MSI A88XI AC Review

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Introduction

Normally when AMD or Intel for that matter releases a new CPU or in this case APU, there generally tends to be a chipset refresh.  So when AMD announced it would be bringing a new range of APUs (codenamed Kaveri), it was inevitable that there would be a new socket and especially something new in the motherboard department.  AMDs latest weapon in the war for value for money and budget gaming comes in the way of a FM2 platform refresh; you guessed it, the FM2+ range.  With Kaveri being an idealistic refresh of Richland APU’s, it would be interesting to see how partners took the new chips on board and how they would design their boards.

So what is all the hype about?  Well Kaveri unlike Richland, the desktop variants have a lower TDP (95w), they are run on the 28nm and they of course come equipped with the much anticipated Steamroller cores as opposed to Richland’s Piledriver cores.  Does this make much of a difference in terms of performance?  Well no but it has brought some interesting features to the table.  These included PCI EX 3.0 support and AMD R7 integrated graphics (GCN 1.1).

With all the motherboard vendors vying for market supremacy, today I will be taking a look at one from global powerhouse MSI in the way of their new A88XI AC M-ITX motherboard.  With support for 5GHz wireless and its M-ITX form factor, will this motherboard be the king of the FM2+ debutants?  Make no mistake, bigger doesn’t mean better and I intend to find out if that’s the case today.

 

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