Sapphire PC-AM2RS790GX review

£93
Price when reviewed

Sapphire’s new board is based on the AMD 790GX chipset. That’s the same chipset as our Recommended MSI board and it means the PC-AM2RS790GX has similar capabilities.

Sapphire PC-AM2RS790GX review

Those include the latest HD Radeon 3300 integrated graphics, which can play HD video without breaking a sweat, and there are also two PCI Express x16 slots, so it will happily take up to two graphics cards for serious gaming. The board supports Hybrid CrossFireX, so you can fit a low-end card to work in parallel with the onboard GPU.

Although the PC-AM2RS790GX is slightly cheaper than the MSI DKA790GX, it offers a two-digit POST display as well as onboard power and reset controls. Its speed and voltage controls are more precise as well.

And where the MSI is limited to 8GB of RAM, the Sapphire can accept up to 16GB, so there’s a good chance it will answer your needs for years to come – especially since it will support future Socket AM3 processors.

But when it comes to basic connectivity, the PC-AM2RS790GX looks less attractive. With just four integrated USB ports, and no eSATA or FireWire, it’s limited – more like a microATX board than the full-sized model it really is.

And power consumption was among one of the group’s highest, with an idle drain of 87W running on integrated graphics. That isn’t the end of the world – it’s still far lower than any X58 board, for example – but it’s disappointing next to the 74W of the MSI.

If tweaking and upgrades are your thing, this motherboard could be right up your street. For an everyday desktop, though, it isn’t the best-connected choice, and there are certainly more eco-friendly options.

Details

Motherboard form factor ATX
Motherboard integrated graphics yes

Compatability

Processor/platform brand (manufacturer) AMD
Processor socket AM2+
Motherboard form factor ATX
Memory type DDR2
Multi-GPU support yes

Controllers

Motherboard chipset AMD 790GX
South bridge AMD SB750
Number of Ethernet adapters 1
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
Graphics chipset ATi Radeon HD 3300
Audio chipset Realtek ALC888

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type 8-pin
Main power connector ATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total 4
Internal SATA connectors 6
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 1
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 2
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 2

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors 2
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 0
eSATA ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 6
Parallel ports 0
9-pin serial ports 0
Extra port backplane bracket ports 0

Diagnostics and tweaking

Motherboard onboard power switch? yes
Motherboard onboard reset switch? yes
Software overclocking? yes

Accessories

SATA cables supplied 2
Molex to SATA adaters supplied 1
IDE cables supplied 1
Floppy cables supplied 0

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