AMD 790GX: RV610 For Enthusiasts?

Benchmarks: Synthetic

Futuremark’s PCMark Vantage

PCMark Vantage was the only system-level synthetic metric that’d cooperate with us. Sysmark 2007 — as much as we wanted to include it — just wouldn’t run reliably.

Nevertheless, the scores we pulled from PCMark shed some light on 790GX’s performance. The TV and Movies suite, for instance, consists largely of video playback and transcoding tasks, stressing processors and graphics cores almost equally. The fact that the 790GX scored comparably to the 780G and GeForce 8300 on systems with the same CPU suggest comparable playback acceleration — at least with MPEG-2, Blu-ray, and HD DVD content, the formats used in the test.

The Gaming suite yields scores in line with what we’d expect given a faster graphics core and the addition of side-port memory. Mainly, 790GX offers a measurable gain by virtue of its 200 MHz speed-up. Nvidia’s GeForce 8300 falls behind the 780G system, unable to keep up (until you add GeForce Boost, that is).

Most interesting, perhaps, was the HDD test, a series of eight Vista-based tasks that zero in exclusively on disk performance. For some reason, the 790GX machine trailed the 780G and GeForce 8300 platforms by a significant margin. Granted, Futuremark does admit the test is highly sensitive to system configuration and thus, subject to a margin of error. However, we still found those results highly suspect, even after a handful of retests. Now, here’s the amazing part. One of the apps that AMD provided with the 790GX beta driver pack was simply called DskPerf.exe — a performance program supporting SB600, SB700, and SB750 southbridges. Installing it, enabling advanced disk performance, involved a warning that running the driver increased the risk of data loss in the event of power loss. But it also boosted our Vantage HDD score from 2748 to 3606.

According to AMD, the driver activates advanced disk caching — something you can already do manually through Microsoft’s Device Manager. Intel and Nvidia are already using similar functionality in their drivers — this is simply AMD’s way to achieve the same performance. To turn it off, browse to the disk in question and un-check Enable advanced performance.

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  • kitsilencer
    Great review, and it's good to see that AMD is at last able to target more enthusiast markets competitively.
  • cangelini
    kitsilencerGreat review, and it's good to see that AMD is at last able to target more enthusiast markets competitively.


    Thanks for the feedback Kit.
  • eklipz330
    ^^^iseriously thought that was sarcasm, until i saw the authors name
  • waffle911
    So... why does a page 15 and 16 of this article exist if there is no page 15 or 16 to the article?
    Take a closer look. What happened?
  • YYD
    PCMark seems Intel biased, please read this:
    http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/atom-nano-review.ars/6

    Please change this benchmark suite or check if PcMark Vantage is unbiased.
  • cangelini
    waffle911So... why does a page 15 and 16 of this article exist if there is no page 15 or 16 to the article?Take a closer look. What happened?


    That was strange. Should be fixed now.
  • cangelini
    YYDPCMark seems Intel biased, please read this:http://arstechnica.com/reviews/har [...] view.ars/6Please change this benchmark suite or check if PcMark Vantage is unbiased.


    Fortunately, with no Intel platforms tested, this should be a non-issue for the current situation ;-) In the future, you'll be seeing SYSmark, though.
  • Anonymous
    Seems past page 8 or something the links are corrupt.. can't fully read this article and getting error 404 - page not found.
  • Anonymous
    .. and now the article seems to be removed even from the main page!?!?!
  • cangelini
    lacrits.. and now the article seems to be removed even from the main page!?!?!


    Alright, mystery solved. It's back up, sans the blank page. Thanks for pointing that out lacrits!
  • nickchalk
    Hi, i wanted to ask something aout the article.
    why you use 3470 and 8500 for the tests?
    hybrid crossfire and nvidia boost don't work with faster cards?
    is the performance gain not big with 3870 or 9600gt?
    thanks
  • cangelini
    Hybrid CrossFireX uses alternate frame rendering, as does GeForce Boost, I believe. As a result, both technologies are best complemented by discrete boards evenly matched to the integrated core. In the case of the GeForce 8300, that'd be an 8500 GT. For the 790GX, AMD recommends the 3470. To spend any more money on discrete graphics for either platform would be a waste of money even if you could use faster cards.
  • nickchalk
    thanks for responding so fast.
    so what if i use a 3650 with this board? or why will i buy a quad core and dont spend some more for a 3850?
  • cangelini
    Unfortunately, performance won't scale with the 3650. With that said, you'll still see reasonable gaming performance in Hybrid CrossFireX. The beauty of this board is that you CAN drop in a 3850, 3870, 4850, etc. and then add a second one later for CrossFireX.
  • zenmaster
    cangeliniUnfortunately, performance won't scale with the 3650. With that said, you'll still see reasonable gaming performance in Hybrid CrossFireX. The beauty of this board is that you CAN drop in a 3850, 3870, 4850, etc. and then add a second one later for CrossFireX.


    Nice Review, However I would like to see how well SLI scales on this board using a 4850 and 4870 vs another AMD Board with full Duel 16x PCIE 2.0 Slots.

    I've seen some other reviews where Dual 8x PCIE 2.0 Slots start having scaling issues on the 4850 at are not seen on the 3800 Series.
  • computerfarmer
    Thank you for this excellent article.
    Does the 128mb side-port limit the on board video to that amount of memory? Does this affect Vista Areo?
  • jimmysmitty
    Good article. Phenom can finally OC. I wounder if the mobo makers are going to make them with higher quality voltage regulators so it can support the 9850BE and higher across the selection.
  • cshorte
    good review,

    i have a question why do you recommend ddr1066 over 800? i thought there wasn't a huge difference.

    also im a bit confused about this 16x, vs. 8x 8x...
    if i use a single card (for now) which motherboard (790g, 790gx) will produce more graphixs capabilities?
  • ltcommander_data
    It would have been interesting to see a comparison between the GMA X4500 and the 790GX.

    http://www.hkepc.com/?id=1510&page=5&fs=idn#view

    The GMA X4500 seems to be much faster than the GMA X3500 and within 10-30% of the 780G in actual games. I guess the 790GX was a timely addition and with it being 20% faster than the 780G, that should open up the lead over the GMA X4500 to 30-50%.
  • kenyee
    and which of these upcoming 790GX motherboards are microATX?
    The only one I know of is the DFI one...