Last week, MSI launched a slew of new USB 3.1 equipped motherboards. Today, the company is releasing more details on one of the AMD-based products: the MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition. This upcoming motherboard is geared towards gamers using AMD FX (AM3+) processors and supports multi-GPU setups (both SLI and CrossFire). The 970A SLI Krait Edition has a black and white color scheme with rich expansion options and large aluminum heatsinks over the VRMs and northbridge.
The AM3+ processor socket sits to the left of four DDR3 memory slots. Six expansion slots take up the majority of the lower half of the board and include two PCI-E x16, two PCI-E x1, and two PCI slots. Six SATA ports occupy the bottom-right corner with four at 90-degree angles. MSI is using its latest “Military Class 4” capacitors and other hardware along with gold audio traces connecting the rear IO audio jacks to the onboard sound chip.
Speaking of rear IO, you will find the following ports on the 970A SLI Krait Edition.
- 2 x PS/2
- 6 x USB 2.0
- 2 x USB 3.1
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 6 x Analog Audio
The main feature that MSI is pushing with this new board is the addition of two USB 3.1 (Type A) ports to the AMD platform. This is the first AM3+ motherboard to support the faster standard – up to 10 Gbps using an Asmedia ASM1352R controller – while also being backwards compatible with older USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.
MSI has not yet released pricing or availability, but expect it to launch soon for less than $100.
Few specifications have been released about this board so far, as well as no timetable for the launch. It is a finished product and should be out "soon" as Tim mentioned.
There are a few things we can gather from the photo of the board. The audio solution is not nearly as robust as we saw with the 970 Gaming motherboard. I doubt it will have the headphone amplification, and the filtering is going to be less due to fewer caps used. The audio is still physically isolated on the PCB, but it has not received the same focus as what we saw on 970 Gaming.
It looks like it is a full 8+2 power phase implementation, as it is taking up more space on the board than the 6+2 unit on the 970 Gaming did. This should allow for a greater selection of CPUs to be used, as well as potentially greater overclocking ability. It does not feature a separate SATA controller, so all 6 SATA ports on the board are handled by the SB950. There are no external e-SATA ports, which really is not a big deal as those are rarely used.
This looks to be a nice addition to the fading AM3+ market. For those holding onto their AMD builds and wish to upgrade, this looks to be an inexpensive option with next generation connectivity. MSI looks to have paid the licensing fee necessary to support SLI, plus they utilize the same AMD 970 chipset on the 970 Gaming that is not supposed to be able to split the 1 x 16X PEG connection to 2 x 8X slots. Some interesting design and chippery are required to that.