MANY WERE DISAPPOINTED with MSI’s 870A Fuzion board, as it wasn’t the Hydra board many had expected from MSI. However, it appears that MSI is about to make amends as it’s getting ready to unleash the 870A Fuzion Power Edition. This is the board everyone expected MSI to release and it looks much closer to the early board pictures that appeared on the net.
The new board is still using the AMD 770 chipset rather than the 870 which is confusing, especially considering the model name. However, unlike the 870A Fuzion, MSI has upgraded the south bridge to the SB850 and as such the 870A Fuzion Power Edition comes with no less than six SATA 6Gbit ports. Another feature that was missing from the older board was the inclusion of MSI’s DrMOS MOSFETs which makes an appearance on the new board. The power regulation has also been upgraded to 10+1 phases.
The board looks very similar to the revision 1.0 board pictures that were posted at bit-tech back in May and it’s suggesting that MSI was holding back this board for some unknown reason. The heatsinks have changed slightly and the one on top of the MOSFETs also incorporates a heatpipe along the top. The final board revisions appears to be version 1.1, although there doesn’t seem to have been any major changes since revision 1.0.
MSI has kitted out the board with a Renesas USB 3.0 host controller, although as with some of its other boards, there’s only one rear port while the second one is located behind the audio jacks and is intended to be connected to front USB 3.0 ports on the case. The board has a pair of x16 PCI Express slots which connects to the Lucid Hydra chip and allows for all sorts of multi-GPU fun. There are also three x1 PCI Express slots and a single PCI slot on the board.
Around the back things are identical to the 870A Fuzion with two PS/2 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, the aforementioned USB 3.0 port, a FireWire port, Gigabit Ethernet, six analogue audio jacks and coaxial and optical S/PDIF out as well as a CMOS reset button. The board also has headers for an additional six USB 2.0 ports and one extra FireWire port. There are touch buttons for power, reset and green power on the board as well as a button for MSI’s OC Genie. An extra six-pin power connector to boost the power for the graphics cards is located just above the top x1 PCI Express slot.
Overall this looks like the board MSI should’ve launched in the first place, although we’re not following why MSI is using the older 770 chipset instead of the 870, especially given the model name. Some would call this false marketing, but as the two aren’t all that different and with the likelihood that the 770 is cheaper for MSI to purchase, we have a feeling that this is why MSI went with the older chipset. At least the 870A Fuzion Power Edition has the new SB850 which brings with it the extra benefit of native SATA 6Gbps support.
We don’t know when MSI is planning on launching this board, but we’d expect it to be shortly. We did, on the other hand, manage to dig up some European pricing on the board and the bad news is that you’ll have to expect to pay around €169 ($217) for it, not what we’d call cheap for a board with last year’s chipset. That’s some €35 ($45) more than the 870A Fuzion, but considering that this was a rather poorly received board, the extra money might be worth it for the extra features. In fairness to MSI, the Hydra chip is likely to add some cost and so does the USB 3.0 host controller, but we can’t but feel that there are better alternatives out there for the money.S|A
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