MSI K9A2 Platinum Review :: MSI K9A2 Layout

05-04-2008 · Category: Motherboards

By Ben Sun

The layout of the board is interesting due to the fact that the board has four PCI Express x16 slots for video cards. To ensure proper spacing for two-slot video cards, MSI has PCI Express x16, PCI Express x1, PCI Express x16 #2, PCI, PCI Express x16 #3, PCI, PCI Express x16 #4 as the layout of expansion slot. It should be interesting to see how four HD3870s working in CrossFireX mode would operate.


MSI K9A2 Platinum Review PCI-E x16 4 slots

PCI-E x16 4 slots

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review 3 PCI-E + 2 PCI

3 PCI-E + 2 PCI

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review PCI-E x16 locks

PCI-E x16 locks

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review CIRCU Pipe

CIRCU Pipe


The North Bridge and South Bridge on the MSI K9A2 Platinum are effectively cooled by a heat sink heat pipe cooling solution. The SB600 has a Platinum logo on the top of the heat sink with a heatpipe leading to the 790FX NorthBridge and another heatpipe leading to the rear heatsink. AMD chipsets run relatively cool in comparison to NVIDIA nForce chipsets and a fan isnít necessary to keep the chipset cool.


MSI K9A2 Platinum Review Northbridge

Northbridge

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review DIMM Slots

DIMM Slots

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review SATA ports

SATA ports

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review IDE

IDE


The K9A2 Platinum has four DIMM slots for up to 8GB of DDR2-1066MHz memory. Intel has moved on to DDR3 memory support for their chipsets, but AMD isnít scheduled to launch their DDR3 chipsets till 2009 but as DDR2 is less expensive than DDR3 memory at the same speed at this moment and the choice for DDR2 is ok. Older DDR2 memory is also supported in the form of DDR2-800 and 667MHz.

Serial ATA is the dominant form of hard drive interface and has been for a while now. The more Serial ATA drives that a chipset supports, the better. AMDís SB600 South Bridge supports up to four drives. Two additional SATA ports are supported by a Promise T3 chip that also supports 2 external SATA drives. RAID 0, 1,0+1 modes are supported by the SB600. MSI has a total of six SATA ports on the board with two external SATA ports on the rear I/O.


MSI K9A2 Platinum Review VIA Chip

VIA Chip

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review Promise Chip

Promise Chip

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review Fintek Chip

Fintek Chip

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review Molex Connector

Molex Connector


Realtek is one of the top integrated audio CODEC providers in the world with their CODECs being in the vast majority of motherboards on the market. The MSI K9A2 Platinum board comes with a Realtek ALC888 CODEC. This CODEC complies with the High Definition Audio standard that Intel released over four years ago. The ALC888 has ten DAC channels to provide support for 7.1+2 channel multiple independent audio streams.


MSI K9A2 Platinum Review Front Panel Jumpers

Front Panel Jumpers

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review USB Headers

USB Headers

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review CPU Area

CPU Area

MSI K9A2 Platinum Review I/O

I/O


The rear I/O consists of a PS/2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard ports, a 1394 Firewire port, an Optical SPDIF Port, external SATA ports, four USB ports, a RJ-45 Gigabit LAN Port controlled by a Realtek 8111B LAN chip, and six audio jacks for the onboard audio. Two external SATA ports are the only stand outs from the IO, compared to most boards, but are a welcome addition as you can use them for storage or DVD drives or other devices using this interface, if you fill up your SATA devices inside the case.