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  • phys1cs - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Spamming affiliate links, I see. Reply
  • R3MF - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    "The third generation FX processor, codename Steamroller, is still reported (not confirmed) to use AM3+, meaning that there are still quite a few years left in this platform when taking the AMD route."

    If this is true then i simply cannot believe that AMD will continue on socket AM3+ without a chipset that supports PCIe 3.0!

    Where, when, and what will the 1090FX chipset arrive?
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    This seems to be an ok roundup of AMD boards.

    However, how do the latest Windows 7 tweaks increase the performance of the Bulldozer? Can we get a before and after benchmark based on Win 7 and or Win 8 (beta) optimizations?

    I was hoping we would get that information. Also, how does it compare to similarly priced Intel offerings?
  • IanCutress - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Thank you for your comment. I didn't perform comparisons as Anand did a comprehensive look at the scheduling updates here:

    (Also reviewing five boards and writing 20,000 words about them takes longer than you think!)

    If there are any motherboards you would like to see in the future (or particular tests), drop me an email (ian AT and I will have a look. Obviously I can't take care of every little niche test that everyone wants, otherwise we'd only get one board a month out for review, but I'll do what I can!

  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Thank you for the link. That is what I wanted. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I noticed your Thuban was hitting 60'C+
    So I was just wondering if you took the Thubans thermal bug into account on those readings? On my old 1090T and 1045T I had to have a 13'c offset to get a correct thermal reading.
  • sumitlian - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Temperature related problem have long been rectified in C3 stepping of Denab CPUs and in Thuban as well. There is no fault in temperature sensor anymore in our CPUs.

    Only C2 rev. or earlier rev. AMD CPUs suffered from this issue.

    Download and Read:
    "Revision Guide for Family 10h CPU"
  • ExarKun333 - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    More to life than gaming on your PC. If you read the article, you could see how terrible the non-gaming benchmarks are for 'only' a Intel 4 and 6-core vs the 8-core AMD. Fanboi much? Reply
  • blazeoptimus - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I bought an MSI 990FX-GD80 board a couple of months ago and was looking for a review like this one at the time. I would have loved the info you brought up here and I hope it will help others looking into the available 990FX boards.

    I went with the MSI board since it seemed to hit a sweet spot on features, price (newegg was offering $20 off which put it to $169) and performance. I also went with a Zosma processor since it seemed to hit the price elbow and had the most unlocking potential. I've been very happy with the experience thus far. I've been able to unlock the 2 additional processors and have pushed the clock to 3600mhz (stock is 3k). My next push will be to see if I can hit the aggressive clocks listed in this article.

    Thanks again for the write up. I'm a long time reader and frequently use the information in these reviews to make hardware decisions.
  • Taft12 - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Very comprehensive, thank you Ian!

    Of course now that you've exhausted so much energy on this review, the 1090FX chipset is right around the corner alongside the 2nd gen FX CPUs.

    Such is life for a desktop hardware reviewer!
  • mmstick - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    The primary problem with AMD FX is that in order to use the full power of the FPU the program needs to be compiled with FMA4 support, else it is only using half of the FPUs, thus making it a quad core. Secondly, many Windows-based programs are compiled with the Intel C+ compiler, so although the FX may support AVX and many other instructions, the compiled program sees it as a non-Intel CPU so it disables those instruction sets, allowing Intel CPUs to be optimized, and AMD CPUs to remain deoptimized. This is what happens when you are up against someone with the most market share, whom has the ability to dictate what instruction sets they want programmers to use. As well, when people say they are going to buy Intel CPUs instead because they claim AMD didn't make a good processor, why do you think they can't be on top of performance? Without R&D budget there isn't much that can be done, and when you face someone who practically owns a monopoly, that makes it even moreso harder to compete. Reply
  • Omoronovo - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    The IC++ compiler has not done that since 2010 when they were forced to settle their antitrust dispute with AMD. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    " This is what happens when you are up against someone with the most market share, whom has the ability to dictate what instruction sets they want programmers to use. As well, when people say they are going to buy Intel CPUs instead because they claim AMD didn't make a good processor, why do you think they can't be on top of performance? Without R&D budget there isn't much that can be done, and when you face someone who practically owns a monopoly, that makes it even moreso harder to compete."

    Waaaaah. It's always someone else's fault.
  • anubis44 - Friday, November 09, 2012 - link

    "Waaaaah. It's always someone else's fault."

