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Motherboard Features

AMD 890GX Unveiled: Three Motherboards Compared
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AMD’s multi-monitor advantage comes from the way it separates PCIe and GPU functions to deliver sixteen PCIe 2.0 lanes to graphics cards (up to two) without sacrificing integrated graphics functionality. Its Catalyst driver package controls both onboard and discrete Radeon graphics controllers simultaneously, seamlessly managing multiple desktop configurations. The three boards in today’s roundup have another advantage over those of our recent H55 comparison, in that those products didn’t support DVI dual-link mode for extra-large displays.

890GX Motherboard Features
 Asus M4A89GTD
Pro/USB3
Gigabyte
890GPA-UD3H
MSI
890GXM-G65
PCB Revision1.01G1.01.0
ChipsetAMD 890GX/SB850AMD 890GX/SB850AMD 890GX/SB850
Voltage RegulatorTen PhasesFive PhasesFive Phases
BIOS0402 (02/09/2010)F3 (02/08/2010)V1.0B18 (02/22/2010)
200.0 MHz BCLK200.7 MHz (+0.35%)200.0 MHz (+0.0 MHz)200.0 MHz (+0.0 MHz)
Clock GeneratorICS 9LPRS477CKLRealtek RTM880N-793Realtek RTM880N-793
Sideport DRAMH5TQ1G63BFR-12C
128MB DDR3-1600
H5TQ1G63BFR-12C
128MB DDR3-1600
H5TQ1G63BFR-12C
128MB DDR3-1600
Internal Interfaces
PCIe x162 (x16/x0, x8/x8)2 (x16/x0, x8/x8)2 (x16/x0, x8/x8)
PCIe x1/x41/13/01/0
Legacy PCI221
USB 2.04 (8-ports)4 (8-ports)4 (8-ports)
IEEE-139412None
Serial Port111
Parallel PortNoneNone1
FloppyNoYesNo
Ultra-ATA 1331 (2-drives)1 (2-drives)1 (2-drives)
SATA 3.0 Gb/sNoneNoneNone
SATA 6.0 Gb/s665
4-Pin Fan221
3-Pin Fan221
FP-AudioYesYesYes
CD-AudioNoYesYes
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyBothOutput Only
Power ButtonNoNoNo
Reset ButtonNoNoNo
CLR_CMOS ButtonJumper OnlyJumper OnlyJumper Only
Diagnostics PanelPass/Fail LEDsPass/Fail LEDsPass/Fail LEDs
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 2111
USB 2.0444
USB 3.0222
IEEE-139411None
NetworkSingleSingleSingle
eSATA1None1
CLR_CMOS ButtonNoNoNo
Digital Audio OutOpticalOpticalOptical
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio666
Video OutputsDVI, HDMI, VGADVI, HDMI, VGADVI, HDMI, VGA
DVI Dual LinkYesUnverifiedYes
Dual MonitorYesYesYes
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA6x SATA 6Gb/s6x SATA 6Gb/s6x SATA 6Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Add-In SATAJMB361 PCIe
1x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s
JMB363 PCIe
1x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s
None
Add-In Ultra ATAJMB361 PCIeJMB363 PCIeJMB368 PCIe
USB 3.0NEC D720200F1NEC D720200F1NEC D720200F1
IEEE-1394VT6308P PCI
2x 400 Mb/s
TSB43AB23 PCI
3x 400 Mb/s
None
Gigabit Ethernet
Primary LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111D PCIeRTL8111DL PCIe
Secondary LANNoneNoneNone
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892ALC892ALC889
DDL/DTS ConnectUnspecifiedDolby Digital LiveUnspecified


Unfortunately, while Gigabyte’s dual-link mode appeared to accommodate our lab's 2560x1600 display, loading the driver seemed to break this feature. This is most likely a driver bug, since AMD’s Catalyst 10.3 Preview package is not yet finished.

Another advantage today’s motherboards have over the Intel H55-based competition is the chipset’s additional PCIe 2.0 lanes, one of which supplies each of today’s motherboards with the same USB 3.0 controller at its full 5.0 Gb/s interface bandwidth. Intel’s chipset lanes run at half-speed, so that two lanes and a costly PCIe switch are required to reach the controller’s maximum throughput.

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