AMD 790GX Head to Head

Test Setup
To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below:

During the testing of the setup above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:
Synthetic CPU & Memory Subsystem
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• Lavalys Everest 4.0

File Compression & Encoding
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark

Disk I/O Performance
• HDTach
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06

3D Games
• Bioshock
• F.E.A.R
• Unreal Tournament III

I primarily intended to use AMDs ACC utility which produced good results (2.2ghz average on both boards). This result was almost mirrored by the use of MSIs on board  old school FSB dip switches (2160MHz). I was actually surprised at the ease with which the dip switches worked and it was a shame that the switches did not offer any further increase than 20% as it would be an ideal solution for anyone not comfortable with the dark arts of BIOS tweaking. With the novice AMD ACC and dip switching exhausted, I still felt there was still more to be had so I went straight for the throat and entered the BIOS. Here’s what our baby AMD chip achieved on each board:

Using a maximum Vcore of 1.45v. the Gigabyte motherboard attained the highest stable clockspeed of 2448 MHz. FSB testing was a null point as regardless of CPU multi, the highest attainable FSB remained the same so the Gigabyte won out here as well scoring 12 MHz higher than the MSI. Any higher FSB resulted in a non-boot scenario which was slightly disappointing but considering each board managed a 500+MHz overclock, this is still a good achievement.