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Adding SATA 6 Gb/s and two more USB 2.0 ports, AMD’s flagship northbridge has evolved into the 890FX. Just as important are the evolutionary steps several manufacturers have taken in motherboard design. Today we examine five examples.
AMD’s highest-performance chipset is as much an indictment of its competitor’s behavior as it is an example of how AMD serves the gaming community. With 42 lanes of PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 connectivity, the mainstream-priced AMD 890FX already bests Intel’s high-priced X58 (with 36 lanes), and that’s before we even think of adding the SB850 southbridge and its SATA 6Gb/s controller, a feature Intel doesn’t even offer. Comparisons to Intel’s 16-lane LGA 1156 platform are even more brutal.
It's a good thing Intel has CrossFire and SLI support on its side, otherwise we might question the company's dedication to gamers on a budget. AMD, on the other hand, is only able to extend CrossFire compatibility.
One might argue that AMD is using chipset features to win over CPU customers, but even that argument results in a win for gamers. Many of our tests have shown that AMD processors are “only” capable of matching Intel’s in certain applications—applications that include most games.
It appears that anyone who wants the best high-end gaming experience must look to AMD for platform value, but which firm makes the best high-end AMD platform? Let’s take a closer look.