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Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards

Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards
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More than just a relic of AMD’s original Spider platform, the 790FX remains the company's only real enthusiast northbridge. The newer SB750 southbridge offers modern peripheral performance too, while DDR3 support via AMD’s latest on-die memory controller is the latest performance trend.

The big reason you'd choose a 790FX over the more “modern” 790GX is its 38 PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 pathways, which can be configured as two x16, four x8, or a mix of single x16 and two x8 sets, with six pathways to spare. As with the 790GX, AMD’s third-generation HyperTransport interconnect links the 790FX to the AM3 processor, so the only two things more “modern” about the 790GX are its onboard Radeon HD 3300-series graphics core, which enthusiasts don’t want anyway, and its release date.

We have to suspect that most AMD enthusiasts haven’t considered shifting over to AM3 yet because of the lack of top-range clock speeds for DDR3-supporting processors (plus the fact that half are triple-core models, while the other half are quad-cores with cut-back cache).

AMD will release updated models soon, but we can’t give you the speed or the date (Ed.: Here's a hint: check back tomorrow). Until then, many are choosing the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition for its excellent reputation in overclocking, since most programs can’t take advantage of all four cores of the slower-clocked Phenom II X4 910.

Socket AM3 Processors
Model

Frequency

L3 Cache

Voltage

Model #

Socket

Phenom II X4 910

2.6 GHz

6 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX910WFK4DGI

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X4 810

2.6 GHz

4 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX810WFK4FGI;

PIB: HDX810WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X4 805

2.5 GHz

4 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX805WFK4FGI

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X3 720 BE

2.8 GHz

6 MB

0.850-1.425V 

Tray: HDZ720WFK3DGI;

PIB: HDZ720WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X3 710

2.6 GHz

6 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX710WFK3DGI;

PIB: HDX710WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

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  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 22, 2009 6:22 AM
    i like that dial on the MSI... mmm.
  • 4 Hide
    NitroSuperSonic , April 22, 2009 6:35 AM
    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 Hide
    judeh101 , April 22, 2009 6:50 AM
    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!
  • 6 Hide
    ifko_pifko , April 22, 2009 7:02 AM
    "Asus has clear performance leadership,..." :-)))
    1.66% better than the worst performer in the tests. :-)
  • 1 Hide
    tacoslave , April 22, 2009 7:21 AM
    who said Phenom II has low cache size i think with those 86mb you can do amazing things!!
  • 1 Hide
    tacoslave , April 22, 2009 7:46 AM
    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 Hide
    cangelini , April 22, 2009 8:12 AM
    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 Hide
    EQPlayer , April 22, 2009 8:28 AM
    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 Hide
    Crashman , April 22, 2009 8:31 AM
    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 Hide
    Proximon , April 22, 2009 9:42 AM
    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 Hide
    cangelini , April 22, 2009 9:52 AM
    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.
  • 2 Hide
    wira020 , April 22, 2009 10:00 AM
    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... ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    SpadeM , April 22, 2009 10:01 AM
    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 Hide
    coolgod , April 22, 2009 11:00 AM
    phenom ii out for testing tomorrow we hope :) 
  • 0 Hide
    EQPlayer , April 22, 2009 11:25 AM
    The Editor's Note kinda confirms that theory, yeah. ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 22, 2009 2:18 PM
    They are using a 260 for the video card. Will these boards SLI as well as Crossfire?
  • 3 Hide
    curnel_D , April 22, 2009 2:26 PM
    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 
  • 0 Hide
    sublifer , April 22, 2009 2:33 PM
    To avoid confusion with the AM2+ based 790FX boards they ought to call it 793FX or something different...
  • 1 Hide
    monkeysweat , April 22, 2009 3:29 PM
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    SpadeM , April 22, 2009 3:34 PM
    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.
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