970 Gaming Details
Although this board is rather bare-bones compared to some, MSI remembered the important stuff, like a SLOW_MODE switch for more reliable booting when the CPU is cooled with liquid nitrogen.
The Realtek ALC1150 audio chip is shielded under the Audio Boost cover and powered with gold-colored Nichicon audio capacitors. The two small chips at the upper left edge of this image are audio amplifiers, one for each channel. Along with the included software, this forms the basis of a very nice audio system. There’s no reason for a separate audio card.
Six SATA 6G connectors should handle all your storage needs. There are no SATA Express or m.2 connectors.
The CPU socket area is free of any obstructions that might hinder a large air cooler, but if you’re overclocking an AMD CPU you’re going to want a water cooler anyway. In this image you can also see the Super Ferrite Chokes and aluminum-core solid state “dark caps” that MSI says have at least a 10-year service life.
Interesting chips on the board include the Realtek RTM880N clock generator, a VLI806 USB 3.0 controller for the rear ports, the Killer E2200 Ethernet controller, a Fintek monitor/control chip for voltage and fan control, and another VLI806 USB 3.0 controller for the front ports.
In the next section I’ll look at the MSI 970 Gaming BIOS.