Windows overclocking and tweaking software has improved by leaps and bounds over the years, most recently with AMD's own OverDrive utility, which allows for per-core multiplier control among other perks. Maybe it's because I'm getting old and think things were better the way they were, but I still prefer tweaking and overclocking via a motherboard's BIOS. Fortunately, the DKA790GX's BIOS is stacked with enough options to keep most tweakers and overclockers happy.
CPU base clock: 200-600MHz in
PCIe: 100-150MHz in 1MHz increments
CPU: 4X-30X in 0.5X
CPU NB: 4X-20X in 1X increments
HT: 1X-12X in 1X increments
|Bus dividers||Base:DRAM: 1:1, 1.33, 1.66, 2, 2.66|
CPU: 1.4-1.6V in
CPU NB: 1.225-1.575V in 0.05V increments
CPU VDD: 1.1-1.55 in 0.0125V increments
CPU NB VDD: 1.1-1.55 in 0.0125V increments
DRAM: 1.8-2.3V in 0.05-0.1V increments
NB: 1.2-1.5V in 0.05V increments
HT: 1.2-1.5V in 0.05V increments
|Monitoring||Voltage, fan status, and temperature|
|Fan speed control||CPU, System|
Phenom overclocking is best done with an unlocked upper multiplier, and the Platinum provides more than enough CPU multiplier options in 0.5X increments. If your processor's upper multiplier is locked, the DKA790GX also supports base clock overclocking up to an impressive 600MHz.
Those who overclock by increasing the processor's base clock will want to keep other system components in check, and the Platinum's BIOS has no shortage of bus dividers and multipliers to make that happen. Users can easily adjust the HT multiplier to control the speed of the chipset's processor link, for example. The BIOS also serves up a handful of dividers that can adjust the memory bus speed between 400 and 1066MHz. AMD only officially supports 1066MHz memory speeds with one DIMM per channel, though.
Our DKA790GX Platinum's first BIOS revision wasn't particularly happy running even two memory modules at 1066MHz, but upgrading to the latest 1.4 release quickly remedied the stability issues we experienced. And it's a good thing, too, because the Platinum's BIOS bristles with memory timing controls for those who want to wring as much performance as possible from their memory.
MSI is one of only a few motherboard makers offering a reasonable amount of BIOS-level automatic fan speed control. On the DKA790GX, one can set a target CPU temperature between 40 and 60°C in five-degree increments. It's also possible to adjust the minimum CPU fan speed between 0 and 87.5% in 12.5% increments. The BIOS's system fan speed control is decidedly more limited, though; it's not temperature controlled, and you only have the option of setting the system fan speed at 50, 75, or 100%.
Specifics on specifications
We've consolidated all the key specifications of the DKA790GX Platinum below.
|CPU support||Socket AM2/AM2+ Phenom, Athlon X2 processors|
|North bridge||AMD 790GX|
|South bridge||AMD SB750|
|Interconnect||PCI Express 2.0 (2GB/s)|
2 PCI Express x16
2 PCI Express x1
2 32-bit/33MHz PCI
4 240-pin DIMM
Maximum of 8GB of DDR2-667/800/1066 SDRAM
1 channel ATA/133
6 channels 300MB/s Serial ATA with RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 support
|Audio||8-channel HD audio via Realtek ALC888 codec|
1 PS/2 keyboard
6 USB 2.0 with headers for 6 more
1 RJ45 10/100/1000 via Realtek RTL8111C
1 1394a Firewire via JMicron JMB381
1 analog front out
1 analog bass/center out
1 analog rear out
1 analog surround out
1 analog line in
1 analog mic in
1 digital TOS-Link S/PDIF out
Since we've already covered the Platinum's highlights, I won't spend too much time on the chart above. However, it is worth noting that the DKA790GX uses Realtek's older RTL8111C Gigabit Ethernet chip, which is one step behind the new and improved RTL8111D revision. It's also interesting to see Firewire supplied by a JMicron chip rather than more common alternatives from Texas Instruments and Via. JMicron's IDE and SATA storage controllers have become quite popular over the last couple of years, but they're not exactly known for their performance.
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