Five $160 To $240 990FX-Based Socket AM3+ Motherboards

Benchmark Results: 3D Games

With the 990FX chipset and FX-8150 CPU reviews behind us, a new platform gives us the opportunity to try new benchmarks. DiRT 3 replaces F1 2010 this time, while Metro 2033 takes over where Crysis left off. StarCraft II brings RTS back to our gaming suite, at least for now.

Asus takes first and second place in DiRT 3, depending on the settings. Higher image quality options tend to shift a greater portion of the game’s load toward a GPU bottleneck.

Asus continues to hold second place in Metro 2033. Consistent second-place finishes are typically more valuable than jumps between first and fourth, as they lend themselves to higher average scores.

Speaking of average scores, we should probably mention that these frame rates do not reflect smooth playability in Metro 2033’s default benchmark map. The minimum performance level was around 19 FPS for all boards at our lowest test settings, though a portion of the test map appears to yield more taxing loads than most gamers typically experience.

StarCraft 2 plays smoothly on a Radeon HD 6950 and FX-8150, regardless of the motherboard or even the test settings chosen. This editor had problems getting consistent performance, however, as the game often reported a series of low FPS readings followed by a series of high FPS readings at the same setting. That range might be narrow enough for broader tests, such as different market levels of graphics cards, but isn’t well-suited for comparing extremely-similar hardware.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • timbo1130
    How is this relevant to enthusiast? Bulldozer is out classed by Sandy Bridge I don't care if there are a few less sata ports. If you need to upgrade your better off going with Sandy bridge and z68 or p67 or wait for SB-E and X79.
  • julianbautista87
    thanks for this article. I was waiting for it since some guy said that the 8150 was performing badly because of the mainboard used, but now I see that that was not correct.
  • mayankleoboy1
    nice thorough review.
    but great chipsets cant offset poor CPU's.
  • ellmondo
    let the amd bashing begin...
  • _Pez_
    Yeah If were to buy this boards would be with a Phenom real 6 core CPU 1100T :D that is the smartest choice. I think.
  • theuniquegamer
    What about asus 990fx crosshair v formula motherboard?
  • frostweaver
    I would wait till next year to decide. I still feel that windows 7 aint optimized for BD.
  • Tijok
    First off, thanks for the great article, good to see Tom's is keeping up the top notch quality!

    Secondly, I would really like to see a piece on extreme CFX/SLI configurations on rigs like this. It seems an article with reliable information on this would be beneficial to gaming enthusiasts, IT professionals, and HPC builders alike!

    Hope to see an article along these lines soon!
  • palladin9479
    I bought the Sabertooth during the summer and I can attest to how amazing that board is. It's really nice, lots of features and high quality. I'm running a Phenom II X4 970BE @ 4.3Ghz on water right now. Absolutely wonderful system.
  • ta152h
    What a bunch of pretzel logic we have in this article.
    Of course, a fan of Intel's work could argue against the need for 42 lanes of second-gen PCIe when the 36 native to X58 Express support multi-card graphics configurations just as capably. But such a comparison really isn't necessary. After all, we've known for almost a year that Intel’s lower-cost Sandy Bridge-based part outperform the pricey six-core Gulftown-based processors in many desktop benchmarks, including pretty much every gaming scenario we throw at the two platforms.

    So, x58 is irrelevant, because SB beats it. Except AMD's offering is somehow relevant even though both x58 and SB beat it. What?????

    If you ignore x58 because SB offers better performance, you ignore anything AMD has because a SB setup offers better performance. If you want 36 or less lanes, x58 still offers better processors than you can hope to get from AMD. Bizarre logic.

    Not that AMD is irrelevant, just the logic is badly flawed.