doing a piece on memory and Trinity. Maybe we could expand that to include an exploration of graphics and processor bottlenecks, too. Thanks for the feedback!
  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , November 26, 2012 11:59 AM
    Also, a detailed look at the effects of undervolting Trinity. :) 
  • 7 Hide
    silverblue , November 26, 2012 12:08 PM
    buzznutAnd I would penalize Asrock for the brown PCB. Its an otherwise nice looking board, but this is a trend I don't care for.

    Well, in days gone by we'd have had green or gold boards. To be perfectly honest though, unless you're going to have a side window, you're not likely to care about the PCB colour. I'm far more interested in features and performance than the aesthetics, personally.
  • 5 Hide
    blazorthon , November 26, 2012 12:52 PM
    buzznutAnd I would penalize Asrock for the brown PCB. Its an otherwise nice looking board, but this is a trend I don't care for.


    I thought that the brown PCB meshed decently with the black and grey color scheme utilized by most of the rest of the board. Hey, at least it doesn't look like those ugly low end FoxConn boards :lol: 
  • -3 Hide
    bentonsl_2010 , November 26, 2012 2:08 PM
    CrashmanWhy don't you point to where you see that?


    Here is a relevant quote from a randomly-googled article:

    Longtime Elder Scrolls fans hoping Skryim would take full advantage of the PC's strengths: unfortunately we have to disappoint you. Game director Todd Howard says besides higher quality textures and bigger resolutions, it "looks the same" as on consoles, and it's "mostly a DirectX 9 game in terms of how the shaders work."

    He does note DirectX 11 support is a possibility down the line, however: "When it comes to DirectX 11 there are things they get us for free, like performance gains. You’re going to get performance gains out of it versus an older version. But the specifics DX11 does, like tessellation and all that kinda stuff, we aren’t taking advantage of that right now. That doesn’t mean we won’t in the future. We aren’t right now because we want to author it so it looks great.”

    On the bright side, the new engine means Skyrim looks quite lovely as is, just nothing mind-blowing, which it could be. No doubt the modding community will improve the situation before long, though.
  • 6 Hide
    blazorthon , November 26, 2012 2:38 PM
    Bentonsl_2010Here is a relevant quote from a randomly-googled article:Longtime Elder Scrolls fans hoping Skryim would take full advantage of the PC's strengths: unfortunately we have to disappoint you. Game director Todd Howard says besides higher quality textures and bigger resolutions, it "looks the same" as on consoles, and it's "mostly a DirectX 9 game in terms of how the shaders work."He does note DirectX 11 support is a possibility down the line, however: "When it comes to DirectX 11 there are things they get us for free, like performance gains. You’re going to get performance gains out of it versus an older version. But the specifics DX11 does, like tessellation and all that kinda stuff, we aren’t taking advantage of that right now. That doesn’t mean we won’t in the future. We aren’t right now because we want to author it so it looks great.”On the bright side, the new engine means Skyrim looks quite lovely as is, just nothing mind-blowing, which it could be. No doubt the modding community will improve the situation before long, though.


    He wasn't asking for proof of what DX is utilized by Skyrim, he was asking where in the article was it claimed that Skyrim used DX11.
  • 3 Hide
    unempit , November 26, 2012 2:42 PM
    It must be Monday...my first thought was how did they get 6 sockets on one motherboard... :) 
  • 1 Hide
    Onus , November 26, 2012 2:52 PM
    That 16C over ambient on the ASRock board is a little worrisome. That looks like the only real outlier in all the measurements. Was that at stock clocks, or with the OC?
    As far as performance goes, there doesn't appear to be any difference worth noting (which I'd expect).
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