Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Test Setup

AMD 790GX: RV610 For Enthusiasts?
By
System Hardware
Processor AMD Phenom X4 9850 BE @ 2.5 GHz
Motherboards Gigabyte MA790GP-DS4H (790GX)
Gigabyte MA78GPM-D2SH (780G)
ASUS M3N78 PRO (GeForce 8300)
Memory 4GB Corsair Dominator CM2X2048-8500C5D
Hard Drive Western Digital WD500YS 500 GB
Graphics Integrated for 790GX, 780G, and GeForce 8300
ASUS GeForce 8500GT TOP 256MB (GeForce Boost)
Sapphire Radeon HD 3470 256 MB (Hybrid CrossFireX on 790GX and 780G)

System Software
Graphics Drivers
AMD 790GX 8.521.1 Beta
AMD 780G Catalyst 8.7
Nvidia GeForce 8300 GeForce Release 175
Operating System Windows Vista x32

Benchmarks
Synthetic
PC Mark Vantage Build 1.0.0
3DMark Vantage Build 1.0.1
SiSoft Sandra XII XII.2008.SP2c (14.24)
HDTach Version 3.0.4.0
Real-World
Apple iTunes Audio CD Terminator II SE, HQ (160kbps), Convert to AAC
Mainconcept H.264 MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), 24 sec HDTV 1920x1080
PowerDVD 8 Ultra 60s 007 :Casino Royale playback
Half Life 2 : Episode 2 1024x768, low settings, timedemo playback
World in Conflict 1024x768, low quality settings, built-in benchmark mode
Flight Simulator X 1024x768, default graphics settings, FRAPS recording
Cinebench R10 Version : 10.008

Notes

It’s worth noting that Hybrid CrossFireX and GeForce Boost are Windows Vista-only features, so you can’t add a card to the AMD or Nvidia platforms and expect to see better gaming performance in XP — a real quandary for the legions of gamers who still prefer XP to Vista.

Gigabyte's 780G w/128MB Side-PortGigabyte's 780G w/128MB Side-Port

The MA78GPM-D2SH employs AMD’s 780G chipset with 128 MB of side-port memory massaging performance up a bit. And the MA79GP-DS4H is of course the 790GX board, also with 128 MB of side-port. This should give us a good indication of how much benefit is attributable to the onboard RAM. We also planned to include Gigabyte’s MA78GM and Intel’s new DG45ID in the lineup. However, a spate of issues with the boards we had in the lab forced us to narrow the competition a bit.

Asus GeForce 8300Asus GeForce 8300

Another point that we wanted to mention : when 780G launched, AMD was adamant that the best way to configure a Hybrid CrossFireX platform was with the display attached to the motherboard. During periods of idle, the discrete card would power down completely, yielding the power consumption of a purely integrated system. In testing the 790GX, however, we weren’t able to get Hybrid CrossFireX functioning properly unless the display was attached to the add-in Radeon HD 3470 board.

Finally, bear in mind that the integrated graphics core is heavily dependent on memory bandwidth performance. You’ll want to use DDR2-1066 whenever possible, tuned to the most aggressive timings to maximize gaming.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 71 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 6 Hide
    kitsilencer , August 6, 2008 4:47 AM
    Great review, and it's good to see that AMD is at last able to target more enthusiast markets competitively.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 5:38 AM
    kitsilencerGreat review, and it's good to see that AMD is at last able to target more enthusiast markets competitively.


    Thanks for the feedback Kit.
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , August 6, 2008 6:19 AM
    ^^^iseriously thought that was sarcasm, until i saw the authors name
  • 0 Hide
    waffle911 , August 6, 2008 7:01 AM
    So... why does a page 15 and 16 of this article exist if there is no page 15 or 16 to the article?
    Take a closer look. What happened?
  • 2 Hide
    YYD , August 6, 2008 7:15 AM
    PCMark seems Intel biased, please read this:
    http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/atom-nano-review.ars/6

    Please change this benchmark suite or check if PcMark Vantage is unbiased.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 7:23 AM
    waffle911So... why does a page 15 and 16 of this article exist if there is no page 15 or 16 to the article?Take a closer look. What happened?


