Graphics Boosted: 790GX's Side-Port Explored

Review Impressions

Initially, we chose a Phenom X4 9850 processor for this review, but it turned out to cause issues with the motherboard revision and BIOS version. One of the issues was the inability to switch into CrossFire mode using an additional Radeon HD 3450. Switching to the Phenom X4 9350e solved all of our issues. However, it is still necessary to use the additional graphics card as the primary one if you intend to enable CrossFire mode. Should you not do this, the board will refuse to boot, stopping with error code 94.

The side-port memory worked fine, but we immediately found that its capacity of only 128 MB represented a considerable bottleneck. As a result, you should never use the side-port memory by itself, but always combine it with the maximum amount of 512 MB shared memory. Looking at current memory prices, 4 GB of DDR2 RAM is affordable for many users and should allow you to assign 512 MB to the graphics unit without detracting from system performance.