Board Layout and Rear I/O
The board includes 4+1 phase power that is rated to support even 140W CPUs - however all that power has to come from just a single 4-pin 12V CPU power connector, rather than a more robust 8-pin. The 8-pin distributes heavy power requirements better for overclocked and high-power CPUs, meaning there's less chance of a connector or cable burn out. Despite this concern, our own heavy overclocking with a Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition thankfully did not yield such a result, but it's worth bearing in mind if you are using a cheaper quality PSU with high power CPU.
The MOSFETs and Northbridge are cooled by a simple, small heatsink array with single heatpipe that connects the two. AMD's chipsets don't require much cooling and even under heavy load these heatsinks don't get that hot. The northbridge heatsink is also cunningly designed so it doesn't impede on the PCI-Express x1 slot adjacent to it.
As for the rest of the slot layouts - there's plenty of space between the memory slots and PCI-Express x16 slot, and there's also a PCI slot spare even if you do use a dual slot graphics card.
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Four memory slots offer plenty of upgradability, and the five SATA ports should be enough for most people looking for an mATX board. The 785G Northbridge includes the optional 128GB GDDR3 Sideport memory for the GPU that is supposed to help with easing the demands on main memory in 3D applications, as well as lower power idle states, however we've never really seen much benefit.
The red buttons are for MSI's "Easy OC Switch" that offers a quick flip to increase the HyperTransport bus clock. It's a very quick, easy-to-do option for an end user that may not be comfortable with the BIOS, but we'd prefer MSI's far superior OC Genie button that calculates an attainable, stable overclock, rather than a hardwared switch that might not work for some setups.
MSI has packed its rear I/O! With a PS2 keyboard or mouse port, optical S/PDIF out and six 3.5mm stereo jacks for the 7.1 channel High-Definition audio, six USB 2.0, 6-pin Firewire, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet and, HDMI, DVI and VGA outputs it really has a bit of everything.
There are a couple of limitations though: no powered eSATA, just plain eSATA, which we can forgive since the demand is not great, and even though it does support dual display outputs you cannot use both DVI and HDMI at the same time due to a 785G chipset limitation.