MSI K9A2 Platinum AMD 790FX Motherboard

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Performance Analysis & Final Thoughts

Performance Summary: 
Our benchmark results were somewhat of a see-saw battle between the nForce 590 SLI and AMD 790FX chipsets.  With respect to the PCMark Vantage test suite, the Gigabyte motherboard we tested won all but the Productivity test.  When we shifted our attention to more real-world tests, however, the K9A2 Platinum topped the Gigabyte GA-M590SLI-S5 in each test, but not by the same type of margins we recorded with PCMark Vantage.  3DMark06's CPU test results can be considered a tie, as they were so close, while the K9A2 Platinum pulled out in front in the Cinebench, Crysis and Company of Heroes tests by less than a percentage point.  The biggest lead we recorded was with the Kribibench Sponge Explode test, where the K9A2 Platinum took a 5.6% lead, which incidentally was identical to the Vantage Productivity test delta.

We were pleased with the features and performance of the MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard.  For those users looking to take advantage of AMD's Spider platform, that don't have the budget for a new motherboard, CPU and graphics card in a single purchase, this 790FX based board proved to be a solid performer with an Athlon X2 processor installed in its socket.  Some features of the 790FX can't be taken advantage of without a Phenom processor and Radeon 3xx0 series graphics card, but the board will be ready when it comes time to upgrade. For those running an Athlon 64 X2 processor, it's unlikely you would notice much of a performance difference compared to a system powered by an older chipset, such as a nForce 590 SLI.  In our benchmarks for example, we saw the nForce 590 SLI and 790FX go back and forth, but in real world usage, we believe it's doubtful anyone would actually perceive the performance differences.  In the end, those looking to take advantage of the Spider platform have little to fear from running legacy hardware with the new board.

Furthermore, as we demonstrated in our original introduction to Spider, there is a nice gain to be realized by dropping in a quad core Phenom or Radeon 3xx0 graphics card into a 790FX board.  The K9A2 Platinum is well equipped, offering four PCI-E X16 slots, a host of integrated components, dual eSATA ports with RAID capability, and more.  Aside from having to hard reset the BIOS after a failed overclock and the chipset heat-pipe potentially touching a graphics card, we were quite pleased with the K9A2 Platinum and feel comfortable recommending this motherboard to anyone planning to make the move to AMD's Spider platform.

  • Good Feature set
  • Solid Overclocking
  • Complete BIOS
  • Competitive Performance
  • Four Graphics Slots
  • Good Retail Bundle
  • Chipset Heatpipe May Hit Graphics Card
  • BIOS Requires Hard Reset with failed Overclock

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