MSI 870A Fuzion review

Enabling the mainstream to mix ATI and Nvidia in multi-GPU setups

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For

  • SLI support for AMD platform
  • General board layout
  • Offers the potential of mix and match graphics
  • Decent price for a board with the Lucid technology

Against

  • Poor graphics performance in some games when using the Hydra technology

One motherboard with any combination of graphics card. That's a hell of a selling point and MSI's 870A Fuzion is bringing it to the mainstream.

If you were designing your own dream motherboard, one feature that surely would find itself near the top of the list of features would be the ability to slap in any old pair of graphic cards regardless of architecture and get full multi-GPU support as if it was a pair of identical cards.

Well, the dream arrived in the form of Lucid's Hydra 200 chip, which first appeared on MSI's Big Bang Fuzion motherboard. It must be said that it didn't really set the world on fire, due to the combination of some early teething problems with the drivers and an eye-wateringly high enthusiast's price tag.

Credit to MSI for not slinking off and forgetting about the idea – what they did instead was to go back to the drawing board and return with two boards. There's the Intel-based P55A Fuzion and the MSI 870A Fuzion, our review board, based around AMD's AM3 socket.

This time, MSI has targeted the boards at the mainstream market, with price tags to match. In the case of the 870A Fuzion, this is thanks to the use of AMD's mainstream 870 Northbridge paired with the older SB710 Southbridge, which helps to keep the cost down in comparison with the latest 890FX/SB850 chipset combination.

Apart from the ability to run Nvidia and AMD boards together, the 870A Fuzion also has a feature list that ticks most of the boxes for a motherboard these days: support for AMD's Phenom II X6 processors, SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0, DDR3 support and a host of overclocking features and utilities that come with a modern MSI motherboard.

The other significant thing about the Hydra chip, apart from the mix and match function, is the fact that it brings SLI support to AMD platforms, something that hasn't been available for quite some time.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset Model770
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots2
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket AM3 PGA-941
Brand NameMSI
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedPhenom II X3, Phenom II X4, Phenom II X2, Athlon II X3, Athlon II X2, Athlon II X4, Sempron, Phenom II X6
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory16 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots1
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces8
HyperTransport Speed2600 MHz
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots5
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports7
Number of USB 3.0 Ports1
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports2
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports4
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
Total Number of PCI Express Slots4
Processor TechnologyCool'n'Quiet Technology
Width305 mm
Depth225 mm
ManufacturerMicro-Star International Co., Ltd
Product Model870A
Product Name870A Fuzion Desktop Motherboard
Product LineFuzion
Controller TypeSerial ATA/300, Serial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part Number870A FUZION
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.msicomputer.com
Marketing Information

Powered by MSI Fuzion Technology, MSI Fuzion Series MBs offer Non-Identical & Cross-Vendor Multi-GPU Processing; which allows users to install any 2 different level and brand graphics cards in a single system. The technology can perform scalable rendering to deliver near-linear gaming performance by load-balancing graphics processing tasks.

Limited Warranty3 Year