MSI 870A Fuzion Motherboard
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 09-13-2010
Provided by: MSI

The 870A Fuzion ships in a markedly different box compared to their usual orange/white color design. The oversize X on the front with half green and red colors draws attention to the X-Mode capability allowing mixed nVidia and ATI graphics. Despite being based on AMD's 870 chipset, an entry-level non-iGPU board, the 870A Fuzion is loaded with MSI's enthusiast grade features such as Military-Class components, Auto OC Genie, Unlock CPU Core and Green Power. Everything is very well packaged and comes with an impressive accessory bundle including driver and utilities CD's, User Manual, Quick Install Guide, MSI Control Center Manual, Lucid HydraLogix Guide, I/O Shield, quick-disconnect headers and SATA cables and power adapters. Our review sample also came with a performance test sheet, indicating what components were used, overclock achievement and benchmark results.

The 870A Fuzion board uses MSI's usual color scheme, with black PCB and black, blue and white components. Stickers are applied to the CPU/DIMM sockets and PCI/e slots denoting some of the features mentioned above, which along with the protective plastic covering the heatsinks will be removed prior to use. As in many of MSI's other designs, the sinks are mounted to the board with spring-loaded screws rather than plastic pushpins, yielding a tighter fit and better performing heat transfer, although there are no heatpipes used between sinks. The metal AM3 backing plate uses fully-threaded posts for greater aftermarket cooler compatibility.

Between the AM3 socket and DDR3 slots is a 4-pin CPU fan header, with two more 3-pin SYS fan headers located elsewhere on the board. SATA ports, OC Genie button, clear CMOS jumper and USB/IEEE/COM/HDA headers continue around the corner of the board, strategically placed along the edge to help with cable management and minimize interference with other components.

Due to the Fuzion chipset placement, only two 16x PCI-e, two 1x PCI-e and one standard PCI slot can be fitted onto the board. Furthermore you may have noticed the lack of any IDE or Floppy connectors, they've been left off as well. Although board manufacturers have had to add controller chips to support floppy drives for some time now, the AMD SB710 does have one PATA channel, it appears MSI has simply chosen not to incorporate that into their design. Funny that they still give you two PS2 ports though. They did make use of an 8-pin EPS connector for higher wattage +12v CPU requirements, as well as another 6-pin PCI-e for additional dual-GPU power. Four of the EPS pins are blocked off with a removable tab, in case you're using a power supply with only a 4-pin CPU cable.

Continue as we take a closer look at some of the 870A Fuzion board components.

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