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AMD 890GX Unveiled: Three Motherboards Compared

Test Settings

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
Software
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:9.0.2.25 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: 4.7.3.292 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)
Productivity
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: 1.0.1.0 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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  • outlw6669
    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...
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    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.
    Reply
  • knowom
    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.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    I kinda agree there... Lackluster chipset launch.

    Come on AMD, you can do it better.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • JohnnyLucky
    I am not excited about this one.
    Reply
  • falchard
    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.
    Reply
  • jitpublisher
    Nothing to see here.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • xkche
    is a good MoBo to upgrade from AM2+ old Mobo...
    Wait the 890X mobos's!
    Reply
  • Pei-chen
    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.
    Reply