Published in Motherboards

Combo motherboards for AMD on show

by on10 March 2009


Cebit 2009: From MSI and Jetway

With AMD's introduction of DDR3 capable processors it seems like at least a couple of motherboard makers, in this case MSI and Jetway, seems to have decided that the time is right to make Combo boards for AMD processors.

A Combo board has memory slots for two types of memory which is meant to allow for an easy transition from one memory type to another when the price is right. However, you usually have to make several trade-offs when you get a Combo board. In general the performance is slower than on a board with only one type of memory, the layout gets more complicated and due to the extra space the memory slots take up, you lose out something else.

In case of MSI's 790GX-8D, you get a total of eight memory slots, four for DDR2 and four for DDR3. Although we don't know if there will be a performance trade-off in the case of these boards, you do get less slots than on most motherboards, as the 790GX-8D only has two x16 PCIe slots, two x1 PCIe slots and a single PCI slot. The board also has six SATA ports, headers for six additional USB ports and one FireWire port, as well as a set of overclocking buttons at the lower edge of the board.

We can only speculate on the ports, but the board seems to have a pair of PS/2 ports, DVI, a D-sub, HDMI, optical S/PDIF out, four USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, an Ethernet port and 7.1-channel analog audio. This is most likely not the final revision of this board, but it would be an interesting board to test to see if there's a performance difference compared to non Combo AMD boards.

Jetway's HA09 Combo is slightly different, as it only has a pair of DDR2 memory slots as well as four DDR3 memory slots. Jetway has also managed to squeeze in a second PCI slot in comparison to the MSI board, but otherwise the slot layout is the same. The HA09 Combo also has seven SATA connectors, headers for an additional eight USB 2.0 ports and a debug LED display. Around the back it looks like the board has a pair of PS/2 ports, HDMI, DVI, a D-sub, eSATA, four USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet and 7.1-channel analog audio.

We'll have to wait and see when the first reviews of these boards come out, but if it works well, then this might be a sensible path for those wishing to upgrade to DDR3 at a later stage, although the performance difference between DDR2 and DDR3 for AMD's Phenom II processors doesn't really seem to make it worthwhile at the moment.

Image courtesy of Impress PC Watch

Image courtesy of Impress PC Watch
Last modified on 10 March 2009
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