MSI K9A Platinum ATI CrossFire XPress 3200 for AM2

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Third Party Components and Bundled Extras

 

Third Party Components and Bundled Extras
The motherboard supports four Serial ATA-II/300 ports, bringing ATI's platform up to date with modern storage standards. These ports support NCQ and AHCI modes, allowing for the highest levels of storage performance on drives which allow it. These ports also support RAID 0 (striping), RAID-1 (mirroring), RAID 0+1 (striping + mirroring), but unfortunately do not support RAID-5 out of the box, which is a standardized feature on nVidia's competing platforms. While RAID-5 penetration is still fairly low in the market, it's a potent selling point for those who require data redundancy and constant up-times.
 

The board supports dual Gigabit Ethernet ports through a pair of Realtek Gigabit Ethernet controllers. Interestingly enough, MSI decided to use one PCI Express x1 connected controller along with one 32-bit PCI connected controller for their "DualLAN" feature. Obviously, the PCIe x1 connected controller will allow for faster performance and dedicated chipset bandwidth, whereas the 32-bit PCI controller must share bandwidth with other PCI devices. The chipset has several free open PCIe lanes, so we're wondering why MSI didn't go all out and connect both via PCIe.

The XPress 3200 Crossfire for AM2 chipset gets a boost in the amount of USB 2.0 devices supported, up to 10 at maximum, and MSI makes use out of all of them. Four USB 2.0 devices can be accessed on the rear I/O panel, whereas six more can be added via pins on the motherboard. MSI includes a bracket with their motherboard which immediately allows extension of a set of pins for an additional two USB 2.0 ports in the rear of the chassis. The new SB600 chipset also has improved USB 2.0 throughput as well, a common complaint with their prior SB450 chipset. While the chipset does not support Firewire natively, MSI brings Firewire 400 support to the board through the addict of a VIA PCI Firewire controller. This allows for one 6-pin Firewire 400 port on the I/O panel, in addition to an secondary pin set on the motherboard for connecting another Firewire device.

The onboard audio abilities of this platform are quite nice, making use of the new High-Definition Audio (HDA) features of the SB600 Southbridge in conjunction with a Realtek ALC883 CODEC to provide true 8-channel audio output abilities. MSI includes a cluster of analog jacks which can be customized for your specific speaker configuration, in addition to two dedicated S/PDIF audio output ports. MSI includes both optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs for 7.1 digital surround sound audio.

 


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