Nvidia's flagship nForce 780a SLI chipset for Socket AM2+ processors debuted a couple of months ago, bringing all-new silicon loaded with a Phenom-ready HyperTransport 3 link, integrated graphics with HD video decoding and HybridPower capabilities, and support for three-way SLI. While it's a technical marvel, this high-end chipset didn't really make sense to me-it's too much like wrapping the guts of a Ferrari around the engine from a Golf GTI. There's nothing wrong with the Golf, of course, but you're only working with so much horsepower, which makes the Ferrari bits overkill. What you need for a high-end exotic is an engine with a little more grunt.
If you're building a chipset for Socket AM2+ processors, there's only so much grunt available. The Phenom just can't keep up with Intel's fastest Core 2 Quads, forcing AMD to price itself out of the high end of the processor market. The most expensive CPU AMD currently makes is the Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition, which, at just $235, costs nearly as much as the cheapest nForce 780a SLI motherboards on the market. Hardly a match made in heaven.
What you really want to pair with a Phenom is a mid-range motherboard around the $150 mark. Something like XFX's $149.99 MD-A72P-7509, perhaps. This board is based on the 780a's little brother, the nForce 750a SLI, and the two are very much alike. Keep reading to see how the 750a stacks up against not only its big brother, but also AMD's 790FX chipset in a battle for Socket AM2+ supremacy.