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Review: MSI K9A Platinum AM2 mainboard

by James Morris on 24 October 2006, 07:35

Tags: MSI K9A Platinum AM2 mainboard, MSI

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MSI K9A Platinum
Item Specification
Processor Support All Socket AM2 processors
Northbridge ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200
Southbridge ATi SB600
Memory Support 4 DIMMs, DDR2, 533/667/800, 8GiB max
Graphics 2 x PCI Express Graphics 16X, Supports ATI CrossFire
PCI Express 2 x PCI Express 1x (SB600)
PCI Conventional 2 slots, PCI2.2
ATA 1 x ATA/133 (SB600)
SATA 4 ports SATA2/300 AHCI (SB600)
RAID 0/1/0+1 (SB600)
LAN 1 x 10/100/1000 (Realtek 8111B, PCIe on SB600)
1 x 10/100/1000 (Realtek 8110S, PCI on SB600)
Audio Realtek AudioMAX HD 7.1
HD Audio, 8-channel, (Realtek ALC883)
Floppy 1 port, SB600
FireWire 2 ports, FireWire 400 (VIA VT6308P)
USB 10 ports, USB2 (SB600)


One of the benefits of ATi's Xpress 3200 over its predecessors is that it offers the full 16 lanes for each 16x PCI Express slot, so this motherboard can cope with CrossFire in all its glory. Most of the peripheral slots are hanging off ATi's SB600 Southbridge, though, apart from the pair of PCI Express 1x slots. Connected to the SB600 are a couple of PCI slots, a single ATA/133 channel, and a quartet of RAID-capable SATA2 ports. However, the RAID options only extend to striping, mirroring, or both at the same time with four drives. Unfortunately, the integrated audio uses Realtek's ALC883 rather than the ALC883D, so doesn't support Dolby Digital Live! A pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports are integrated, one on the PCI Express bus and the other on the SB600's PCI bus.

In all, then, it's a pretty standard range of features for a high-end board intended for multi-GPU gaming. Of course, the key issue with this board is not really any of its fault. Since it's aimed at Socket AM2 processors, it must now languish in the knowledge that no currently available CPU will make it faster than what Intel has to offer.