MSI 870A-G54 – Features
The MSI 870A-G54 utilizes the AMD 870 north bridge chip along with the SB850 south bridge chip (same as the Gigabyte board). This south bridge chip provides six SATA 6Gb/s ports with support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 10, and JBOD, providing users with a great deal of flexibility.
Beyond the six standard SATA ports, the MSI 870A-G54 doesn't have much else on offer. Rather than including a JMicron controller for extra SATA ports, some of which could be used to provide eSATA support, the JMB368 simply offers an IDE legacy port. This is a shame considering that the MSI 870A-G54 costs ~$5 more than the Gigabyte 870A-UD3, and yet it sacrifices so much in the storage department.
Another feature that has gone missing in order to save a few dollars is Firewire. Thankfully, USB 3.0 does make the cut as MSI has included the popular NEC D720200F1 controller supporting dual ports. Along for the ride are a dozen USB 2.0 ports which can be accessed via onboard headers and at the motherboard's I/O panel.
MSI has also included the Realtek ALC892 audio codec to deliver 7.1 channel audio. There are six audio jacks present, but unlike the Gigabyte 870A-UD3, support for S/PDIF In is not available, only S/PDIF Out. Network support is provided by the Realtek 8111DL Gigabit Ethernet controller, which uses the PCI Express bus for maximum throughput.
Compared to the Gigabyte AM3 model on this round-up, it is clear the MSI 870A-G54 is lighter on features. MSI does bring a few of their own innovations to the table. Innovations such as OC Dial, USB Safeguard, M-Flash and CPU Unlock Core are all useful features.
MSI also included a way to unlock the dormant cores of certain AMD processors. As mentioned before, this is a feature we will be testing with all boards.