The MSI 890FXA-GD70 is a premium AM3 motherboard, and enthusiasts will no doubt be looking at it as an option for AMD’s Thuban hex-core chips, particularly if SATA III and USB 3.0 are on the wish list of upgrade features.
In terms of layout and design, the GD70 is very good with only a few minor niggles, such as the SATA ports being located near the bottom of the board rather than swapping spots with the IDE port. The LCD POST display is very handy but could be obscured if multiple graphics cards are installed. The touch-sensitive buttons are great but exercise caution so you don’t accidentally hit them. The Southbridge also tends to get hot if overclocking and not actively cooled with a fan. These are very minor issues though, and are by no means any sort of dealbreakerfor the GD70; fact is, this board is very capable and impressive.
In terms of performance features, Direct OC and the OC deal are extremely handy and impressive when fine tuning your overclock. The OC Genie Lite here isn’t nearly as robust as what we saw on the MSI P55-GD85 board, but manual overclocking is very easy on this board anyways. SATA 6G and USB 3.0 can clearly harness the power of a fast SSD. The 890FX and SB850 offer bundles of bandwidth, far more than Intel’s X58 or P55, so there is some amazing connectivity and performance potential here.
The build quality here is also very well done; MSI has come a long way over the past couple of years in establishing themselves as premium players in the marketplace. The 890FXA-GD70 is available for approximately $200 USD (we found it for another $20 off on rebate), which sits about mid-range for AM3 motherboards that feature SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0. It’s regularly priced about $20 less than the ASUS and $50 less than the Gigabyte premium boards, so this GD70 is a pretty good deal overall, epsecially for the feature set offered. Honestly, unless you’re looking for extreme overclocks then it’s hard to justify spending the extra cash because this MSI board offers just about everything an enthusiast could want at a better price.
The MSI 890FXA-GD70 is a very good all-around AM3 motherboard, offering something for everyone. From great performance and sharp aesthetics to power efficiency and ease of use, the GD70 is a solid choice, particularly if you’re looking to harness the power of AMD’s new Phenom II X6 lineup.