This week we managed to snag a brand new prototype Gigabyte board utilizing AMD’s new 790GX chipset. The new chipset utilizes an integrated graphics solution dubbed HD 3300 and is suppose to be clocked at a decent 750 MHz — a faster offering than the old IGP from 780GX chipset-based boards.
With the 790GX chipset, motherboard manufacturers can elect to use AMD’s SidePort memory, which integrates discrete memory for use by the HD 3300 IGP. Configurations can come with either 64 MB or 128 MB of memory, although this particular board here comes with 128 MB. If motherboard makers chose 64 MB of memory, this limits the total bandwidth of the memory path to just 32-bits. With a 128 MB chipset, available bandwidth jumps to 64-bits, improving performance slightly.
On this specific board, users will have two Cross-Fire PCI-Express 2.0 slots along with a total of 3 1X slots although we would have preferred another 8X slot as there are very few reasons to fill up three slow ports. Memory is served up by four dual channel memory slotsThe board also includes a total of of six SATA ports and two standard ATA slots.
Gigabyte’s GA-MA790GP-DS4H includes a total of six serial ATA ports which is good for just about any consumer-level storage requirements. Two standard ATA ports are also included for good measure.
The four yellow connectors on this particular board are all USB 2.0 connectors. Gigabyte will be shipping USB backplanes for use with this board.
AMD’s 790GX chipset will support any available Phenom processor. More on this in our full review of the 790 chipset coming up.
On the reverse side of Gigabyte’s board, the company leaves no video option to be desired. All three common output options are available, including VGA, DVI and even a HDMI port. Integrating HDMI output should become common practice with both motherboards that include integrated video and on discrete graphics solutions down the line.
Gigabyte also includes digital optical output but this port does not include 7.1 output — however, true 5.1 output is available. For this, users will have to rely on the six analog jacks. Those who want multi-channel audio on a digital line will have to opt for a discrete sound solution supporting Dolby Digital Live or DTS-Interactive.
Gigabyte boards are now using pure solid capacitors made in Japan. The company claims that with solid-caps, reliability and durability are one of the best features of its boards. Other motherboard manufacturers are also doing the same thing in recent years. Gigabyte believes in its products so much that even some of their high level executives include direct technical support emails that copy them as well as the tech team to ensure quality support. It would certainly be nice if every company backed their products in a similar manner.
All Gigabyte boards now come with DualBIOS as standard. This feature has a back-up board which is used to restore the original or take over the job in the event that the primary chip is erased, corrupt or completely damaged.
Here we see the main 790GX chip with the integrated HD 3300 and SidePort memory in the form of a single Elpida 128 MB memory chip. Users are also able to use up to 256 MB (an extra 128 MB of shared system memory). We took an in-depth look at AMD’s 790GX chipset in an article. Look here for Chris’ 790 chipset roundup.