MSI P55a Fuzion Review
A Close Look
If the key to a products packaging is to make it distinctive and eye-catching, the Fuzion has it absolutely nailed. Big product name, the major key feature in a little information panel, and a nice subtle logo that neatly shows the merger between teams red and green (ATI and nVidia) in a cross. One could almost say a fusion of the two technologies.
The rear of the box still rightly gives most of its attention to the Fuzion side of things, leaving the bottom half to cover the power phases, military class chokes etc.
Opening up the box we find quite a small supply of accessories. The fairly standard SATA cables and IO Shield, along with the motherboard manual, and a separate manual for the Lucid chip.
Taking look at the board itself we see that MSI have stuck to the gorgeous black and blue look, with gun-metal .. umm.. metal. It really does look fabulous in the flesh and is such a change from the standard red and black it's just nice to see something different.
There are two main PCI-e x16 slots a good distance apart, which should make sure that even a huge tri-slot cooler like the Toxic we recently reviewed will happily fit without fouling against the second card. Besides those two we have a couple of PCI-e x1 slots and a couple of legacy PCI ones. Below there are the usual headers we'd expect to see, and the power/reset switches. These are very strange as normally there are either actual buttons (similar to the OC Genie one just to the right) or the motherboard has the power and reset symbols printed on. These are totally blank, but still work just as you'd expect.
On the bottom right hand corner are three USB headers, front panel connections etc. The front panel follows the seemingly standard MSI plan of being neither colour-coded nor labelled. I don't know how many of us have the manual to hand when swapping motherboards around, but the addition of some method of 'at a glance' identification would go a long way.
On backplate we have the fairly standard headers for keyboard and mouse, SPDIF, USB3.0, LAN. It's nice to see a CMOS clear between the PS2 and SPDIF. Just another little touch for those times when you've built the rig into your case but still need to clear the CMOS without wanting to pull your rig apart.
Finally on the right we have the OC Genie chip that does all the magic when you press the button on the board for the auto-overclock.