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MSI A78M-E35 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £40
inc VAT

A cheap FM2+ board with good performance, but it doesn't leave much room for expansion


FM2+, microATX, AMD A78 chipset, supports: AMD A-Series, Athlon

The MSI A87M-E35 is a microATX FM2+ motherboard that supports AMD’s A-Series processors, including AMD’s brand new Kaveri processors, and older FM2 models. As its name suggests, it uses the A78 chipset, which is one step down from the more advanced A88X chipset.

MSI A78M-E35

The A78M-E35 has six SATA3 ports, which is great for such a keenly priced board as it means all your drives will be able to run at the best speeds available. Its two DDR3 memory slots can also support a maximum capacity of 32GB of RAM with modules up to 1,866MHz or 2,133MHz when overclocked. This is more than most users will ever need, but it’s nice to have the room for expansion.

The A78M-E35’s main disadvantage is its lack of expansion slots. This is to be expected given it measures just 226x216mm, but all you get is a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot and one PCI slot. The latter will get obscured if you install a graphics card, too. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem if all you’re building is a very simple PC, using onboard graphics, but it’s still quite restrictive.

MSI A78M-E35

The rear panel doesn’t have many ports either, but all the basics are there, including two USB3 and four USB2 ports, VGA, DVI-D and HDMI display outputs, two PS/2 ports for older mice and keyboards, a Gigabit Ethernet port and three 3.5mm audio jacks. More USB ports are available through the board’s three internal headers, if your PC case allows for it. You can also use all three video outputs simultaneously thanks to its triple-monitor support, and the HDMI output can even support a maximum resolution of 4,096×2,160 if you have an FM2+ processor and a high-res display.

MSI A78M-E35

The A87M-E35 performed well in our multimedia benchmarks. With an AMD A10-7850K processor and 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, it scored 71, which is what we’d normally expect to see from this setup. Its user-friendly BIOS is easy to use if you want to overclock it as well, as you can use both a mouse and keyboard to browse through its menus.

The MSI A78M-E35 is a good micro-ATX FM2+ board. It’s not perfect, as its small size doesn’t leave much room for expansion, but at just £40, it’s great value. The slightly more expensive Asus A88XM-PLUS is a better buy overall, as it has more expansion slots and SATA3 ports.

Basic Specifications

Processor socketFM2+
Form factormicroATX
Processor supportAMD A-Series, Athlon
Processor external bus100MHz
Chipset north bridgeAMD A78
Chipset south bridgeAMD A78
Passively-cooled north bridgeyes
Integrated graphicsNo
Supported memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory speedPC3-17064
Memory slots2
Maximum memory32GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information


Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 4-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots1
Dual graphics architectureAMD Dual Graphics
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots1
PCI slots1
Fan headers3
Floppy ports0
IDE ports0
Serial ATA ports0
RAID chipset (max disks)AMD A78 (RAID 0, 1, 10)


Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC887 (3x analogue out)
USB2 ports / headers6/6
Firewire ports / headers0/0
Legacy ports2x PS/2
Other portsVGA, DVI, HDMI
Cables includednone
Brackets includednone
Software includednone

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentRAM
CPU clock max adjustment3,100MHz

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