Manufacturer:MSI UK Price (as Reviewed):£169.99 (inc VAT) US Price (as Reviewed): TBA
MSI has a lot to live up to here given that its previous 790FX-GD70 was so brilliant. With that in mind, there are a few changes for the 890FXA-GD70 in terms of board layout and design, with most of the new features and upgrades coming from the new AMD 890FX chipset and SB850 Southbridge. To complement the SATA 6Gbps ports of the new Southbridge, MSI has also added a pair of USB 3 ports via the usual NEC chipset.
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If you compare the 790FX-GD70 and this 890FXA-GD70 you can find a few changes however. The central PCI slot has been changed for an additional 16x PCI-E slot, even if it only offers four lanes of bandwidth, for example, while the power and reset buttons have been swapped for touch-sensitive ones. There’s still a 1x PCI-E slot under the first 16x graphics slot, and a PCI slot for older expansion cards. Of the PCI-E slots, the four main ones can be used for CrossFire, with two cards receiving 16 lanes of bandwidth each, or four cards receiving eight lanes apiece. The graphics slots are spaced with one slot in between them, so you can use dual-slot graphics cards. Naturally there's no Nvidia SLI support, thanks to the AMD chipset at the heart of the board.
The black and blue aesthetic of the board is already revered among PC enthusiasts, and it quite rightly continues with this board. However, MSI now colours the SATA ports white, to show that they’re SATA 6Gbps. Strangely, MSI still includes an IDE port, even if it does agree with us that the floppy connector is now defunct. The white SATA ports are nicely sat facing outward in order to neaten cable routeing within your PC case.
There's an extra, seventh ‘ginger step-child’ 3Gbps SATA port that's powered by a JMicron chip and faces away from the PCB. This also powers the 3Gbps eSATA port at the back.
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There’s a pair of USB 3 on the rear I/O, along with the 12 USB 2 ports - six via pin-outs and six via rear I/O (one provides powe for the eSATA port). However, the two FireWire ports can only be used via the headers.
Chipset AMD 890FX
CPU support Socket AM3 Phenom II, Athlon II, Sempron 100
Memory support 4 slots: max 16GB DDR3 (2,133MHz)
Expansion slots Four 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots (two 16x or four 8x), one 16x PCI-E 1.1 (4x), one PCI, one 1x PCI-E
Sound Intel HD Audio via ALC892 with 8-channel support
Networking Realtek RTL8111DL Gigabit Ethernet
Overclocking CPU Clock 100 – 600MHz; max voltages, CPU 2.025V, CPU/NB 1.6V, DRAM 2.9V, HT 2V, NB 2V, SB 1.8V
Ports 6 x SATA 6Gbps, 2 x SATA 3Gbps, 1 x IDE, 2 x PS/2, 12 x USB 2, 2 x USB 3, 2 x FireWire, LAN, 4 x surround audio out, line in, mic, optical and coaxial S/PDIF out, eSATA 3Gbps