MSI 890FXA-GD70 Review
The box follows the standard MSI look and layout with a flaming G on the left of a mainly white box replete with all the important technological logos. The obverse is nicely laid out highlighting the bits that MSI hope will entice you to purchase the GD70 for your AMD rig.
The contents are pretty much as you'd expect. SATA cables, some Molex to SATA power adaptors, a colour-coded IO shield, the driver disk and the always excellent MSI manual. We also have an IDE cable and various block headers to make cable insertion easier for front-panels or non-modular USB cables.
Before we move to looking at the GD70 in close-up, we'll get the overview. It's almost impossible not to notice the heatpipe/heatsink arrangement because it totally dominates the motherboard.
Starting with the very new and very old, we find six SATA3 headers providing us with all the 6Gbps goodness we could hope to use. Just behind is a vertical blue 3Gbps SATA port. By virtue of its positioning and placement we can see how quickly the market is adopting the 6Gbps standard and also the sector of the market MSI are aiming the GD70 at. Next to this is a IDE connector so if you've got an old IDE drive hanging around you can use it. It's more likely that your optical uses IDE as technology in the optical market has been static for ages.
Round the back we have the expected ports. PS2, CMOS reset, SPDIF, USB2.0, USB3.0, e-SATA, 2x1Gbps LAN and the audio outputs for the Realtek ALC889 sound.
Further demonstrating the high-end nature of the GD70 is the 5 PCI Express slots, along with a legacy PCI and a PCI-e x1.
The way the slots are configured requires a bit of explanation. Slot 1 is x16 unless slot 3 is populated then it's x8. Slot 5 is x16 unless slot 6 is populated in which case it's 8x. Slots 3 and 6 are x8 only, but if 1,3,5 and 6 are populated then they move from 16x/0x/16x/0x to 8x/8x/8x/8x. I hope that's clear.