Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-DS4H Motherboard Review :: Gigabyte MA790GP-DS4H Features

09-01-2008 · Category: Motherboards

By Ben Sun
Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-DS4H Spec Sheet
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Part NumberGA-MA790GP-DS4H
Price CheckFind Best Price
ChipsetAMD 790GX
North BridgeAMD 790GX
Processor TypesAM2+ / AM2 / Phenom / Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core / Athlon 6
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus5200/2000 MT/s
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory8GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
South BridgeAMD 790GX
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5
FirewireIEEE 1394a
Expansion Slots
Form FactorATX
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  • Supports AMD Phenom/Athlon series CPUs
  • Dual Channel DDR2 1066 for remarkable system performance
  • Built in 128MB DDR3 1333MHz SidePort memory
  • Integrated ATI Radeon HD3300 graphics (DirectX 10)
  • Ultimate graphics performance with dual PCI-E 2.0 x16 interface with ATI CrossFireX support
  • Features high speed Gigabit Ethernet and IEEE1394
  • High quality 106Db SNR AC889 HD Audio
  • Supports Dolby Home Theater audio to create a stunning surroiund sound listening experience
  • Integrated HDMI/DVI interface with HDCP
  • Patented DualBIOS with dual hardware and BIOS protection
  • All Japanese manufactured solid capacitors

One of the issues with the previous generation 780G chipset was the inability of most of the motherboards to support the AMD Phenom X4 9850 and 9950 CPUs. The issue was that the TDP required a 4-phase power design and many of the 780G motherboards would not work with the new CPUs. The 790GX chipset fully supports the CPUs with 140W TDPs and support the 9950+ or lower CPUs.

AMD moved the memory controller from the motherboard chipset to the CPU a few years ago with the launch of the Athlon 64 CPU. Therefore, while a motherboard may support fast DDR2 speeds like 1066MHz; if the CPU doesnít support the faster memory a slower memory speed is used. 128-bit memory is supported in Dual Channel mode, meaning that 1066MHz memory would yield a 8.5GB/second memory interface to the system.

Sideport memory was first introduced with the Xpress 200 chipset. SidePort allows the integrated graphics to use memory that the manufacturer put on the motherboard as a frame buffer instead of or alongside the Athlon 64ís memory controller. The HD3300 onboard the MA-790GP-DS4H motherboard has access to 128MB of DDR3-1333MHz memory to add to the memory installed by the user. This will improve performance across the board by up to 10-20% over boards with this chipset without it.

The 790GX chipset is the first from AMD to support both integrated graphics and CrossfireX with the addition of up to two PCI Express x16 graphics cards. In this case, the 790GX chipset has 22 PCI Express lanes which can be split into two x8 lanes and 6 PCI Express lanes for expansion. You could theoretically install two HD 4870 X2 video cards due to the fact that there is sufficient separation between the two PCI Express x16 slots.

The integrated graphics on the MA790GP-DS4H motherboard are based upon the HD 3200 that was found on the 780G motherboard chipset. There are a couple of notable differences with one of them being SidePort memory and the other being the clock speed of the graphics core. AMD set the clock speed of the HD 3300 to 700MHz, a huge increase from the 280MHz clock speed of the HD3200 found on their last core.

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AMD has included a new Southbridge with their chipset, the SB750. This brings features like RAID 5 and ACC. AMDís chipsets have had issues with their AHCI chip for years. I havenít been able to run RAID 0 mode at all on an AMD chipset since I returned to reviewing motherboards and the issue has lasted longer than that. Features like Native NCQ and hot swapping are disabled as Iíve had to run my WD Raptors in IDE mode instead of the RAID 0 mode I normally run tests on.

ACC stands for Advanced Clock Calibration. The SB750 connects directly to the Phenom CPU, allowing it to change the internal processor timings. AMD expects that ACC will boost top processor speed on a Phenom CPU by up 200MHz. The differences between the SB750 and SB700 are minor aside from the ACC, namely adding support for RAID 5 to the chipset. Due to the issues with AHCI I was unable to test this as it would give me a hard lock with anything but native IDE. The ATI HD3300 integrated graphics has full support for the DirectX 10.0 featureset. The HD3300 has 40 Stream Processors compared to the HD 4870 which has 800 SPs but of course the HD 4870 is designed for a different market being the hardcore enthusiast and not for the integrated graphics market. ATIís chip can play back Blu-Ray discs without pause at full speed and has the AVIVO features to run the latest HD content. The clock speed increase over the HD 3200 should provide much levels of performance compared to NVIDIAís latest.