AMD AM2+ Phenom on AMD 790GX with Radeon HD 3300 graphics
Example motherboards: MSI DKA790GX Platinum (£125), MSI KA790GX (£77)
AMD launched its superb 780G chipset early in 2008 with integrated Radeon HD 3200 graphics that employ 40 unified shaders. When the 790GX chipset was released later in the year, the graphics core was labelled Radeon HD 3300 but it looks very similar to the core of the 780G. The only obvious difference is a move from Hybrid graphics to Hybrid CrossFire X.
The 790GX chipset makes serious advances over 780G in other ways as the SB750 southbridge assists overclocking.
MSI's DKA790GX: impressive graphics?
The Radeon HD 3300 IGP beats the Nvidia GeForce 9400 by a narrow margin in 3DMark06 and loses by a similar amount in PCMark05. In our gaming tests we had mixed results. The HD 3300 core delivered the DirectX 9 goods in Far Cry and Far Cry 2 but lost out when we ran Far Cry 2 on DirectX 10.
The other area of concern is that the power draw was rather high, which can doubtless be blamed on the Athlon X2 processor. The Phenom family requires proper cooling if you want to avoid meltdown and the situation only gets worse if you choose an X3 or X4 model.
On the plus side, the AMD IGP’s video playback is absolutely superb, which makes the HD 3300 a natural candidate for a Media Centre PC. You'd be wise to choose a suitably low-powered processor, in which case overclocking is unlikely to be a serious consideration so you might as well choose a motherboard with the older, cheaper 780G chipset.
The Radeon HD 3300 graphics in the 790GX chipset are impressive but they are let down by the toasty Phenom processor.
SiS and other stuff...
If you're looking for a motherboard that uses an SiS chipset, the Intel D201GLY2/2A (with embedded 1.3GHz Celeron CPU) would be one choice. I got one and was really pretty impressed with what it could do, especially considering the limited processing power it has.
Integrated graphics are OK in my book, even if they don't perform all that well. It bothers me that the graphics options from nVidia and ATI either have huge heatsinks or cook themselves into an early grave. I've never lost an integrated graphics chipset...compared to a few ATI and nVidia boards that just got too hot.
I don't really care for speed, but I need to know which maximum resolution is supported? Can I, for example connect 2 30" LCDs onto an Intel board with 2 DVI connectors? Do know that I have to know which resolutions the chipset supports.
Please help this idiot (me)
Um... My brain is a little slow today... which these of motherboards would be best for building a cheapish, cool and QUIET media centre PC? Or would a Playstation 3 (at 250 GBP) be better for this task?
Cometh the AMD fanboyz....
Is it me or are the only whiners here the AMD fanboyz?
@! Desktop integrated graphics shoot-out
But of course, ATI & nVidia long for the day when they can give away the farm cheap instead of having quad display gamers buy a video card. Perish the thought of paying more for more features.
About the CPU, these boards really should've been fitted with the slowest CPUs that weren't completely castrated with less than 1MB L2 cache, otherwise it's a bit silly talking about power consumption and someone cheaping out on the video tends to do the same on the processor. Regardless, at least we had more than a small amount of assurance the processor (nevermind the memory bus??) itself wasn't a bottleneck for the video benchmarks.