Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards

790FX Is Still The King

More than just a relic of AMD’s original Spider platform, the 790FX remains the company's only real enthusiast northbridge. The newer SB750 southbridge offers modern peripheral performance too, while DDR3 support via AMD’s latest on-die memory controller is the latest performance trend.

The big reason you'd choose a 790FX over the more “modern” 790GX is its 38 PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 pathways, which can be configured as two x16, four x8, or a mix of single x16 and two x8 sets, with six pathways to spare. As with the 790GX, AMD’s third-generation HyperTransport interconnect links the 790FX to the AM3 processor, so the only two things more “modern” about the 790GX are its onboard Radeon HD 3300-series graphics core, which enthusiasts don’t want anyway, and its release date.

We have to suspect that most AMD enthusiasts haven’t considered shifting over to AM3 yet because of the lack of top-range clock speeds for DDR3-supporting processors (plus the fact that half are triple-core models, while the other half are quad-cores with cut-back cache).

AMD will release updated models soon, but we can’t give you the speed or the date (Ed.: Here's a hint: check back tomorrow). Until then, many are choosing the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition for its excellent reputation in overclocking, since most programs can’t take advantage of all four cores of the slower-clocked Phenom II X4 910.

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Socket AM3 Processors
ModelFrequencyL3 CacheVoltageModel #Socket
Phenom II X4 9102.6 GHz6 MB0.875-1.425VTray: HDX910WFK4DGIAM3, AM2+, AM2
Phenom II X4 8102.6 GHz4 MB0.875-1.425VTray: HDX810WFK4FGI; PIB: HDX810WFGIBOXAM3, AM2+, AM2
Phenom II X4 8052.5 GHz4 MB0.875-1.425VTray: HDX805WFK4FGIAM3, AM2+, AM2
Phenom II X3 720 BE2.8 GHz6 MB0.850-1.425VTray: HDZ720WFK3DGI; PIB: HDZ720WFGIBOXAM3, AM2+, AM2
Phenom II X3 7102.6 GHz6 MB0.875-1.425VTray: HDX710WFK3DGI; PIB: HDX710WFGIBOXAM3, AM2+, AM2
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • i like that dial on the MSI... mmm.
  • 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!
  • 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!
  • ifko_pifko
    "Asus has clear performance leadership,..." :-)))
    1.66% better than the worst performer in the tests. :-)
  • tacoslave
    who said Phenom II has low cache size i think with those 86mb you can do amazing things!!
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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
  • 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'!!!
  • 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