790GX and SB750 explored and reviewed

Motherboards/AMD AM2+ by massman @ 2008-10-02

The 790GX chipset has been released a while ago and motherboards equiped with this chipset and the new southbridge chipset SB750 are now widely available in the local hardware shops. Madshrimps has had its sample, sent by AMD, on the testbench a while now and today we have a look at the new technology, including a better IGP and supposedly better overclocking.

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Madshrimps (c)

Okay, okay, I admit: I have a little thing for AMD. Is it because the first desktop computer I ever assembled myself was built around an AMD processor, is it because their latest products convince me that they are back on track or is it just the cliché of people cheering for the underdog ... I guess all three. My first AMD Athlon XP dragged me into the hardware enthousiast scene and before I knew it, I was overclocking my XP-mobile 2600+ on water cooling to an astonishing 2,8GHz. I still have an AXP setup lying on my desk, by the way, just in case I ever want to put together liquid nitrogen and old-skool hardware. The second possibility is true as well. Thusfar, I have written three reviews of AMD products and in each of the three reviews I found something interesting about the product I was looking at.

We don’t despair or lose hope though, we need AMD to provide competition and be the other choice for end users. The K10 Phenom is a step in the right direction and as yields get better, at higher speeds it will stand its ground. The model tested today already proved that clock for clock it’s a match to Intel’s latest 45nm CPU.
( ~ Mainstream Quad Core Processors Compared from AMD and Intel)

All in all, I'm surprised in a positive way with the AMD X3 triple core processor. Yes, gaming performance is a little behind, but the difference is very small, games which support multi cores will get a nice boost with the X3, unfortunately the list of games that efficiently support more than 2 cores is very short. Three cores is innovative and in fact a brilliant move from AMD, because Intel is not capable of producing triple cored CPU's as they work with native dualcores (a quadcore = 2 x dualcore glued together).
( ~ AMD Phenom X3: One too little or one too much?)

When I read the first reviews of the HD4850, I instantly noticed how almost every media claimed that this is thé best card in the price/performance ratio class. It's quite obvious actually, because the card performs almost on par with the 9800GTX, in some tests even better, and it's very well priced. This kind of shows which direction AMD has chosen to follow, the direction that made the company as what it is today: not the absolute top product, but nearly unbeatable in the price/performance ratios. AMD already cut prices in the CPU segment, making it possible to buy quad cores at less than €100. To be honest, if you want a good gaming setup, you could consider the Spider platform: a Phenom processor and multiple HD 4000 series cards in Crossfire-X. You'd be amazed about the performance you get.
( ~ ATI HD Radeon 4850 vs NVIDIA Geforce 9800 GTX)

You can probably imagine how happy I was when AMD decided to send me a 790GX motherboard with the new southbridge SB750. In the following pages, you will find my view on the performance of the motherboard, what you can expect in terms of IGP performance and how well the overclocking goes. But first of all, let's have a quick look at the key features of this new chipset.

Madshrimps (c)
(2850MHz with an Athlon XP Mobile 2600+ on watercooling)

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