When I first looked at the 870A Fuzion I thought that it looked a little stark. There is a ton of open space on the board, especially the lower half of the board. But then it occurred to me that this is a good thing as it allows for good air flow and also takes into account the potential for "enthusiast" minded cooling.
Starting off at the top of the board, we see some typical design logic for AMD based systems. The RAM slots are very close together which can hinder some of the higher-end RAM with oversized heat spreaders.
The space around the AM3 socket is very clean. This is where MSI invested the money in those Hi-c CAP (Highly-Conductive Polymerized Capacitors). These parts use a rare metal at their core and provide for excellent heat and electrical properties (one estimate says they can run at 85c for around 16 years). They also can self-heal in the event of problems while their flat size helps keep the area around your CPU and memory clean.
There is an odd feature located near the power regulation components. This is a single USB 3.0 port sticking up right out of the board. I am not sure why this is here, but I think it has something to do with an optional component that I caught a glimpse of. This is a front mounted (3.25-inch bay) single USB3.0 port. I have a feeling that this is where that would plug in. However, if you do not have this optional component, you are left with a limited use USB3.0 port.
In the center (well, the figurative center) of the board rests both the AMD 770 chipset and the Fuzion chip. These are under s fairly stout heatsink that is intended to keep them both very cool. The Fuzion chip (as MSI calls it) is provided by Lucid Logix and is the heart of the dual GPU performance on the 870A Fuzion.
This brings me to an interesting question. If the 870A is powered by a AMD 770 chipset...well, I am sure you can see where I am going with this. It is a little misleading and also explains the reason for only two SATA 3.0 ports (we will talk about that a little later). You also have an extra 6-pin power connector to keep clean power flowing to the two PCIe slots (and to the Fuzion chip I would imagine).
The lower half of the board is also clean with only five slots showing. There are two PCIe x16 slots which are separated by two x1 PCIe slots. These are rounded out by a single PCI 2.0 slot.
The other half of the bottom of the board holds a few other fun items. We find the OC Genie button. This turns on the single step overclocking function available on most MSI motherboards. Next up are the six SATA II ports. Four are at a 90 degree angle while two are mounted in the more traditional way. These two ports are in between two 90 degree angled ports. It makes for an interesting configuration, but can work out to give you a good mix of connections for different case styles.
As you would expect, the ports on the 870A Fuzion are pretty typical. We find the remaining USB 3.0 port, six USB 2.0 ports, a single GBe LAN port and the common audio output options. In all the 870A Fuzion is a clean and well laid out board. We only hope that this attention to design extends into performance.
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