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In the center of of the motherboard is a heatsink with DrMOS stamped right on it. There are three key items that make up DrMOS - GreenPower, XpressCool and RapidBoost. GreenPower is designed to minimize power waste and according to their internal studies, compared to other boards, MSI’s can saveupwards of 25%. XpressCool keeps the core area cooler, hence less heatdispersed within the PC environment. Finally, RapidBoost maintains the power regulation and minimizes spikes in voltage allowing for more stable overclocking.
For your storage needs, the Intel ICH10R chipset supports ACHI, RAID 0/1/5/10 with Intel's Storage Matrix Technology. SATA ports 1-6 are handled by Intel. SATA 7-10 are handled by the JMicron JMB322. All the connections supports data transfer speeds of 3 Gb/sec. the JMicron controller also supports RAID 0/1 as well as JBOD. The JMicron JMB363 handles the legacy PATA connection and will be required if you still use these devices. The controller is recognized by XP and Vista so you will not need to plug in a floppy to install Windows.
For slots, there are 3 gen2 PCI Express x16 slots. The two black PCIE x16 slots (PCI_E2 and PCI_E4) support PCIE x16 speeds. The blue x16 slot (PCIE_E5) supports x4 speed. There are two PCI Express x1 slots and 2 traditional 3.3v/5v PCI slots.
As it is a premium board, there are some "extras" MSI throws in with the board. At the forefront, we have a Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio Card. The card supports 24-bit and 96 KHz audio quality. 7.1 sound is supported as well as EAX 5.0. While I am not exactly a hardcore gamer, I found the quality to be very good though we did have some problems getting it to work with Call of Duty 4's multiplayer when no mic was plugged in.
A MSI D-LED2 panel allows the user to monitor the current status of the motherboard. This is a pretty useful device as if you have any problems with the board, the LED will display a variety of codes to help in the troubleshooting process.
We mentioned the GreenPower earlier, and the GreenPower Genie will allow the user to monitor real-time power usage on the 12V, 5V and 3.3V power sources. It functions by being placed between the PSU and the motherboard and it pretty straightforward to install. There is also an application layer to GreenPower so that you can monitor performance within Windows.
Moving on to the I/O connections, we have two PS/2 ports, one 1394 ports and two eSATA ports. The eSATA are handled by the JMicron JMB362 and also supports RAID 0/1, JBOD as well as 3 GB/sec data transfers. There are 8 USB ports, 2 LAN and a very handy clear CMOS button.