Announcing high end products and 'Halo' type hardware is relatively easy for manufacturers - slap some snazzy artwork next to a few pictures, wring a few industry related endorsements, put the major selling points in big letters, write a website page for it, and maybe run a competition to let a couple of people win one.    For entry level boards, it's a different matter - make it work well, and price it right.  This is exactly what MSI are trying to do on their new 740GM-P25.

Pre-orders costing around $59, this latest microATX board from MSI combines AMD's 740 and SB710 chipsets, and support for AM3 processors. Along with the board including core unlocking software, there are two DDR3-1333 memory slots, one PCI-E Gen2 x16 slot (which MSI markets as supporting Hybrid Crossfire which is odd), 2 PCI-E x1 slots, 6 SATA 3Gb/s slots (4 parallel to the board, 2 sticking out of the board), an IDE port, Atheros Gigabit LAN and VIA 8-channel audio.  Onboard video is supplied by the integrated HD2100, while onboard RAID is the standard 0 / 1 / 0+1 and JBOD affair.

In terms of HTPC, here we see a low-end board that ticks some or most of the boxes people will look for - just drop in a low profile video card, audio card, and a HDD RAID controller for RAID 5 to start.  The positioning of that 4-pin 12V CPU power connector may cause issues in cases, and there may not be enough USB 2 ports (four on the back panel), but you get what you pay for.  Check online retailers soon for pre-order information.

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  • chrnochime - Sunday, May 09, 2010 - link

    Big freakin deal there's no DVI. Go buy a LP video card. And FWIW, low-end..err I mean entry level Cisco routers AND switches also use console ports as well. What gave you the idea that only the high-end ones do anyway? Reply
  • sc3252 - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Its advertised as an HTPC board, so it should have a hdmi, it only has a vga. The whole point would be so you wouldn't have to spend an extra $40 to "upgrade" it. If you want an "HTPC" board just wait for frys to have a sale for motherboard cpu combos, they usually include the crappy micro atx boards with an ok cpu. Thats what I did and its been working fine for less than the price of this entire board, $29 after $10 rebate. Reply
  • EBH - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Might be for a UPS.

    Why do you geeks always QQ over COM ports being added?
    Reply
  • AlB80 - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    It's not MSI fail, but author. Reply
  • TheBlueChanell - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    It's a pretty good deal for the money and good use of excess hardware but I wish it were m-itx. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    One coumn for everything (articles, brief announcements, 'this just in') just seems lazy. Please make some distinctions by creating multiple columns or sections of the website. Reply
  • geok1ng - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    "This just in" is a teaser, in order to make readers drop back several times a day, of course there are mistakes, but it just adds to the fun.

    But "this just in"does not mean that the quality of tech articles will get lower.

    AT must keep the high standards of epic articles like the one on memory overclocking on the C2Ds and the SSD saga.
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    You completely missed my point. I don't have a problem with 'this just in' the problem is when absolutely everything is mashed in to one *thin* column. On a browser window on a 1920x1600 res monitor I can see maybe 1.5 'articles' in this column, and there is little use of horizontal space in this day of widescreen aspect ratios. That is quite rediculous to me, I can only imagine how silly it is on lower res screens. A single coumn can work if it's *wide* - techpowerup.com does this well enough. The redesigned Anandtech presents me with much less information than it used to because everything is mashed in to one column that's thin. Reply
  • Nimiz99 - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    I agree with your point...Currently on as 1280x800 or somesuch is the most frequent resolution and although AT tries to seperate the main articles out at the top by their carousel I tend to now miss reading some articles I otherwise would. It would be cool to see
    1) The carousel not spin all the way around b/c there are only 5 articles within it.
    2) Have the just-in section next clearly split out and spread over at least 1024 pixels wide with the advertisements to the right of that...so that people even at lower resolutions can see all the articles at a glance (when spread out to that extent one should be able to preview 2-3 just-in's
    3) since the carousel already addresses the main articles one could have a split-out section for the main articles below the just-in section and it split out clearly from the just-in section - following the same width parameters

    ---
    btw things I like
    1) on the just-in is the initial excerpt of the article and the read-more button, it really helps me decide which just-in articles I want to quickly browse
    2) the comments section is a lot smoother/easier to read
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    No digital video output is a complete non-starter these days. For an HTPC you really want HDMI (for convenience so you can use a common HDMI-HDMI cable) or at a minimum DVI. This has neither, while I understand that they did everything to keep this board cheap the lack of digital video output is just too limiting, even as a regular PC not HTPC. Reply

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