On-Board Peripherals

As explained earlier, the AMD 890FX chipset is a dual-chip solution using the SB850 south bridge chip. This chip natively supports six SATA-600 ports (with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10). These ports are placed on the motherboard edge rotated 90°, so video cards won’t block them, as you can see in Figure 4. This motherboard has one ATA-133 port controlled by a JMicron JMB363 chip, which is also placed rotated on the motherboard edge. This chip also provides a SATA-300 port (blue connector) and an eSATA-300 port that is placed on the motherboard rear connector. No floppy disk drive controller is present.

MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboardFigure 4: OC Dial, SATA-600 ports and ATA-133 port.

In Figure 4, you can see some of the additional features available on this motherboard, a knob called “OC Dial” that is used for overclocking the motherboard, an overclocking button, a “Green Power” button (which turns off all motherboard LEDs), and power and reset buttons.

This motherboard has 12 USB 2.0 ports, six soldered on the rear panel (one of them is shared with the eSATA port) and six available through three headers located on the motherboard. Two USB 3.0 ports (blue connectors) are available on the motherboard rear panel, controlled by a NEC μPD720200 chip. This motherboard comes with an I/O bracket with two USB ports.

Two FireWire (IEEE1394) ports are provided (controlled by a VIA VT6315N), however none of them are soldered on the rear panel of the board, which is a big flaw in our opinion, since this motherboard doesn’t come with an I/O bracket for you to use these ports. So you have to make sure to buy a case with at least one FireWire port to have this kind of port available on your computer.

Eight-channel audio is generated by the chipset using a Realtek ALC889 codec, which is a professional-grade component, with 24-bit resolution, 192 kHz sampling rate (both numbers for the inputs and outputs), 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for its analog inputs and 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio for its outputs. These numbers mean that you can work professionally with audio mixing/editing (e.g., converting VHS tapes and vinyl records to digital format) with no background noise (white noise). The motherboard provides on-board optical and coaxial SPDIF connectors and you can route digital audio to your video card to have it available on an HDMI connector by installing the required cable on the “JSP1” header available on the motherboard. The analog audio connectors are independent, so you won’t have to “kill” the line in or mic in jacks if you decide to install an analog 7.1 speaker set.

MSI 890FXA-GD70 has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, controlled by two Realtek RTL8111DL chips.

In Figure 5, you can see the motherboard rear panel with keyboard and mouse PS/2 connectors, clear CMOS button, coaxial SPDIF output, optical SPDIF output, six USB 2.0 ports (black ports), one eSATA-300 port (shared with one USB 2.0 connector), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 3.0 ports (blue ports), and independent analog 7.1 audio outputs.

MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboardFigure 5: Motherboard rear panel.

Other smaller features are available. As you can see in Figure 6, this product comes with a POST diagnostics display, allowing you to discover through a two-digit code what is wrong with your computer if it is not turning on.

MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboardFigure 6: POST diagnostics display.

This motherboard supports one legacy serial port through a header called “JCOM1.” It doesn’t come with the I/O bracket that is required to use it.

Like other motherboards from MSI, this product comes with an operating system stored inside the motherboard read-only memory that allows you to access the Internet without needing to load the operating system or even without having a hard disk drive installed. This feature, called Winki, is identical in concept to the Express Gate feature available on motherboards from ASUS and the eJiffy feature present on motherboards from ECS.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.