    Well, sometimes it really IS someone else's fault. If the mafia had it in for you, and cut your brake cables and burnt your house down when you weren't looking, you'd say it's 'someone else's fault' too. Intel's blackmail and threats to suppliers who used AMD processors kinda screwed AMD over just a tad.

    That said, I think now that Jim Keller is back at AMD and head of AMD's CPU division, it won't be too long before AMD is seriously back in the game.
  • Monkeysweat - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I saw them on some of the benchmarks, why didn't you post them along side the AMD benchies for gaming?

    If we are looking at a roundup of the best of what AMD and it's partners have to offer, I'd like to see what the competing team brings to the table,, just leave em stock and even let the AMD ones get overclocked.

    I wouldn't even worry about cherry picking the Intel combos,, just something random.
  • Beenthere - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    AMD has not abandoned the highend CPU market. Their focus may be broadening but that does not mean they will discontinue discrete highend desktop CPUs for at least several years. Eventually everyone except a small group will use APUs as they will deliver the best performance/value proposition. Only extremists will bother with a discrete CPU/GPU with higher power consumption, increased heat and little practical benefit for mainstream users. Reply
  • Articuno - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    It's a pretty nice chipset and the lower tier boards are quite cost-effective. Just wish Bulldozer was competitive with Intel, let alone their last gen chips. Reply
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Thank you for this article Ian.

    Are there any chance that we'll see a review of the newer FX-6200 CPU or at least have data for it in the CPU bench? Considering that it's 500MHz faster than the model that it's replacing and no major site (or any that I can see) did a review of it, it'd be interesting to see how it performs.

    I'm curious to see if it's a valid alternative, in any way, for $170, vs the Intel Core i5-2300 ($180).

    I don't expect any miracle for gaming performance, but for workstation workloads (Photoshop, video editing and the like), who knows?

  • cosminmcm - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    There is a review at pcper, a good one. The processor is pretty weak, nothing exciting there. Thuban walks all over it. Reply
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    Thanks, I didn't see that.

    Quite disappointing indeed.

    Here's about that Piledriver or Trinity are more competitive.
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    Here's hoping* Reply
  • john21108 - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    I read the review and didn't see the FX-6200 getting walked over. The benches were all pretty close; the FX, X4, and the X6 all trading blows. At worse, the FX-6200 performed similar to the X4 980; at best, it would barely beat the X6 1100T.

    The FX looked good to me considering the X6 1100T is going for $240+ on eBay. If building new, is same performance worth an extra $70? Is it an upgrade to an X4 BE or X6, no.
  • estarkey7 - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I am disappointed in this article for a number of reasons, most of all that the preface of this article had very little to do with the content at all. You start off by stating:

    "...despite the fact that Windows 7 (and Windows 8, natively) is now receiving updates so the operating system can understand the processor architecture a little better, and hopefully boost performance. This gives a second wind to those owning (or thinking of owning) a Bulldozer based processor, and in turn, a 900-series motherboard."

    With that being a defining point of this article, where are before and afters? I and everybody else on here already know what Anand did (hell, we read this site multiple times a day!). Why should I give this platform a second look?. Your preface led me to believe that I would see benches of these motherboards before and after firmware revisions or more importantly firmware revisions and Win 7 vs. Win 8 preview.

    It doesn't even make sense to run a full set of benches against motherboards with the same processor at stock speeds, as the differences will surely show in their overclocking potential and feature sets.

    Do you even realize that after reading this article that every single reader of learned absolutely, positively nothing about Bulldozer vs. Thurban vs. Intelxxx that they didn't already know before they wasted 15 minutes of their time?

    Why not just delete it, and we'll forget you ever wrote it...
  • IanCutress - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    The purpose of the review was to look at the motherboards and the differences between them, not the absolute performance of the processors. Hence why this review is listed under the motherboard section rather than the CPU section, and the paragraph you quoted ended with the phrase, with appropriate pauses to create emphasis on, 'a 900-series motherboard'. The initial paragraph created purpose and the fact that there is reason to perhaps own one of these motherboards, generating the context and situation to which they are currently in.

    Anyway, as a regular reader of Anandtech, surely you recognise me as the motherboard reviewer for the past year or more? :)

  • estarkey7 - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link


    I let my recent bulldozer system build get the best of me!

