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Test Settings

AMD 890GX Unveiled: Three Motherboards Compared
Test System Configuration
CPUAMD Phenom X4 955 Black Edition
3.20 GHz, 6.0 MB Cache
RAMKingston KHX2133C9D3T1K2/4GX (4GB)
DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1333 CAS 7-7-7-20
Integrated GraphicsRadeon HD 4290 at default settings
128MB Sideport RAM, Automatic shared RAM allocation
Discrete GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB
725 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4000
System Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300GB
10,000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
Empty Hard DriveCrucial RealSSD C300 256GB SATA 6Gb/s
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerCorsair CMPSU-850HX 850W Modular
ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80-Plus Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Graphics and ChipsetAMD Catalyst 10.3 Preview

AMD’s release of an SATA 6Gb/s integrated controller put us on the hunt for a fast enough drive to test it. Crucial’s RealSSD C300 is the only model we could find to exceed the former 300 MB/s bandwidth limit, and we’re anxious to find out if AMD’s integrated controller can approach the performance levels already seen in discrete controller cards.

After a last-minute failure in this lab’s 790GX motherboard caused panic, Canadian contributor Don Woligroski stepped in with a few game tests using his trusty Asus M4A785TD-M EVO.

Integrated Controller Test
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Low Quality, No AA, 1280x720
Dirt 2 DemoIn-game benchmark
Ultra Low Quality Preset, No AA, 1280x720
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Minimum Preset, DX10 EFDL, No AA, 1280x720
h2benchw 3.13Sequential Reads and Writes (KB/s)

With integrated controller tests taken care of, our remaining benchmarks used Sapphire’s Radeon HD 5850 graphics card.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 4x AA
Dirt 2 DemoIn-game benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion: x64
Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
Handbrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from The Last Samurai (1.0 GB) to .mp4, High Profile
TMPEGEnc 4.0 XPressVersion:
Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX Codec 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 kbp/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Adobe Photoshop CS4Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8
Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

A last-minute failure of this lab’s only 790GX board forced us to resort to a model with disabled integrated graphics for non-integrated graphics tests. Gigabyte’s 790XTA-UD4 filled the void.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    outlw6669 , March 2, 2010 9:18 AM
    Nice southbridge update AMD!
    It is a shame you could not have added native USB 3 in there along with the SATA 3.0.

    A bit more lackluster on the northbridge though.
    Other than the DX10.1 update, I really see nothing new...
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    outlw6669 , March 2, 2010 9:18 AM
    Nice southbridge update AMD!
    It is a shame you could not have added native USB 3 in there along with the SATA 3.0.

    A bit more lackluster on the northbridge though.
    Other than the DX10.1 update, I really see nothing new...
  • 4 Hide
    anamaniac , March 2, 2010 9:39 AM
    Nice boards.
    Though honestly, I'm just awaiting a Quantum Force (Foxconn) X68 board to replace my Bloodrage. Good to see atleast someone is getting SATA 6Gb/s.

    Come on AMD, give us some more juice. I don't know if my second system will be a desktop or laptop yet, and a good integrated GPU will help me decide (720p gaming on what will hopefully be a 50" plasma).
    How about triple channel memory too? I'd think it'd help the GPU somewhat also.
    I'm not against paying bucket loads for a motherboard (but I expect to get what I pay for).

    One last thing...
    DisplayPort. Give it. The faster nvidia/integrated adopt it, the faster Samsung/Dell etc. will put them on their monitors.
    The industry adopted HDMI like it was nothing. DP has less licensing fees, but DP monitors are in the $500 range (granted, IPS panels etc.). We want $150 1080p DP panels please.
  • 1 Hide
    knowom , March 2, 2010 9:59 AM
    Horribly unexciting launch on AMD's part the only good part is that their other mobo's might come down a bit in cost hopefully.
  • -4 Hide
    Yuka , March 2, 2010 10:48 AM
    I kinda agree there... Lackluster chipset launch.

    Come on AMD, you can do it better.

  • -5 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , March 2, 2010 10:53 AM
    I am not excited about this one.
  • -5 Hide
    falchard , March 2, 2010 11:12 AM
    Why still bothering with Ultra ATA? I like how MSI decided to trim the unnecessary in this mobo. I hope in the future a mobo manufacturer does this to the extreme. No IEEE-1394, no Ultra ATA, no floppy, no CD In, no MIDI, no PS/2 ports. You get the picture.

    There are a couple things I like about the SB850. Obviously the native SATA 6.0, and also the integrated Gigabyte ethernet. No more crappy Realtek Ethernet.

    The more time goes on, the more I realize a Server Mobo would be more ideal for my workstation.
  • 3 Hide
    jitpublisher , March 2, 2010 11:34 AM
    Nothing to see here.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 2, 2010 11:41 AM
    Very very unimpressive. Call me when you have a rv710 level northbridge on a 40nm process. That would hurt 5450? maybe, but 5450 is a joke to begin with, shoud've been redwood/2, would be pretty much the same die size and would allow gaming with old stuff like Wow, asian mmorpgs, etc
  • 2 Hide
    xkche , March 2, 2010 11:51 AM
    is a good MoBo to upgrade from AM2+ old Mobo...
    Wait the 890X mobos's!
  • 7 Hide
    Pei-chen , March 2, 2010 11:52 AM
    I wish AMD's product actually caught up with marketing. The on board graphic is far too weak to have "integrated gaming" that was promised to us when 690G was launched. They should put a 5450 in there or something.
  • -5 Hide
    masterasia , March 2, 2010 1:38 PM
    Oh man...!?! I was really pulling for AMD here. Looks like they haven't improved anything over my 790FX board.
  • 8 Hide
    void_pointer , March 2, 2010 1:43 PM
    MSI bursts forward in Crysis, ...

    Bursts? Oh please. Hyperbole much? Especially when it refers to a bunch of soporific graphs with blanket-finish results!
  • 3 Hide
    Otus , March 2, 2010 2:11 PM
    Wouldn't an SSD (e.g. ioXtreme) have been a better way to test the effects of SATA 6GB/s?
  • -5 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 2, 2010 2:24 PM
    Heh, Asus is borrowing cost saving tricks from it's ASRock division. I was expecting the new IGP to have at least 80 shaders and be DX11 in order to hybrid crossfire with a 4350/4550 or 5350 type card.
  • 1 Hide
    buzznut , March 2, 2010 2:28 PM
    As an AMD fan, I find this disappointing. I would have expected more performance. I see no reason to change my 790gx board. SATA 3 looks nice on paper, but we don't have any drives that can use that bandwidth so what's the point of adoption right now?
  • 2 Hide
    victomofreality , March 2, 2010 2:38 PM
    MSI bursts forward in Crysis, while the legacy motherboard tips towards the bottom.

    Rofl with a lead that couldn't be noticed without testing software.
  • 2 Hide
    gnesterenko , March 2, 2010 2:38 PM
    How about some overclocking tests?
  • 7 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , March 2, 2010 3:10 PM
    I will wait for the 890FX
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , March 2, 2010 3:27 PM
    On a possible new build later this Spring/early Summer, I'm still waffling between a AM3 or 1156. The former offers lower cost and more PCIE lanes / better expansion; CPUs for the the latter offer much lower power usage and better performance (that I may not notice). I'm not sure this makes my choice any easier.
  • 4 Hide
    kal326 , March 2, 2010 4:36 PM
    In all fairness they are comparing 3 fresh off factory floor boards with a mature product in the 790gx. Give it some time for the mobo makers to refine it and you will probably see a slight improvement over the current performance.
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