Experiencing Overclocking with MSI DKA790GX Platinum


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Early in 2008, AMD launched its high-end 790FX + SB600 chipset in ATX form factor which comes with CrossFire X16+X16 architecture.
However, due to the high price (around 160-200USD), the high-end 790FX chipset is not very popular in the market.


In March, AMD introduces the latest low-end entry level 780G + SB700 South Bridge which is catered for the Micro-ATX solution.
Built-in Radeon HD 3200 GPU and DVI+HDMI output support, it is suitable for users,
who need smaller chassis also need the performance, and specifications are good choices. Price is more acceptable around 75-100USD.


But AMD only introduced two high-end and low-end products;
AMD launched the 790GX + SB750 South Bridge in September.
That is providing full-range product solution; the 790GX chipset supports CrossFire technology,
built-in high performance HD3300, and combined into Micro-ATX and ATX form factor.
It is a better flexible combination. The price is also different due to the different form factors.
The ATX version is about 120-160USD while the Micro-ATX solution is 100-130USD.


This time we get high-end MSI DKA 790GX Platinum motherboard for testing.
The ATX version is priced at about 160USD.

Product Packaging
Positioned at high-end version, the quality of the package is good.



Accessories included
There are user’s manual, XP/VISTA driver installation CD, two CF bridges and USB extension port.



MSI DKA790GX Platinum motherboard





Motherboard Layout
2 x PCI-E X16 (In CrossfireX mode, two slots run at x8 mode)
2 X PCI-E X1
2 X PCI
1 X Floppy
Realtek 8111C Gigabit LAN controller, Realtek ALC888 HD Audio Codec, 8-channels



5 X SATAII (South Bridge SB750)
1 X IDE
Power/Reset/Clear CMOS button usually use in high-end product.



4-DIMM DDR2, supports 533/667/800MHz, and Phenom can up to 1066MHz
24-pin power



Processor utilizes the 4+1 phase power supply, full support 140W Phenom processor.
Support MSI’s exclusive DrMOS energy-saving technology.


I/O Interface
6 X USB 2.0
1 X eSATA(SB750)
1 X 1394
1 X S/PDIF optical output
Mouse port change to 2 USB ports
Built-in VGA HD3300, total have D-Sub/DVI/HDMI three output interface.


The cooling device is very special.
 
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BIOS Setting


Cell Menu


Voltage
CPU VDD Voltage 1.1000~1.4500V(in 0.0125 steps)
CPU-NB VDD Voltage 1.1000~1.4500V(in 0.0125 steps)
CPU Voltage 1.412V
CPU-NB Voltage 1.325~1.425V(in 0.005 steps)
DRAM Voltage 1.80~2.30V(in 0.05~0.10 steps)
NB Voltage 1.20~1.50V(in 0.05 steps)
HT Link 1.25~1.50V(in 0.05 steps)


DRAM Configuration


MSI BIOS function – Memory-Z
Memory SPD Information


Here is the built-in GPU HD3300 setting information
VGA share memory setting – Between 64~512MB
The SidePort is a 128MB DDR3 memory interface which is designed to increase the GPU performance.
The SidePort clock speed is DDR3 667/800/10661333/1600/1700MHz


H/W Monitor



Test Platform
CPU: AMD Athlon64 X2 5400+/Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition
MB: MSI DKA790GX Platinum
DRAM: CORSAIR Dominator TWIN4096-8500C5D
VGA: HD300 256MB
HD: Seagate 7200.10 320GB
POWER: Corsair 400W Power Supply
Cooler: Thermaltake V1 AX/JETART Nano Diamond/Lubic


Using the Thermaltake V1 extension version, V1 AX is the main cooler.


The bottom of 4 thermal heat-pipes is using the mirror polishing deal.
 
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CPU
AMD Athlon64 X2 5400+ Black Edition
428Mhz SP2004


The quality of my own dual-core / quad-core CPU is not good enough.
The FSB is around 428/245MHz. However, if 790GX use the better CPU, the FSB of dual-core can be more than 460MHz, the quad-core have chance up to 270MHz.