    I retract my statement. I believe my attack on you was not reasonable and served no purpose. Although I do disagree with some of the phrasing in the intro paragraph, my post was not warranted and I sincerely apologize.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Dekkatek - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but there is a galler pic of the ASUS Crosshair board with a 4 video card setup and the 4th card is not physically connected to the motherboard!
  • IanCutress - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Haha nice catch :) Most of those images are from ASUS' media kit for the board - I think I must have looked at it and thought they were using the ROG Xpander for four-way. Looking at the Xpander page now, it was only ever compatible on the R3E and R3F.

  • Makaveli - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    When did you need a $1000 extreme edition cpu to be an enthusiast.

    I'm not really sure what point you are trying to make.

    A i7 920 a 2500k or 2600k are all enthusiast cpu that cost less than $400. And all outperform AMD current line up.

    It like you are trying to be like AMD before they launched BD comparing it the 990x and saying look out processor is better and doesn't cost $1000 don't make me laugh.

    If you are gonna troll you better start doing a better job.
  • cocoviper - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    $1000? Try any CPU over $240.

    CPU price ranges tend to range between $50 and $1000 in the retail market. AMD's fastest solution captures the lowest 25% of this market, leaving 3/4 of the price range, and the range with the best margins, to Intel. We all want AMD to be competitive again like they were in the late 90s/early 2000s but they simply aren't.

    AMD has also officially stated they have no intention to compete in the performance / enthusiast segment. Per Anand:

    "As AMD's client strategy is predominantly built around APUs, the only high-end desktop parts we'll see from AMD are low-end server CPUs. Socket-AM3+ has a future for one more generation and we'll likely see other single-socket, high-end platforms for the desktop. The days of AMD chasing Intel for the high-end desktop market are done though. That war is officially over."
  • BaronMatrix - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Why doesn't anyone use the recommended GPU? If I buy an 8150, it will at least get a 6970 but probably a 7970.

    No wonder I left this "review site" stuff alone. I can't learn anything except that people think there are 50 CPU makers and AMD is the worst.

    Good luck with that.
  • IanCutress - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately we don't have an infinite amount of kit to review with. We're individual reviewers here, not all working in a big office. Obviously we can't all request top end kit from manufacturers either. Plus for every time we do use new high end kit, we also get comments about testing something 'more realistic' to most users. In that circumstance, we can't win and please everyone, but we do try and be as consistent as possible.

  • phocean - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I bought the Sabertooth a few weeks ago... and it throws an annoying buzzing sound in the speakers, especially when a USB port is used (in other words, all the time).
    It is the sign of an isolation issue between chipsets and shows poor design and testing from Asus.
    Needless to say that the support was of no help (and no willing to help).
    So don't buy it, unless you don't plug any speaker in it.
  • richaron - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    Mine doesn't have this problem. You either got an unlucky board, or your psu is funky. Reply
  • extide - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Seem to me like you were probably using a bit too much voltage for the BD. I would assume that is why you had so many issues with thermal runaway. 1.4-1.45ish would probably be a better place to stay with an air cooler :) Reply
  • extide - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    EDIT: Nevermind I forgot you are using the AMD kit watercooler, which is better than straight air cooling but I'd think it would take more of a fully custom built water setup to run 1.5v vCore. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I was going to build a new computer based on Ivy Bridge this Fall, I'm still running a Core 2 Duo E8400. But I've decided I'm not building myself a new computer until the motherboard has USB 3.0 and ONLY USB 3.0. A LOT of them, EVERYWHERE!

    I just built a guy a Z68 based computer with an i7 2700K but I had to order a VERY hard to find adapter card to plug in the USB 3.0 based memory card reader and the USB 3.0 on the front of the Fractal Design case. Because the Asus motherboard has ZERO USB 3.0 headers on it. It never even occurred to me that was a possibility. Not only has USB 3.0 been out for years now, but it was released WAY over-due. WTF is the hold up. Make the switch. USB 2.0 is for the 2000's decade, it's 2012. I am done with USB 2.0. I shouldn't have to buy an add-in card for BRAND NEW motherboard to support basic accesories, like a memory card reader and front usb port.

