Quad CrossFireX Firepower
It's no secret that AMD's 6-core processors will be hitting the streets officially next week; you can even buy one of the models here locally now. As usual, along with these affordable 6-core processors are the supporting entourage of motherboards based on updated chipsets that will be in stores around the same time. The good thing about AMD is that those with motherboards using older chipsets are able to upgrade to an AMD 6-core since the new processor is backwards compatible with AM2+ and AM3 boards with a simple motherboard BIOS update.
Of course, if you crave the newer features, like SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0, it's worth looking at a new motherboard that's equipped with these and hence, future-proof for at least another couple of years. AMD's 890FX is one of these newer chipsets available next week and we continue our recent look at these new boards (see ASUS and Gigabyte) with a sneak preview of the MSI 890FXA-GD70.
Going by MSI's naming conventions, the MSI 890FXA-GD70 is likely the company's top model for the 890FX chipset and it's evident from the specifications. The design is a mostly incremental update to MSI's 790FX-GD70 board, with some of the newer proprietary features thrown in. Notably, the quad CrossFireX capability of this board should score highly with its intended enthusiast audience. At least it's something that we don't see on ASUS and Gigabyte's 890FX offerings at this early point in time.
We haven't got the benchmarks and performance results or the expected retail price here in this preview, but based on the board's design, the MSI 890FXA-GD70 certainly looks very competitive with its rivals. Quad CrossFireX could be decisive for some enthusiasts, while the rest of the features are very suitable for its high-end status. MSI's OC Dial and auto-overclocking utility (OC Genie) are some of MSI's more well-known proprietary tweaking technologies found on this board and the use of quality components, while increasing the cost, should be appreciated by enthusiasts. Like some of the other brands (ASUS for example), MSI has a BIOS feature to unlock all the extra cores on your AMD processor. It's a simple matter of enabling it and rebooting.
The layout too appears to be well-thought out and we didn't find any instances where components could get in the way of each other. The way MSI manages to squeeze that single SATA port in between the PCIe slots without interfering is a case in point. Our impression so far: this is a board to look out for.