Asus Crosshair III Formula vs DFI DK 790FXB M3H5 Face-Off


Looking at the benchmarks we have run today it is clear that AMD have made up a lot of ground on Intel. Bang per buck there is no doubting that the AMD setup is the clear winner. £150 vs £220 is a no brainer, especially if you intend to run the CPU at stock speed where the AMD also happens to be the better performer. However, and here is the kicker, one has to consider that the benchmarks run today were at very different clockspeeds. Almost 600MHz separated the two CPU's and as such it was, in hindsight not the best comparison to make.
Had the Intel been overclocked to the same speed as the AMD I'm sure the results would have been much closer although dare I say it not close enough. The Intel setup is so much easier to overclock and 4-4.2GHz is easily attainable on most setups. This is in stark contrast to the AMD rig where even the range topping Phenom II x4 955 struggled to surpass 3.8GHz. So for now Intel still hold the crown as best performers but they better watch out because AMD are closing on them and if we were talking value for money, the AMD setup is by far and away the better setup.
The two AMD motherboards we had on test today were also different in that the Crosshair III is the flagship Asus AMD board whereby the DFI DK 790FXB M3H5 is DFI's mid range option. This was no more evident than in the packaging and presentation. Think of Ferrari vs Porsche and you are almost there. The Asus screamed premium from the outside of the box to the accessories included whereby the DFI just seemed to go through the motions with little improvement bar the exterior design of there packaging from over 2 years ago. Much more thought had gone into presenting the Asus board, that much was clear.
Performance wise I would have to give that to the Asus too, just. There was very little to separate the motherboards but overall I think it's fair to say the Asus Crosshair III just edged it in the benchmarks. One area which I expected the DFI to win hands down was the overclocking arena. DFI have long been the masters of overclocking and have attracted enthusiasts by the bus load thanks to the complex yet easy to navigate BIOS. I would like to say nothing has changed but surprisingly it has. The DFI still has an amazing BIOS but the Asus is much easier to follow and now has the options to compete with the DFI.
The overall overclocking experience of both boards was very different. I enjoyed the process with the Asus but felt very frustrated with the DFI. I don't know whether it was because I was expecting much more from the DFI or not as you have to remember this is not DFI's range topper. Then again, neither was the DFI nForce Ultra back in the day but you would never hear me complain about that as it was the best board out at the time and overclocking that was a pleasure. Perhaps the thing that frustrated me most was the very poor overclock recovery of the DFI. I seemed to spend more time trying to get the board to post than I did actually testing it and the EZ switches on this board did not seem to work as well as previous DFI boards I have tested. Also, what were DFI thinking putting a jumper on the backplate too, surely a button is not too much to ask for?
While the DFI did gain the upperhand in the overclocking department, the time and effort spent in getting that extra 80MHz was the most infuriating I have had overclocking in a long time.
It appears DFI have taken a backward step and as such Asus have taken the initiative by making a very solid motherboard that not only looks the part but can hold it's own against both AMD motherboards and Intel setups too. Both motherboards are priced competitively at around the £140 mark. With that in mind I would place my money on the Asus as even though it didn't quite match the overclock of the DFI, it was by far the more superior product in all other areas assessed.
Asus Crosshair III
The Good
- A1 packaging
- Excellent performance
- SupremeFX
- On boards switches
The Mediocre
- 5 SATA ports
- Ageing ROG colour scheme
- 2x PCIe x16 ports
The Bad
- Memory slots too close to CPU socket

The Good
- Best overclocker out of the two boards on test
- 6 SATA Ports
- UV Design
- CrossfireX Compatible
The Mediocre
- Diagnostic LED (not enough info)
- Interior packaging dated
- Poor switches, both in design and function
The Bad
- Memory slots too close to CPU socket
- Jumper on I/O shield
Thanks to AMD, Asus and DFI for providing the CPU and motherboards which made todays review possible. Discuss in our forums.
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Most Recent Comments

26-07-2009, 20:29:16

Jeez I'm quite surprized tbh.

Excellent review.

Shame on DFI with some of their onboard choices ALC885 and Marvell ? c'mon - throw in the jumper and I'd expect the mobo to be cheaper.

The ASUS tho, even as the DFI kept up with it (and it can be assumed better with the model up), very very nice figures for the gamer.

Things are looking green whilst blue seems to want to confuse. Weird that cos in other respects AMD would be ... red Quote

26-07-2009, 20:37:36

Asus calling that a top of the range bord ...

If i was paying that much id expect 6 sata and water cooling blocks for the chip set and so much more ...

Is it relay worth that much ...

Excellent review.Quote

26-07-2009, 20:39:45

Compared to the cost of i7 motherboards its a freakin bargain!Quote

26-07-2009, 20:41:55

yeh i7 is just extortion ...

What happened to our lovely sub £100 boards that used to perform like "some thing off a stick" ..

Now there filled with useless rubbish and fancy packaging that costs more than half the bit's inside the box.

I would like my £100 Sub boards that performed back .... This is a recession were in ...

God if i was a reviewer id be the most hated reviewer out there because im so critical or half the gear they stuff inside these things.

Reviews all say yeah you get 6 sata leads and a LCD and loads of fancy this and that. Me i say remove that and drop the price by £50 / £60 quid and ill be happy.

Half the Gimmicks are just that "Pure Gimmicks" nothing more.

Im trying to avoid this coming out as a rant more trying to point out facts.

Bling is just chav.....

Don't forget im a little old fashioned as well.Quote

26-07-2009, 21:08:18

I totally agree. However I do like a well rounded product. Packaging is a major plus point with me and they score highly if its done right.

Prices have rocketted though I do agree and yeah they could cut out half the crap but when you compare the Asus vs the DFI here, both costing more or less the same the Asus wins hands down for the bling and accessories alone, let alone performance.Quote

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