MSI P55a Fuzion Review

Fuzion and Overclocking

MSI P55a Fuzion Review

Lucid and Fuzion

All manufacturers of anything are looking for a Unique Selling Point. That thing their product does that nobody elses does. MSI have got probably the biggest one around. The only thing we can think of that would be more impressive is if a company produced a motherboard that could handle every socket type. But enough pre-amble. 

The MSI P55a Fuzion has a Lucid chip on board. This has one major benefit. Until now if you owned an nVidia card you would have to purchase another nVidia card and run in SLI. Similarly if you currently owned an ATI card, then Crossfire was your only choice.

This is made especially irritating because of nVidias bizarre practise of not allowing PhysX to work when an ATI card is in the system, accidentally released beta drivers notwithstanding. So if you owned an 8800, and then upgraded to a 4 or 5 series ATI, your previous card was all-but useless.

The Lucid chip has two major benefits. Let's say you like to keep up with the very latest hardware and so you brought a 5870 when it was released. Then nVidia finally released the GTX480 and so you brought one of those. Instead of just having one card in your system, thanks to the Lucid chip and HYDRA engine, you can use both of them together in a Hybrid-X configuration. The secondary benefit is if you're like the above example you can use your old nVidia card together with your new ATI card and get PhysX on your ATI. 

MSI P55a Fuzion Review 

Installation is mind-blowingly simple. Insert both cards, install both drivers, install the HYDRA software and reboot. Upon reboot you gain a little utility with a small-footprint in your system tray. As you can see from the second screenshot not every game you can think of takes advantage of the Lucid chip. In fact of our standard benchmarking suite only Crysis and 3D Mark Vantage are compatible. However many other very popular games are, with more being added all the time.  

MSI P55a Fuzion Review     MSI P55a Fuzion Review

Yes indeed this really is an ATI HD5870 next to a GeForce GTX480 in the same system. And yes, as you can see from the FluidMark screenshot on the right, both cards are detected and utilised.

MSI P55a Fuzion Review    MSI P55a Fuzion Review

Of course this isn't just about the Lucid chip, so let's pull ourselves back to see how the MSI P55a Fuzion performs as a motherboard, before returning to see if the HYDRA has any benefits.

Overclocking

As with all overclocking of LGA1156 the first thing is to get the highest possible stable BCLK. With a little tweak to the voltage we managed to obtain a very satisfactory 218MHz. Then it was just a case of trying to obtain stability whilst still having a CPU multiplier than would enable good clock speeds. 

On the left we have the overclock that the MSI produced when the OC Genie button was enabled. Very nearly 4GHz. It's curious to see that it used a high BCLK to obtain this rather than going all out with the multiplier, but regardless 4GHz for just pressing a button is highly impressive.

Turning the OC Genie off and going back to the manual BIOS method of overclocking we saw an absolutely stunning 4.33GHz. As with nearly all overclocks as you start to get higher on the multiplier the quickly has to be reduced sharply to retain stability. Nonetheless with 1.37v on the CPU Core (not shown in CPU-Z as it hasn't been updated for this motherboard yet) we had a massive overclock that was stable enough to be used all the time.

MSI P55a Fuzion Review     MSI P55a Fuzion Review  

«Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next»

Most Recent Comments

09-08-2010, 07:38:44

tinytomlogan
MSIs latest P55 motherboard comes with the hottest piece of hardware in recent times. Believe the hype?

Continue Reading

09-08-2010, 07:47:24

Luigi
That's pretty impressive actually - they've really put some work into making the hydra chip work and the results speak for themselves.

09-08-2010, 07:57:04

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luigi View Post

That's pretty impressive actually - they've really put some work into making the hydra chip work and the results speak for themselves.
They have put loads of work into making it work. There has been lots of driver fixes so if the support continues the future does look bright.

