The recent CPU wars have caused somewhat of a war for motherboard manufacturers, each releasing their new socket mobos to coincide with the release of the top spec processors. We have got our grubby mitts on a review sample of the new mobo from MSI, sporting the latest AMD 790FX chipset for the new Phenom II processors, the surprisingly named 790FX-GD70.

Despite the relentless majesty of Intel's recent CPU releases, we still have something of a soft spot for AMD's chippery. For the most part, that's because AMD bends over backwards to make life easy for us enthusiasts when it comes to socket and CPU compatibility.

Backwards, forwards, up or down, AMD has ensured that all of its AM2, AM2+ and AM3 products, both sockets and CPUs, play nicely with each other. It takes all the uncertainty out of the whole rig building process.

With that in mind, however, you have to think very carefully about unloading a lot of money on an AMD compatible motherboard. Whatever chip you have, there are an awful lot of options and many of them eminently affordable.

In that context, at £130 MSI's 790FX-GD70 has a fight on its hands for relevancy. Sure, it sports AMD's top 790FX chipset, four-way CrossfireX multi-GPU support and plenty of fringe benefits including memory profiles up to DDR3 2,133MHz and an on-board switch for BIOS-free overclocking larks.

And make no mistake, the extra bandwidth of DDR3 memory does deliver a measurable performance boost compared with the DDR2 technology of AM2 and AM2+ boards. But let's be brutally honest. You'll get 95% of the fun this high-end board delivers from a bargain basement item costing half the price.

That said, the future proofing provided by the AM3 socket and support for high frequency memory might just swing it if you harbour hopes of dropping in an example of AMD's inevitable six-core chip somewhere down the road.

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