The MSI 870A Fuzion
The MSI 870A Fuzion
As we mentioned, the MSI 870A Fuzion uses a 'new-old' chipset, the AMD 870. It also has an older Southbridge, the SB710 instead of the newer 800-series ones that are found in AMD chipsets launched this year. MSI could be trying to keep a lid on the cost with such choices, but despite their age, they should still be relevant today. More so, since MSI has chosen to augment the Fuzion with USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps functionality, both implemented using third-party controllers.
Not only that, the 870A Fuzion comes with native CrossFireX support, so if Lucid's Hydra Engine is not working for you, there's something to fall back on. There's no native SLI support of course, but that's another story. And lest you think that the chipset determines the CPU support, you can be reassured that this board has an AM3 socket that accepts AMD's 6-core Phenom processors with no issues, with HyperTransport 3.0 too.
In fact, taking aside the older chipset used, this board is very current with MSI's own technologies, with the presence of its 'military class' components like Hi-c capicitors onboard, while its auto-overclocking utility, OC Genie is also found as an onboard button and in the BIOS. You can even unlock the hidden cores on some AMD processors through the BIOS, a feature that's only found openly on the latest AMD motherboards (the previous generation required more work and even special BIOS versions to enable).
MSI has also added quite a few features to the basic AMD 870 chipset, including FireWire support with a VIA chip and dual PCIe 2.0 x16 slots with the full 16-lane bandwidth. HD audio is handled by the popular Realtek ALC892 CODEC, making this a rather modern board overall.
In terms of the MSI 870A Fuzion's layout, we didn't spot anything major that could result in angst for the user. Of course, there were some strange decisions, like the two upward-facing SATA ports, but at least they didn't interfere with anything. We would also have preferred having two external USB 3.0 ports at the rear, and not just one.