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MSI 890FXA-GD70 AMD 890FX Motherboard Review
MSI 890FXA-GD70 AMD 890FX Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
With this enthusiast class motherboard from MSI, the maker has dedicated 32 lanes from the 890FX total available PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth for videocards, spreading it over four PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Apr 27 2010   J. Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI 890FXA-GD70

Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery

Starting off with the PCI Express expansion slots...

There are four blue PCI Express x16 slots that can be run in (x16/x16/x0/x0) mode or (x8/x8/x8/x8) modes. The blue PCI Express x16 slot in the middle always runs in (x4) mode. There's also a black PCI Express x1 slot and a legacy PCI slot.

Six SATA 6Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10) ports are natively supported by the AMD SB850 chipset, along with one blue SATA 3Gb/s port powered by a JMicron JMB363 chip, which also powers the IDE port and one eSATA port at the I/O panel. Notice the Port 80 card tucked away between the videocard slots.

From left to right: The Green Power button turns off the LED lights on the motherboard, the OC gear button activates the OC Dia (middle)l, which in turn adjusts the system bus speed. To the right are the reset and power buttons, which do what you'd expect.

MSI's 890FXA-GD70 motherboard supports up to 16GB of DDR3 1066/1333MHz memory in four DIMMs, or 4GB for 32-bit operating systems. Memory can be overclocked to 1600MHz if the memory will tolerate it. Notice that the DDR3 memory only locks into place on one side , making it easier to install and remove memory without removing videocards.

AMD Socket AM3 motherboards support newer 45nm chips like the Phenom II X6 as well as Athlon II and Sempron processors. System bus is 5200MT/s, Hypertransport 3.

The AMD 890FX chipset is cooled by a long, low passive cooler. This design has low enough clearance that it shouldn't conflict with standard socket AM3 CPU coolers. Along the left edge you can see the mil-spec grade High-C Tantalum capacitors MSI selected for the CPU VRM.

Underneath the secondary passive heatsink labeled "MSI" is the AMD SB850 southbridge controller, which powers the SATA 6GB/s ports and five of the USB 2.0 ports on the I/O panel.

The NEC D720200F1 controller powers the two USB 3.0 ports on the 890FXA-GD70's I/O panel. Two PCI Express lanes are dedicated to USB 3.0 bandwidth.

The USB 3.0 ports on the MSI 890FXA-GD70 are marked in blue, and are capable of 4.8Gb/s transfer speeds, or roughly 10x the speed of USB 2.0.

External hard drives need power supplies, but USB 3.0 external hard drive docks can draw sufficient juice over the USB 3.0 connection. By 2011 you'll wish this board had six USB 3.0 ports! In any case, the USB 3.0 controller communicates with the AMD 890FX chipset over dedicated PCI Express 2.0 lanes, meaning that the extra bandwidth of USB 3.0 won't get bottlenecked by other system components

Beside the legacy PS/2 ports is a hardware clear CMOS button, a handy feature for overclockers and a much more convenient way of resetting the CMOS configuration than removing the CMOS battery.

Next up a look inside the MSI 890FXA-GD70 BIOS and then we're off to the overclocking races!

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Contents of Article: MSI 890FXA-GD70
 Pg 1.  MSI 890FXA-GD70 AMD 890FX Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Introducing AMD 890FX and SB850 Chipsets
 Pg 3.  — Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery
 Pg 4.  Inside the BIOS Options
 Pg 5.  Overclocking MSI's 890FX Motherboard
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sysmark 2007
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra 2009
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark06, 3DMark Vantage
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 11.  MSI Back in the Game?

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