Products based on the AMD A320 hub occupy the starting positions in the market. Both CPU and APU for socket AM4 can work with them. Unlike a direct competitor (Intel H310), there is the possibility of organizing RAID arrays. The main factor that reduced the attractiveness and likely demand is the refusal to overclock. This applies to the frequency of the processor and video block, if we talk about the APU. You can increase the memory frequency without restrictions, and today we will check how the declared properties are implemented in hardware.
As an example, we will make strong, at first glance, MSI A320M Grenade. Here they provided: a cooler at the CPU voltage regulator, an M.2 socket and a trio of assorted video outputs on the rear panel. The board is included in a series of gaming devices, so we can hope for an extended set of software. I am sure there is something to see here compared to the simplest options. For sound and network cost entry-level chips.
The general set of features is summarized in the table below. I will highlight the presence of blocks for COM and LPT interfaces (!), As well as the only socket for devices with RGB backlighting.
|Model||MSI A320M Grenade (MS-7A39 VER:2.0)|
|Official product page on the Web||ua.msi.com|
|Processor socket||AMD AM4|
|Processors||AMD Series: Athlon X4, A6, A8, A10, A12, Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7|
|Memory||2 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM 1866/2133/2400/2667/2933*/3200*(OC), 32 GB maximum|
|PCI slots||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x8) — APU/Athlon
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 — A320
|M.2||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4, SATA (Key M, 2242/2260/2280) — CPU
1 x PCI Express 3.0 x2, SATA (Key M, 2242/2260/2280) — APU/Athlon
|Integrated video core (in APU)||Radeon Series: Vega, R7, R5|
|Video connectors||HDMI, DVI-D, D-Sub|
|Number of connected fans||3x 4pin|
|PS/2 ports||1 (keyboard/mouse)|
|The port is USB||4 x 3.1 Gen1 (4 connectors on the rear panel, CPU/APU/Athlon)
2 x 3.1 Gen1 (no connectors on the rear panel, A320)
6 x 2.0 (2 connectors on the rear panel, A320)
|Serial ATA||4 x SATA 6Gb/s (A320)|
|RAID||0, 1, 10 (SATA, A320)|
|Built-in sound||Realtek ALC887 (7.1, HDA)|
|Networking||Realtek RTL8111H (Gigabit Ethernet)|
|Dimensions, mm||244 x 201|
|Additional features||EZ Debug LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, BOOT LED), one RGB LED header, LPT header|
|Retail price, $||63|
Packaging and equipment
The box is small, but the design is like that of older models. The cardboard is dense, the printing is at a high level. Inside there is a separate compartment for the board, under it, and in a pocket organized on one side, there is a set of accessories.
The reverse side will give information about the backlight on the device (the corners glow red). Also here posted a photo of the device, a schematic representation of the ports on the rear panel.
The package bundle is quite interesting, as for accompanying an inexpensive board, it is very similar to the group from the MSI B350 Gaming Pro Carbon. Available:
- multilingual user manual;
- multilingual quick installation guide;
- brochure-memo on the correct installation of the cooler and memory modules (a funny detail – there are only two slots here, not four, as in the images);
- disk with drivers and proprietary software;
- buyer registration card;
- a set of twelve labels for labeling SATA cables (also curious, because there are fewer than six slots on the device);
- two SATA 6Gb / s cables, one of which has an L-shaped connector on one of the ends;
- plug for the body, complete with a black sticker with the symbolic designation of all sockets.
In a word, the set contains everything that is with the board with a noticeably higher status, except for the extension cable for the RGB socket.
The color of the textolite is not premium black, corresponding to the spirit of the times. The right edge will remain in the air, there are six holes for fixing in the case. The non-ordinary status of the product is emphasized by the reinforced PCI-E slot.
The reinforcing plate for the needs of processor-cooling structures is iron. The main radiator is fixed with screws. There are red LEDs in the corners. In three – in pairs, and in the area of \u200b\u200bsoldering the audio codec there is a small group of them.
There is no backlight on the front side. The hub radiator is small, but equipped with ribs. Fastened with plastic spring-loaded nails. Next to it there is a socket for RGB LED devices.
The length of M.2 products is limited to 80 mm. There is no pre-installed cooler for them, unlike older boards.
The SATA outputs are equipped with a pair of transverse and a pair of longitudinal sockets. For their operation, additional controllers are not used.
The case cables from the USB outputs will be connected to the pads located at the bottom. One for the third generation, two for the second.
Installing a dual-slot video card will not restrict access to a pair of PCI-E x1 slots. Some of the simplest Realtek models were chosen for the operation of the network and sound subsystems. There are no shielding shrouds or any auxiliary elements such as an additional operational amplifier, there are only a few special Chemicon audio capacitors.
Perhaps the main feature of the device is the presence of the EZ Debug LED diagnostic corner, dialed by four red LEDs.
There is no decorative overlay over the input-output ports, the video card will be shifted down by one seat, and the radiator of the power elements is low. In a word, little will interfere with the installation of even the most massive coolers for the processor.
The voltage regulator resembles the circuit from the MSI B350 Tomahawk. The same PWM controller is Richtek RT8894A. The same transistors are PK616BA and PK632BA manufactured by Niko Semiconductor. Three built-in drivers and two discrete ones form a general “3 + 2” phase operation scheme. Each includes twice the number of power elements. It turns out that for the processor voltage, the number of stabilization channels was reduced to three, but the number of transistors did not change. Most likely, the temperature in this zone will not be higher, we will check the quality of food during the experiments.
The cooler is equipped with a thermal pad of sufficient area. There are no ribs that increase the total heat transfer area.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the assortment of sockets at the back of the device will be a bit pretentious. Yes, against the background of older devices, we can state the absence of a symmetrical USB jack of the latest generation, an optical S / PDIF output, and there are only three audio outputs themselves. But the existing set is quite good and will be sufficient for a wide range of users of modern PCs.