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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  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    With a solid integrated chip and DVI/HDMI ports there's no reason to buy another card. It's cheaper to have it built in, allows me to use the PCI-E slot for something else, uses less energy, etc. If you're serious about an HTPC motherboard you want one that has all the goodies, the card slot is really only to be used to upgrade, or if your integrated chip should fail. This isn't a motherboard designed to be used for a gaming PC - that's why it's "HTPC oriented". Only, it isn't. Reply
  • aeronaut - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    Hybrid crossfire is where you have one installed video card, and onboard video, and the two work together in crossfire mode.


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