The 990FX Chipset Arrives: AMD And SLI Rise Again

Hardware And Benchmark Setup

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Test Hardware
ProcessorsAMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition (Deneb) 3.7 GHz (18.5 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3, 4 GT/s HyperTransport, 6 MB Shared L3, Power-savings enabled, 125 W
Row 1 - Cell 0 Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge) 3.1 GHz (31 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Power-savings enabled, 95 W
MotherboardsAsus Sabertooth 990FX (Socket AM3+) 990FX/SB950, BIOS 0138
Row 3 - Cell 0 Asus P8Z68-V Pro (LGA 1155) Z68 Express PCH, BIOS 0401
MemoryCrucial 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333, MT16JTF51264AZ-1G4D1 @ 9-9-9-24 and 1.65 V
Hard DriveIntel SSDSC2MH250A2 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 570 in SLICustom GeForce 270.77 Driver
Power SupplyCooler Master UCP-1000 W
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Lost Planet 2Highest Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, 4x MSAA or 32x CSAA / 16x AF, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, DirectX 11, Steam version, Test A
Just Cause 2Highest Quality Settings, No AA / 2x AF, 8x AA / 16x AF, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Bokeh filter and GPU water disabled (for Nvidia cards), Concrete Jungle Benchmark
Metro 2033High Quality Settings, AAA / 4x AF, 4x MSAA / 16x AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Built-in Benchmark, Depth of Field filter enabled, Steam version
F1 2010Ultra High Settings, No AA / No AF, 8x AA / No AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Steam version, Custom benchmark script, DX11 Rendering
Aliens Vs. Predator BenchmarkHigh Quality Settings, SSAO, No AA / 16xAF, Ultra Quality Settings, 4x MSAA / No AF, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600
Battlefield: Bad Company 2Custom (Highest) Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, 8x MSAA / 16xAF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, opening cinematic, 145 second sequence, FRAPS
3DMark 11Performance Default
World of Warcraft: CataclysmUltra Quality Settings, No AA / 16x AF, 8x AA / 16x AF, From Crushblow to The Krazzworks, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, FRAPS, DirectX 9 Rendering
Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • Marco925
    But! Does it play metro 2033?

    It Does!!!!
  • nice to see support for both videocard producers. especialy for nvidia. now you can do amd+nvidia not only amd+ati(amd)
  • nforce4max
    So fast that it sucks your eyeballs into the back of your skull C:
  • stingstang
    Tom's, what the hell is this? "At the end of the day, it's the graphics cards which are the bottleneck."
    Did you go about benchmarking graphics cards, or was this a motherboard/cpu comparison? I'm tired of hearing this excuse all the time. We know you have a pair of 6990s and 590s in your shop. Get rid of that stupid bottleneck and DO IT RIGHT!
  • wishmaster12
    Of couse you guys know their using Nvidia cards.
  • saint19
    I'd keep in mind that this performance review was made it with an AM3 CPU and not with the new generation.
  • lavitz1125
    Eh, too late too little.
  • geekapproved
    What performance review? They didn't get to test anything. LOL
  • -Fran-
    Thanks for the review, but at lower resolutions we all know that the CPU differences will become clear. So you just proved that if a game is taxing on the GPUs, both solutions are equal and when the graphics card ain't being taxed, CPU differences become apparent... Ok, thanks for proving what we already know once more (not being sarcastic here >_
  • -Fran-
    Uhm... that last comment of mine was cut in half with the missing char of that face... I guess that's an escape char; oh well.

    What is missing said something like: "face"), but you said you wanted to test AMD's SLI on their 990FX vs Intel's SLI. So, IMO, you need less graphics horse power: like 2 GTS250's or 2 GTX460's or 2 GTX560's (not ti's) to tax the graphics subsystem and really show the differences. Maybe up the resolution also to really show if there is a difference between AMD's or Intel's SLI.

    Thanks again for the Article, Mr Chris.