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Sapphire PC-AM2RS790GX Pure 790GX Motherboard Review

ajmatson    -   March 4, 2009
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Conclusion:

I must say I am very impressed with this motherboard. It ran very stable at stock speeds and overclocked, even though the overclock was not that high. I like how Sapphire took the time in the designing of the board's features, although there were a couple of design flaws I noticed during the testing. First, the placement of the top two SATA ports and the onboard power and reset buttons are covered when you are using a large video card, such as the GTX 260 used in this review, rendering them useless. Even using right-angle SATA cables, I could not get access to the ports. Secondly, there is a lot of empty real estate on the back panel. It would have been nice to have a couple of extra USB 2.0 ports available and even maybe an eSATA port.

When it came to performance, the Sapphire motherboard was up and down. There were some tests where the Sapphire board was slightly ahead of the Gigabyte one and some tests where it was slightly behind. However, on a whole, the scores were close enough to be negligible. Overclocking the Sapphire 790GX was somewhat low since I was only able to obtain just slightly more than 500MHz using either the BIOS or the AMD Overdrive Utility. Even with the voltage maxed out to the safest level, there was no more budging.

Overall this is a very nice motherboard and one that should be considered when making a purchase for a 790GX motherboard. For what the chipset is selling for, this board offers some features that other boards of the same chipset do not, such as the Debug LED, which, when you are an enthusiast, this little tool can save a whole lot of time if you have hardware issues. Of all the 790GX boards I have tested and used, this is definitely one of the top boards I would consider. If Sapphire took care of the design quirks and added a bit more to the back panel, this would be a hard board to beat.

   

Pros:

  • Very stable board
  • Inexpensive chipset
  • Great features, including Debug LED and onboard switches
  • Runs cool with the Hybrid Heatsink/Heatpipe cooler
  • Supports both AM2+ and AM3 processors
  • Supports both HD Video and Audio

 

Cons:

  • Low overclocking headroom
  • Poor placement of SATA ports and Power/Reset switch
  • Back panel ports are lacking

 

OCC Silver



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Motherboard)
  3. Closer Look (The BIOS)
  4. Closer Look (The BIOS continued)
  5. Closer Look (Drivers & Programs)
  6. Specifications & Features
  7. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  8. Testing (Apophysis, WinRAR)
  9. Testing (Specview 10, PCMark Vantage)
  10. Testing (Sandra 2009 Professional)
  11. Testing (ScienceMark, Cinebench 10, HD Tune)
  12. Testing: Far Cry 2
  13. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  14. Testing: BioShock
  15. Testing: Call of Duty: World at War
  16. Testing: Dead Space
  17. Testing: Fallout 3
  18. Testing: Left 4 Dead
  19. Testing: 3DMark06 Professional
  20. Testing: 3DMark Vantage Professional
  21. Conclusion
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