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Test Setup

AMD 790GX: RV610 For Enthusiasts?
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

PC Mark Vantage Build 1.0.0
3DMark Vantage Build 1.0.1
SiSoft Sandra XII XII.2008.SP2c (14.24)
HDTach Version
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


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.

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