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The four horsemen may be saddling up and Gozer the Gozerian might soon appear, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad news. With people digging in the couch crevices for dropped coins to build a new system, AMD’s back on the menu again. Don’t believe us?
We recently added up the cost differential of building a Core i7 machine versus a Phenom II rig and the AMD system saved us at least $200. Sure, the Core i7 will whup any Phenom II up and down the block, but $200 gets you a hell of a lot more videocard, hard drive, or power supply. If you’re thinking, “Why not Core 2?” our reasons are simple: legs. We don’t have faith Intel will push out faster and better Core 2 procs, but AMD will support AM2+ for at least 12 months through newer and faster AM3 CPUs.
Budget buyers rejoice! MSI's Phenom II board will get you through the slump.
Thus, we dusted off our benchmarks to look at MSI’s DKA790GX Platinum. The board features integrated graphics with the option for hybrid CrossFire mode. Unfortunately, the add-in card must be equally as weak as the integrated part, so don’t expect miracles. It’s like combining one poke in the eye with a second poke to see if it really hurts that much.
Compared to the Gigabyte MA 790GP-DS4H, the DKA790GX Platinum has a superior SATA port layout. Other enthusiast-like touches MSI included are PCB-mounted switches and a fully heat-piped south bridge. We also favor MSI’s excellent Live Update feature that checks for newer BIOSes, utilities, and drivers for the board.
Performance is good, but both the MSI and the Gigabyte 790GX board are aced by Asus’s 790FX-based M3A32-MVP board. As with a lot of modern motherboards, however, performance really isn’t the make-or-break issue. It’s about features and amenities. In this respect, MSI’s board is better than Gigabyte’s. The integrated graphics are a joke, but the 790GX boards tend to sell for $50 less than 790FX boards, with the graphics thrown in for free.
Well-furnished board at a budget price.
Free integrated graphics are still a joke.
|MSI DKA790GX ||Gigabyte MA790GP-DS4H |
|PCMark06 Overall ||8,223 ||8,223 |
|PCMark06 RAM ||4,613 ||4,783 |
|3DMark 06 RAM ||11,617||11,571 |
|HD Tach Avg. ||77.5 ||59.3 |
|ScienceMark 2.0 Overall||1,500 ||1,581|
|Science Mark 2.0 Mem||6,190 ||8,105.5 |
|Valve Particle test ||73 ||66 |
|UT3 (fps)||79 ||76 |
|FEAR (fps) ||193 ||173 |
|Quake 4 (fps) ||160.5 ||166 |
|UE Mem Copy (MB/s)||8,462||8,652|
|UE Mem Latency||55.8||60.1|
Bold denotes winner. We tested with an AMD 2.GHz Phenom X4 9850, 4GB of Kingston Hyper-X DDR2/1066, GeForce 8800 GTX, WD 150GB Raptor, a PC Power and Cooling 1200 PSU, and Windows Xp SP3.