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AMD Roundup August 09


by Stuart Davidson - 13th August 2009
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ASRock M3A790GXH-128M

ASRock package their board in a holographic box with plenty of information on the major features of the board. Inside we find a reasonably basic bundle which gives us enough to get a system up and running.

The board itself uses a blue PCB and the product as a whole certainly is not lacking in colour! ASRock have opted for the combination of 790GX Northbridge and the 750 Southbridge on this product, combined with socket AM3 this means we have a board which supports the Phenom 2 X4, X3 and X2 range as well as Athlon 2 X2 processors. As this is an AM3 product it supports DDR3 with official support up to 1333MHz and 1600MHz available through overclocking. The maximum capacity which can be installed is 16 GB.

There are plenty of add-in slots on the M3A790GXH which run PCIe 1x, 16x, 8x, PCI, PCIe 4x, PCI. Observant readers will also notice that there is a bridge card between the green and blue PCI-Express slots; this configures the board for 16x operation in single graphics card configurations or two 8x slots in CrossFire mode. Over at the bottom right of the motherboard we find the USB and firewire headers along with six SATA 2 ports. These support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD.

There is a decent selection of inputs and outputs on the M3A790GXH which start with a PS/2 keyboard port that sits above two of the six USB 2.0 ports. Optical audio is present as are the connectors for analogue; all use the onboard Realtek ALC890. Also included are a single Realtek 8111DL GB-LAN port, firewire and eSATA which is shared with SATA port 6.

As the 790GX chipset is used on this board we have onboard ATI graphics in the form of a Radeon 3300. This 55nm DirectX 10 GPU has 40 unified shaders and supports 512mb of shared memory but also has its own 128Mb of DDR3 running at 1333MHz. The GPU runs at 700MHz, supports high-definition acceleration, HDCP and audio over HDMI. Speaking of HDMI, there are three further outputs on this board, that is the first and we also have VGA and DVI.

BIOS

ASRock use an American Megatrends BIOS on their board and most of the performance options can be found in the CPU configuration screen. In here we can increase the multiplier and CPU voltages up to 1.86 are available. Elsewhere in the BIOS is a section to choose pre-defined overclocking profiles which some users may find useful. Finally, with the latest BIOS ASRock added Instant Flash which allows us to update the BIOS without a floppy drive.

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