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MSI 970 GAMING AMD AM3+ Motherboard Review

Author: MAC
Date: March 31, 2015
Product Name: 970 GAMING
Part Number: 970 GAMING
Warranty: 3 Years
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Due to what we can only describe as stagnating CPU development and a palpable lack of reader interest, we haven't actually reviewed an AMD AM3+ motherboard since all the way back in May 2011. Surprisingly - and regrettably - there really hasn't been any huge advancements since then. The processors are still fundamentally based on the Bulldozer microarchitecture, there is still no support for PCI Express 3.0, and the SB950 southbridge is still being used so high speed connectivity is limited to SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0. Overall then, there isn't a whole lot to get excited about. However, today we are reviewing a uniquely popular motherboard that features a chipset that we've never actually tested before, the mainstream AMD 970.

The motherboard in question is the MSI 970 GAMING, which is obviously part of MSI's popular gaming-oriented graphics card and motherboard series. As you would expect from a gaming motherboard, it features a fairly stereotypical black and red colour scheme, but on the plus side that means that it will match many of the Radeon GPUs on the market.

When it comes to specs, this model features six SATA 6Gb/s ports, one PCI-E x16 slot and one PCI-E x8 slot, support for 2-way CrossFire and 2-way SLI, two PCI slots, eight USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports plus an internal header, a gaming-oriented Killer E2205 LAN controller, a Realtek-based Audio Boost audio solution, and some automatic overclocking functionality in the form of OC Genie.

While none of these features might appear groundbreaking, the fact that MSI that was able to add support for two GPUs is actually quite noteworthy since the 970 chipset was designed to only support a single PCI-E x16 slot. Overall, at first glance anyways, for the money - a mere $100USD/$125CAD - this motherboard seems like a solid choice for anyone needing to replace their AM3+ motherboard or wanting to build a very affordable AMD-based system.

Let's find out if our first impressions are correct.

 
 
 

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