AMD 890GX Unveiled: Three Motherboards Compared

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.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • -Fran-
    I kinda agree there... Lackluster chipset launch.

    Come on AMD, you can do it better.

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