Clear Leadership, Or More Of The Same?
AMD’s chipsets have long provided great features for the money, especially compared to high-end platforms like X48 and X58 from its chief rival, Intel. Everything between the mid-priced (still high-end) 790FX to its more commonplace integrated-graphics products can be attractive, depending on your usage model.
The entire range provides expanded PCIe 2.0 pathways for multi-card configurations, and its integrated-graphics parts actually deliver reasonable 3D performance and an option for multi-monitor support. If you love building productivity-oriented machines at an affordable price or need the ultimate in configurability, AMD might be your best choice. After all, we've yet to be bowled over by Intel's CPU efforts between $100 and $200, while AMD continues to offer a number of compelling quad-core models.
Today’s launch focuses on two components, the 890GX northbridge with its revised Radeon HD 4290 graphics engine and the SB850 southbridge. Upgrades include DX10.1 graphics, SATA 6Gb/s, two additional USB 2.0 ports, and integrated gigabit networking.
But our emphasis here is on a trio of motherboards emerging alongside the new core logic from Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI. Note that you'll see USB 3.0 support in the pages to come. However, the 890GX platform does not natively support USB 3.0; rather, it's added via an on-board controller.