IF YOU‘RE ON the hunt for a new affordable AMD motherboard then maybe one of MSI’s upcoming models is what you’ve been waiting for. We’ve managed to chase down some details of three upcoming models from the company, all of which are mid-range products with either the 880G or 870A chipsets.
Let’s start with the most basic model, the 880GM-P51 which is an entry level 880G board which uses the older SB710 rather than the new SB850. This is done to keep costs down and as AMD hasn’t gotten the SB810 out to its partners yet, this is one of many boards using this solution. The board features a pretty standard feature set for a mATX board with two PCI Express x1 slots, one x16 PCI Express slot and one PCI slot.
It also has six SATA 3Gbps ports, and IDE and floppy connector, four DDDR3 DIMM slots, three USB 2.0 pin headers and even pin headers of a serial and parallel port. Around the back you’ll find a pair of PS/2 ports, a DVI and a D-sub connector, a mere four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1-channel analogue audio jacks. This board doesn’t have any Sideport memory, but it’s meant to be able to unlock CPU cores.
Next up we have the 880GMA-E53 where the A in the model name gives away USB 3.0 support. The slot layout is the same with two x1 PCI Express slots, a single x16 PCI Express slot and a single PCI slot. This board also uses the SB710, but it has an additional Marvell SATA 6Gbps controller onboard and does as such have six SATA 3Gbps ports and two SATA 6Gbps ports. Again, MSI has gone for an IDE and floppy connector, three USB 2.0 pin headers, a FireWire pin header and a pair of oddly located serial and parallel port pin headers at the front of the board.
Around the back you’ll find two PS/2 ports, a DVI, D-Sub and HDMI port, four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, two USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and 7.1-channel analogue audio jacks. MSI has once again decided not to fit any Sideport memory, but core unlocking is still on the menu, as well as an improved 5+1 power phase design.
The last of the three upcoming models is the 870A-G55. We don’t have as many specifics on this model as the previous two and as such we don’t know which southbridge MSI has paired up with the 870, but it does look like the SB710 or possibly the SB750, as there’s no native SATA 6Gbps support. Instead this board features a Marvell controller for a pair of SATA 6Gbps ports in addition to the six SATA 3Gbps ports. The slot layout consists of two x16 PCI Express slots, a single x1 PCI Express slot and three PCI slots.
This board also sports an IDE and floppy connector, a pair of USB 2.0 pin headers, a FireWire pin header and a serial port pin header. This board also has one of MSI’s peculiar vertical USB 3.0 ports just behind the audio connectors near the rear I/O. The rear I/O consists of two PS/2 ports, a BIOS reset button, an optical and a coaxial S/PDIF out, six USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a single USB 3.0 port and 7.1-channel analogue audio ports. As with the previous two models, this one also supports core unlocking.
All three of the new models should be fairly affordable, although the addition of USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps is likely to increase the price on the 880GMA-E53 and the 870A-G55, despite using a cheaper southbridge to try and reduce the overall board cost. It seems like an odd combination and we’re not sure why MSI didn’t stick with the SB850 over the SB710, as it’s unlikely that the difference makes up for the additional cost of the Marvell controller.S|A
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