MSI 890FXA-GD65 AM3 Motherboard Review

With LGA1155 boards being all the rage, it’s easy to forget about those who are using the AM3 platform. We rectify that by taking a long [H]ard look at the MSI 890FXA-GD65. A simple and very basic design that makes up for its lack of features in many ways. For around $130 it may be just what the OC Genie ordered.

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MSI Control Center

MSI has been including its Control Center with its motherboard offerings for some time. This is a very simple utility which is easy to use and understand. Unfortunately it’s slow often times and simply doesn’t work at other times.

The utility opens up with the system information section. This contains three categories of non-adjustable data. Mainboard, CPU, and memory. The motherboard information shows the board model, chipset, revision, version number, south bridge, BIOS build date, etc. This also shows separate information for the LAN, audio and VGA controllers. The CPU tab would show name, package information, technology / instruction support, code name, etc.

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Unfortunately, the utility did not work properly in this case. The speed and everything were all shown incorrectly. Virtually nothing with regard to the test Phenom X6 1105T appeared correct in the utility but did show correctly in CPU-Z. The memory information worked much better showing the table timings for your installed memory modules, correct speeds, etc. Though even with that said, the installed memory size didn’t report at all. So essentially the usefulness of the utility from an informational standpoint comes into question pretty quickly given my experience here.

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Getting into the overclocking section of the utility, you’ll find some basic, advanced, OC Genie Lite, and BIOS profile tabs. Within the basic menu you have some really simple sliders for adjusting settings, and some preset profiles at the top of the screen. One thing I certainly liked here was the fact that the fan speeds and DRAM / NB voltages are shown here and can be adjusted as well. These are often the type of settings which would only appear somewhere else. The advanced setting doesn’t contain any additional settings for the CPU / board. This isn’t what you typically see with utilities such as this, but MSI has instead chosen to include memory timings in this section instead. These settings appear but can’t be adjusted until the application is set to manual control for "Advanced DRAM configuration."

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Next is the OC Genie Lite feature. All you need to do here is enable the feature and you are off and running. This feature has always worked well on MSI boards so it’s certainly something I’d recommend trying, especially if you are a noobie or just want to be lazy about your overclocking. The next setting is your BIOS profile setting. This shows all your BIOS settings and allows you to save the profile. These will show up as one touch buttons in the top menu bar. The settings shown in the screen shot is the default profile.

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Now we get into the green power settings. There is a basic and an advanced setting. Your profiles for this are shown in the top most menu bar. How much power is being consumed, saved, and power savings percentages are displayed in this section. Phase usage, voltages, temperatures and fan speeds are shown here as well. Advanced / mainboard is actually the same thing but it allows you more control over the profiles as well as the ability to save and load your own. Lastly we have motherboard LED control. There are LEDs on the board for both the CPU power phases and the memory power phases.