MSI's 990FXA Gaming mobo freshens up with USB 3.1

— 1:51 PM on May 6, 2015

AMD's 990FX chipset soldiers on. As an astute TR commenter pointed out a while back, this platform is over five years old now. Motherboard makers are continuing to bolster 990FX boards with modern features via add-on controllers, though, and MSI's latest 990FXA Gaming gets USB 3.1 in this way.

The latest USB goodness comes courtesty of ASMedia's ASM1142 controller, which we tested in our USB 3.1 preview. Unfortunately, Type C connectors aren't on offer here. MSI instead sticks with a pair of Type A ports in the rear I/O cluster. A separate VIA VL806 chip feeds a pair of USB 3.0 ports for external headers.

The 990FXA Gaming's Audio Boost 2 onboard sound suite looks nice, too. MSI has pulled out all of the stops here. Realtek's high-end ALC1150 codec feeds an analog signal chain with EMI-shielded circuitry, premium Nichicon capacitors, and dual headphone amps (presumably for the front and rear headphone outputs). Creative's Sound Blaster Cinema 2 software adds another layer.

MSI taps a Qualcomm Killer E2200 Ethernet NIC for wired networking, which claims to reduce latency and perform packet prioritization for smoother online gaming. SLI and Crossfire compatibility are included, as well. We've asked MSI for pricing and availability info.

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