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Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards

Test Settings

Test System Configuration
CPUAMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition (2.80 GHz, 6 MB Cache)
RAMKingston KHX16000D3ULT1K3/6GX 2.0 GB modules, used in pairs Underclocked to DDR3-1333 CAS 8-8-8-24
GraphicsZotac GeForce GTX260² 896MB 576/999MHz GPU/Shader, GDDR3-2484
Hard DriveWD VelociRaptor WD30000HLFS 0.3 TB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB Cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerCoolermaster RS850-EMBA 850 W, ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
GraphicsNvidia Forceware 182.08 WHQL
ChipsetCatalyst Chipset 03.00.0699

Our best DDR3 memory was shipped in triple-channel kits, so we divided these into dual-channel kits for Socket AM3 compatibility. AMD supplied the processor.

Western Digital’s 10,000 RPM 300 GB VelociRaptor kept load times low and write performance high.

Today’s benchmark suite has several 64-bit updates, but readers should look for additional improvements once all of our editors have reached a consensus towards standardization.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Call of Duty: World at WarPatch 1.1, FRAPS/saved game High Textures, No AA / No AF, vsync off Ultra Textures, 4x AA / Max AF, vsync off
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA
Far Cry 2DirectX 10, Steam Version, in-game benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 8x AA
World in ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo Test 1: High Details, No AA / No AF Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes 8Version: 8.1.0.52 (x64) Audio CD ("Terminator II SE"), 53 min Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 64-bits (07-04-2008) Audio CD "Terminator II SE," 53 min. wave-to-MP3
TMPGEnc 4.6Version: 4.6.3.268 Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search
Xvid 1.2.1Display encoding status = off
Mainconcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kbp/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Productivity
Autodesk 3ds Max 2009Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8Version: 8.0.134, Virus base: 270.4.5/1,533, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.80Version 3.80, WinZip Commandline Version 3.0, Compression = Best, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
WinZip 12Version 12.0, Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoft SandraVersion 2008.5.14.24, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • 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