Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards

DFI LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5

Features and Layout

DFI’s high-end LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5 comes at a decidedly mid-market price, lacking a fourth graphics-card slot and a FireWire controller that competing models offer.

DFI uses the reduced number of x16 slots as a good way to spread these farther apart for enhanced graphics cooling. The top-two slots are locked with x16 pathways, while the third slot uses four of 790FX’s six left-over PCI Express 2.0 links to provide the same bandwidth that previous-generation x8 slots do. The third slot should offer adequate performance for cards up to the single-GPU Radeon HD 4870, while Radeon HD 4870 X2 users will prefer the two x16 slots.

DFI takes a symbolic lead over Asus in Ultra ATA and especially floppy header placement (for anyone who still uses those legacy interfaces), but the lower drive cage of some older case designs could block its forward-facing SATA ports. However, forward-facing ports allow cables to slip under the end of long expansion cards.

DFI is the only company in today’s line-up to provide a method for clearing custom BIOS settings from outside of an already-built system. A jumper on the rear panel is a little more cumbersome than a button would be, but it greatly reduces the likelihood of accidental engagement.

Great layout choices include a front-panel audio connector at the centerrather than at the bottomof the rear edge, which is far enough below the top x16 slot to prevent collision with over-sized graphics coolers.

We have no layout complaints for the LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5, but one minor caveat concerns the eight-pin CPU power connector. Since it is around 1.5" below the top edge, attaching the power connector may pose problems for builders who prefer to wrap this cable around the back of the motherboard tray from bottom-mounted power supplies.

BIOS

Voltage and frequency ranges for the LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5 can be found in a comparative chart in this article’s overclocking section.

DFI’s Genie BIOS has all the most important frequency controls, but some of the labels might appear unfamiliar to users of other brands.

A fairly broad selection of DRAM timing controls are found in a Genie BIOS submenu, but the voltage sub-menu is slightly less elaborate.

Accessories

DFI still provides a round Ultra ATA cable, but the LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5 lacks any floppy cable. DFI also includes four replacement jumpers with easy-grip tabs.

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38 comments
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  • i like that dial on the MSI... mmm.
    -1
  • AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
    (2.80 GHz, 86.0 MB Cache)

    I never knew any AMD processors had that much cache!
    4
  • NitroSuperSonicAMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition(2.80 GHz, 86.0 MB Cache)I never knew any AMD processors had that much cache!


    Super CPU!
    4
  • "Asus has clear performance leadership,..." :-)))
    1.66% better than the worst performer in the tests. :-)
    6
  • who said Phenom II has low cache size i think with those 86mb you can do amazing things!!
    1
  • sorry about the double post but i would have liked to have seen these benchmarked with two 4870x2's... since they keep talking about them so much.
    1
  • Super CPU fixed ;)

    Not much point in throwing that much GPU horsepower at a motherboard review; the card Thomas used is our current reference--and it's more than ample for showcasing the differences between these boards.

    If you want to see quad-CrossFire for any specific reason, feel free to let us know and we can put together a story idea!
    1
  • I think people would like to see a dual-295/dual-4870x2 series of benches if only for the "OMG BEASTLY!" factor. I dunno. XD
    1
  • ifko_pifko"Asus has clear performance leadership,..." :-)))1.66% better than the worst performer in the tests. :-)


    Consistent would have been better if not for the fear of people pointing out ever tiny inconsistency. Just remember, if you're 5'11" tall it's clear to just about everyone that you're not 6'!!!
    -1
  • cangelini...the card Thomas used is our current reference--and it's more than ample for showcasing the differences between these boards.


    Could you clarify that a bit Chris? Are you saying you would not expect any difference in crossfire between the MBs? If so, that's OK. However, if there's going to be a difference, that is the main reason to buy a 790FX. If you aren't going to crossfire might as well get a GX.

    I suspect the chipset isn't the whole story and the various manufacturers could still screw up the PCI-E voltages or something :p
    1
  • Prox,

    It depends on the numbers you're looking for. I interpreted the OP's request to mean he wanted performance results with 4870 X2s, which are overkill for comparing these boards. If it's a matter of comparing PCI Express scaling (the reason for going FX instead of GX), check out this piece: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-pci-express,2095.html. It isn't on the AMD platforms, but it still illustrates fairly well how much/little performance you'd lose with PCIe 2.0 x8 vs. x16.
    1
  • i think comparing dual gpu and single gpu would be a great idea... there could be inconsistency between the motherboards at crossfire setting... i mean u did test using 2 ram and 4 ram rite... and there's a difference in performance... hope this makes sense.. and yeah it's also bout the beastly impact and stuff... ;)
    2
  • I think that a quad crossfire would be of interest to a motherboard review. Just to answer questions like: Are two 4870X2 better then 4 x 4870 or 4890 or 4850? Does the PCIe pathways bottleneck (if it happens) the GPUs when running in 8x mode? How about the stability of the system with 4 physical cards instead of 2 or just 1 ... and so on.

    Granted my request isn't based on the real needs of the consumer, it's more of a scientific curiosity behind it. But I remember a while back tom's had an article about nvidia's SLI with 2, 3 or 4 cards in different configurations and that was an interesting read.

    PS: Just to clear something up in the 2 x 4870X2 vs. 4 x 4870 or other versions. I know that 4x4870 are more $$ then 2x4870X2 but if you buy a 4 slot PCIe motherboard what if you start out with a single 4870 or 4890 and just add in cards over the period of a year since prices change and people might not have all the cash to get 4 cards at the same time.
    0
  • phenom ii out for testing tomorrow we hope :)
    0
  • The Editor's Note kinda confirms that theory, yeah. ;)
    0
  • They are using a 260 for the video card. Will these boards SLI as well as Crossfire?
    0
  • Lol, basically these guys want an article that would have taken another day or two to write, and a thick stack of video cards so they could see the performance differences between 2x 4870X2's, 4x 4870's, and then perhaps any combination of 4870's and an 8800gt thrown in the mix for physiX. :P
    3
  • To avoid confusion with the AM2+ based 790FX boards they ought to call it 793FX or something different...
    0
  • I just question why you would buy a board for AMD's spider platform,,then use a Nvidia product?? seems kinda weird to me,, if i was buying something "high end", I'm not going to buy an accessory whether it works properly or not from a competitor to complement it. I would have liked to at least see the comparison using AMD products.
    1
  • cangeliniIf you want to see quad-CrossFire for any specific reason, feel free to let us know and we can put together a story idea!


    "We guys" just made a suggestion since Chris stated he's opened to ideas. The asrock X58 article a few days back is another good example of a story that can be looked at from a more technical perspective. Since that board and these two AMD ones share 4 PCIe ports and ATI & Nvidia cards support ATI STREA/CUDA one would be inclined to have a look beyond the "can it run crysis" comment. And I'm sure finding 4 identical cards isn't an issues since the time that takes to right an article wasn't up for debate.
    0