AM2+, ATX, AMD 790FX chipset, supports: Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, Phenom, Phenom II
Foxconn’s Digital Life A79A-S is very expensive even for new technology. It has a similar Northbridge chipset to MSI’s DKA790GX Platinum, although its 790FX version doesn’t include a graphics processor.
The A79A-S is well laid out and has plenty of ports, including two Gigabit Ethernet ports that make it easy to connect to two networks or share your internet connection. It has six USB ports plus three headers, a FireWire port and header, and two eSATA ports.
The feature that comes closest to justifying this motherboard’s price is its PCI Express configuration. There are four PCI Express x16 ports, all of which can take graphics cards and, if you use ATI Radeon cards, combine their processing power using CrossFireX. This is expensive though, and a single dual-chip graphics card may produce similar performance for less. As well as providing more graphical power, this arrangement allows you to split your Windows desktop across up to 12 monitors. Less ambitious users can use the slots for any PCI Express card, including sound and network cards. There’s also a PCI Express x1 and a traditional PCI slot.
The A79A-S is a genuinely good motherboard and performed well in our tests, but although it has some innovative features, the best of these will appeal only to a minority of enthusiasts. The prohibitively high price makes this motherboard an uneconomical option compared with MSI’s DKA790GX Platinum.
|Processor support||Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, Phenom, Phenom II|
|Processor external bus||266MHz (1,066MHz quad-pumped FSB)|
|Chipset north bridge||AMD 790FX|
|Chipset south bridge||AMD SB750|
|Passively-cooled north bridge||yes|
|Supported memory type||DDR2 533/667/800/1066|
|Maximum memory speed||PC2-8500|
|Power connectors||1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX|
|PCI-E x16 slots||4|
|Dual graphics architecture||CrossFireX|
|PCI-E x4 slots||0|
|PCI-E x1 slots||1|
|Serial ATA ports||6|
|RAID chipset (max disks)||AMD SB750 (6x SATA II, RAID 0, 1, 10)|
|Wired network ports||2x 10/100/1000|
|Sound (ports)||Realtek ALC889A (optical and coaxial S/PDIF, 6x analogue out)|
|USB2 ports / headers||6/6|
|Firewire ports / headers||1/1|
|Legacy ports||2x PS/2, serial header|
|Other ports||2x eSATA|
|Cables included||6x SATA, 1x IDE, 1x floppy, 6x Molex to SATA power|
|Brackets included||2x USB2, 1x 4-pin FireWire|
|Software included||Norton Internet Security|
Setup and Overclocking