MSI 970 Gaming AM3+ Motherboard Review


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Performance Testing Results

My test system consisted of the MSI 970 Gaming motherboard, 8GB of DDR3-2133 enthusiast memory, and an NVIDIA GTX580 reference card. For these tests I ran the following benchmark programs:

  • AIDA64 v4.60.3100
  • CINEBENCH 11.5
  • Handbrake 0.96 Video Transcoding
  • SpecAPC Lightwave

There are four results for each benchmark: the first number in each chart is the stock score of the FX-8320E, followed by the scores returned with the OC Genie automatic overclock and my manual overclock. Last are the scores returned by the FX-9590.

Let’s start with a good synthetic test like AIDA64. As usual I’ll be doing Queen, Photoworx, ZLIB, and Hash benchmarks.


We see a nice scaling of the Queen scores as CPU frequency on the FX-8320E increases. Note that the overclocked 8320E even beats the FX-9590 in this test.

Photoworxx is relatively insensitive to CPU speed, but really likes memory bandwidth, so the drop in the score with the OC Genie settings is expected, since OC Genie disabled the memory’s XMP profile, dropping memory speed from 2133 to 1333mHz.


Next are the ZLIB and Hash benchmarks, all of which scale nicely with CPU frequency. Let’s take a look at CINEBENCH next…


Again, nice scaling directly with CPU speed, with the FX-9590 coming out on top in both single and multi-core rendering.


SPECapc Lightwave is a punishing benchmark that pushes a system to its limits. Basically this is a script that controls a separately-installed version of Newtek’s Lightwave 3D professional rendering system. The benchmark puts special emphasis on processes that benefit from multi-threaded computing, such as animation, OpenGL playback, deformations, and high-end rendering that includes ray tracing, radiosity, complex textures and volumetric lighting. The test reports three scores: Animation (multitasking), Animation (interactive), and Rendering. The numeric scores represent the time it took to complete each section of the benchmark, in seconds, so lower scores are better.

Again, overclocking increases the performance of the FX-8320E pretty significantly. Note that the FX-9590 didn’t win a single test here.


Last, one of my favorite tests: Handbrake. This open-source video transcoding program is great for getting videos into a format for your mobile device, or ripping DVDs and Blu Ray disks to your video library. Also, video transcoding is one of the few things that can really saturate all the cores available on a multi-core CPU. The FX-9590 wins here by a single, statistically-insignificant second.

Join me in the next section as I lay out my final thoughts on this motherboard.


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