MSI 790FX-GD70 Features:

  • Support for socket 938 AM3 CPUs including Phenom II, and Athlon series.
  • AMD 790FX northbridge
  • AMD SB750 southbridge
  • Four 240-pin DDR3 memory slots supporting 1,066 and 1,333MHz DIMMs, with 1,600-2,133MHz overclocking support for up to 16GB in total
  • Four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots (x16/x16 or x8/x8/x8/x8) with ATI CrossFire-X technology support
  • One PCI-Express x1 slot
  • Two PCI slots
  • Realtek ALC889 7.1 channel high-definition audio codec, as well as RCA and optical S/PDIF
  • Two Realtek RTL8111DL PCI-Express Gigabit LAN
  • Six SATA 3Gbps ports from SB750 supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD
  • Two SATA 3Gbps ports from JMicron JMB322 supporting RAID 0 and 1
  • One IDE port
  • One eSATA port from JMicron JMB362
  • VIA VT6315N chipset supporting two IEEE1394a Firewire ports (one rear I/O, one pin-out)
  • Twelve USB 2.0 ports (six rear I/O, six pin-outs)

Layout Discussion

MSI has not only taken a leaf out of the DFI book of inspired, sexy design, it has written its own chapter. The gorgeous array of blue, black and Chromed copper and matching aluminium is a feast for the eye, and couldn't be further from MSI's other models using the 'coffee' colour PCB (we have a less elegant name for it in the office), like the X58 Pro. When alive it's blinged out in blue lights indicating DrMOS power to the various phases around the board, but while these could be turned off with software on the Eclipse SLI, we've checked the CD and the GreenPower software that offered the option is missing.

MSI 790FX-GD70 Board Features and Layout
Click to enlarge
MSI 790FX-GD70 Board Features and Layout

The layout is generally very good - the SATA ports are almost all 90 degrees, and the other two blue ones don't get in the way of graphics cards unless you've got several dual slot GPUs. The eight SATA ports are split between six main black ones from the SB750 southbridge, then two more from one JMicron chipset, and the eSATA/IDE are from another JMicron chipset. Typically the JMicron's afford lower performance than the native SATA drives, but they are good enough for opticals if you have plenty of hard drives to accommodate in the black sockets.

Futurists will not like the wasted space from IDE and even a floppy port - especially when the BIOS has an in-built Flash utility, rendering the floppy port only useful for the archaic Windows XP users who still need one for RAID support.

MSI 790FX-GD70 Board Features and Layout MSI 790FX-GD70 Board Features and Layout
Click to enlarge

A full covering of the usual, quality solid aluminium capped capacitors from Nippon Chemicon finds their place in another MSI product, and so do the usual (smaller) environmentally sealed chokes - most of which are hidden under the elongated heatsink.
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