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Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards

Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards
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More than just a relic of AMD’s original Spider platform, the 790FX remains the company's only real enthusiast northbridge. The newer SB750 southbridge offers modern peripheral performance too, while DDR3 support via AMD’s latest on-die memory controller is the latest performance trend.

The big reason you'd choose a 790FX over the more “modern” 790GX is its 38 PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 pathways, which can be configured as two x16, four x8, or a mix of single x16 and two x8 sets, with six pathways to spare. As with the 790GX, AMD’s third-generation HyperTransport interconnect links the 790FX to the AM3 processor, so the only two things more “modern” about the 790GX are its onboard Radeon HD 3300-series graphics core, which enthusiasts don’t want anyway, and its release date.

We have to suspect that most AMD enthusiasts haven’t considered shifting over to AM3 yet because of the lack of top-range clock speeds for DDR3-supporting processors (plus the fact that half are triple-core models, while the other half are quad-cores with cut-back cache).

AMD will release updated models soon, but we can’t give you the speed or the date (Ed.: Here's a hint: check back tomorrow). Until then, many are choosing the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition for its excellent reputation in overclocking, since most programs can’t take advantage of all four cores of the slower-clocked Phenom II X4 910.

Socket AM3 Processors
Model

Frequency

L3 Cache

Voltage

Model #

Socket

Phenom II X4 910

2.6 GHz

6 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX910WFK4DGI

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X4 810

2.6 GHz

4 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX810WFK4FGI;

PIB: HDX810WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X4 805

2.5 GHz

4 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX805WFK4FGI

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X3 720 BE

2.8 GHz

6 MB

0.850-1.425V 

Tray: HDZ720WFK3DGI;

PIB: HDZ720WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

Phenom II X3 710

2.6 GHz

6 MB

0.875-1.425V 

Tray: HDX710WFK3DGI;

PIB: HDX710WFGIBOX

AM3, AM2+, AM2

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 22 April 2009 19:52
    It would be interesting to see how much AM3 processors improve over AM2+ especially come the next gen of graphics cards. Is the jump to AM3 boards worth the extra upgrade from AM2+? Im currently using a X2 6000+ but im doubtful that jumping to AM3 processors is worth it atm especially for gaming. My next upgrade will probally be the processor to prevent bottlenecking since my 4870 manages 22" easily but Id preferably like to get a mobo with 2X 16XPCIe lanes.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 22 April 2009 19:52
    It would be interesting to see how much AM3 processors improve over AM2+ especially come the next gen of graphics cards. Is the jump to AM3 boards worth the extra upgrade from AM2+? Im currently using a X2 6000+ but im doubtful that jumping to AM3 processors is worth it atm especially for gaming. My next upgrade will probally be the processor to prevent bottlenecking since my 4870 manages 22" easily but Id preferably like to get a mobo with 2X 16XPCIe lanes.
  • 2 Hide
    Merlanni , 23 April 2009 03:08
    I am going to switch back to AMD even if they perform less than intel. Why? I am not going to buy a motherboard for every processor. Who knows how many pins the next processor of Intel has. Upgrading is a major reason to choose a platform. Besides I do not need the power of i7 to game on a 20"
  • 0 Hide
    aevm , 23 April 2009 04:20
    LOL, I doubt even Intel knows. It used to be 1160, but then they removed 4 pins in October and now they're talking about LGA1156. Anyway, point taken, the i5 CPUs won't work in either LGA775 or LGA1366 boards.
  • 0 Hide
    aevm , 23 April 2009 04:36
    That Gigabyte board sounds perfect for somebody who might want 9 hard drives and a burner, because it has 10 SATA ports. I was looking for such a thing. This paragraph:

    Quote:

    We have no layout complaints, but builders should be aware that all four of the MA790FX-UD5P's add-in SATA ports (white) share a single PCIe pathway through the JMicron JMB363 controller, for a maximum combined throughput of 250 MB/s. That’s far short of the 1,200 MB/s combined bandwidth that four 3.0 Gb/s ports are theoretically capable of supporting.


    is a bit scary, but in fact it's not a problem IMO. Even if you happen to copy a huge file from HDD 7 to HDD 8 (both on the JMicron controller), you still get over 100 MB/s bandwidth for each, and that's pretty much the average read/write rate of the WD Caviar Black 1TB. That is, there's no bottleneck after all.