Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards

Test Settings

Test System Configuration
CPU

AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
(2.80 GHz, 6 MB Cache)

RAM

Kingston KHX16000D3ULT1K3/6GX
2.0 GB modules, used in pairs
Underclocked to DDR3-1333 CAS 8-8-8-24

Graphics

Zotac GeForce GTX260² 896MB
576/999MHz GPU/Shader, GDDR3-2484

Hard Drive

WD VelociRaptor WD30000HLFS
0.3 TB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB Cache

Sound

Integrated HD Audio

Network

Integrated Gigabit Networking

Power

Coolermaster RS850-EMBA
850 W, ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V

Software

Operating System

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Graphics

Nvidia Forceware 182.08 WHQL

Chipset

Catalyst Chipset 03.00.0699


Our best DDR3 memory was shipped in triple-channel kits, so we divided these into dual-channel kits for Socket AM3 compatibility. AMD supplied the processor.

Western Digital’s 10,000 RPM 300 GB VelociRaptor kept load times low and write performance high.

Today’s benchmark suite has several 64-bit updates, but readers should look for additional improvements once all of our editors have reached a consensus towards standardization.

Benchmark Configuration

3D Games

Call of Duty: World at War

Patch 1.1, FRAPS/saved game
High Textures, No AA / No AF, vsync off
Ultra Textures, 4x AA / Max AF, vsync off

Crysis

Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA

Far Cry 2

DirectX 10, Steam Version, in-game benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 8x AA

World in Conflict

Patch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Test 1: High Details, No AA / No AF
Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF

Audio/Video Encoding

iTunes 8

Version: 8.1.0.52 (x64)
Audio CD ("Terminator II SE"), 53 min
Default format AAC

Lame MP3

Version: 3.98 64-bits (07-04-2008)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE," 53 min.
wave-to-MP3

TMPGEnc 4.6

Version: 4.6.3.268
Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9

DivX 6.8.5

Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search

Xvid 1.2.1

Display encoding status = off

Mainconcept Reference 1.6.1

MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kbp/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)

Productivity

Autodesk 3ds Max 2009

Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)

Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8

Version: 8.0.134, Virus base: 270.4.5/1,533, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files

WinRAR 3.80

Version 3.80, WinZip Commandline Version 3.0, Compression = Best, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)

WinZip 12

Version 12.0, Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings

3DMark Vantage

Version: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores

PCMark Vantage

Version: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646

SiSoft Sandra

Version 2008.5.14.24, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

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38 comments
    Your comment
  • Anonymous
    i like that dial on the MSI... mmm.
    -1
  • NitroSuperSonic
    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
  • judeh101
    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
  • ifko_pifko
    "Asus has clear performance leadership,..." :-)))
    1.66% better than the worst performer in the tests. :-)
    6
  • tacoslave
    who said Phenom II has low cache size i think with those 86mb you can do amazing things!!
    1
  • tacoslave
    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
  • cangelini
    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
  • EQPlayer
    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
  • Crashman
    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
  • Proximon
    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
  • cangelini
    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
  • wira020
    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
  • SpadeM
    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
  • coolgod
    phenom ii out for testing tomorrow we hope :)
    0
  • EQPlayer
    The Editor's Note kinda confirms that theory, yeah. ;)
    0
  • Anonymous
    They are using a 260 for the video card. Will these boards SLI as well as Crossfire?
    0
  • curnel_D
    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
  • sublifer
    To avoid confusion with the AM2+ based 790FX boards they ought to call it 793FX or something different...
    0
  • monkeysweat
    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
  • SpadeM
    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