AMD recently launched its new SB750 southbridge in conjunction with its fresh 790GX integrated graphics northbridge. The SB750 offers better overclocking for Phenom Black Editions especially, by including a clock calibration option in the BIOS. The only thing is, the 790GX is not the 790FX - the change of letter makes all the difference.
Launched last November, the 790FX chipset is AMD's premium enthusiast chipset and it offers a full set of PCI-Express 2.0 x16 lanes for CrossFireX. In the past, all 790FX boards featured the SB600 southbridge which, while it wasn't bad, it wasn't going to win any prizes for being the most feature-rich southbridge on the planet. Foxconn got the idea to bolt an SB750 onto its 790FX board, meaning AMD's top of the range chipset finally has the complete feature set of a top of the range board. You know, parts that should have been included this time last year: Six SATA, better Phenom overclocking, the oodles of PCI-Express lanes - this sort of stuff.
Essentially this is the relaunch of the 790FX platform, and we eagerly contacted Foxconn to get this board in without knowing its price. At nearly £200 we originally thought this was a pricing error and emailed Foxconn to double check. We were assured that this is the actual price, with no jokes attached. Considering the 790FX+SB600 can be had for as little as £85 now and the 790GX+SB750 is a nose over £100, logic would dictate that the 790FX+SB750 would be at absolute most £120 after we take into account the common extra features a top end motherboard is weighed down with these days.
We can only conclude that for £195, Foxconn has made a board that will simultaneously reduce your carbon footprint, make mindblowingly awesome coffee and fight crime. Either that, or it has some mind blowing performance and incredible new features to justify the price. Curiously we ventured in to find out.
Four DIMM slots for dual channel DDR2 1066/800/667/533 for a maximum of 8GB of memory.
Four PCI-Experss 2.0 x16 slots
One PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slot
One PCI slot
Two IEEE1394a Firewire
One IDE, Six SATA II, two eSATA ports
Realtek ALC888SDD 7.1 channel High-Definition audio chipset with DTS connect and Dolby Digital Home Theatre audio
Two Realtek RTL8111B, Dual Gigabit LAN
Twelve USB 2.0 ports
In the box there are plenty of SATA and molex to SATA power adapters for all the provided internal ports, and the PCI bracket features a couple of USB and a 4-pin Firewire connector to round things off nicely. Foxconn still insists on throwing in a floppy cable, but we're unsure who still needs one in this day and age. Apart from the manual, driver CD, IDE cable and rear I/O that's pretty much it - a very complete bundle, but one including only the necessities.