AMD 990FX Mobo Round-Up: Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte - HotHardware

AMD 990FX Mobo Round-Up: Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte

38 thumbs up

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to DDR3-1333. The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, defragged the hard drives, and ran the tests.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head

System 1:
AMD Phenom II X4 980
(3.7GHz Quad-Core)

Asus CrossHair V Formula
(AMD 990FX Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1600MHz)

Radeon HD 6570
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64

System 2:
AMD Phenom II X4 980
(3.7GHz Quad-Core)

ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Pro
(AMD 990FX Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1600MHz)

Radeon HD 6570
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64

System 3:
AMD Phenom II X4 980
(3.7GHz Quad-Core)

Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7
(AMD 990FX Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1600MHz)

Radeon HD 6570
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64

Preliminary Testing with PCMark Vantage
Synthetic Benchmarks

First up, we ran our test systems through Futuremark’s total-system performance evaluation tool, PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage runs through a host of different usage scenarios to simulate different types of workloads including High Definition TV and movie playback and manipulation, gaming, image editing and manipulation, music compression, communications, and productivity.

Most of the sub-tests used to come up with the final scores in each category are multi-threaded as well, so the tests can exploit the additional resources offered by a multi-core CPU.

 

The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Pro technically took the top spot in our PCMark Vantage tests, but the deltas separating the boards were minimal. For an unknown reason, the MSI 890FX board performed poorly in the Memories sub-test, which dragged down it's overall score.

 

Article Index:

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This is cool. Bulldozer is ~really~ gonna pop soon.

I like that the performance of the ASRock board stayed so close to the ASUS. The fact that it has more features for less money has me sold. I may just buy one of them soon, and keep it on the shelf for when Bulldozer is here.

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I wish AMD all the best hopefully they bounce back this round.

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"Nice round-up Marco. But I cant agree with the conclusion, I feel that the Asrock board should have been the editors choice. First of of all, it has more features as you mentioned, like Firewire, dual-Gigabit LAN, and a front-mountable USB 3.0 panel. Second , it cost less. Third, it came out on top, in four of the test. The only thing I dont like is John's face in the bios."

"A request that I have for a future special report or article,that either you or Joel can hopefully take on is, Dual Gigabit lan. what are the advantages of this and how does it perform versus a standard gigabit lan , especially in gaming and in a workstation environment."

"One thing I noted, when Bulldozer arrives, the RAM specifications will change to native 1866 instead of 1800(OC)"

-Optimus

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@Optimus - I hear your points, but the more refined UEFI utility, Intel LAN controller, overall layout and configuration of the Asus board, plus the easy to use OC tools give the the edge for me. I put less stock in Firewire (I never use it) and dual gigabit LAN.

As for the perf of dual gigabit LAN, I'm sure we can work up some benchmarks that show a bandwidth advantage, but for gaming and real-world perf. it's not going to be noticable. It won't have an impact on pings in-game, etc.

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Marco C:
@Optimus - I hear your points, but the more refined UEFI utility, Intel LAN controller, overall layout and configuration of the Asus board, plus the easy to use OC tools give the the edge for me. I put less stock in Firewire (I never use it) and dual gigabit LAN.

"OK, The Intel Lan is better quality, Firewire I will never use, Dual Lan, maybe. The OC tools wasn't mentioned or expanded in the "Bios Comparo and Overclocking" but Asrock has a neat Auto OC feature that people love. Also, the Asrock board supports 4 Way Sli and 4 Way Crossfire, the Asus only supports 3 Way of both. Which brings me to this Question : Even though the GTX 590 and AMD 6990 are dual GPUs in one and are internally SLI'ed and Crossfired, is the Asus Crosshair V limited to only handle one 590 or one 6990?'

-Optimus

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Not at all. 3-way vs. 4-way means it can physically fit 3 or 4 cards.

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Marco C:

Not at all. 3-way vs. 4-way means it can physically fit 3 or 4 cards.

"Thanks for clearing that up for me"

Marco C:
As for the perf of dual gigabit LAN, I'm sure we can work up some benchmarks that show a bandwidth advantage, but for gaming and real-world perf. it's not going to be noticable. It won't have an impact on pings in-game, etc

"That would be great, I have always been curious about Dual Lan"

 

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OptimusPrimeTime:
Firewire I will never use,

One thing that Firewire does that I really like is that you can Daisy-Chain several drives together with only one initial connection to your PC and they'll be seen, and work. A guy that I knew in California produced films for owners of racehorses, about their horses. (something to do with attracting investors) He had a Mac Pro with 6 external Firewire 800 drives all plugged into one another and only one connection to the PC. All of them worked and all ran at full speed. He could use any combination of them at the same time and had no problems with losing data.

So I ended up buying three of them and using them on my IBM clone. (EDIT: After adding a Firewire adapter card to my system) Same result, all of them worked without a hitch. Firewire's speeds have been eclipsed by USB 3.0 and E-SATA since then, but at the time, it was the fastest game in town.

Firewire works, and I'm surprised that it never saw any better adaptation by consumers than it did. I still have one of those (now old) drives and it still works.

 

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USB 2.o :(

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gigabyte and msi should really exit the 19th century. UEFI should be standard by now. who the hell wants to use a non-intuitive old school tandy 1000 type interface anymore? I miss ABIT and all the others that shut down. They would always push for new tech to be standard.

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