While Intel may look like they are running away with the performance lead, especially now i7 is here, AMD have been busying themselves with the successor to the 780G. Not that the 780G was lacking in features - integrated ATI HD3200 graphics and 1080p playback courtesy of Blue-Ray decoding to name but a few.
AMD however, have decided to eek a little more performance from the 780G by tweaking the core from 500MHz to 700MHz as well as the adding 128mb Sideport Memory. However, if 'On board' graphics is not to your liking then you will be pleased to learn that the 790GX is also Crossfire capable, albeit in x8 + x8 configuration.
That said, the Northbridge isn't really new at all, it's simply a re-hash of the 780G with some performance enhancements. Why mend what isn't broken appears to be the method of thinking here and why not, the 780G was a great chipset with plenty of features to keep the AMD die hards happy. So instead of taking risks and creating a radical new chipset, AMD have done the sensible thing and evolved the 780G into what we are sampling in todays review, the 790GX.
The Southbridge however, is in the guise of AMDs new SB750 south bridge chip. Raid 5 capability has been added which is long overdue and AMD claim that it can out pace Intels ICH10R chipset when 3 drives are used. Adding Raid 5 functionality in itself might be enough to tempt AMD fans to upgrade should you require this function but overclockers will definitely be happy to hear that AMD have also added an Advanced Clock Calibration feature which AMD claim will allow the Phenom core series to overclock much better than before. We will cover the ACC briefly in our overclocking tests but rest assured, AMD claim a minimum of a 200MHz boost thanks to this new feature which takes advantage of some of the Phenoms unused pins to fine tune the clock timings.
So then, AMD have a new chipset that may be able to compete with the NVidia 750a SLI chipset. Let's take a look at how the two chipsets compare and then move on to our two 790GX test boards used for todays review:
With the brief introductions out of the way, it's now time to get down and dirty with the two motherboards in todays review, both hailing from the 790GX stable...