    This is related to this article because I think if AMD was actually competitive with Intel AT ALL, like they were with Athlon XP/64/64 X2, then Intel would step up their game all around. Or maybe I wouldn't even have to buy Intel because they constantly make shit decisions like this, and changing the motherboard socket constantly, and charging 300 dollars for a quad core with HT. Their shit is endless and I really don't want to buy their products but AMD is simply not an option; if I wanted something that slow I'd just put a quad core Penryn based CPU in my current rig and save a bunch of money.
  • ggathagan - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    There are only two Asus Z68 boards that don't have the USB 3 header, but somehow it's *Intel's* fault that Asus didn't use a USB 3 header on the board you bought?
    Maybe you should have been a little more attentive when board shopping.
  • IanCutress - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    Hi Hrel,

    I actually like USB 2.0 on my boards. If you have solely USB 3.0 and use them all, there's a big chance of a bottleneck in the bus somewhere. Also, I install a fresh operating system on every board I test via USB as it is a lot quicker than CD. Unfortunately during the install program, it doesn't process anything through the USB 3.0 ports - mouse, keyboard, or even the USB stick with the OS on. So I ideally like to have three USB 2.0 ports for that purpose. It's more a fault of Windows7 than the chipset, but otherwise if a board only has two USB 2.0 ports, I have to disconnect the mouse and use the keyboard and USB install drive only. Saying that, I have a board in that is solely USB 3.0, so it's going to be fun to install an OS on that... :/

  • fic2 - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    I have a Dell keyboard that has 2 USB ports on it. That would solve your problem with a 2 x USB 2 mb. I currently have the mouse daisy chained off the keyboard. Reply
  • B - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Your article should note that sound blaster provides a software overlay, but under that aluminum skin overlay lies a Realtek chip. I was fooled by this marketing and very disappointed after configuring this motherboard and discovering this fact. You don't get soudblasters hardware acceleration or the crystalizer. You should note this in any article about the asus line with x-fi2. Had I known I would have done things differently. Reply
  • geforce912 - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Just so you know, the supremefx x-fi 2 on the crosshair v is still a realtek chip but with higher grade capacitors and a creative software overlay. Definitely not a creative chip. Please correct it. Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    Instead of repeatedly calling $130 cheap for a motherboard, why don't you step up and breakdown the costs associated with construction?

    This reviewer is backwards, as usual - the other boards are horribly overpriced, following the modern trend.

    I'd like to see a cost breakdown for any of the very overpriced boards. Please show us how they justify their high costs. It looks to me like Biostar simply didn't get the price-fixing memo.

    It's insane how many folks are continuing to support AMD because of its former stance as a budget option and how many of those purported fans seem to turn up their nose at any components that aren't marketed (and priced) as being premium-tier.
  • MadAd - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    sata 3, cool
    usb 3, cool
    good overclocking, cool
    dual channel ram, itll do

    four graphics slots.....groan

    am fed up paying out the wazooo for these so called enthusiast boards when I only intend to run 1 graphics card ... yes im a gamer, i want the best in all other areas (esp best sata 3 perfomance) but jeez can we have some 'normal' boards reviewed along with these high end monsters pls?
  • gilmoreisu - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    I'm a little disappointed in not seeing the ASRock Fatal1ty board. Any reason why this was left off? Otherwise, great round-up. Thank you! Reply
  • waldojim42 - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    One of the things I see skimmed over far too often these days are the actual audio capabilities. In the day of digital audio connections and receivers, why do we still have enthusiast level boards with stereo digital audio!? This is something That needs pointed out in the motherboard reviews. MSI makes such ridiculous claims, like "Lossless 24bit/192kHz HD Audio" and "THX TruStudio PRO", yet in the end mean NOTHING when you are playing a game, as you are still limited to 3(or 4) analog 3.5mm to RCA cables for your audio.

    So which boards support DTS/Dolby Digital encoding mid game?
  • funguseater - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    Thank you for taking the time to review these motherboards. It is a relief to know that my old Gigabyte MA790X-UD4P still overclocks to the same levels with a thuban (1090t). It will be interesting to see if the next 1090 chipset will support the old Thubans.

    I only have DDR2 on my board but it doesn't seem to affect performance as much as I thought it would so I can wait for the next gen boards.

    Anyway thanks for including the 1100t in the review!
  • ranger429 - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    It would have been nice to see how a FX-4170 or 4100 would do in this test Reply
  • brahma - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    excelent job, congratulations! ,... but what a shame! do you forget the asrock 990fx fatality, the unique with a fase power 12+2 !!
  • Sunny129 - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link


    First of all, thank you for the informative review and comparison of 990FX boards. Is there any particular reason you reviewed Gigabyte's GA-990FX-UD5, and not their big dog, the UD7? would it be worth while to review the UD7, since you seem to have reviewed the top 990FX boards from ASUS and MSI? specifically, i'd like to see if the UD7 suffers from the same downsides that the UD5 does, for instance the VRM heat issues while under load, lack of decent fan control, etc.

