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There is sufficient anecdotal evidence and hard numbers to show that AMD is gradually clawing its way back in the CPU stakes. Part of the reason probably has to do with its Phenom II processors. Competitive in terms of pricing and performance with Intel's older Core 2 quad-cores and even compared to the entry Core i7-920, the Phenom II has been helped by being compatible with both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, giving it access to a wider variety of motherboards (AM2+ and AM3) and subsequently, the cost of going the Phenom II route can span a broad range of budgets.
One could go with the cheaper DDR2 and an older AM2+ motherboard for the maximum cost savings, or opt for the more enthusiast-friendly DDR3 with a high-end AM3 motherboard combo. As we saw in our previous mainstream AM3 motherboard roundup, even going the DDR3 route is increasingly affordable nowadays, with memory prices that can only go lower and chipsets with integrated graphics like the AMD 790GX and 780G.
When we did our roundup however, we noticed that of all the big vendors, Gigabyte is the only one that did not have a native AM3 board using AMD's 790GX chipset. Perhaps the vendor figured that users who went for the 790GX were likely going the budget route, for which DDR3 memory would be a cost factor, or perhaps the differences between DDR2 and DDR3 are not as obvious.
In any case, Gigabyte did upgrade its Socket AM2+ 790GX boards with its latest Ultra Durable 3 technology, which basically involves using quality components like ferrite choke cores and solid capacitors, while doubling the amount of copper in the PCB so as to improve stability and lower the operating temperature.
One of these AM2+ 790GX Gigabyte motherboards landed in our lab recently and we took the opportunity to run it through our usual benchmarks. Here's a look at the Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-UD4H:
Before we continue, here's what we found in the package:
- 1 x IDE cable
- 1 x floppy cable
- 2 x SATA cables
- I/O shield
- 2-port USB 2.0 cableUtilities and Drivers DVD
- User manual
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