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XFX 790i - FIRST LOOK

Discussion in 'Motherboards & Memory' started by Tatty_One, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    XFX 790i Ultra - FIRST LOOK

    I have just received my spanking new XFX 790i board although sadly I cannot set it up yet as I am still waiting for my DDR3 memory and a Q6600 with a 1.150v ViD from Malaysia. So in any case, as a couple of TPU members have now got this fledgling chipset I though it might be a good idea to do a mini "Amateur" review.

    So this will be Part 1 which is the spec and cosmetics, my intention being to run many benches once I get it setup probably next weekend. Some of the exciting things about this boards BIOS is that I can disable as many of the cores on the Quad as I want (although it's not advisable to disable all 4 :eek:). This way I can do some benches on 1, 2, 3 and 4 cores on popular games and apps to perhaps finally add a little sceince to all those flambait threads matching Wolfdales against quads and the value of multithredded games blah blah.

    You will be aware that the 790i chipset was only released last month and is heralded as "NVidia's saviour" in the S775 chipset wars, a war that has seen it lag behind Intels P35, x38 and more recently x48 chipsets. Until a few weeks ago, if you wanted to run SLi with an Intel CPU you had only the now ageing 680i/650i chipset, more recently the 780i/750i has been released, some would say as a "stopgap" for the 790i. General opinion of the 780i was that it was just a stutter forward from the 680i with the same age old issues that it had but it was the only real option if you wanted to run a 45nm quad. The 750i was actually seen as the better option from the reviews I read, much cheaper, slightly better at overclocking (especially the MSI Platinum derivative) but no Tri SLi.

    So here we finally have the 790i, one thing that is for sure with recent NVidia chipsets is that they are damn expensive! too expensive in my opinion, this board cost me £222 in the UK or around $440 US and is the most expensive board I have ever bought :cry: Initially the only 790i boards available to the retail market are variations from Anus, EVGA and of course XFX. The EVGA and XFX boards are NVidia Reference designs where the Anus is their own design. There are a number of reviews already out on the net for the chipset and XFX specifically, for a fledgling board they suggest a lot of promise where across the board they can easily compete against the x38 and x48 and some of the boards have shown overclocking to FSB's of upto 570mhz......we will see later!:D When I do test them for overclockability I intend to use the Q6600 of course,by disabling two of it's cores I will turn it into an E6600 plus a friend has promised to lend me his E8400 Wolfdale for a day to give that a few runs.

    Links to a couple of reviews are here:

    http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTQ3NiwxLCxoZW50aHVzaWFzdA==

    http://www.driverheaven.net/reviews.php?reviewid=538
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
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  2. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Specs

    SATA Speed
    3.0 Gb/s
    Audio
    8-Channel High Definition Audio
    USB
    (10) USB 2.0 ports (6 Rear + 2x2 Onboard)
    Native Gigabit Ethernet Connections
    Dual
    SATA/PATA Drives
    6/2
    SLI Techonology
    3 x16 (3-Way SLI)
    Socket
    Intel Socket 775
    System Memory
    Dual Channel 240-pin DDR3 up to 2000MHz w/ EPP 2.0
    LAN
    Dual Onboard LAN Supports 10/100/1000 Mb/s
    IEEE 1394 (Firewire)
    (2) 1394a @ 400 Mb/s (1 Rear + 1 Onboard)
    Front Side Bus
    1600 MHz with supporting CPU
    Supported CPUs
    Intel Penryn, Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Pentium
    Chipset
    NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra MCP
    PCI-E
    (2) PCI Express 2.0, (1) PCI Express 1.0
    PCI Slot
    PCI-E 2.0 (2), PCI-E 1.0 (1), PCI-E x1 (1), PCI (2)
    RAID
    0,1,0+1,5
    Highlighted Features
    SLI-Ready Memory with EPP , NVIDIA LinkBoost Technology , NVIDIA MediaShield Storage Technology , TCP/IP Acceleration , Windows Vista Ready , NVIDIA FirstPacket Technology


    Features
    Designed for NVIDIA SLI technology
    NVIDIA SLI technology is a revolutionary platform innovation that allows users to intelligently scale graphics performance by combining multiple NVIDIA graphics solutions in a single system with an nForce SLI MCP. Available on nForce 680i SLI and nForce 650i SLI MCPs

    High Definition Audio (HDA)
    High definition audio brings consumer electronics quality sound to the PC delivering high quality sound from multiple channels. Using HDA, systems can deliver 192kHz/32-bit quality for eight channels, supporting new audio formats.

    Networking with NVIDIA nForce
    NVIDIA networking delivers the highest network throughput at the lowest CPU utilization. The manageable and stable NVIDIA networking solution results in better networking management and a lower total cost of ownership. Only NVIDIA integrates this level of networking features to allow you to take your online experience to the next level.

    NVIDIA FirstPacket technology
    Be the 'King of Ping' with NVIDIA FirstPacket technology. Get the crystal-clear phone conversations and online gaming performance you expect. NVIDIA FirstPacket technology assures your game data, VoIP conversations, and large file transfers are delivered according to preferences set by you in an intuitive wizard.

    NVIDIA LinkBoost™ Technology
    NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP automatically increases bandwidth when select NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards are detected

    NVIDIA MediaShield™ Storage
    Suite of features that safeguards your most important digital media assets; always reliable, scalable, and accessible. Includes RAID and SATA drive support.

    NVIDIA Native Gigabit Ethernet
    The industry's fastest Gigabit Ethernet performance eliminates network bottlenecks and improves overall system efficiency and performance.

