MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 Motherboard

Performance Summary & Conclusion

Performance Summary: The MSI 790FX-GD70 performed well in all of our benchmarks and kept in line with the similar 790FX based ASUS M4A79T Deluxe board we used as a reference. The GD70 was configured identically to the M4A79T in all tests and it generally performed just as well, taking small leads in several tests. We also saw that the DDR3 equipped 790FX-GD70 has a slight but noticeable performance advantage over DDR2 equipped boards like many based on the 790GX chipset. Overall, the 790FX-GD70 is a great performer and hangs with the upper echelon of currently available AM2+/AM3 motherboards.


If you are after the highest-end chipset from AMD for gaming and overclocking, you need to look no further than the AM3 790FX. It promises the best performance, most overclocking headroom and full CrossFireX support, putting it well above other AMD chipsets if you are looking to build a top-end gaming rig. Unfortunately there aren't exactly a plethora of retail options available at the moment. At the time of this writing, we only counted four available AM3 790FX boards and half of them didn't implement the FX's full set of features, missing things like four PCI-E x16 slots for quad-CrossFireX support. One of the two available AM3 790FX boards implementing the full FX feature set is the ASUS M4A79T Deluxe, the other is the MSI 790FX-GD70. Judging from our initial impressions from this evaluation, the 790FX-GD70 looks extremely promising.

The 790FX-GD70 not only performed just as well, if not slightly better than the M4A79T out of the box, but our overclocking trial suggests it's very overclockable as well. The MSI board also comes at a slightly lower price than the ASUS board, as the 790FX-GD70 is currently offered for around $175, about $15 less than the M4A79T Deluxe. Despite the lower price, the 790FX-GD70 misses nothing in terms of features. It comes with all the juicy extras you expect from a high-end board, like automatic phase switching, all solid capacitors, shielded chokes, competitive power saving features and full CrossFireX support with four physical PCI-E x16 slots, not to mention a decent bundle of accessories. The only area where the 790FX-GD70 doesn't quite stack up to the competition is in the number of power phases available to the processor. While it is standard these days for most enthusiast motherboards to feature 8-phase power designs, with some sporting as many as 16, the 790FX-GD70 only gets 5. Ultimately though, the number of power phases available doesn't have a particularly notable effect on performance so it's not of crucial importance in the big picture and pales to insignificance next to the GD70's many strengths.

Overall MSI has created a very competitive board with the 790FX-GD70. It features an excellent layout, well designed functional cooling system, CrossFireX support with four PCI-E x16 slots, excellent overclocking ability and useful features like the innovative OC Dial. While many users may be better served by cheaper 790GX based solutions like MSI's DKA790GX, those of you looking for a high-end enthusiast board to pair up with your brand new AM3 Phenom II processor should definitely consider the MSI 790FX-GD70.


  • Good Performance
  • Highly Overclockable
  • Quad-CrossFire Support
  • Support for DDR3 2133 OC
  • Cool Features (OC DIal, Phase Indicator LEDs, Onboard Buttons)


  • Poor Front Panel Audio Connector Placement
  • "Only" 5-Phase Power Design


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