MSI 790FX-GD70 with latest AM3 structure marks a new beginning

Discussion in 'AMD x86 CPUs and chipsets' started by windwithme, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    Messages:
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    Everyone's deepest impression of AMD came about three or four years ago with the hot release of the K8 chipset,
    which was the first desktop board to support dual-core processors.
    This architecture raised the bar on performance and low-temperature processing, and was very popular in the market for quite some time.

    Intel, at that time, was fighting back with its P4 architecture,
    but though it updated to the LGA 755 P4, its performance didn't show a significant improvement.

    This continued until about two years ago when Intel released its Core 2 Duo processor
    and began a whole new dominance in the market - one that it still maintains.

    Although AMD later released its AM2 Phenom with much anticipation,
    aside from its performance at comparable frequencies lagging behind Intel,
    its built-in L3 Cache and 65nm structure made it impossible to decrease its running temperature and energy use.
    It was also hard to bring the frequencies to a 3.2~3.6 GHz level.
    As such, the Phenom series had a hard time attracting customers concerned with performance and/or temperature.

    This all changed in January of 2009, when AM2 Phenom released a new 45nm chip, the Phenom II.
    This new CPU has already received a lot of attention from online and traditional media,
    and tests are showing that its temperature has come down a lot, whiles the frequencies can reach 4GHz using only air-type cooling systems.

    AMD's time in the back is finally over with the release of this new, strong chip.

    In February of this year, news about the AM3 has begun to be leaked.
    The AM3 is the first platform to support DDR3 memory, and,
    if history is any indication of the future, this will quickly become standard for AMD.

    This takes me back to the new AM3 motherboard: MSI 790FX-GD70.
    This board is able to support AMD Phenom II triple- and quad-core processors, and below is of course the DDR3 version box.
    [​IMG]

    Inside peripherals
    [​IMG]

    MSI 790FX-GD70 board itself
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The MB's lower-left side
    4 X PCI-E X16, supporting ATI CrossFireX
    1 X PCI-E X1
    2 X PCI
    sound chip is Realtek ALC889,which supports HD Audio 7.1 channels
    [​IMG]

    MB's lower-right side
    6 X SATAII(SB750),supporting Raid 0, 1, 5, 0+1
    2 X SATAII(JMB322)
    1 X IDE
    Indicator lights: POWER/RESET/clr CMOS/Green Power/OC Dial and function buttons
    [​IMG]

    MB's upper-right side
    4 X DIMM DDR3, with two power supply connections
    Supports 800/1066/1333/1600/1800/2133 MHz with a 16GB maximum memory.
    The 1600/1800/2133 frequencies require overclocking to be obtained.
    The power supply connectors are 24 PIN.
    [​IMG]

    MB's upper-left corner
    CPU connection is a Socket941 supporting the latest AMD AM3 45nm PhenomII CPUs.
    The board comes with a 5 phase power supply supporting MSI's unique DrMOS technology.
    [​IMG]

    IO ports
    7 X USB 2.0
    1 X IEEE 1394a
    2 X RJ45
    1 X eSATA
    [​IMG]
     
  2. OP
    OP
    windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    On this board, aside from the usual power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons, MSI include three buttons to ease the overclocking process.
    The left-most, after changing the clock speeds, helps the user figure out the CPU's overclocking limits.
    [​IMG]

    MSI's recent cooling system is the Flat Fins Copper-Pipe.
    Its appearance has a lot of class, and truly gives off an air of being a high-level product.
    The pipes' flow can bring the temperature down below 52 degrees C, which is in part due to the benefits of the AMD(ATI) chipset's low temperature, and low energy use.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is the screen after powering on the machine
    [​IMG]

    BIOS main screen
    [​IMG]

    Cell Menu
    [​IMG]

    You can tweak the voltage quite a bit
    [​IMG]

    Memory-Z
    [​IMG]

    DRAM settings page; opening the selection menu lets you see several more performance settings.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. doghouse

    doghouse Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,750
    Those photos are superb! :thumbup: That is a good looking board
    Any results?
     
  4. OP
    OP
    windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    M-Flash, you can directly update the BIOS
    [​IMG]

    H/W Monitor
    [​IMG]

    Tested platform
    CPU: AMD AM3 45nm 2.8G
    MB: MSI 790FX-GD70
    DRAM: CORSAIR Dominator 1GBX2 DDR3 2133C9D
    VGA: MSI N9600GT Diamond
    HD: SAMSUNG 250GB
    POWER: Corsair HX1000W Modular Power Supply
    Cooler: Thermaltake V1 AX/JETART Nano Diamond
    [​IMG]

    CPU info
    45nm, triple-core, without L3 version (the tested CPU has specs which won't be produced anymore).
    [​IMG]

    The graphics card used is MSI N9600GT Diamond
    Its components are outstanding, Hi-c CAP,DrMOS
    and its specs use the special 9600GT.
    IO ports have DVI, HDMI, D-SUB via a DVI-D-Sub adapter, S/PDIF-in and an overclocking button.
    [​IMG]

