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Wednesday, October 29, 2008
AMD 790GX Roundup

1. About the AMD 790GX chipset

The acquisition of ATI Technologies back in 2006 opened the way for AMD to enter the development of new chipset series that integrate powerful graphics. AMD's latest chipset, the 790GX, integrates advanced performance tuning for AMD Phenom processors, plus ATI RadeonTM HD 3300 motherboard graphics processor (mGPU).

Today we will test two motherboards based on the AMD 790GX series, the Gigabyte MA790GP-DS4H and the Foxconn A7DA-S. Both implementations look quite similar in terms of specifications and we are about to see how they perform in real tests and under overclocking. But first, let's say a few words about the the AMD 790GX chipset.

AMD's latest offering is based on the 780G/SB700 chipsets but adds a few improvements. The most noticeable improvement is the clock speed of the IGP that now rumps at 700 MHz, while the SidePort (on board) memory which is GDDR-3 is running at 1333MHz offering an extra 2.6GB/sec bandwidth. In our test samples of this review, the Sideport is 128MB, but generally it can also can be 64MB.

The 790GX series is compatible with the AM2+ socket and supports HT 3.0. The passively cooled chip has been manufactured using the 55nm process. It also requires less power than the 780G series.

Passing to more technical details, it supports 26 PCI-e 2.0 lanes, which are useful for CrossFire. However, the 790GX splits into 2x 8x PCI-e, occupying the 16 lans. A full CrossFire configuration would need at least 32 lanes (for 2x 16x PCI-e setup). While this might not be the fastest solution for CrossFire, it should handle it without problems.

Another improvement is the inclusion of SB750 southbridge chip that adds RAID5 functionality among with ACC (Advanced Clock Calibration). The latest function is useful when overclocking and hopefully helps the overall process, as we will find out later in our review. Last but not least, the AMD 790GX series output VGA, DVI and HDMI interfaces, making it a great add-on for HTC users. For more information about 790GX series, visit ATI/AMD website.

ATI Radeon Graphics Powering
DirectX 10

Powered by ATI Radeon Graphics, DirectX10 introduces detail-rich images and dynamic interactivity for playing the latest DirectX 10 games
HyperTransport  3.0 Technology HyperTransport 3.0 more than doubles your CPU communications bandwidth to graphics as compared to HT1
PCI Express Generation 2.0 Double your graphics bandwidth over earlier PCI Express for improved performance
Backwards Compatibility Ensures flexibility to build platforms with previous generation CPUs as well as the latest AMD Phenom processors
Performance Cache Performance and power improvements with AMD’s side port technology

ATI Hybrid Graphics

Improve your system performance by enabling the ability for both discrete graphics and integrated graphics to render simultaneously
ATI CrossFireX Technology Upgrade to even greater 3D performance quickly and easily with plug-and-play ATI CrossFireX technology when you use two discrete ATI Radeon Graphics cards
ATI Avivo HD2

ATI Avivo HD is the advanced image and video processing and display technology found in ATI Radeon graphics that enables:

  • brilliant colors, sharp images and smooth playback of Blu-ray and HD DVD content
  • performance that rivals high end HD DVD and Blu-ray players on difficult 1080i content
  • built-in HDMI and DVI with HDCP
Low Power Design Designed for power-efficient computing to help lower energy costs
AMD Cool’nQuiet 2.0 Benefit from power saving features that help reduce power consumption at idle or during low usage
Enhanced Digital Display Integration Supports Display Port interface for the latest displays. Includes a TDMS interfacen that enables dual-link DVI or HDMI 1.2 as well as HDCP 1.1
ATI SurroundView SurroundView feature allows support for up to four independent monitors for systems equipped with an additional Radeon discrete graphics card

ATI PowerPlay

Flexible power saving technologies that ensure optimal power efficiency to help reduce your electricity costs
SB750 Southbridge Support for up to 12 USB 2.0 connections and 6 SATA 2.0 devices, including eSATA devices. Also includes support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10

AMD OverDrive with Advanced Clock Calibration

Shift your system performance into next gear with Advanced Clock Calibration that allows you to get the highest overclocking out of your AMD Phenom CPUs. AMD OverDrive also enables control of the AMD 790GX to easily configure system settings in Microsoft Windows in real-time


Easily configure your RAID setup from remote locations to personalize your media for extra performance or enhanced reliability. Additional RAID 5 support with SB750

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