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ASUS M4A78T-E 790GX AM3 Motherboard Review

by FiXT     |     April 20, 2009

Specifications




Manufactured on 55nm process, the small, low power 790GX northbridge was designed as an enthusiast-friendly chipset with the bonus of featuring an integrated graphics processor. The chipset features HyperTransport 3.0 support for all Phenom and Athlon X2 "Kuma" processors, and 22 PCI-E 2.0 lanes, 16 of them dedicated towards the graphics sub-system. In CrossFireX mode, those 16 lanes can be evenly split between two physical PCI-E x16 slots running at x8 each.

The IGP on the 790GX is known as both the RS780D and Radeon HD 3300. It is based on the RV610 core, and it features a 700Mhz core clock, 4 ROPs, 40 Shaders, and 128MB of DDR3-1333 SidePort memory built onto the motherboard, as well as a UMA option to access up to 512MB of system memory

In its current form, the 790GX is paired with the advanced SB750 southbridge, which supports six SATA II ports, AHCI, four RAID modes, up to twelve USB 2.0 ports, and one legacy parallel ATA channel among other goodies. This southbridge is also responsible for the popular Advanced Clock Control, which permits fancy tricks like allowing you to potentially enable the fourth core on Phenom II X3 720 BE processors and unlock the extra cache on the X4 810 models.

The main selling point of this brand new AM3 platform is the much awaited support for DDR3. Official support is for dual-channel DDR3-1333 in unganged mode, however the integrated memory controller (IMC) built into each processor does have a multiplier to support DDR3-1600. For those of you unfamiliar with the term unganged, the Phenom II's IMC is implemented as two seperate 64-bit controllers rather than a single 128-bit interface. As a result, the platform can either emulate a single 128-bit dual-channel mode (ganged) or operate as two independent 64-bit memory controllers capable of processing two memory requests simultaneously (unganged). The latter is faster in multi-threaded scenarios, while the former is better for single-threaded environments, but also puts more strain on the IMC and thus is relegated to slower DDR3-1066 memory speeds.

 
 
 

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