    The DDR3 used the high-end, CORSAIR Dominator 1GBX2 DDR3 2133C9D
    [​IMG]

    Preliminary test
    CPU 200X14=>2800Mhz 1.300V
    DRAM DDR3 1333 CL6 6-6-18 1T
    VGA 650/1625/850Mhz

    Hyper PI 3X32M & CPUMARK
    [​IMG]

    CrystalMark 2004R3
    [​IMG]

    CINEBENCH R10
    [​IMG]

    DDR3 1333 CL6 6-6-18 1T
    Sandra Memory Bandwidth-12269MB/s
    EVEREST Memory Read-93533MB/s
    [​IMG]
     
  5. OP
    OP
    windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    3DMARK2005
    [​IMG]

    3DMARK2006
    [​IMG]

    Crysis Benchmark
    [​IMG]

    Overclocked test (without limits)
    Test settings
    CPU 240X15=>3600Mhz 1.337V
    DRAM DDR3 1600 CL8 8-8-24 1T
    VGA 650/1625/850Mhz

    Hyper PI 3X32M & CPUMARK
    [​IMG]

    CrystalMark 2004R3
    [​IMG]

    CINEBENCH R10
    [​IMG]

    DDR3 1600 CL8 8-8-24 1T
    Sandra Memory Bandwidth-14476MB/s
    EVEREST Memory Read-10544MB/s
    [​IMG]

    3DMARK2005
    [​IMG]

    3DMARK2006
    [​IMG]

    Crysis Benchmark
    [​IMG]

    The tested AM3 chipset is the 790FX northbridge with the SB750 southbridge, which is currently AMD's pinnacle product.
    Price-wise, because it has come out after AM2+ has been on the market for a while, it isn't too much of a jump from previous boards.

    MSI put a lot of thought and attention to detail into its AM3 platform 790FX-GD70.
    Aside from adding new functions and design, the cooling system is a thing of beauty and adds to the overall sense of quality in this board.

    This was my first time using the 45nm AM3 platform, and I can already see a big drop in temperature and energy-use.
    The frequency peaks have also been raised quite a bit from the 65nm chips - online results
    I have seen indicate the AM2+ PhenomII can be overclocked to 4GHz or higher.

    Regarding the performance, although they results weren't the surprise I had imagined,
    the 45nm design showed a not too small improvement in lowering the temperature and conserving energy.
    Add to that AMD's CPUs lower price-range, then I can see this platform attracting a lot of customer attention
    if the 45nm triple-core or other PhenomII CPUs can maintain a price similar to the current 65nm versions.

    Personally, given the high price-performance ratio, I feel that this AMD platform has a lot of potential in the mid-/low-price segments of 2009.

    This review marks a new beginning for AMD,
    and it is my hope that even better AM3 overclocking performance or special functions will appear in the many reports to follow :).
     
  6. Excalibur9700

    Excalibur9700 Member

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    nice review, this board somewhat changes my impression about MSI products, do u kno how this compares to the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P? i hope u get that board for a review as well.
     
  7. haha

    haha Member

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    Nice review. I can see MSI spending a lot of time catching up recently. DrMOS is very positive invention. MSI used to dominate AMD market in the old days..
     
  8. Dale-C

    Dale-C Member

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    That board is black, im defo buying it haha
     
  9. jor8

    jor8 Member

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    Hmmmm
    maybe time to upgrade..

    looks fantastic

    another great review

    regs john
     
  10. onthepulse

    onthepulse Member

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    Impressive budget CPU also. Will give Intel a run for its money in this price segment.

    Board looks absolutely AWESOME. Can't wait to see a high-frequency Quad on this platform.

    Also, the 9600GT scores pretty well on this setup. Similar scores to a 9800GT...
     
  11. LostBenji

    LostBenji Member

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    Up a tower somewhere....
    Nice to see it actually being a reasonable option.
    The real question is how does it feel compared to Intels offererings ?
     
  12. mixsetup

    mixsetup Member

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    When will we be able to buy it ?
     
  13. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    Good. With Epox, Soltek, Abit, and Shuttle out of the mainboard market, it'll be good to have MSI competing properly again. Their 8-DIMM DDR2 + DDR3 board (here) looks like it could be nice, if it's affordable.

    windwithme: did they give you a price estimate? As you've said, AMD has a lot of potential in the mid-range and low-end markets, so the mainboards really need to be priced accordingly. MSI has generally been a fair bit cheaper than Gigabyte and Asus; it'd be nice to see their high-end boards coming in at under $200.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  14. Nikon223

    Nikon223 Member

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    Good review. I can't wait to get my hands on one of these :D
     
  15. mixsetup

    mixsetup Member

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    Found it on a US site for $172.99 so will be average price here I think like $250 odd with post will be extra so around maybe $300 or so with post. What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009

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