This has been a long time coming as we've had a lot of 'nearly theres' from MSI. Its P35 boards were great, but the P45 series lacked the BIOS finesse and was left behind in a highly competitive market. The Eclipse SLI had so much promise, but again, fell short of our recommendation because of BIOS and software issues. For AMD we have to harp right back to the K9A Platinum to get one we'd awarded.
It's with that in mind that the 790FX-GD70 is a special product for MSI, because in our opinion, it's tipped the company over the edge. We've sensed the frustration reverberating from the lower tiers of the company, echoing what we (and many others) have been saying for the longest time: the designs and naming needed desperately updating, and MSI needed to create some desirability. It's good then that there are no pink memory slots here and no girly Diamond anything. Oh no.
Finally, MSI has worked out all the ingredients to make an awesome motherboard: an easy naming scheme, a design that screams awesome in your face like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, and a solid set of features and even (wait for it...) a better BIOS than the competition. That's not to say the last part didn't take some time though...
All this couldn't have come at a more appropriate time too; when AMD is reaching its stride with great price-to-performance 45nm CPUs that actually like to overclock and DDR3 is coming down in price hand over fist. Finally, we potentially have a green trio that might be worth investing in.
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Four SATA cables
Two SATA to molex power cables
IDE and floppy cables
Metal rear I/O shield
Two ATI CrossFire-X bridges
PCI bracket with two USB 2.0 ports
Installation Guides, driver and extra DVDs
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MSI has missed a few SATA cables by only including 50 percent for the total eight, and the metal rear I/O shield is rather plain when compared to the Asus Q-Shield (if you ever care to use it). It's worth noting though that if you're running your hard drives under AHCI mode, the driver DVD does not contain the necessary drivers for this - you'll need an updated AMD AHCI driver, among other things, which we've fully explained on the SATA testing page.
Overall there's nothing that special from the package - you're bamboozled with literature that most of us will never read, however, the one thing we did like - the "AM3 First Punch" overclocking guide hidden at the back - isn't available to the public yet.