MSI Live Diva (780M chipset)

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MSI Live Diva (780M chipset)

Post by Tobias » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:55 pm

Last summer I decided to sidegrade my computer. Not because I needed to, but because I got the itch (well, aside from the PSU that is). Since then I've been looking for parts to put into my pet project and two weeks ago a retailer in Sweden got my motherboard, the MSI Live Diva MikeC reported about in November.

The reason I picked it was the 5.1 amp so that I may put the computer under the TV, although the 780M chipset sounded sexy enough to warrant interest. I thought I would share some impressions with you.

First off, I'm no audiophile, so I am unable to say anything about that. In fact, I've not even connected the amp yet, I've been way to busy to play with this baby as much as I'd would have liked to.

The first thing that hit me was the size and design of the northbridge cooler. This thing is clearly made to be cooled in an environment with a really limited airflow. It was hard to catch the size of the cooler on camera, but I made an attempt, anyways...


Another thing that impressed me was the power usage. Going, as I did, from a 2-3 year old mobo with a Geforce 7600GS to the 780M with integrated grafics made a bit of a difference. 20W difference to be exact. From 62W idle to 43W. The rest of the gear I have is an old 120GB HDD, a 89W TDP X2 4200+ and a PSU rated at 70% efficiency by MikeC at double the load which is now reporting 3V on the 12V rail and -7V on the -12V rail. (It did on the old mobo as well)

One thing I found interesting is that the board only has capacity to deliver 1.3V Vcore, which is stock setting for my chip. The system utilizes a 3 phase set up (just like my old board) which is excellent for a board with my intended use.

Crystal CPUID works fine on this mobo, although I found (when setting to low voltage for the multiplier I used) that is isn't possible to undervolt in BIOS. Even if the user specifies a new multiplier and Vcore, the computer happily tries to boot up using the old settings. I had to clear BIOS with the jumper to get out of that one...

Speaking of BIOS, all that is needed is there. Voltage and multiplier control, (although very limited upwards) and fancontrol through pwm. There is no way to control a 3 wire fan with speedfan (I think) other than on/off. It is possible to get the system to turn off the fan when it isn't needed which is great. Run it passive until the temps get toasty, then let speedfan start the fan and let the temps drop down a bit.

There are some not so nice things with the board as well. Fastening of the HeatSink is one. I use a Ninja2, but because the frame is in a north-south direction and the northbridge cooler is so big, it actually interferes with the retention system of the cooler. To get the Ninja to fit, I had to use some force on the retention system with two pair of pliers to make it possible to seat the HS at all.

The board only supplies VGA and HDMI. Sure, my TV can only accept those standards, but I am not ready to connect the computer to the TV yet and an lcd might not use either of them... luckily mine does and I was even able to find a VGA cable around which I've not used in 5 years or so. There is no bolts to screw the VGA connector tight to the backplane either, which is a bad thing accounrding to me...

One other thing that is annoying is that the amp must be inserted into the PCIE 4x port which is just below the PCIE 16x port, so one must hafe a single slot cooling solution if one wants to use a discrete card.

Other than that, this card is a bit limited, but it is a chipset designed for mobiles after all. AM2, HT 1.0GHz (more than the 800MHz max of HT 1.x, but not the full 1.4GHz used in the HT 2.0 standard) and limited overclocking abilities (BIOS does allow changing the FSB in 5MHz intervalls, but it is on the same page as one should supposedly be able to set multiplier and voltage...)

All in all I like it. I bought it as the base of a silent fanless (more on that in another thread) HTPC and I think it will serve it's purpose with flying colors. It really is a piece of gear designed for a purpose. Sure, it isn't the overclockers wet drem, but it never was designed to be either. What it does it does good without much fuzz. Low power, high connectivity, fans may be controlled with automatically or from CPUID and integrated graphics and media decoders built for a low flow situation. It has all the extra marks in my book:)

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Post by JoeWPgh » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:11 pm

Wow. That's a much larger heatsink on the NB than the one on my deceased board. My board was riddled with annoyances before it finally burst into flames. The amp card's bracket was mis-manufactured and did not sit right. For more annoying, were the capacitors that blocked the lower PCIe slot from using my Aver combo tuner.

I'm told they fixed the cap issue back in Sept, but I bought mine in mid Dec. So who knows whether they did, or what's already loaded in the pipeline. I had audio driver issues in Vista where I would have very very little sub woofer output with 2 channel audio, but intense sub woofer in 5.1. I did not have that problem in Win 7 beta, but I couldn't get 5.1 output at all with that. Others had neither of these issues.

Then it literally burst into flames and smoke. I'm extremely glad I was home when this happened.

After the flame out, I'm pretty gun-shy about this platform. But I have too much into it to just eat it. So I'm waiting on an RMA replacement. But at the first hint of trouble (or whiff of an ungodly odor) I'm pitching it.

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Re: MSI Live Diva (780M chipset)

Post by jessekopelman » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:00 pm

Tobias wrote: The board only supplies VGA and HDMI. Sure, my TV can only accept those standards, but I am not ready to connect the computer to the TV yet and an lcd might not use either of them...
Not use either of them, how is that possible? HDMI to DVI is accomplished with a passive adapter and cables that are HDMI-DVI are the same price as those that are just HDMI-HDMI or DVI-HDMI. You could find a monitor that doesn't support VGA or one that doesn't support DVI/HDMI, but you are not going to find one that doesn't support either.

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Post by Tobias » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:26 am

Just a heads up for those who intends to use this board with a PicoPSU. It recuires a p4-molex to run :(

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