    That was strange. Should be fixed now.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 7:24 AM
    YYDPCMark seems Intel biased, please read this:http://arstechnica.com/reviews/har [...] view.ars/6Please change this benchmark suite or check if PcMark Vantage is unbiased.


    Fortunately, with no Intel platforms tested, this should be a non-issue for the current situation ;-) In the future, you'll be seeing SYSmark, though.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 6, 2008 7:30 AM
    Seems past page 8 or something the links are corrupt.. can't fully read this article and getting error 404 - page not found.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 6, 2008 7:32 AM
    .. and now the article seems to be removed even from the main page!?!?!
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 7:51 AM
    lacrits.. and now the article seems to be removed even from the main page!?!?!


    Alright, mystery solved. It's back up, sans the blank page. Thanks for pointing that out lacrits!
  • 2 Hide
    nickchalk , August 6, 2008 9:31 AM
    Hi, i wanted to ask something aout the article.
    why you use 3470 and 8500 for the tests?
    hybrid crossfire and nvidia boost don't work with faster cards?
    is the performance gain not big with 3870 or 9600gt?
    thanks
  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 9:36 AM
    Hybrid CrossFireX uses alternate frame rendering, as does GeForce Boost, I believe. As a result, both technologies are best complemented by discrete boards evenly matched to the integrated core. In the case of the GeForce 8300, that'd be an 8500 GT. For the 790GX, AMD recommends the 3470. To spend any more money on discrete graphics for either platform would be a waste of money even if you could use faster cards.
  • 1 Hide
    nickchalk , August 6, 2008 9:42 AM
    thanks for responding so fast.
    so what if i use a 3650 with this board? or why will i buy a quad core and dont spend some more for a 3850?
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , August 6, 2008 9:54 AM
    Unfortunately, performance won't scale with the 3650. With that said, you'll still see reasonable gaming performance in Hybrid CrossFireX. The beauty of this board is that you CAN drop in a 3850, 3870, 4850, etc. and then add a second one later for CrossFireX.
  • 0 Hide
    zenmaster , August 6, 2008 11:20 AM
    cangeliniUnfortunately, performance won't scale with the 3650. With that said, you'll still see reasonable gaming performance in Hybrid CrossFireX. The beauty of this board is that you CAN drop in a 3850, 3870, 4850, etc. and then add a second one later for CrossFireX.


    Nice Review, However I would like to see how well SLI scales on this board using a 4850 and 4870 vs another AMD Board with full Duel 16x PCIE 2.0 Slots.

    I've seen some other reviews where Dual 8x PCIE 2.0 Slots start having scaling issues on the 4850 at are not seen on the 3800 Series.
  • 1 Hide
    computerfarmer , August 6, 2008 11:20 AM
    Thank you for this excellent article.
    Does the 128mb side-port limit the on board video to that amount of memory? Does this affect Vista Areo?
  • 1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , August 6, 2008 1:13 PM
    Good article. Phenom can finally OC. I wounder if the mobo makers are going to make them with higher quality voltage regulators so it can support the 9850BE and higher across the selection.
  • 1 Hide
    cshorte , August 6, 2008 1:47 PM
    good review,

    i have a question why do you recommend ddr1066 over 800? i thought there wasn't a huge difference.

    also im a bit confused about this 16x, vs. 8x 8x...
    if i use a single card (for now) which motherboard (790g, 790gx) will produce more graphixs capabilities?
  • 1 Hide
    ltcommander_data , August 6, 2008 2:03 PM
    It would have been interesting to see a comparison between the GMA X4500 and the 790GX.

    http://www.hkepc.com/?id=1510&page=5&fs=idn#view

    The GMA X4500 seems to be much faster than the GMA X3500 and within 10-30% of the 780G in actual games. I guess the 790GX was a timely addition and with it being 20% faster than the 780G, that should open up the lead over the GMA X4500 to 30-50%.
  • 1 Hide
    kenyee , August 6, 2008 2:08 PM
    and which of these upcoming 790GX motherboards are microATX?
    The only one I know of is the DFI one...
Display more comments