  • kukreknecmi - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    What does this mean? Doesnt video encode is Floating Point intensive task?? Reply
  • fredisdead - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    The design of bulldozer/ interlagos is aimed at the server market, where it has absolutely smoked intel the last few months.

    That said, these are suspiciously skewed benchmarks. Have a look here for a better representation of how bulldozer really performs.

    It's pretty simple really, AMD used the chip real estate to double the number of cores, vs using it on less, but more powerful cores. Seeing that a single bulldozer core appears to have about 80% of the performance of an intel i5 core, looks like a good trade off. For highly threaded applications, its a complete win, and they are doing it on less advanced geometry.
    That said, AMD's main product in the consumer space isn't bulldozer, it's llano, and thats looking like a rather large success too.
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    Nicely written review Ian, was a pleasure to read. I like to hear subjective impressions as well as the facts and figures.

    Looking at an upgrade I thought to support AMD this time around. The boards seem very well featured for the price compared to intel (though they are catching up) and provide good sata3 and USB support. The problem is the BD cpu's run hot, slow and old software won't run well on it compared to older thubans.

    My question- is AMD looking to provide support for more than 4 dimm sockets so we can run large amounts of ram in the future?
  • quanta - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - link

    Ironically, the A70M/A75 'Hudson' chips, which are designed for the non-FX CPU, actually has built-in USB 3 support that even SB950 doesn't have! The 9-series is supposed to be the enthusiast choice, how can AMD dropped the ball even BEFORE it can pick it up? Compare to the CPU that AMD has designed and built, the I/O support chip design is simple, yet AMD can't even get USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3 to at least relieving some performance bottleneck. If AMD can't even get the chip set right, there is no way in silicon hell for AMD to keep its dwindling fan base, at ANY price/performance bracket. Reply
  • primonatron - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - link

    That audio chip on the ASUS ROG motherboard IS a Realtek one. They just allow the installation of a X-Fi utility on top for sound effects.
    You can see the realtek drivers are required on the ASUS website, but an X-Fi utility is also provided.

    Marketing hogwash. :(
  • cocoviper - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    I'm not defining $240 as the limit for Enthusiast CPUs, I'm saying AMD doesn't have any CPUs that are competitive above that price-point.

    What the category is called is semantics. We could break the entire line into 100 different categories and it wouldn't change the fact that AMD doesn't have any consumer CPUs in the top 3/4 of the market.

    I wasn't quoting Anand like he what he says is law or something, I was noting AMD's strategy day where getting out of the high end market was discussed.

    Don't you believe AMD, and ultimately all of us as consumers are at a disadvantage if AMD's best product is capped at $250 or so, leaving $250-up-to-however much Intel wants to charge all their domain? How would you feel if the Radeon series only had products in the lower 25% of the $0-$700 Videocard market? Does the best Radeon being capped at $175 seem like it would keep Nvidia competitive in performance and price?
  • cocoviper - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - link

    Isn't arguing about what price-point defines enthusiast the very definition of semantics? Why don't we just make all processors enthusiast, regardless of price. There AMD and Intel now both make enthusiast processors.

    To return to the point, Intel's enthusiast processors are the only ones occupying the top 3/4 of the market in cost to end customers. Cost is determined by the market; what people will and will not buy. This is why AMD just announced a price cut on the 7000 series to account for the Kepler launch. Competitive performance and prices keep all suppliers in the market in check, and the end consumer benefits.

    The point is AMD is ceding the top 3/4 of the market, and even if they make $200 "enthusiast" processors, Intel is free to charge whatever they like to people that need or want high-end performance. This is bad for all of us, and lame on AMD's part.
  • menlg21p - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - link

    I made a mistake of installing network genie, and it doesn't show up in my programs and features. I cannot uninstall this program. There is no option for execution on startup. So it always starts up on boot. And there is nothing in the directories that pertain to uninstall. Also no online-content about this feature. Ugh, MSI, what are you doing? Why did you suggest this "crap" on my driver disk. REALLY? Reply

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