MSI KA760GM: 780G Minus the HD

CPUs|Motherboards
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PHYSICAL DETAILS & LAYOUT

A board's layout is important in several regards. The positioning of components can dictate compatibility with other products (third party heatsinks mainly) and also ease of installation. Poorly placed power connectors can also disrupt airflow and make the system more thermally challenging.


The first thing we noticed was that the model number was printed on a small piece of paper glued to the board. Peeling it off revealed that the PCB was actually that of a KA780VM.



As the layouts of the two boards are quite similar, we presume this was simply done for convenience in order to make a pre-production sample. The KA780VM has a HDMI port which is absent on the KA760GM.
The layout is pretty standard with power connectors on the edges of the board, as well as IDE and SATA ports. The only real flaw is the awkward location of the floppy connector.



The board is limited in regards to memory expansion with only two DDR2 DIMM slots, however there are 6 SATA ports — an unusual combination, perhaps suited for file servers. The northbridge heatsink is decidedly lacking in girth while the southbridge cooler is downright minuscule. If the cooling is adequate than 760G and SB710 must be fairly power efficient, or simply have high thermal tolerances.



As a budget board, there are no heatsinks on any of the MOSFETs or chokes near the CPU socket, though most of the capacitors in that area are solid-state.



The back panel is basic with VGA and DVI-D the only options for video out. There are no advanced features like S/PDIF or FireWire and USB ports are lacking as well.



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