The MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboard tested
When AMD's six-core Thuban based processors launched, alongside it a new motherboard chipset was released. The 890FX series. Of course we were already fond of the 890GX chipset when it got released, but the FX chipset upped the ante a tiny bit more as next to the integration of SATA6G we see an increase in available PCIe lanes allowing 890FX motherboards to become very flexible in their bandwidth needs versus component usage.
You see, when you pop on more USB controllers, SATA6G controllers and multiple x16 graphics cards, your average motherboards run out of PCIe bandwidth real fast as often there are only 16 PCIe links available. Not a huge deal, but if you pop in a nice Radeon HD 5870 you certainly would like it to run over a x16 link, and not a x8 link. As such the FX chipset is aimed at the more enthusiast segment of the AMD motherboard market.
PCI-Express is key in the AMD 890FX release as we get PCIe 42 lanes at our disposal. Next to that, the chipset will be paired with the SB850 which we already covered in the 890GX review, it supports up-to 14 USB 2.0, up-to six SATA 6G ports and an integrated Gigabit Ethernet controller. This is the basis and infrastructure of your PC, the 890 FX chipset.
It's that kind of flexibility that allows ODMs like MSI to make little gems motherboards out of that chipset.
MSI's 890FXA-GD70 is loaded with features like the aforementioned, but also USB 3.0, automated overclock options and even five (physical) PCIe x16 slots and even core unlock functionality from within the BIOS.
The 890FX motherboards ooze with features and performance, the six-core Phenom II X6 processor review which you probably read was overclocked towards 4.1 GHz on a just cheapo CPU air-cooler which we'll show you in this review.
All in all, we have a lot of ground to cover in this review. Move forward to the next page, where we'll head into the AMD 890 FX chipset and the MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboard.
But first have an impression on how she looks ...