    NVIDIA SLI Certified Components
    Look for other components including select NVIDIA GeForce GPUs and system memory that automatically increase system bus speeds when paired with NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI motherboards.

    PCI Express
    Designed to run with PCI Express bus architecture. This bus doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8X, delivering 4GB/s of upstream data transfer and 4GB/s of downstream data transfer.

    USB 2.0
    A standard plug-and-play interface that provides easy-to-use connectivity for USB devices.

    Windows Vista™ Capable
    NVIDIA nForce®-based motherboards are perfect for Microsoft® Windows Vista™ when coupled with an NVIDIA® GeForce® GPU and 512MB of system memory.
     
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  3. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Packaging

    Firstly, please excuse the quality of the pics, my Olympus is in for repair so I have had to use my daughters cheapo camera, I will replace these once I get mine back from the shop, I have placed these as thumbnails so as not to take up so much space.
     

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  4. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Contents

    Heaps of stuff....more than I will even need!


    YOU CAN EXPAND THESE PICS ONCE YOU HAVE OPENED THEM UP
     

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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
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  5. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    The Board!

    I like the colour scheme....very similar to EVGA's offering also.

    Watch out for part 2 next week when I can take a closer look at the BIOS which incidentially is supposed to make the Gigabyte x38 DQ6's BIOS look like a 1999 Asrock BIOS!
     

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  6. Gam'ster

    Gam'ster New Member

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    Looking good so far tatty:) im eagerly awaiting pic of the board :D

    Edit: there they are right after my post :D
     
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  7. tzitzibp

    tzitzibp

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    look like you are on your way of building a super high end rig....
    board looks great, with so many goodies!!!

    out of curiosity, what are temperature like on this board? (no OC)
     
  8. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I have not got mine up and running yet but according to reviews, even overclocked just slightly warm to the touch, there is also a custom fan that is in the packaging that you can add to any one of the sinks but in the reviews it was felt that it was not needed......but when I put her to the test I will specifically check for heat.
     
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  9. tzitzibp

    tzitzibp

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    I really hope nvidia boards are beyond their overheating days and this board is as good as it looks.... and to be honest I prefer to hear from you, than most reviews...:toast:
     
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  10. nikos18382 New Member

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    για σου πατριδα
    απο κατερινη ειμαι
     
  11. nikos18382 New Member

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    εχω βρει ενα συγκριτικο σκληρων δισκων στο Tom's hardware και βλεπω κατι Barracuda 750 GB me 32 mb cache kai kati allous na ksepernane tous raptors se Average read and write times ektos apo to seaq time.telika an 8eli kapoios na stisi ena grigoro PC ti apo ta dy prepei na koitaksei??
     
  12. Judas

    Judas

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    That looks exactly like the EVGA version, which i will be taking the plunge with LOL!
     
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  13. Judas

    Judas

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    I'm sorry but could you please try and write in English .......thanks :p
     
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  14. nikos18382 New Member

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    ok sorry wait...
     
  15. nikos18382 New Member

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    i have found at tom's hardware page HDD tests that shows HD 750GB 32Mb cache having better scores at average read and write times than raptors except the seek times.
    if someone wants to built a fast PC which of the 2 factors must consider???
    thanxs
     
  16. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Any reason the evga? The XFX is cheaper and in the one review I read, at least as good if not better!
     
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  17. Judas

    Judas

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    No real reason, ill see if i can find an XFX over here
     
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  18. trt740

    trt740

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    great board but out of my price range
     
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  19. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, it would seem that going Sli these days is a much too expensive option and Crossfire is def cheaper, because I sold the GTS along with the Xeon, memory and Black pearl the money from that just about stetched to this, the new Q6600 and the DDR3 memory, in fact I got a really good deal on the memory but these are way too expensive, I got it really because now I possibly could get a Q9450 to 4 gig with a 570fsb!
     
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  20. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Why don't you talk to W1z and work on a full-fledge review?

    Glad you spelled colour the way it's meant to spelled.

    When doing extreme-closeups, disable the cam's auto-focus and do it manually.
     
  21. trt740

    trt740

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    hows thw Q6600 overclocking, and man this MF is a great board and will do over 500 FSB but it is so complicated to overclock the best I can do for now and boot is 480 FSB. stable 473. I'm gonna buy the e8500 (if my E3110 sells it's a good chip best Wolfdale I've had) if I cannot have the top quad then the top dual will do. This MF will let my ram do almost DDR2 1300 at 2.2v mt P5k-e would only do about DDR2 1216 or so but it did 500+ fsb with very easily. I'm gonna crossfire two video cards aswell.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
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  22. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Q6600 has not arrived yet, it's coming from Malaysia and is the last piece of the jigsaw so to speak. I am looking forward to this ram running at some decent +1600mhz speeds :)
     
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  23. trt740

    trt740

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    Great did the ram cost some serious money ddr 3 is expensive here. Atleast the good stuff is.
     
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  24. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Well this is midranged stuff, pretty fast....Judas has some, it will do 1800mhz but on very loose timings, 1600mhz on pretty tight timings (for DDR3), they cost me £105 but to relate to DDR2 AxeRam, the DDR3 was only £15 more so not too bad. The really cheap stuff for 1333mhz and lower speeds quite often comes CL9.....not good!
     
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  25. Tatty_One

    Tatty_One Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Well of course, for a strong all round PC then every component is important if you want the ultimate in speed, of course some things are more important than others, like CPU, Graphics card etc, I personally would rather have a faster CPU than HDD but we all make our choices!
     
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