MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review :: MSI K9A Platinum Board

08-31-2006 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
MSI K9A Platinum (MS-7280) Spec Sheet
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Motherboard Photo
Part NumberK9A Platinum (MS-7280)
Price CheckFind Best Price
ChipsetATI RD580 SB600
North BridgeATI RD580 AMD
SocketSocket AM2 (940)
Processor TypesAthlon 64, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2 dual-core
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory8GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGPATI Radeon X1900XTX (R580)
South BridgeATI SB600
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1
FirewireIEEE 1394a
Expansion Slots
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

The Socket AM2 platform was launched a short two months ago from AMD. Today virtually every AMD CPU sold on the market today is based on AM2. I tested the MSI K9A Platinum with the following CPUs to see if it had any compatibility problems: FX-62, 5000+, 4600+, 3800+. The computer booted successfully with each CPU. One thing about AMD platforms is that a motherboard that is released on one Socket will support all CPUs of that Socket without a new chipset, as Intel chipsets are wont to do.

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review CPU Socket area

CPU Socket area

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review Memory sockets

Memory sockets

AMD has put the memory controller on the CPU die itself. One of the primary factors governing motherboard performance on the AMD platform was the memory controller, evening the score for most motherboards with the memory controller now on the CPU. Motherboards in the past had the memory controller on the North Bridge meaning that performance differences can be shown. DDR2 memory support was added with the AM2 platform launch in July. The K9A Platinum supports up to 800MHz DDR2 memory, with the 667 being the most available memory at the moment.

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review PCI Express x16 slots

PCI Express x16 slots

ATI announced the Crossfire platform in the middle of last year. At the time, Crossfire had serious limitations including a maximum of 1600x1200 resolution, a dongle that needed to be attached that could break off easily, and limited game support compared to the competition (SLI). With the release of the Xpress 3200 chipset and newer video cards (X1900 Crossfire Edition), Crossfire resolution limitations are gone. Game support is also much improved over the first driver releases and is improving fast, as ATI releases a new Catalyst driver every month or so.

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review PCI Express x 1 slot

PCI Express x 1 slot

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review PCI Slots

PCI Slots

The MSI board has two PCI Express x16 slots for single or Crossfire mode video cards. To enable Crossfire mode you need two compatible video cards like the x1600, the x1900 or the X1800 Crossfire Edition cards. PCI Express x16 slot #1 is where you would install the Master Edition card and PCI Express x16 slot #2 where the Slave card would be installed. MSI also included two PCI Express x1 slots and two PCI slots. If dual slot video cards are used, the adjacent PCI Express x1 or PCI slot is unusable.

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review SATA ports

SATA ports

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review IDE


MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review FDC


Today, the SATA (Serial ATA) specification is as ubiquitous as the IDE specification was before it. Virtually every modern motherboard supports SATA drives natively. The MSI board has 4 SATA ports, which is a fairly common number but not extraordinary by any means. ATI's Xpress 3200 chipset supports RAID 0, 1, 1+0 modes natively. IDE drive support is provided by a IDE port and a Floppy Drive Connector rounds out the drive support on the motherboard.

Audio screenshots

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review
MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review
MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review
MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review
MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review

Onboard audio is provided by Realtek's latest audio CODEC ALC883. Onboard audio has evolved greatly since the AC'97 standard was first introduced in 1996. Two years ago, Intel introduced the replacement for AC'97, High Definition Audio (HDA). The improvements over AC'97 include 7.1 Surround Sound, multiple audio streams, and Dolby Digital support. HDA supports the latest audio standard APIs including EAX 1+2, A3D 1, DirectSound and more.

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review I/O


MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review Realtek 8110S

Realtek 8110S

MSI K9A Platinum Motherboard Review VIA VT6308

VIA VT6308

The rear panel I/O contains 4 USB 2.0 ports, 2 Gigabit RJ-45 jacks, a PS/2 Mouse and Keyboard port, the audio jacks for the 7.1 Surround Sound, S/PDIF In and Out and a Firewire port. The Firewire port is controlled by a VIA VT6308 chip. The onboard LAN is supported by a Realtek 8169 PHY and a Realtek 8110S PHY. One uses the PCI Express bus the other a PCI lane. The PCI Express bus is not shared, as PCI is, allowing devices installed on the PCI Express bus to have full bandwidth at all times.