Page 1 of 5
MSI DKA790GX Platinum Motherboard
MSI's latest motherboard based on AMD's 790GX chipset makes its way into our labs. Along with supporting all of AMD's modern CPUs, this board also features DrMOS to help keep an eye on things and keeps your system running smooth.
The AMD 790FX was a solid platform, but for many boards, including one MSI 790FX board we looked at earlier this year, struggled a bit on the overclocking side of things. Fooling around with the MSI DKA790GX Platinum for the last couple weeks has certainly showed us the newer SB750 South Bridge has improved on this a lot. The South Bridge aside though, what else does this AMD board show us?
Shying away from some of their early "gentle" form of artwork and advertising, MSI's Gaming Series of motherboards are far bolder than before. The box art is a lot more badass but along with that, the key marketing notes are still there. The type of chipset, CPUsupport (including 140W CPUs), DrMOS features as well as HDD backup software being included is all present and in your face. This of course will make sure the buyer is aware exactly what they are picking up.
Opening things up, I can't say I was overwhelmed. MSI, while not doing anything wrong, didn't do anything particularly extraordinary either with the packaging. What we have out of the box is the motherboard, required software and manuals, as well as a various assortment of cables, D-Brackets and CrossFire connections.
The MSI DKA790GX Platinum features a black PCB and everything arranged in a logical manner around the board. The AMD790GX chipset is geared towards performance users interested in a fully featured motherboard but want some flexibility as well. For those who wish to forgo discreet graphics, the 790GX couples the ATI Radeon HD 3300 graphics core within the chipset. High-end gamers of course will want to add a video card of their own, but adding a supported Radeon card will allow you to use the ATI Hybrid Graphics. Of course, you can also use two Radeons for true CrossFireX.
The socket area is free of obstructionsand though not pictured, the socket is reinforced with a heatsink retention bracket. This will allow the user to use large coolers without straining the architecture of the product. We were able to use OCZ’s Vendetta 2 behemoth without any issues but this isn’t guarantied to be the case with other coolers, especially if they fall outside AMD’s reference dimensions.
The DKA790GX Platinum supports up to 8GB of DDR2-1066MHz memory. Naturally, Dual Channel is supported though. As per MSI's documentation, if you only have 2 DIMMs, you should stickwith the orange slots. Just below the memory slots is the 24-pin ATX power connection. MSI’s documentation does state a 20-pin PSU will work as well.
On the opposite side of the socket are the capacitors and MOSFETS. Everything is high quality and made in Japan. By that token, it has been some time since we’ve heard reports of leaking capacitors.
In the center of all of this is a heatsink with DrMOS stamped right on it. There are a number of items that makeup DrMOS, but the key word is efficiency. GreenPower is designed to minimize power waste and according to their internal studies, compared to otherboards, MSI’s can save upwards of 25%. XpressCool keeps the core area cooler, hence less heat dispersed within the PC environment. Finally, RapidBoost maintains the power regulation and minimizes spikes in voltage allowing for more stable overclocking.
Both the North (790GX) and South(SB750) Bridge are passively cooled. The North Bridge features the larger cooler, in part due to the ATI Radeon HD 3300 graphics core onboard. Near the SouthBridge, we have our storage connections present. There are 5 SATA ports, all of which can support RAID 0,1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD. The IDE connection supports all flavors of DMA, but no RAID support since there is only one connection.
For expansion, there are two PCI Expressx16 slots, which will drop to x8 when CrossFire is enabled. Between them are two PCI Express x1 slots and next to PEG2 are the two traditional PCI slots.
For IO, there are the legacy PS/2 ports, 1394 FireWire, six USB, 1 LAN, three video, eSATA and 7 audio connections. For the audio and video, you have options to use analog or digital.