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


BIOS Options
The POST screen, as with most motherboards of today can be set to either display an image or the configuration table of the mainboard. The image DFI have chosen is a replica of the front of the box which is very attractive, especially when compared to 16bit images of yesteryear.
The focus of the BIOS lays in the 'Genie' settings which contain all of the most common overclocking configurations available. The BIOS is controlled via the arrow, tab, function keys and enter to input your desired values and additional windows pop up depending on the setting.
front end Genie
The DRAM configuration setting allows memory timing, DCT modes and power CKE modes. The CPU feature set allows C1E support, changing the voltage and clockspeed depending on power requirements at the time but most interestingly, clock calibration on each core.
DRAM config CPU feature
Voltage settings can be adjusted in the main page or via the PWM sub menu allowing CPU VID, DRAM, PLL, NB, PCIe and HT voltages to be tweaked to their optimum settings. As our CPU is an unlocked version of AMD's 955 Core the CPU multiplier can be scrolled through upto a maximum of x39.5. The CPU-NB multi can also be increased to a maximum x25.
PWM setting clock ratio
The HT Link speed can be tweaked to many values, most of which will result in a none boot scenario but it's nice to have the option nonetheless. Below right we see the memory timing page which is not as comprehensive as some BIOS's I have come across but it does have all the usual timings and sub-timings.
HT link timings
As with the Asus board, DFI also include a profile save page with 4 profiles available. A neat feature of the DFI board is that you can configure the motherboard to reload any one of your saved profiles should an overclock be unsuccessful. You can also set the number of times the motherboard will attempt to load your ambitious overclocking attempts before falling back to your chosen profile. A nice safeguard that will prevent a lot of time wasting re-entering the settings over and over again.
CMOS reloaded monitor
While at first glance this is not the most complex DFI BIOS I have seen it is certainly thorough and will allow even the most experienced overclocker to get the most out of their hardware. The fun doesn't stop there though as by pressing F9 in the main BIOS menu a new window pops up asking if you would like the easy (above options) or advanced. The advanced options are an expansion of the above with additional settings available to tweak your settings to the extreme.
extra 1 extra 2
By using the setting the BIOS to run in advanced mode, a whole host of new memory settings are available via the ODC sub-menu. This sub-menu allows the user to adjust the drive strength to a huge range of possibilities as well as adjusting the CPU on-die termination. Another menu that appears that wasn't available before are the HT-Link control options which give the user much more settings to play with. However using the advanced settings can render your motherboard into a non booting piece of silicon, in our case resulting in an hour long battery removal to get it to boot again due to the fact that neither EZ clear switches nor the CMOS clear jumpers having any effect.
Let's see how the DFI board faired in the overclocking stakes when pitched up against the Asus motherboard...
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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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