Does 790FX + SB750 = High-End Overclocking?

Jetway HA04-Ultra

Proving the pin-to-pin compatibility of AMD’s recent SB750 southbridge on motherboards designed for the earlier SB600, Jetway’s HA04-Ultra is identical in every other way to its previous HA04-Extreme.

One of the more unique aspects of the HA04-Ultra (as well as the earlier HA04-Extreme) is its lack of support for four PCI Express x16 graphics cards. With only three PCI-Express 2.0 slots, the top slot always has 16 pathways. The third x16 slot loses eight of its pathways whenever a card is placed in the second slot. Unfortunately, slot spacing limits this motherboard to two double-slot or three single-slot cards.

Jetway is the only company to produce a 790FX+SB750 chipset motherboard with both the Ultra ATA and floppy connectors in the proper locations for reaching middle and upper bay drives. However, this isn’t an important consideration for most builders, since these types of drives are rarely used any longer.

All six of the HA04-Ultra’s SATA connectors point forward, which allows cable ends to slip easily under long graphics cards but prevents the board from being used in certain older case designs, due to hard drive cage clearance issues.

As with many Jetway motherboards, an SATA connector located internally in front of the rear-panel eSATA port is nothing more than a pass-through point. Builders are expected to run an SATA cable from the motherboard’s lower front corner to its upper rear corner, which allows eSATA devices to be plugged indirectly into one of the chipset’s six ports. Unfortunately, the extra cables and connections will probably limit eSATA cable length, and it’s unlikely that the internal ports are even capable of providing the extra voltage specified for longer eSATA cables. Furthermore, a cable running from corner-to-corner across the motherboard is not something users of windowed cases would likely appreciate.

Jetway includes power, reset, and CLR_CMOS buttons at the forward-bottom edge of the HA04-Ultra, making bench testing easy. Also seen is the POST code display, which makes diagnosing a boot failure far easier.

Though it may not be noticeable in photos, the HA04-Ultra sample we received was damaged during shipping. We were unable to test it, but would still like to thank Jetway for its continued participation in our motherboard comparisons.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • afrobacon
    very nice review
  • neiroatopelcc
    "Also notice the removable BIOS IC, a feature that makes bad-flash recovery as easy as plugging in a replacement."
    I don't know about you guys, but I haven't had a flash going wrong since a P2B board from the stoneage
  • cangelini
    neiroatopelcc"Also notice the removable BIOS IC, a feature that makes bad-flash recovery as easy as plugging in a replacement."I don't know about you guys, but I haven't had a flash going wrong since a P2B board from the stoneage
    Call it paranoia from a guy who changes BIOSs on an almost daily-basis on one board or another (me, not Thomas, though he does his fair share of updating, too).
  • neiroatopelcc
    Perhaps it's just the luxury of gigabyte's dual bios that makes me not care for removable ic's but I just don't see the relevance. Nobody has an eprom writer for those chips at home anyway, and with prices of many motherboards closing in on what a new chip would cost it's only truely useful for the expensive boards - and if an amd board is expensive, then it's targetted at the wrong people.
  • slomo4sho
    Thanks for the review. As you have stated, only way that AMD can compete with INTEL is to provide better clock speeds on their chips. Intel has shot forward with giant improvements and AMD has been stuck on the side lines. Their 45nm chips are still not on the market and Intel is already making moves to switch to 32nm.

    Sadly, this is going to be tough hill to climb for AMD to become competitive again. I wish them luck though, the consumer is always the winner when corporations compete :)
  • Tropoc
    Im sorry, but this is rubbish:

    Ive got a phenom x4 9950 placed on a ASUS m3a32 mvp deluxe motherboard.

    With stock voltage and stock cooling ive cranked it up to 3.2ghz and it runs perfectly stable. (this was done by only adjusting the multiplier)

    A friend of mine have the same setup as me but an aftermarket cooler (noctua nh-u12p) and hes overclocked it up to 3.4ghz, again running stable.

    On Overclocking forums i read about people cranking this CPU up to 3.6ghz on air (noctua nh-u12p) without any wizardry.

    This test is flawed and im very dissapointed about tomshardware and what i feel is an effortless test of this setup.

    Im an Intel guy myself but at least im honest about intels oponents, and in this case the review should end up with AMD being amazing value for money and that the future is a bit (not alot) brighter for AMD.
  • slomo4sho
    You realize that the Q6600 can also be overclocked to 3.6GHz on air as well without much difficulty? Both processors are at the same price point. The only difference is that the 9950 is AMD's top end chip and the Q6600 is a entry level quad core from Intel...

  • Tropoc
    im aware of that yes, but the problem here is tomshardware not the q6600... why? they didnt get it over 3.12ghz, which frankly is pathetic.

    and the 9950 is cheaper then the q6600 its cheaper then about every intel processor out there (even the dual cores such as e8400 etc).

    Im not saying it is a better processor then what intel has lined up, what im saying is that it is amazing value for money. and much better at overclocking then tomshardware managed to get out of it thats all :D
  • marzzes
    Oh my God, you guys went with a Jetway over a DFI board! Not to mention just one vidio card and a mid range one at that, how about two 4870X2’s??.. I mean isn’t that what we buy these boards for?…….Oh and what kind of memory each board can handle or why didn’t you go with a Thermalright cpu cooler, hell if your going to oc water cooling is the way to go!
    Obviously Tom wasn’t interested in doing this review!……..
  • geckoar
    I got my 9950 running at 2.85 ghz so thir numbers are not too bad. Im running it on a 790FX+SB600 K9A2 mobo. I could go more but my DDR2 800 RAm is holdinmg me back... I guess I should have gotten DDR2 1066 RAM.
    But I game at 1080P res. wiht a 4870 and I get over 30FPS in most of my games At max setting.

    Good Review.