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Foxconn A7DA-S AMD 790GX Motherboard Review

Foxconn A7DA-S AMD 790GX Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The AMD Radeon HD3300 integrated graphics built into the Foxconn motherboard PCSTATS is testing in this review has plenty of power for 2D desktop activities.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Foxconn Dec 09 2008   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Foxconn A7DA-S

AMD 790GX Chipset - Videocard or IGP?

AMD's 790GX core logic is based on the venerable 780G chipset, but with an overclocked integrated graphics core and a dedicated 128MB of DDR3-1333 side port memory. In every real sense, the AMD Radeon HD 3300 integrated graphics is more an integrated videocard than a true IGP which leaches its memory from the system.

While the Radeon HD 3200 GPU integrated into the 780G chipset ran at a 500MHz core clock speed, the Radeon HD 3300 that's part of AMD's 790GX chipset has been bumped up to a 700MHz core clock. Other than the increase in speed, this chip is quite similar to its older sibling - both are built on the 55nm manufacturing process, have 26 lanes of PCI Express connectivity, connect to the processor with HyperTransport 3.0, and use AMD's Unified Video Decoder to offload processing of high-definition H.264, VC1 and M-PEG2 content from the processor.

The AMD SB750 southbridge is a different story, and has changed quite a bit from it predecessor the SB700 which was paired with the AMD 780G chipset. This new southbridge now supports RAID 5, in addition to the RAID 0, 1 and 10 functionality.

The SB750 southbridge also makes use of something called the Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC); this is an interconnect that runs directly from the southbridge and into the CPU socket. For owners of AMD Phenom and Phenom Black Edition CPUs, enabling ACC will allow the SB750 southbridge to tweak the overclocking capabilities of their processors.

Due to the increased graphics capabilities of the integrated graphics controller, the AMD 790GX chipset supports Crossfire X, although at reduced bandwidth rates than can be found on non-integrated graphics motherboards. The AMD 790GX's Crossfire is limited to 8/8 lanes of PCI Express bandwidth. While this clearly isn't as nice as having a 16/16 Crossfire configuration, it's still more than enough that even high-end graphics cards like the Radeon HD 4850 won't become bottle necked.

Naturally, support for Hybrid Crossfire is also included, which means that the integrated Radeon HD 3300 graphics processor can be paired with a Radeon HD 3450 videocard, and when running together these two graphics processors can be about as powerful as a Radeon HD 3650. While this is a bit of an improvement in overall processing power, it's really not worth implementing.


AMD`s 790GX integrated graphics northbridge and it's dedicated 128MB of DDR3-1333 memory (at right).


AMD SB750 Southbridge core logic.

Look at it this way, AMD Radeon HD 3450 videocards cost around $50, and AMD 790GX-based motherboards can reach as high as $160. That's more than enough money to get a $100 AMD 780G-based motherboard and a faster Radeon HD 4670 videocard..... Running Crossfire or SLI on an integrated graphics chipset has never been particularly compelling - it's a technology that's only useful to gamers, but will barely ever give worthwhile performance in video games.

Okay, now for some really interesting power consumption numbers!

Videocard Power Draw Comparisons

Here's how the Foxconn A7DA-S motherboard stacks up in real life against a couple different platforms, with respect to overall power draw. PCSTATS measures the total system power draw and compares that in Prime95 loaded, 3Dmark06 loaded and idle states (at Windows desktop). The power supply used in each test is an A-PFC compliant PC Power & Cooling 750W model.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportSystem Power Draw Tests: (PCPower 750W PSU)
Desktop Idle (W) Watts Ranking
Intel DG45ID (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 135
Intel DG45ID (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 Onboard G45 ) 68
Foxconn A7DA-S (AMD 790GX 200/800 AM2 X2 5000+ GF 8800GTS 320MB) 131
Foxconn A7DA-S (AMD 790GX 200/800 AM2 X2 5000+ onboard HD 3300 video) 61
Prime95 Stressed (W) Watts Ranking
Intel DG45ID (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 199
Intel DG45ID (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 Onboard G45 ) 121
Foxconn A7DA-S (AMD 790GX 200/800 AM2 X2 5000+ GF 8800GTS 320MB) 192
Foxconn A7DA-S (AMD 790GX 200/800 AM2 X2 5000+ onboard HD 3300 video) 121
3DMark06 IGP Stressed (W): Watts Ranking
Intel DG45ID (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 GF 8800GTS 320MB) 227
Intel DG45ID (Intel G45 200/800 C2D E6750 Onboard G45 ) 115
Foxconn A7DA-S (AMD 790GX 200/800 AM2 X2 5000+ GF 8800GTS 320MB) 223
Foxconn A7DA-S (AMD 790GX 200/800 AM2 X2 5000+ onboard HD 3300 video) 124

The Foxconn A7DA-S motherboard doesn't draw a whole lot of power, in large part due to the smaller 55nm fabrication process of the AMD 790GX chipsets. When a mid-range discrete graphics card is added the power draw doubles, but is still more than manageable even with an economical 400-500W power supply. Most interesting here is that at idle with it's HD 3300 videocard in use, the entire Foxconn A7DA-S test PC system sips a little over 61W power, under the stress of Prime 95 that value doubles to 121W.

Blu-Ray and High Definition content CPU load tests are next.... the lower the CPU load the less chance of skipping or jittery HD video playback. Let's see how the Foxconn A7DA-S motherboard handles Blu-Ray playback and VC1 decoding with it's AMD HD 3300 IGP alone!

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Contents of Article: Foxconn A7DA-S
 Pg 1.  Foxconn A7DA-S AMD 790GX Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — AMD 790GX Chipset - Videocard or IGP?
 Pg 3.  Blu-Ray and High Definition Content Playback Benchmarks
 Pg 4.  Motherboard Highlights - Foxconn Photo Gallery
 Pg 5.  Overclocking the AMD 690G and the BIOS
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2007 Preview, SuperPi
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2008, PCMark Vantage
 Pg 8.  Motherboard IGP/VGA Benchmarks: 3DMark06, 3DMark Vantage, FEAR
 Pg 9.  DX10 Motherboard IGP Benchmarks: Call of Juarez, Crysis
 Pg 10.  Extra performance worth the extra price?

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