Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Noticing that MSI's submission appeared to perform a little more slowly in a couple of benchmarks, I theorized that the board might have been hitting a lower power state between tests. A look at our power charts supports that theory, as the same A88X-G45 that needed more full-load power than the F2A88X-UP4 also needed far less energy when idle.
MSI also has the lowest voltage regulator temperatures, though the hottest motherboard in this comparison—ASRock’s FM2A88X+ Killer—is still fairly cool.
Even though I enabled power-saving features, Asus appears to have devoted its attention to performance. MSI goes after lower power, but takes a slight hit in the benchmark results. Perhaps a balanced approach is most appropriate?
The most average performer, Gigabyte’s F2A88X-UP4, was also the most efficient. It achieved its power advantage not at idle, but at load.