The 890 FX chipset is crammed with 42 total lanes of PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth. This means you get 21GB/s of total throughput, which is actually double the amount you would find on the 890GX platform. The flagship 890FX chipset is totally designed for gaming prowess and with specifications like this, it really is hard to argue.
This particular MSI motherboard is using 32 lanes from the total 890 FX pool for PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth – across four full width 2.0 x16 slots. This logically means that if two Crossfire boards are set to X configuration (Quad CF) then each graphics card can run in x16 mode. If you filled all four of the slots with ATI cards then the system will change into a x8/x8/x8/x8 configuration. There is a fifth PCI Express x16 slot which runs in x4 mode and there is also one PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot as well as a PCI slot for people with older hardware they still need to use.
Before we get started however we can see the comprehensive bundle MSI supply, with a plethora of manuals, driver discs and converters. Surprisingly they only supply 4 SATA cables which is a bit skimpy, especially considering the motherboard can handle 7 internal devices.
Sadly the seventh SATA connection is placed in a weird position, partly covered by any double slot graphics card in the second x16 slot, positioned so that the cable can’t be routed between cards. To make matters worse, using a right angle style SATA connector means the cable will run in the wrong direction. This one clearly slipped past the testers.
To be fair, it is the only really negative issue I can disclose when analysing the board design.