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Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards

DFI LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5

Features and Layout

DFI’s high-end LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5 comes at a decidedly mid-market price, lacking a fourth graphics-card slot and a FireWire controller that competing models offer.

DFI uses the reduced number of x16 slots as a good way to spread these farther apart for enhanced graphics cooling. The top-two slots are locked with x16 pathways, while the third slot uses four of 790FX’s six left-over PCI Express 2.0 links to provide the same bandwidth that previous-generation x8 slots do. The third slot should offer adequate performance for cards up to the single-GPU Radeon HD 4870, while Radeon HD 4870 X2 users will prefer the two x16 slots.

DFI takes a symbolic lead over Asus in Ultra ATA and especially floppy header placement (for anyone who still uses those legacy interfaces), but the lower drive cage of some older case designs could block its forward-facing SATA ports. However, forward-facing ports allow cables to slip under the end of long expansion cards.

DFI is the only company in today’s line-up to provide a method for clearing custom BIOS settings from outside of an already-built system. A jumper on the rear panel is a little more cumbersome than a button would be, but it greatly reduces the likelihood of accidental engagement.

Great layout choices include a front-panel audio connector at the centerrather than at the bottomof the rear edge, which is far enough below the top x16 slot to prevent collision with over-sized graphics coolers.

We have no layout complaints for the LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5, but one minor caveat concerns the eight-pin CPU power connector. Since it is around 1.5" below the top edge, attaching the power connector may pose problems for builders who prefer to wrap this cable around the back of the motherboard tray from bottom-mounted power supplies.

BIOS

Voltage and frequency ranges for the LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5 can be found in a comparative chart in this article’s overclocking section.

DFI’s Genie BIOS has all the most important frequency controls, but some of the labels might appear unfamiliar to users of other brands.

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A fairly broad selection of DRAM timing controls are found in a Genie BIOS submenu, but the voltage sub-menu is slightly less elaborate.

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Accessories

DFI still provides a round Ultra ATA cable, but the LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5 lacks any floppy cable. DFI also includes four replacement jumpers with easy-grip tabs.

  • i like that dial on the MSI... mmm.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • ifko_pifko
    "Asus has clear performance leadership,..." :-)))
    1.66% better than the worst performer in the tests. :-)
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    who said Phenom II has low cache size i think with those 86mb you can do amazing things!!
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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'!!!
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply