Product: AMD 790GX Chipset
Company: AMD
Authour: Alex 'AlexV' Voicu
Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: November 13th, 2008

This bit should be short as it includes some closing general considerations, before going straight to presenting the boards being tested, and the testing itself:

  • Power Circuitry: 790GX boards are engineered to support 140W CPUs, a reference to the older 9950 Phenoms - this responds to the issues encountered with some 780G boards that would die rather spectacular deaths when teamed with high wattage CPUs, due to the inadequacy of their power delivery circuitry.

  • SB750: The SB750 isn't exclusive to 790GX boards, since it is pin-compatible with the older 600 Southbridge and, as such, is an easy upgrade option for 790FX boards - however, the decision lies in the hands of the motherboard makers; as far as we know, only Asus, Foxconn and DFI have opted for releasing updated 790FX+SB750 motherboards.

  • Hybrid Crossfire: 790GX/780G motherboards support Hybrid Crossfire, a mode of operation available under Windows Vista in which the IGP teams up with a discrete 3450/3470 graphics card - it is our contention that this mode is rather useless - you're better served by getting a more powerful discrete card; this applies to all rendering schemes that combine an IGP with another card in AFR - whilst 3DMark may love it, the gameplay experience won't be significantly improved, and AFR'ing at truly low framerates is not something you want to do.

  • Audio: Due to its R6xx lineage, the HD3300 included in the 790GX only supports DD, DTS but only 2 channel LPCM output via HDMI - as one acquaintance of ours put it, had it not been for this limitation AMD might've actually produced the perfect HTPC solution.

  • Stream Computing: the IGP can be used for [email protected], albeit its performance for that particular task is less than impressive, as well as doing CAL/Brook+ programming, for those who are interested in doing GPGPU work.

With all of the above in mind, it is now time to meet the boards themselves!

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