Summary: 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.
Excerpt: It’s almost impossible to drop a processor into MSI’s 890FXA-GD70 motherboard without overclocking it. The reason has nothing to do with MSI not letting you run a chip at stock speeds—it does—but the temptation to goose your processor presents itself at every turn. If you’re poking around the BIOS, you need only enable the OC Genie Light option for a free speed boost. Alternately, you can turn a knob on the motherboard to make front-side-bus adjustments on the fly.
Pros: OC Genie rocks; thoughtful layout; SATA placement.
Cons: Performance slightly trails the competition.
Summary: MSI's newest offering supporting AMD's line of processors comes in the form of the 890FXA-GD70. This board could potentially be a P55 killer, with its balance of features and performance prowess. How does it do in the HardOCP gauntlet and better yet, how well does it overclock?
Summary: With the release of the Thuban processors earlier this year, AMD has brought six core CPUs into the realm of affordable desktop machines. And their latest 800-series chipsets are designed to fully support them. Of course the new chips are also backwards compatible (with a BIOS update) to older 700-series AM3 and even some AM2+ boards. But to realize the full functionality of the Turbo Core and other features, the newer chipsets must be used.
Summary: The AMD 890FX chipset itself is already string at mere baseline settings. We like the added bandwidth available on the PCIe slots, the sheer tweak-ability, the embedded gigabit NIC and sure, the integration of the SATA 6G controller. Speaking of which, we are still under whelmed by the AHCI performance of that controller when we peeked at the low file-size performance.
Conclusion: MSI’s 890FXA-GD70 is a fantastic premium board at a very reasonable price. For $169 USD (w/ $20 rebate) you get Phenom II X6 support out of the box, Quad CrossFireX support, a usable PCI slot when using CrossFire, a Crosshair IV contender, and appealing aesthetics that complete the package.
Conclusion: As we've only recently reviewed the mATX 890GXM-G65, this is more of a companion piece than a standalone review. We found that the £110 G65 was a great motherboard. A pocket powerhouse. Costing substantially more (around £165) this GD70 has to offer plenty to make it worth purchasing. So does it? To paraphrase the Simpsons Reverend Lovejoy, the short answer is no with a but, and the long answer is yes with an if. Let's take those in order for simplicities sake.
Pros: High Bus Speed, Good Cooling, Lots of features