MSI 890GXM-G65 review
A broad range of features on a compact microATX board – but you’ll pay for it
Review Date: 20 Aug 2010
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £88 (£103 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
MicroATX motherboards can often cram much of what you need into a tiny package, and the best have real versatility. The Socket AM3-based MSI 890GXM-G65 is one of those, coming with integrated ATI’s most powerful Radeon HD 4290 graphics to make it suitable for a wide range of intended uses.
Elsewhere, four DIMM sockets can handle up to 16GB of 2,133MHz DDR3 RAM, and two PCI Express x16 sockets – with one running at full speed, and a second at x8 – sit alongside single PCI Express x1 and PCI slots. Five SATA/600 ports are included, with one perpendicular to the board, with older SATA/300 sockets no totally absent.
The selection of on-board connectors is wider than we’re used to seeing, even on many ATX boards. It has four USB 2 headers, an IDE slot, a connector for a parallel port bracket, an onboard overclocking switch and even a jumper for a TPM module. The only disappointment is the measly pair of fan jumpers, one of which is bound to be occupied by a CPU cooler.
The backplate is similarly well stocked. Display output is handled by HDMI, DVI-D and D-SUB, there’s a pair of USB 3 ports to go with the four USB 2 ports. You also get an eSATA socket, Gigabit Ethernet and single PS/2 and S/PDIF ports, beside six audio jacks.
The form factor does prove restrictive in parts, though. The chipset cooler is closer to the AM3 socket than we’d like and, similarly, the DIMM slots aren’t far away from the processor. Combine this with the notoriously fiddly installation procedures required by most third-party CPU coolers, and the MSI could be a tricky board to install in some cramped enclosures.
Also, cram such a large roster of features onto a smaller PCB and, inevitably, the price rises: this £88 exc VAT board costs as much as our A-Listed ATX board, so you’re paying a premium for the miniaturisation. Still, the MSI is among the most versatile microATX boards we’ve yet seen and, if you want to save space without compromising on features, it goes some way to justifying that outlay.
Author: Mike Jennings
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