790GX Showdown: Gigabyte vs. MSI

CPUs|Motherboards
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COOLING

As each board has a more elaborate cooling system than most, a short investigation was conducted to see which kept their various components cooler.

Heatsink Temperatures
Critera
Gigabyte 790GP-DS4H
DKA790GX Platinum
Southbridge
47°C
57°C
Northbridge
75°C
68°C
VRM
65°C
69°C
Measured with infrared thermometer after 15m of full CPU + GPU load with CPU fan reduced to 6V.

Assuming that thermal contact was equal, we can infer that the heatpipe connections are primarly responsible for the differences in the various temperatures recorded. The MSI board's southbridge and northbridge are connected, resulting in a higher southbridge and lower northbridge temperature as the heatpipes help even the difference. Its VRMs however, with no extra help from the heatsink covering the north/southbridge run slightly hotter than the Gigabyte's northbridge-connected VRM heatsink. Both boards kept the components adequately cool in our airflow deprived testing station. We've seen temperatures 90°C and higher in the past.

3D PERFORMANCE

To get an idea of how well each board's integrated graphics plays games, we ran 3DMark05/06. As synthetic benchmarks they have limited value, but they give a rough idea of how well an IGP performs.

3D Performance: Futuremark Comparison
Motherboard
Graphics
3DMark05
3DMark06
Asus M3N78 Pro
GF8300
1669
902
Asus P5Q-EM
GMA X4500
1708
1092
Gigabyte MA78GM-2SH
HD 3200
2293
1116
Gigabyte MA790GP-DS4H (Sideport)
HD 3300 (Sideport)
3377
1668
Gigabyte MA78GM-2SH
HD 3450
(Discrete)
3405
1716
MSI DKA790GX Platinum
HD 3300 (Sideport)
3542
1719
Asus P5N7A-VM
GF9300
3497
1776
All results with 2GB of system RAM and 256MB of VRAM assigned for IGP's (128MB Sideport + 128MB UMA for boards with Sideport memory). Intel (E7200) systems in blue, AM2 (X2 4850e) systems in green.

Both boards scored very well in 3DMark, more or less matching the Asus P5N7A-VM with its GeForce 9300 IGP. The MSI board edged out the Gigabyte. None of the top IGPs in this list are good candidates for modern gaming, but they are good enough to be used in place of a low-end discrete card such the as the Radeon HD 3450.



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