DRAM
CORSAIR Dominator TWIN4096-8500C5D(2GBX2 DDR2 1066)
OC DDR2 1138 CL5 5-5-15 2T 1.90V
3 X SP2004 Blend


DDR2 1189 CL5 5-5-15 2T
Memory Benchmark


After several test, the memory benchmark of 790GX is not good as 790FX.
But MSI DKA790GX Platinum in DRAM overclocking is surprisingly good, especially overclocking 2GBX2.
The 4GB Kit can reach 1138 score at 1.9V stability and limit the performance of 1189; it is a very good AMD platform.


Built-in HD3300 GPU, 256MB shared
Graphics Card
Built-in HD3300 GPU, 256MB shared
GPU Default 700MHz GDDR3 1333 / Main DDR2 1066
GPU OC 1000Mhz GDDR3 1333 / Main DDR2 1066


3DMARK2003
Default


OC


3DMARK2005
Default


OC


3DMARK2006
Default


OC


The NB and HT Link voltage of the motherboard’s built-in HD3300 GPU needs to be adjusted. The GPU can reach 1000MHz by overclocking.
The HD 3300 GPU of the 790GX is the most powerful 3D version in the market.
Compared with Intel’s latest G45 series, the performance is leading. AMD is more popular in the All-in-One motherboard.
 
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Games
Need For Speed Pro Street
1280x1024
ANTI ALIASING:2X

Default


OC


Crysis Benchmark

Default



OC


The 3D performance of HD3300 is also good. For heavy-loading games, it can retain the 20-30 standards as long as the resolution is not more than 1280 x 1024.
Compared with NVIDIA rival products, the performance is close to GeForce 7 series products.


Power Consumption
Stand-by Mode – 107W


3DMARK2005,MAX-171W
When running 3DMark 2005, the maximum power consumption is 171W.



A lot of CPU utilization when it is running 3DMark.
In the stand-by mode and full-speed load, the Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition accounts for the majority of power.
790GX with dual-core voltage CPU, down to 1GHz at 0.8V voltage, the power consumption of stand-by and full-speed is only 43W and 59W.
It is very energy-saving.


MSI DKA790GX Platinum
Conclusion

Advantage
1.Utilizes the AMD latest 790GX+SB750 chipset, All-solid capacitors and Circu-Pipe thermal design
2.Supports ATI CrossFireX and ATI Hybrid CrossFireX technology
3.MSI’s exclusive DrMOS technology with 4+1 power supply. Support the AM2+ 140W quad-core CPU
4.I/O interface provides an eSATA device and three types of output interface - D-Sub / DVI / HDMI.
5.HD3300 is currently rated as the highest performance of the built-in GPU.
The 3D performance is better than the AMD 780G chipset or other chipset.
6.Dual-core FSB performance is outstanding. 2GBX2 DDR2 overclocking is also good.

Disadvantage
1.The appearance of Circu-pipe cooling modules can be even more beautiful.
2.The packing image and boot image do not increase the consumer’s attraction.
3.The BIOS setting with four CPU voltage options can easily confuse the users.

Performance 8/10
Components 8/10
Layout design 7/10
Cost/ performance ratio 7/10
790GX posits in the middle-end chipset.
If the motherboard based on the ATX form factor, provides CF function, built-in DDR2/DDR3 memory and HD3300 technology,
the price should be around 150 to 160 U.S. dollars for the better version in each motherboard manufacturers.
It is more expensive than the M-ATX entry-level 780G motherboard which priced around 80~100 U.S. dollars.
If user chose the Micro-ATX form factor, no need CF function or HD3300 higher 3D performance,
the entry-level 780G motherboard which priced under of 100 U.S. dollars is a value choice.

MSI has also introduced a value solution, KA790GX which is priced around 100USD.
Although the materials and specifications are not as good as DKA790GX Platinum, but the price is lower.
Users who want a new platform with high performance and new SB750 South Bridge can choose the entry-level KA790GX.

MSI DKA790GX Platinum has a good stability.
The BIOS overclocking performance is quite stable.
In the future, I hope that the other MSI MB products can also maintain the same stability and offer further upgradeability in the future.
 

Abarbarian

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Another nice review. What country do you live in ?

 
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Abarbarian

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Blimey ! At this rate Ian will have to make a new section for international members.
 
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lol nice pictures looks like you've had a good experience there :_)
 
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Rush

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That review is all over the net on loads of forums...well done :wave:
 
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