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Monday, November 05, 2007
Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-DQ6

1. Introduction, specifications

After AMD and ATI merged, users waited for a product supposed to rock the gaming world. As time was passing, more and more details came to the surface concerning an upcoming chipset with the codename "RD790". This chipset has several interesting features like PCI Express v2.0 and up to four PCI-e slots that could enable a possible Quad Crossfire setup to further enhance video graphics performance. Gigabyte, one of the lead manufacturers released to the market the GA-MA790FX-DQ6 with several interesting features. This new board is supported to support the upcoming AM2+ socket compatible processors (Phenom), which unfortunately haven't been released yet to the market. In this review we will examine how well Gigabyte's RD790 proposal performs against a very popular AM2 board, the Asus M2N32WS Pro, that is based on Nvidia's 590SLI.

- AMD/ATI RD790 chipset

Sometime ago, DailyTech posted some information about the upcoming RD790. The article mentioned that there will be two reference boards Mako and Wahoo. Mako is the single processor reference board with support for socket AM2 and AM2+ processors which we will review today. It consists mainly of two ATI chipsets, the RD790 and the SB600.

The PCI Express lane configuration for Mako is as follows: two full-speed PCIe x16 slots, one physical PCIe x16 slot with four lane signaling for physics, one physical PCIe x4 slots with two lanes shared between Gigabit Ethernet and SATA and one PCI slot. These lanes can be further divided to deliver four PCIe x8 slots as well. PCI Express 2.0 will be supported as well.

Gigabyte delivers the first board that supports AMD AM2+ Phenom™/ AM2 Athlon™64 series processors. The GA-MA790FX-DQ6 supports Dual Channel DDR2 1066 and comes with Quad PCIe 2.0 graphics interface with ATI CrossFire technology support (two x16 or four x8). The chipset supports 41 lanes of PCIe 2.0 and can run CrossFire and the future Quad CrossFire.

The GA-MA790FX-DQ6 uses High Quality CPU Power design with ferrite core chokes, Low RDS (on) MOSFETs and Solid Capacitors just like the P35-DQ6. Durable Japanese manufactured SMD (Surface Mount Device) Solid Capacitors are used to enhanced the system durability. All New Copper SILENT-PIPE that includes heat sinks are covering the MOSFET modules, the north bridge and the south bridge in order to cool the board silently.

Other features on this board include a Realtek ALC 889A codec with DTS Connect support, featuring 106 dB Signal to Noise ratio enabling Blu-ray and HD DVD high quality Full Rate Lossless audio playback, onboard Dual Gigabit LAN with Teaming function support and Quad BIOS solution for multiple layers of protection. There are also 4 eSATA ports, 1394 and S/PDIF

- Features

1. Supports AMD AM2+ Phenom™/ AM2 Athlon™64 processors and support 4000/ 2000 MT/s FSB.
2. Supports DDR2 1066 memory for outstanding system performance.
3. Quad PCI-E 2.0 graphics interface with ATI CrossFireX™ technology support (two x16 or four x8).
4. Integrated SATA 3Gb/s with RAID function
5. Features dual high speed Gigabit Ethernet and one IEEE1394
6. Ultra Durable 2 motherboard features High Quality CPU Power design with Ferrite core chokes, Low RDS (on) MOSFET and Solid Capacitors.
7. Durable Capacitors that take advantage of Japanese manufactured SMD (Surface Mount Device) solid capacitors for enhanced system durability.
8. All New Copper SILENT-PIPE that includes heat sinks covering MOSFET modules, the north bridge and the south bridge.
9. Audio controller from ALC 889A codec and DTS Connect, featuring 106 dB Signal to Noise ratio and supporting for both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats.

- Full specifications

  1. Supports Quad BIOS
  2. 2 x 8 Mbit flash ROM
  3. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, ACPI 1.0b.
  1. AMD RD790
  2. ATI SB600
  3. Realtek 8111B Gigabit Ethernet
  4. T.I IEEE1394a
  5. Realtek ALC889A 8-channel audio codec
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V
  2. 1 x FDD
  3. 1 x On panel
  4. 1 x IDE
  5. 1 x SPDIF in/out
  6. 1 x System Fan
  7. 1 x TPM
  8. 2 x IEEE 1394a
  9. 2 x USB 2.0 (supports 4 ports)
  10. 6 x SATA II 3.0Gb/s
Rear Panel I/O
  1. 1 x COM port
  2. 1 x IEEE 1394a
  3. 2 x eSATA
  4. 2 x RJ45 LAN
  5. 2 x SPDIF out (coaxial+ optical)
  6. 6 x Audio Jacks
  7. 6 x USB 2.0
  8. 2 x PS/2 (Mouse/Keyboard)
Expansion Slots
  1. 1 x PCI Express x1
  2. 2 x PCI
  3. 4 x PCI Express x16
Other Features
  1. Ultra Durable 2 Motherboard
  2. All cooper Silent Pipe and Crazy Cool
  3. All Japanese manufactured solid capacitors with SMD (Surface Mount Device)
  4. Over-clocking Enhanced
  1. Dual Channel DDRII 1066 / 800 / 667
  2. 4 x DIMM slots
Form Factor
  1. ATX form factor, 305 x 244mm

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