MSI K9A2 Platinum Motherboard - Review

MSI K9A2 Platinum Motherboard - Review

A feature-rich motherboard with support for four graphics cards

Bottomline: A well laid-out board with interesting futureproofing features and a competitive price.

Price: £105.75

This board provides support for AMD’s latest AM2+ processors as well as being fully backwards compatible with all AMD’s AM2 Athlon and Sempron CPUs.

It’s also a first in that it supports Quadfire (four-way Crossfire) and SAS (serial attached SCSI). The board uses AMD’s latest AMD chipset, the 790FX, which supports 1,066/800/667/533MHz dual-channel DDR2 memory, while the four slots on the motherboard will take up to 8GB of Ram.

In common with many high-end boards, the layout is dominated by a passive heatpipe cooling system. This cools chipset bridges and the Mosfets - together with the dual-phase power design of the board, MSI quotes a power transfer efficiency rating of 95 per cent.

The board comes with four graphics card slots, all of which support the current PCI Express 2.0 specs (fully backwards compatible with PCI Express 1.0 cards). The two primary x16 slots are coloured dark blue and run at full x16 speed when used in a conventional two-card Crossfire setup.

Should you want to go down the Quadfire route with four graphics cards, the secondary pair of PCI Express graphics slots (pale blue) come into play. These two slots run at x8 speed as do the primary pair of slots if you go down the triple- or quad-card route.The only other expansion options provided are two standard PCI slots and a single x1 PCI Express slot. This might not seem like a lot, but you get integrated eight-channel audio and Gigabit Ethernet.

Six Sata II 3Gbytes/sec ports are provided, four of which are controlled by the AMD SB600 Southbridge with the remaining two using a Promise T3 chip to provide the SAS support. This board provides some of the latest technology and, as a result, a degree of futureproofing.