09-08-2010, 07:58:44

AMDFTW
were is the review

09-08-2010, 08:12:07

I Hunta x
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDFTW View Post

were is the review
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cpu_mainboard/msi_p55a_fuzion_review/1

09-08-2010, 08:17:45

tinytomlogan
Dont think AMDFTW has found the front page of the site yet

09-08-2010, 08:30:34

AMDFTW
o god i feel dumb,i am wandering around this site tho lol i will peal ones eyes nex time

its cos i am uste to them being there in the first post

09-08-2010, 09:24:14

silenthill
Great review and appreciation to all those who prepared it, at last the green and the red are working together side by side I bet the Nvidia & ATI fans are furious for how can Cain and Abel be on the same ship together pulling the sails side by side so that the ship can go forward ....sorry I mean FPS unbelievable how technology can evolve and bring two rivals to be partners sitting side by side forgetting all their differences and years of bitter competition united in their glory each GPU helping the other to push those frames higher and higher forgetting their colors and who they actually serve can you imagine England and Wales playing as one team together thats how big this event is and maybe one day these two companies will unite under one name and that is the consumer off course for he is the god of all and they all bow to his demands.

09-08-2010, 09:24:44

F-alienware
Man that's a lot of money for a dual PCIE board. Mind you, you do get what you pay for.

I shall have to read it more thoroughly later and see exactly what's going on, but from a skim over the surface isn't it just a driver than does what the Physx mod does?

The only real criticism I can find is that at a glance it looks like a cheap Gigabyte. I really wish companies would spend more time on the design and aesthetics of these boards. Currently the only company I can really see pushing for visual perfection is Asus. The Crosshair IV is almost a form of art, with looks to die for.

DFI make some good looking boards. Sadly that is where it ends. With most people using a side window these days that MSI board is pretty bland.

Yes, I know, performance before beauty and this board seems great for that, but looks are becoming more important.

09-08-2010, 12:15:03

silenthill
At a glance it looks like a cheap Gigabyte. Hay mate be careful how you choose your words because I dont feel like buying another M/B after spending 150 on one this year money doesnt grow on trees you know how would you like it if I said like a cheap Asrock AliveXfire . Man youre talking about my wife here my honour my pride just try and say company X or Z that will be more appropriate and wouldnt hurt peoples feelings.

09-08-2010, 13:59:54

VonBlade
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post

I shall have to read it more thoroughly later and see exactly what's going on, but from a skim over the surface isn't it just a driver than does what the Physx mod does?
Not in the least. Holy hell. Couldn't be more wrong



The only real criticism I can find is that at a glance it looks like a cheap Gigabyte. I really wish companies would spend more time on the design and aesthetics of these boards. Currently the only company I can really see pushing for visual perfection is Asus. The Crosshair IV is almost a form of art, with looks to die for.

DFI make some good looking boards. Sadly that is where it ends. With most people using a side window these days that MSI board is pretty bland.





As someone who deals with a lot of "cheap" boards, no this doesn't look cheap. Not quite sure which pictures you're seeing there, but you might want to dig out a "Cheap Gigabyte" and compare. Of course looks are subjective, but it most certainly doesn't look cheap.

VB

PS - anyone who can stand up and say the DFI Lanparty X58 is good-looking needs to go to Specsavers. Although the DFI P55 DK is beyond gorgeous.

09-08-2010, 14:04:10

F-alienware
I owned a LP dark. Was based on the 790FX IIRC, something like that. Gorgeous looking board. All the slots were a lovely lumo yellow that reacted ace with a black light and the coolers were all very nice and large

Not seen their X58 but in all honesty I wouldn't look any farther than Asus for that..

I think the board here looks cheap because (and most importantly) the NB/SB coolers look a bit pathetic if I'm being honest, especially on a board of that price. Everything just looks a bit sparse.. Mind you, after seeing that animal of a Gigabyte thing recently I would think that

I just took another look and I stand behind my criticism. The 8 pin AUX is in the worst place they could have put it. My Asrock (which was 30 lmao) has a molex there for the PCIE lanes and it's a royal PITA.

09-08-2010, 14:10:13

delusion77
I dont suppose you could show us 2x 5870 cfx vs fusion and 2x gtx480 sli vs fusion in game performance? I think this new tech is pretty cool as it gives a lot more freedom when upgrading.

