Enthusiasts who count themselves among the AMD faithful continue to look for even the slightest performance advancement as the company’s “Spider" platform” reaches its first birthday. Several factors have held the otherwise strong value-oriented processor/chipset/graphics combination back from also achieving the highest marks in performance as well: bugs in the new processor core, severe limitations in CPU speed and overclocking capability, and the delayed release of AMD’s SB750 high-performance southbridge.
By the time the SB750 was released, most motherboard manufacturers considered the enthusiast-grade 790FX, with its 32 PCI Express 2.0 pathways divisible to support four graphics cards, old news—even though it’s still perhaps the most advanced AM2+ chipset available. But while many insisted that we try to wedge AMD’s newer mainstream-targeted 790GX integrated chipset into the enthusiast space, three brands stuck to AMD’s initial concept by combining the now mature 790FX with the delayed SB750.
The SB750 carries with it the promise of better overclocking through Advanced Clock Control (ACC), a setting many enthusiasts have guessed involves loosening certain thresholds on some of the processor’s internal "tumblers," as AMD puts it. Previous tests have shown that this feature can boost CPU overclocking capability significantly, though its effectiveness varies with individual processors.
Superior CrossFireX support remains the main reason to choose the 790FX over competing solutions, but will the SB750’s ACC feature set these apart from previous products for overclocking? Before we find out, let’s take a closer look at the new motherboards.