790GX Showdown: Gigabyte vs. MSI

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MSI DKA790GX Platinum

MSI's accessory bundle is more extensive than Gigabyte's, containing CrossFire bridges, SATA power adapters, and MSI's version of Asus' Q-Connector kit.

The Good: SATA, IDE connectors on their sides and 24-pin ATX connector at the front edge.

The Bad:
4-pin ATX12V and floppy connector placement is the same as the Gigabyte board and the edge of the northbridge heatsink is very close to the CPU socket. Only one PWM fan header is available — the other two are of the 3-pin variety.

Like the Gigabyte board, the VRM area is very tidy and it uses all solid-state capacitors. The MSI has a bonus feature — power, reset, and cleaer CMOS buttons right on the PCB. The board's layout seems a bit more polished and thoughtful than the 790GP-DS4H.

The cooling system is unusual, consisting of two circular heatsinks on the north/southbridges connected by heatpipes. Removing the name-plate from both would improve thermal dissipation. MSI's VRM heatsink is rather diminuitive compared to Gigabyte's.

The back panel has DVI-D, HDMI, S/PDIF, FireWire and eSATA. Very up to date.

When we installed an AMD stock heatpipe cooler, the northbridge cooler just barely cleared it. We hope this wasn't a coincidence.

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