Gigabyte/MSI 790GX Showdown

by Rafael Hernandez on March 6, 2009 · 0 comments

AMD’s Phenom II has gotten the enthusiast crowd excited about the company’s platform again so SilentPCReview thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at the 790GX chipset that are conveniently affixed on a pair of motherboards from Gigabyte and MSI. Here are some of their findings:

The Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-DS4H and MSI DKA790GX Platinum are solid boards based on the 790GX northbridge and SB750 southbridge. The features are very similar, with neither board offering anything compelling over the other. The inclusion of a single eSATA port (which can be easily replicated with a cheap adapter) along with a few extra accessories is really the only thing that sets the DKA790GX Platinum apart on paper. It may be why the board carries a $20 price premium over its rival.

If power consumption is the deciding factor, our recommendation depends on what components will be used to fill out the rest of the system. If you wish to use a low TDP chip and intend to actively use the IGP rather than a discrete video card, the 790GP-DS4H is more energy efficient. It can also run on Sideport memory alone, which is enough to playback Blu-ray movies and will save you some system memory. The MSI board requires some system memory to be allocated to the IGP, 64MB at least for Blu-ray playback. For higher-end systems, the DKA790GX Platinum is more power efficient when a Phenom II chip is utilized, but this advantage evaporates once the IGP is called into action. We aren’t sure exactly why but power consumption during video playback and 3D load was consistantly higher on the MSI board. For a gaming machine with a discrete graphics card, this obviously wouldn’t be an issue.

Some quality options if you’re planning yourself a move to the Phenom platform.

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