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Five AMD 890FX-Based Motherboards Compared
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
890FX Deluxe3
Asus Crosshair IV
Reference Clock150-500 MHz (1 MHz)100-600 MHz (1 MHz)200-600 MHz (1 MHz)200-500 MHz (1 MHz)190-690 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU MultiplierYesYesYesYesYes
DRAM Data RatesREF x4-x8 (x1.33)REF x4-x8 (x1.33)REF x4-x8 (x1.33)REF x4-x8 (x1.33)REF x4-x8 (x1.33)
PCIe Clock75-250 MHz (1 MHz)100-150 MHz (1 MHz)Not Adjustable100-150 MHz (1 MHz)90-190 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.60-2.00 V (12.5 mV)0.68-1.78 V (3.125 mV)+1.45 V (50 mV)-0.6 to +0.6 V (25 mV)0.76-2.37 V (4 mV)
IMC Voltage0.6-2.0 V (12.5 mV)0.4-1.5 V (3.125 mV)+0.20 V (50 mV)-0.6 to +0.6 V (25 mV)0.78-1.73 V (1 mV)
890GX Voltage1.08-1.79 V (12.5 mV)0.8-2.0 V (12.5 mV)+0.40 V (10 mV)0.95-1.45 V (20 mV)0.88-1.39 V (5.5 mV)
SB850 Voltage1.11-1.51 V (50 mV)1.11-1.80 V (13.25 mV)+0.40 V (10 mV)1.10-1.46 V (20 mV)0.95-1.58 V (30 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.32-2.24 V (17.5 mV)1.20-2.90 V (12.5 mV)-0.4 to +0.63V (10 mV)1.21-2.41 V (20 mV)0.97-2.49 V (~8 mV)
CAS Latency4-12 Cycles4-12 Cycles4-12 Cycles4-12 Cycles4-12 Cycles
tRCD4-12 Cycles4-12 Cycles5-12 Cycles5-12 Cycles5-12 Cycles
tRP5-12 Cycles5-12 Cycles5-12 Cycles5-12 Cycles5-12 Cycles
tRAS15-30 Cycles15-30 Cycles15-30 Cycles15-30 Cycles15-30 Cycles

All five motherboards provide voltage ranges that far exceed our safe-and-sane limits, along with frequency ranges that exceed the speeds achievable using even the highest voltage levels. Based on reader recommendations for long-term operation of C3-stepping Phenom II cores, we’ve dropped today’s O/C voltage to 1.45V.

MSI’s 890FXA-GD70 was the only motherboard that allowed us to set 1.450 V, while its competitors settled in at 1.440 V. That 10 mV difference fully accounts for its 81 MHz advantage. We confirmed through additional testing that if our limit had been 1.46 V, a different victor would have emerged.

Biostar and Asus lead in maximum base clock.

The Crosshair IV Formula walks away with the memory overclocking lead. This is also the board that leads in Sandra Memory Bandwidth, with advanced timings set to “automatic” on all boards in both tests. The most likely reason for this outcome is a BIOS that compensates its memory timings more drastically as clock speeds are increased, though there’s always the possibility that Asus simply laid out its memory traces a little better.

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