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MSI K9A2 Platinum AMD 790FX Motherboard Review

MSI K9A2 Platinum AMD 790FX Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The MSI K9A2 Platinum is built on AMDs venerable 790FX and SB600 chipsets, which incorporate Hypertransport 3.0 and bus speeds of up to 2600MHz.
 81% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Feb 19 2008   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI K9A2 Platinum

Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery

There is plenty of space between the two dark blue PCI Express x16 slots for videocards with dual slot heatsinks (for Crossfire mode, only these two slots are usable). If all four PCI Express x16 slots are populated, all cards receive 8 PCI-e lanes.

Looking at the bottom right hand corner of the MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard we find an IDE channels and six Serial ATA II channels. Two SATAII headers (in red) are SAS compatible, all offer RAID 0/1/10 - including the two eSATA jacks. Hard power and reset buttons make tweaking the K9A2 Platinum a pleasure.

The MSI K9A2 Platinum has four 240-pin DDR2 memory DIMM slots which accommodate 8GB of DDR-2 1066/800/667/533 RAM. Populate the DIMM slots of the same colour first, for dual channel memory. To the right of the DIMM slots are the main 24 pin ATX power connector.

The AMD 790FX chipset cooling solution is quite fancy. The heatpipes connect both north and southbridge to the MOSFET heatsink. There is plenty of space around the AM2 CPU socket for large after market thermal solutions.

Up next is a quick look at AMDs 790FX chipset, and then PCSTATS dives right into overclocking the MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard.

AMD 790FX and SB600 Core Logic

AMD's 790FX platform encompasses two physical chipsets, the AMD 790FX northbridge and AMD SB600 southbridge. The hallmark features of the AMD 790FX are 2GHz Hypertransport 3, PCI Express 2.0 compliancy and support for 2/3/4-way CrossfireX multi-videocard collections.

Built on TSMC's 65nm manufacturing process, the benefit of its smaller die size yields both greater power efficiency (8W-10W) and a significantly smaller footprint than comparable Intel or nVidia core logic. The 790FX supports all of AMD's 32-bit and 64-bit Socket AM2/AM2+ Athlon64/Phenom/Sempron processors.

PCI Express 2.0 lanes are in plentiful supply, with no less than 42 directly from the AMD 790FX northbridge. Of these, four PCI Express lanes are reserved for the interconnect between the 790FX and SB600, while six are dedicated to onboard devices, or for use as PCI Express x1 expansion slots. That leaves 32 PCI Express 2.0 lanes for multi-videocard arrangements, either receiving x16/x16 lanes for Crossfire or x8/x8/x8/x8 in a 4-way CrossfireX configuration. Since these are PCI Express 2.0 lanes, bandwidth should be more than ample.

With regards to integrated devices, the AMD 790FX/SB600 is an adequate partnership, but not very generous. The AMD SB600 supports four PCI Express lanes (used for the 790FX-to-SB600 interconnect), a skimpy four 3Gbps SATAII ports, RAID 0,1,0+1 and two IDE channels for legacy optical or hard drives. Four SATA ports is cutting it rather short, so it's not surprising MSI has turned to a Promise chipset with its K9A2 Platinum motherboard for additional SATAII ports.

Audio is taken care of by either AC97 codec or Intel high definition audio, depending on which the manufacturer chooses to implement. Also built into the SB600 are ten USB 2.0 ports, but the 790FX curiously opts out of integrated Gigabit networking. No matter, most motherboard vendors seem to pick inexpensive PCI-based network PHYs anyway.

Up next, overclocking the MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard!

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Contents of Article: MSI K9A2 Platinum
 Pg 1.  MSI K9A2 Platinum AMD 790FX Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery
 Pg 3.  Overclocking the MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard
 Pg 4.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark06, Quake 4, FarCry, Doom3
 Pg 5.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2004
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark 05, Conclusions

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   10 / 20 / 2019 | 12:27PM
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