For testing purposes, we thought it would be interesting to take these new Phenom II processors for a spin not only in an existing and proven socket AM2+ platform, but in a brand new DDR3-capable socket AM3 platform as well. To that end, we enlisted the help of Asus who came through with a 790FX-based M4A79T Deluxe.
The M4A79T Deluxe is one of Asus' premiere socket AM3-based motherboards. We'll show you the mobo itself in a minute, but first we want to explain what it comes with. Bundled with the M4A79T Deluxe, included in the shiny, reflective green box, we found and assortment of five SATA cables, a case bracket equipped with both USB and Firewire ports, an IDE cable, two CrossFire bridge connectors, a package of Q-Connectors, a custom I/O shield, a driver CD, and of course a user's manual.
In addition to drivers, we should also note, that the CD included with the M4A79T Deluxe also contains a copy of Norton Internet Security 2008, and a few proprietary Asus utilities designed for overclocking (Turbo V) and power conservations (EPU).
The Asus M4A79T Deluxe is built around the AMD 790FX / SB750 chipset. It features a dark colored PCB with color coded slots and expansion headers. And un general, the layout of the motherboard is very good with no glaring problems with connector placement or clearance. The M4A79T Deluxe features four, DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB of memory, four PCI Express x16 slots (with a flexible lane configuration), and two standard PCI slots. The M4A79T Deluxe also features an 8+2 phase power array design and an elaborate, all copper cooling apparatus that's attached not only to the components in the VRM, but to the 790FX and SB750 chips as well.
All of the board's various connectors and headers are situated around the edges of the PCB, and are clearly labeled for easy installation. The M4A79T Deluxe also sports some handy integrated power and reset switches, and for you hardcore overclockers out there, there's even a CPU Overvolting jumper that unlocks core voltages as high as 1.9v. While on the subject of overclocking, we should also note that the M4A79T Deluxe is outfitted with a full featured BIOS as well, rife with overclocking and performance related options. We've only had the board in house for a very short time (about 2 days actually), but it has been running non-stop since we set it up and performance and stability seem top notch.
The ports in the M4A79T Deluxe's I/O backplane consist of PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, six USB 2.0 ports, analog (6) and digital (2) audio inputs and outputs, eSATA and Firewire ports, and an RJ45 LAN jack. Audio on the board comes by way of a Realtek 1200 series HD codec, Gigabit Ethernet comes by way of a Realtek 8112 PCIe controller, and Firewire by a VIA VT6315N.