MSI 870A Fuzion Power Edition: Upgraded, but more expensive
Compared to the standard 870A Fuzion
, the new Power Edition is packing a double 8+2 phase power circuitry, versus the 4+1 on the standard model. There's also a larger heatsink and the 'Icy' chokes, MOSFETs and high capcity (Hi-C) caps which MSI dubs "Military Class" hardware.
Military Class - with chokes like little soldiers in a row, Aww!
The improved layout adds another PCI-E 1x slot at the top as the Hydra 200 chip has been moved down and now shares a heatsink with the SB850 Southbridge. The standard board only uses the SB710 Southbridge with SATA 3Gbps and had an additional two 6Gbps ports thanks to an extra Marvell controller. The new Power Edition loses
those two extra SATA ports though as no extra controller is used.
The rear I/O still hasn't change and still features a great range of connectors, as well as a Clear CMOS button snuck in there. Click to enlarge
The rear I/O is identical to before, with one USB 3 port facing inwards for case-front connectivity, and the other facing outwards. Despite reports of using a USB 3 chip other than NEC it's not the case here.
MSI still uses an additional and optional 6-pin PCI-E connector to give extra juice for the graphics cards, but it still gets an awkward spot on the inside edge. At the bottom there's the OC Genie auto-overclocking button and the touch-sensitive power, reset and green-power buttons as well. Core unlocking is done solely via the BIOS though.
The 6-pin power connector is optional. Click to enlarge
MSI explained that it wanted us to focus on Lucid Hydra as an function enabler, rather than a performance product. It's true to an extent because it is the only board to bring SLI to the AMD platform once again, so with that in mind we can see why it would want to release the Power Edition, but there still needs to be a compelling performance gain to add an extra graphics card in the first place, not just because "the user wants SLI".
Overall the redesigned board is better, we feel - the upgraded Southbridge, extra PCI-E 1x slot and doubling of power hardware are all good, but is it worth an additional £30? For many, investing in an AMD system is a budget move and this makes products very price sensitive. Not only this, but the extra cost of the new board pushes it into 890FX territory. However, bar complicated driver hacks it's the only
real way to get SLI on an AMD board right now and given SLI's popularity it will continue to attract customers who fancy unlocking a cheaper CPU and putting budget into two graphics cards, but we think it's going to be a hard sell to those who don't know or are unsure of Fuzion.