nVIDIA completely dominates the entry level AMD market,
but with the arrival of the ATI RS690 / AMD 690G, AMD will give nVIDIA a run for
its money. Feature wise the AMD 690G supports everything the new nVIDIA GeForce
7050PV does, and as you saw in PCSTATS's benchmarks the performance difference
between the two is almost negligible.
The MSI K9AGM2-FIH motherboard is a good simple
mainstream platform for building an AMD Socket AM2 motherboard. For 2D tasks,
like regular office work, surfing the web and the like, this motherboard is a
perfectly suitable and quite inexpensive. The onboard Radeon Xpress 1250
videocard handles 2D applications just fine, and is Windows Vista Aeroglass
compliant. Better still, the onboard HDMI connector allows the MSI K9AGM2-FIH to
output video at 1920x1080 (1080p), HDCP content included.
In the benchmarks we saw that the MSI
Computer K9AGM2-FIH motherboard performed at about the same level as the new
nVIDIA GeForce 7050PV, so the competition is likely to heat up between these
two. When it came to the 3D stuff, the onboard Radeon Xpress 1250 videocard was
quickly overpowered by the 3D games. Of course, the same is true for the GeForce
7050 onboard graphics card too. If you're a gamer, use the money you saved on
the MSI motherboard and pick up a good PCI Express videocard like the GeForce
8800GTS 320MB. That is what PCSTATS tested this board with, and as you saw from
the benchmarks it handled much better in 3D games as a result.
With a retail price of $88 CDN, ($80USD, £40 GBP), the MSI K9AGM2-FIH
motherboard is an inexpensive choice no matter how you look at it. With HDMI and
HDCP support, this board could be the foundation for the perfect little low cost
PC or HTPC for your multimedia needs. With AMD venturing into chipsets now, it's
good to know its 690G chipset can stand on its own two feet.
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