On the topic of looks, it looks fine - but the best looking boards are the newer Asus boards (mainly the ROG ones)

09-08-2010, 14:17:48

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by delusion77 View Post

I dont suppose you could show us 2x 5870 cfx vs fusion and 2x gtx480 sli vs fusion in game performance? I think this new tech is pretty cool as it gives a lot more freedom when upgrading.

On the topic of looks, it looks fine - but the best looking boards are the newer Asus boards (mainly the ROG ones)
Quick answer is no.

A the board has gone already

B we cant test 'everything'

09-08-2010, 16:46:13

VonBlade
If you read the HYDRA results section of the review you'll see that the results are compared to GTX480 SLI. Also if you look at the UD9 review you can see all the GTX480 multi-card results you wish, and the recent Sapphire 5970 TOXIC dealt with 5870XF results.

Feel free to look around the site for other reviews. The main reason we try to keep all test systems identical is to ensure that you can pull data across from other reviews and still find them valid.

Happy to help.

VB

09-08-2010, 17:47:29

ppuff
Hey guys I see it on Newegg for $175, if it is in fact the same board then the price smokes your guestimate.

09-08-2010, 19:58:39

F-alienware
Quote:
Originally Posted by ppuff View Post

Hey guys I see it on Newegg for $175, if it is in fact the same board then the price smokes your guestimate.
This would make an insane amount of sense to me. I know VB likes the colour scheme and is very enthusiastic about it but seriously, come on, 250?

When I got my Crosshair a year ago I paid 125. If I was about to pay double that I would want double the function, better cooling on the bridges and so on. The MSI doesn't have much of anything. Sure it performs very very well, but at 250 they'll have a ruddy hard time getting any one to buy it.

Mind you according to Scan the Big Bang board is 262. That's insane man. Actually on closer inspection the Big Bang board has triple PCIE slots, heatpipes accross the upper cooling system (NB & VRMS) and looks much much sexier.

Edit. Actually, looking over this review board again makes me change my opinion of it somewhat. It is nicer than I thought. Tom you need to stop spoiling us with filthy smutty images of 400+ motherboards. It's like making sweet love to gorgeous models and then being chucked back into bed with a regular lass

09-08-2010, 20:01:49

tinytomlogan
No 'big' retailers have listed the product yet, but if you click the link you can see where Veebs got the price from. And thats all thats about in the UK atm.

http://www.google.co.uk/products?hl=...-8&sa=N&tab=wf

10-08-2010, 03:23:15

silenthill
OK guys time out, one of my mates has asked me to build him a system he has a Radeon HD5850 leftover from his old AMD system which we sold on eBay yesterday and after I showed him this review he likes the motherboard very much because it has a new idea (ATI+NVIDIA) and he wants a GF460 to go with it I have advised him to go with a second HD5850 but he insists on two different cards he really likes the idea even with his knowledge of the limited game support also being ATI card holder for year now he is very eager to see the Physx on his new system so now can anyone tell me where I can buy this board with quick delivery without messing about because all I have seen so far is 175$ there and 210 here, it sounds like an auction so seriously has anybody got some solid retailer with good backup service and delivery because I usually buy ether from scan or OCUK also CCL recently.

10-08-2010, 07:42:16

F-alienware
If it's only Physx he wants to run alongside his 5850 then that can be done on any board. From what I can tell (though it's not clear to me what this lucid chip is really doing) it does do some magic, but it's perfectly possible to run Physx side by side with a Radeon.

Also... If it's only Physx he wants the 460 for it's a terrible waste of cash. A 240 would do it, 8800GT would do it, 9800GT would do it and so on. Recently on this site I ran a test using a 8800 Ultra alongside a 3870x2 and my Physx score in Fluidmark was identical to that of some one who had a 8800 GTS.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Physx technology that is integrated onto the cards that can run it (240, 8800 GT and so on) is all the same. I mean, if you think about it logically those PCI Physx cards are apparently every bit as good as the Physx that runs on any Nvidia card. I think that the Physx is on the die of the main GPU but a seperate entity.

