I have been browsing this forum for some time now and have discovered that the people here are very knowledgeable about everything PC related. I hope you guys can help me weigh the pros and cons of each board and come to a conclusion about which one best suits my needs.
I travel around the world once a year or so and end up living somewhere entirely new due to the nature of my job and so I am in the process of building a powerful rig with as few compromises as possible but in the smallest and lightest package without sacrificing future upgradability. The motherboard is where things have gotten difficult since I have already decided on an AMD mATX build with either a 955/965 or 1055T depending on prices in 3 weeks time along with either a 5850 or 5870. As a result of these choices and my desire to make my PC as future proof as possible I have decided I should purchase a board with both Sata 3 and USB 3.0 support. I have chosen the following boards from MSI as they seems to pack in the most features for the money:
Both boards carry very similar features aside from the two obvious differences. The MSI 890GXM-G65 has better cooling and power phase features as well as the ability to hold two graphics cards at 8x/8x. However, despite originally thinking that this was an obvious choice due to these advantages, I can't deny the fact that the 880G board has two PCI Express ports available for a sound card. The MSI 890GXM-G65 cannot install a PCI Express card if a graphics card is also installed on the system, and when you install two graphics cards you can kiss the PCI expansion slot goodbye as well.
If I wasn't such a nitpicker for sound quality as well as visual quality then I would easily choose the 890 board. Yet, I am sort of an audiophile at times and would love to add an Auzentech X-Fi Forte with a built in headphone amp to power my Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros when watching movies, listening to music, and playing games. In a sense, I just don't trust the on-board Realtek sound to give me the quality I'm looking for but at the same time this limits my upgradability options as far as graphics cards are concerned.
If I had the money I would simply get a 5970 and the 880G board and call it a day but a 5850 at present with the option to crossfire later is very appealing as well.
i have the MSI 890GXM-G65 and i like it a lot, its feature packed for its price with USB 3.0 and Sata III but i still havent figured out how to use the Auto OC Genie and the thermal solutions designed by MSI has taken away the heat problems they have had with the Northbridge, PCIe 2.0 16x
the down part i have is now Winky and no OC button, and only 1 SATA connector facing up, PCIe 8x/8x on Crossfire only
cheap board, does its job, only got it for one reason, it came free when i bough an X4 955 BE for a PC rebuild(my last system was a crappy Pentium 4 s478)