Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: All three of the AMD 990FX-based motherboards we tested here performed well. Although based on the same silicon as the older 890FX, all of the 990FX-based boards we tested were ever so slightly faster throughout our suite of benchmarks, perhaps due to more finely tuned BIOS / EUFI utilities, more aggressive stock clocks, product maturity, or even a combination of all three. Comparing the performance of the three 990FX-based boards from Asus, ASRock, and Gigabyte directly, it’s impossible to declare a “winner” in terms of performance alone. All three of the boards performed with a percentage point or two of one another, which falls well within the margin of error of our benchmarks.
Asus CrossHair V Formula - Editor's Choice
Picking our favorite 990FX motherboard of the three represented here was tough, but ultimately we’ve decided to give the Asus CrossHair V Formula our Editor’s Choice award. We have been using this motherboard for weeks and through multiple driver releases, OS installs, and UEFI updates, it has been nothing but rock-solid and reliable throughout. We also think the Asus CrossHair V Formula looks good and its layout is excellent. Asus includes a nice array of accessories, and the board’s UEFI setup utility is among the best we have come across on any motherboard to date, and not just with AMD-based boards either. The CrossHair V Formula is also priced right in the middle of the pack at $229. Those of you looking to lay the foundation for a future Bulldozer build would be well served by the Asus CrossHair V Formula.
With that said, the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional was right there alongside the Asus board throughout and it offers more features, like Firewire, dual-Gigabit LAN, and a front-mountable USB 3.0 panel, for less money. The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional has a nicely equipped UEFI setup utility as well and it was a perfectly stable and good performing board in every respect. Although we feel the Asus board has a little something extra in terms of refinement, for just under $200 the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional is solid product worthy of consideration for your next AMD build.
We have mixed feelings toward the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7. Out of the box, and before doing any formal testing, we initially experienced some random instability with the board. Clearing the CMOS, flashing to the latest BIOS, and doing a clean OS install prior to testing resolved the issues and the board was rock solid afterward, but there are some other things that hold it back in light of competing products. While we like the overall look of the board, the complete lack of color coding could be confusing for less experienced builders. The board's older BIOS utility seems antiquated next to newer UEFI utilities and the 990FXA-UD7 is the most expensive board of the bunch at around $250. The Gigabyte 990FX-UD7 is nice, but considering its price, there are more compelling options currently available.
Asus CrossHair V Formula
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Pro