Southbridge Battle: 780a, ICH10 and SB750, Compared

AMD: SB750 Southbridge On The 790FX Chipset

The SB750 has been AMD’s flagship southbridge since last year, when it was released together with the 700-series chipset family. This lineup consists of the discrete graphics chipsets 740, 770, 790X, and 790FX as well as the integrated parts 740G, 780G, 785G, and 790GX with its Side Port graphics memory option.

All discrete graphics chipsets are manufactured using a 65 nm process, while all of the integrated solutions with DirectX 10 (and DX10.1) compatible IGPs are etched at 55 nm. Low-end chipset configurations are typically paired with the older SB600 or SB700/SB710 southbridge components, but we’d recommend to go for the SB750 when possible. The SB750 offers six SATA/300 ports with AHCI support and AMD’s RAIDXpert technology, which supports RAID 0, 1, 1+0, and 5, as well as JBOD. The RAIDXpert tool has to be used through a browser-based interface, which allows for administration and monitoring of your RAID array. It cannot extend arrays across additional controllers.

The SB800 will most likely be introduced together with the next-generation platform based on the AMD 800-series chipsets.

Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5F

We used an enthusiast motherboard by Gigabyte, the MA790FXT-UD5P. The board utilizes AMD's 790FX/SB750 chipset combination and accepts all Socket AM3 processors and DDR3 memory.

Although the chipset supports six SATA/300 ports, Gigabyte decided to add more storage options through a JMicron JM322 controller. This provides four additional SATA/300 ports (see white connectors) that are totally independent from the chipset’s SATA ports. The JMicron ports only support RAID 0 and 1, but they can also be used for Gigabyte’s Smart Backup feature.

This motherboard’s I/O panel is full of connectors, including eight USB 2.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, audio jacks, PS/2 keyboard and mouse, and audio. But it does not offer eSATA connectivity. However, Gigabyte includes an eSATA slot adapter, providing two eSATA ports should you need them.