AMD’s 790GX + SB750 platform makes for a great HTPC gaming platform while also offering enough flexibility to function as a full-blown gaming platform and even an extreme benchmarking platform. MSI’s 790GX-G65 pulls all three roles off effectively for a paltry $129.99. In nearly all of our tests the AM3 platform pulled ahead of the AM2+ platform with a modest margin, so the performance improvement is there. The average DDR2 2x2GB kit price is currently hovering around $35 to $40 per kit while DDR3 2x2GB kits are hovering around $60 to $70, so you are looking at a ~$30 price margin between the two. It is a tough call if the performance margin were worth $30, but in my eyes adopting the DDR3 standard will insure access to future CPUs and open the door for more performance down the road.
In North America, MSI has a 3 year warranty covering their motherboards. Over the three weeks I’ve had this board I tested it extensively for a week and spent another week benchmarking under the cascade with the board routinely being soaked in moisture. I’ve had a lot of trouble finding AM2+ and AM3 motherboards that can handle this amount of abuse so I was surprised with how the board kept coming back for more.
So, as long as you haven’t got unrealistic expectations of this board, I confidently believe it is a great board for 95% of consumers. Only extreme enthusiasts may require some of the features provided in the GD70 and will want to give the 790GX-G65 a pass. If you are looking for a solid board to enter the AM3 market, the 790GX-G65 would be a great option.
With a price tag of just $129.99 plus shipping the MSI 790GX-G65 motherboard is hard to pass up as it is affordable, stable and fast enough to get second place in the Toms Hardware AMD Virtual Overclocking Contest! With those credentials it only makes sense to give the MSI 790GX-G65 motherboard the Editor’s Choice Award!
Legit Bottom Line: MSI balances performance and price perfectly with this entry-level AM3 motherboard that won’t break the bank.