MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX Motherboard Review
The MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard is a great solution for compact HTPC media centre cases. This motherboard is packed with features and comes with all of the essentials you need for your media centre base. It is built for AMD processor architecture and supports AMD Socket FM2+ / FM2 Athlon A-Series CPUs. This board is best suited to a Mini-ITX form factor case but will mount into the majority of ATX and Micro-ATX cases.
Compare MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX Motherboard Prices
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MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX Motherboard Specifications
|Make||MSI||Socket||FM2+||Max Mem||32768 MB|
|Model||A88XI AC||CPU Family||Athlon||Video Output||HDMI, VGA, DVI|
|Form Factor||Mini-ITX||Mem Type||DDR3||USB Ports||10|
As already stated the MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard is designed for AMD CPUs and the AMD Athlon range. AMD CPUs are a great choice for HTPC media centres as they offer a similar level of performance to their Intel equivalent and more often than not at a lower cost. AMD architecture will run any media centre software package and the majority of system emulators. Gamers can also use AMD products as the majority of games are designed for both Intel and AMD.
Looking for the smallest possible case for mini-ITX motherboards? [Read: Top Mini ITX Cases for the Smallest HTPC Build]
The MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard supports DDR3 memory and at speeds of 1333/1600/1866/2133 MHz. 2133 MHz is one of the top memory speeds available for home computing so this motherboard is capable of delivering the highest level of performance and provide you with an element of future proofing. You get two DIMM slots capable of up to 32GB of memory. If you combine this with a top hard disk you will have a fast media centre and the MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard supports up to 4 SATA hard disks with transfer speeds of 6Gb/s. If your case is big enough to hold multiple hard disks you can take advantage of RAID technology and the RAID 0,1,5 and 10 standards. When you have spent years building up your media library there is nothing worse than hard disk failure and using RAID is a great way of protecting your media content and could remove the need for a NAS box.
The MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard comes with both on board graphics and sound. You can allocate up to 2GB of your system memory to the on board graphics card. For a media centre built for playing movies and music the on board graphics chipset is more than enough but if you want to play high end games and system emulators you will need a dedicated graphics card and for this the MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard has a single PCI-E 16X slot. If this wasn’t enough there is full support for AMD Dual Graphics Technology.
The MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard is packed with both input and output sockets. On the rear of the board there are 3 video output ports 1X HDMI, 1X VGA and 1X DVI and your standard audio connections. For connecting your peripherals there are 2X USB 3.0 ports and a whopping 4X USB 2.0. There is connectivity for 2X USB 3.0 and 2X USB 2.0 on your case.
One of the unique selling points of the MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard is its connectivity. Most motherboards, particularly in the Mini-ITX range come with only LAN connectivity. You get the standard Ethernet port offering 10/100/1000 speeds but that’s not all. MSI have managed to cram both WIFI and Bluetooth into such a small board. The board comes with a built in Wi-Fi 802.11ac adaptor with detachable aerial and built in Bluetooth 4.0. This is a superb feature for HTPC media centres. WIFI is essential these days and with tight cases having a built in adaptor is a huge space saver. The Bluetooth adaptor will allow you to connect some of the top remotes to browse your media libraries and if you are a gamer you will be able utilise a selection of games console controllers.
MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX Motherboard Advanced Features
OC Genie is an overclocking tool that can overclock many different components of the system. This has been developed by professional over clockers and can significantly boost your performance. Our testing gave significant performance improvements when using some of the more resource hungry games console emulators.
Military Class 4 Components
The MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard has been built with stability and endurance in mind. The individual components have been made to operate at high temperatures and are built to last. If you have selected a compact case for your media centre overheating can be an issue and having decent quality durable components can save you having to carry out costly repairs.
Everyone wants a fast booting media centre. Your games console will boot and be ready for use in under 10 seconds so why should your home theatre be any different. Fast Boot gets all of the motherboard startup tasks completed in an extra fast time getting your operating system launching not long after power on.
Click BIOS 4
A user friendly mouse operated BIOS makes your system quick and easy to configure and allows you to get the very best out of your HTPC media centre.
Reasons to Buy MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX Motherboard
- Small Mini-ITX form factor
- Supports the top end of the DDR3 memory range
- Comes with Wifi built-in
The MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard is perhaps the top choice if you want to use AMD CPUs in your HTPC Media Centre. The board will allow you to use the top AMD Athlon processors and fast system memory. What impressed us the most about this motherboard is it’s connectivity. WIFI and Bluetooth is something that is essential to most media centres but is rarely included on min-ITX form factor motherboards. With so many USB ports on the MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard if you are someone who connects many external disks or devices to your media centre you will never run out of ports. All of this comes at a similar price to many less feature rich mini-ITX motherboards and the MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard is a very affordable price indeed. At Home Media Portal we have recently reviewed a number of MSI products and have been very impressed with their range. With MSI you get more for your money and this motherboard is no exception. The MSI A88XI-AC Mini-ITX motherboard is a top AMD mini-ITX motherboard.