MSI 890FXA-GD70 AM3 Motherboard
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 07-16-2010
Provided by: MSI
A Closer Look

The rear I/O section offers mouse/keyboard PS2 ports, a CMOS reset button, S/PDIF coax and optical outputs, five USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, two gigabit NIC jacks, a single eSATA port and the audio connector block. The two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports are differentiated by their blue-colored center insulator and are provided courtesy of the NEC 720200F1 controller chip located just to the right of the audio block. Unlike the 890GXM, the single rear eSATA port is not blue-colored and in fact only supports a 3Gb/s rate, not the new 6Gb/s standard. The reason for this is shown below.

The six white-colored SATA ports on the front of the 890FXA are connected to the AMD SB850 and thus support the 6Gb/s SATA specification. However the misleading, blue-colored SATA7 port is supplied by the adjacent JMicron JMB363 controller chip, along with the PATA and rear USB 2.0 / eSATA combo, and thus only supports a maximum 3Gb/s SATA rate with a single 1x PCI-e lane connection. The Fintek F71889ED super I/O chip provides temperature and voltage sensor hardware monitoring. A green, clear CMOS jumper can be found along the bottom edge of the board, next to the power, reset, OC and Green touch-sensitive button pads. The OC dial adjusts the base reference clock speed either up or down, using a set interval which can be specified in the BIOS.

Although most of the 890FXA board utilizes solid aluminum capacitors, the CPU phase power is provided by these Hi-C or Highly-Conductive polymer caps which offer even better regulation, efficiency and longer lifetime. Solid state chokes are another feature of the Military Class Components that MSI touts, along with their DrMOS phase controller IC, which claims faster switching and better efficiency than traditional mosfets. Dual Realtek 8111DL controllers support two Ethernet ports up to gigabit speed, a VIA VT6315N provides two IEEE 1394 FireWire connections and a Realtek ALC889 controller offers 7.1 audio.

Next let's get the 890FXA-GD70 installed and powered up.

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