DFI LanParty JR 790GX-M3H5 mATX Motherboard

CPUs|Motherboards
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FINAL THOUGHTS

The LANParty JR 790GX-M3H5 is a classic example of what DFI is all about. Everything about the board caters to enthusiasts, primarily those interested in overclocking. Luckily, most of these features also appeal to those looking to build small, quiet PCs as well. DFI's BIOS effectively gives users free reign to attempt high overclocks, but also ultra low undervolts. The board has a whopping six fan headers, three of which can be controlled and customized in the BIOS, using DFI's own Smart Guardian utility, or with our own personal favorite application, SpeedFan. The board also has temperature sensors for the Northbridge and Southbridge chips so users can keep an eye out on the thermal conditions at two different spots. Most motherboards have a single "System" or "Motherboard" sensor but it often doesn't correlate to a specific location or chip on the PCB. The diagnostic LED makes it easy to diagnose problems when they arise and the onboard power/reset switches are a nice touch — the level of consideration DFI put into the board's usability is difficult to match.

The board isn't the most efficient — the 790GX-M3H5 used 10-14W more when the CPU/IGP were stressed compared to the Asus M4A78T-E. This is probably related to the high temperatures we recorded on the board's various heatsinks. The Northbridge's awkward location near the corner of the CPU socket may also cause problems for some third party heatsinks, though all the big tower coolers will fit without difficulty. Cooling will be more challenging with two graphics cards in CrossFire mode, especially if the cards used are of the dual-slot variety, as only one slot separates the two PCIe X16 slots. Needless to say, such a configuration running in a mATX case will be difficult to run quietly.

at US$140~$150, the 790GX-M3H5 is one of the most expensive AM3 boards in the North American market and it lacks a few features (like eSATA and FireWire) that are present on some less expensive models. In reality, it is the only mATX AM3 board in wide distribution, and all the extra touches make it a real treat to use.

DFI LP JR 790GX-M3H5
PROS

* Great fan control for 3 of 6 fans
* Excellent BIOS undervolting options
* NB & SB temperature sensors
* Diagnostic LED
* Onboard power/reset switches
CONS

* High power consumption on load
* Small NB cooler
* Awkward position of NB chip
* No eSATA or Firewire

Our thanks to DFI for the motherboard sample.

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