AMD has finally got a chipset that the market can really look towards for their platforms, AMD has never wanted to be part of the chipset game, but that has been because they never had the resources to put to the task.
Lately AMD has had a lot of questions thrown at them, such as where are they looking at going in the future. These types of questions are not going to be answered easily, but some info has crept out of the office and into the media. K10 has now been given its new name, chipsets for it are already being planed such at the RS700 series chipsets and even new ones for Intel are rumoured to be coming, but that we will see.
On MSI's implementation of the AMD 690G chipset, its design is simple, fits the bill for that which its intended to fill, such as the office PC or more importantly the Home Theatre PC and Digital Home environment. AMD has a great CPU in the Athlon 64 x2 Energy Efficient model. It is able to keep cool and run at a thermal envelope that is more than acceptable for small form factor cases.
One thing we were not happy about at all was the fact that even though this board is not aimed at overclocked, they were completely left out of the picture - there were absolutely no overclocking options for OC at all. Not a voltage increase, no bus adjustments or any multiplier settings. So, this left a big sour taste in our mouths, even nVidia 6150 boards comes with basic overclocking support.
Overall the motherboard fits the Digital Home model, but do not expect to enhance any performance on this board by overclocking as there is no way to do it, unless MSI comes to the party and helps with BIOS updates with overclocking features but we are unsure of that at this stage.
Besides that, the price is great coming in at around $130 - $140 AUD (roughly $110 USD) but you do miss out on certain features due to the price. If those missing features are thing you do not need, then the MSI K9AGM2-FIH motherboard is one to look at for certain basic usages.
Cheap Digital Home motherboard
HDMI port is a good bonus for HDTV users
Integrated Graphics not too bad a performer for the Digital Home
Supports up to 512MB Frame Buffer for graphics
HD Audio 7.1 channel
Faster integrated graphics than Nvidia 6150
Not a single overclocking option
Lacks optical audio ports
Onboard DVI port preferred over VGA
Limited package with little cabling included
eSATA would have been a good inclusion but not to be
Rating - 7.5 out of 10