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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  • ekv - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    The article states there's a PCIe x16 and two x1 slots. The pictures shows another (black) slot. Is that a PCI or PCIe slot?

    If it's PCIe then I would need to find a low profile RAID 5 card, preferably by Areca. Intel still has lower power consumption (higher efficiency), but this board has me thinking.
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    The big long black slot is a pci slot. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    WTF is this?

    1)
    MSI makes lots of motherboards. The 790GX-G65 is a 790GX board. The 880GMA-E45 is a 880G board. The NF980-G65 is a NForce 980a board.

    Now they're making a 740 board called the 790GM-P25?

    2)
    This board supports AM2+ processors with two DDR3-1333 slots? Just out of curiosity, what are these magical "AM2+ specifications" AM3 processors will run at?

    I know mistakes happen, but how hard is it to check three freaking paragraphs? If you can't get the trivial stuff right, how can anyone believe you get the simple stuff right?
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    Sorry George, my mistake cos I let it go live.

    later
    Raja
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    Hi George,

    Apologies, this is my article. The 790 issue is a typo I made, which didn't click my end for proofreading or in the editorial team. The AM2+/DDR3 is combination MSI + me fail; their specification sheets still lists this as DDR3 and AM2+, and there are no DDR2 termination resistors in the image, however the AM2+/DDR3 combination didn't register as foul play my end. We reckon here that MSI will re-release info on this board to AM3 and disable AM2/AM2+.

    All the best,
    Ian
    Reply
  • GeorgeH - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the fast fixes. My apologies, also, for the overly harsh tone; it really wasn't justified, especially as being kept awake past midnight after a long day at work wasn't your fault. :) Reply
  • JonnyDough - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    Fail. Reply
  • Carleh - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    Yes, but you get the COM port instead :-) Reply
  • jabber - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    Yeah a COM port, how very 20th century.

    Very handy for when I use my HTPC for configuring some highend enterprise Cisco routers or decide to stream some HD content over a 56k modem.

    What on earth happens in these product development meetings for tech products?

    It seems they always have to have a part of the meeting agenda labled -

    "Decide which useless feature/port/codec must be inexplicably added at the expense and omission of expected or crucial feature/port/codec"
    Reply
  • Gungel - Sunday, May 09, 2010 - link

    The same for the PS/2 Mouse and Keyboard connectors. A couple of USB 3.0 connectors would have been a nice replacement for that agent port. Reply

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