As mentioned, the AMD 890FX chipset has 42 PCI Express x1 lanes controlled by 11 engines – just to put things into perspective, the AMD 890GX chipset has 22 lanes controlled by eight engines. This allows this chip to provide a very high-end slot configuration.
MSI 890FXA-GD70 comes with an impressive number of PCI Express x16 slots: five. Four of them work at x16 if only one or two video cards are installed or at x8 if three or four video cards are installed. One of the slots – the third one (PCI_E4) – work at x1. So only install a video card on this slot if you had already ran out of PCI Express x16 slots. The placement of this lower-speed slot between the high-speed ones is perfect, as it allows the high-end configuration we will explain below. We think MSI could have used a different color for this lower-speed PCI Express x16 slot (black would be a terrific choice).
The way that the PCI Express x16 slots are arranged was really well-thought out. There is enough room between the slots for you to install dual-slot video cards on the first, on the second and on the fourth PCI Express x16 slots at the same time. A fourth dual-slot video card can be installed on the last PCI Express x16 slot, but in this case you will need a case with eight or more expansion slots (of course in this case it will block all the USB and FireWire headers available). So with the right case, you can have up to four dual-slot video cards installed at the same time with this motherboard, a configuration that is not possible to achieve with cheaper products.
It is important to note that motherboards from other manufacturers may use a different configuration.
This motherboard offers support to CrossFireX technology, of course, but not to SLI. The product comes with one CrossFireX bridge.
MSI 890FXA-GD70 also comes with one PCI Express x1 slot and one standard PCI slot. The use of a dual-slot video card on the first PCI Express x16 slot will “kill” the x1 slot, but remember that PCI Express technology allows you to install x1 expansion cards on any kind of PCI Express slot, so you can install your expansion card on any other slot.