Also, when I run my 8800U as a Physx card it *never* gets hotter than idle temps. Which just goes to show to me it's either not working very hard at all or if it is then it's not breaking any sweat at all.

I know that this site does not review things in the interest of geeks and science like I do. Fair play to that, they are a new product reviewer. But I would be terribly interested in seeing the two cards used here alongside eachother in a regular dual PCIE slotted board running GenL's Physx mod.

I'm not trying to stir anything up with that, I just find this sort of stuff terribly interesting and geeky. Tech porn, if you will.

10-08-2010, 07:43:02

VonBlade
Just got to hang on a little bit SH. It's still REALLY new to the marketplace so the stock just isn't about yet.

That's the way that the hardware world is. Sometimes to get the first look at things you get it before it's really buyable. So in a couple of weeks it should be much clearer what the street value is.

"I know VB likes the colour scheme and is very enthusiastic about it but seriously, come on, 250?" - I did say the "rumours are" matey. Not that it's a guaranteed price.

10-08-2010, 07:47:41

F-alienware
Ahhh OK thanks for clearing that up dude. The Big Bang is 262 on Scan. Seems to be waaay more expensive elsewhere but I have a feeling that the 300+ being quoted elsewhere was the RRP. Scan are probably just low balling to try and shift the leftover boards. They had a wicked clearance sale on DFI boards last year.. I got a LP Dark 790FX tri crossfire board for 75. TBH I wish I still had it, as it offered so much more to me (being a red fan now) than the Crosshair 2. But I killed it modding the bios

I would say a fair price for this board here in the review would be 200, but then I have no idea what they are paying Lucid for these chips it uses or how much they cost to produce.. One thing I didn't say was fair play to MSI for actually trying to be different. I have been very impressed recently with Afterburner which IMO is the best piece of software ever for taking your cards by the scruff of the neck and getting them to behave.

I know it's only really a GUI for Rivatuner but that doesn't detract a single thing from it IMO. Utterly awesome tool.

10-08-2010, 15:26:51

silenthill
But I killed it modding the bios, so you're a bios killer now I think one day there will be a law for that and then you will be in serious trouble because you will be investigated by the cold case bios crime unit and this forum will be evidence against you.

10-08-2010, 17:39:49

F-alienware
That's OK. I killed two Crosshair 2s by modding the bios too. Then I realised that the software Asus give you to mod the logo sorta like, doesn't work.

21-08-2010, 11:42:31

Telltale
Good to see that it's listed as only 150 on Scan: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/MSI-P...3Gb-s-RAID-ATX

That should bring it up to a 10 for price

22-08-2010, 14:07:33

VonBlade
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telltale View Post

Good to see that it's listed as only 150 on Scan: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/MSI-P...3Gb-s-RAID-ATX

That should bring it up to a 10 for price
Except they have none in stock and the previous Fuzion model is still 211.

I'd be very surprised if they actually retail it at 150 once they've got some in stock. If so it's completely a no-brainer.

22-08-2010, 14:46:59

SiLo
http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductID=1299042&source=froogle

Bargain. I'm gonna ask for one for my 21st I think. I cba to go back to the review but did it say if you have an ATi card that running it with the lucid+hydra setup you can get phys x from the chip?

23-08-2010, 10:26:30

F-alienware
It is a fantastic price tbh.

Even for a full sized board that supports SLI and crossfire (and hybrid with the right drivers) it's a good board but I don't think I would buy it purely for Lucid.

Just my opinion of course and I am probably wrong as usual

Edit. I was wrong I think. According to Scan it doesn't support SLI. S'a bit odd isn't it?
Reply
x

Register for the OC3D Newsletter

Subscribing to the OC3D newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest technology reviews, competitions and goings-on at Overclock3D. We won't share your email address with ANYONE, and we will only email you with updates on site news, reviews, and competitions and you can unsubscribe easily at any time.

Simply enter your name and email address into the box below and be sure to click on the links in the confirmation emails that will arrive in your e-mail shortly after to complete the registration.

If you run into any problems, just drop us a message on the forums.