AMD’s upcoming Zen CPU architecture requires a brand new socket, and predicted to feature a 40% IPC improvement compared to Excavator. As a result, it’s probably the most anticipated release in the processor market for some time and could potentially make AMD competitive again. This is so important to start a pricing war, as Intel has an oligopoly on the enthusiast CPU sector across various pricing tiers. Unbelievably, AMD first launched AM3+ CPUs way back in October 2010 which illustrates how old the current AM3+ socket is. Despite this, motherboard manufacturers have recently launched a few gaming themed AM3+ models to maximize sales before the arrival of Zen. Although, unless your AM3+ motherboard has suddenly died, it’s a frugal tactic to wait for Zen’s official release.
The latest addition by MSI is entitled, the 970A-G43 Plus and based on AMD’s 970 + SB950 chipset. Furthermore, the motherboard supports AM3+ processors with a TDP up to 125W, and draws power via the traditional 24-pin and 8-pin EPS connectors. The CPU is powered by a 4+1 phase VRM, which might come as a surprise given the use of 8+2 on certain AM3+ motherboards. On the other hand, this shouldn’t be a major issue given the budget $100 price point. As you might expect, the 970A-G43 Plus is capable of housing up to 32GB DDR3 2133MHz memory.
In terms of the overall layout, there is a single PCI-Express 2.0 featuring a reinforcement brace. This is designed to reduce GPU sag when using heavy graphics cards with a mammoth custom cooler. There’s also one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), two PCI-Express x1, and two traditional PCI slots. When it comes to storage, the motherboard includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, two USB 3.1 ports and two USB 3.0 ports (front panel). The audio solution utilizes the Realtek ALC892 chipset outputting 8-channels. MSI decided to opt for a Realtek gigabit Ethernet controller and UEFI firmware.
Do you think there is a need for new AM3+ motherboards in 2016?