SB600 and the Transitional SB460

The new ATI South Bridge SB600 was completely discussed and tested in the launch reviews for RD580 and the AMD Reference Board review. However, it is such an important part of making the ATI CrossFire 3200 competitive that it is worth detailing the SB600 features:

CPU Interface
  • Supports the following Intel processors:
    • Desktop: Pentium 4, Pentium D, Pentium Extreme Edition, Prescott, Celeron, Celeron D, Cedar Mill, Presler, Conroe, Allendale
    • Mobile: Mobile Pentium 4, Pentium M, Mobile Prescott, Celeron M, Yonah, Yonah Celeron, Merom
  • Supports the following AMD processors:
    • Desktop: Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, Sempron, Opteron, dual-core Opteron
    • Mobile: Athlon XP-M, Mobile Athlon 64, Turion 64, Mobile Sempron
A-Link Xpress II interface to the Northbridge
  • 1/2/4-lane A-Link Xpress II interface
  • Dynamic detection of lane configuration
  • High data transfer bandwidth
PCI Host Bus Controller
  • Supports PCI rev. 2.3 specifications
  • Supports PCI bus at 33 MHz
  • Supports up to 6 master devices
  • Supports 40-bit addressing
  • Supports interrupt steering for Plug-n-Play devices
  • Supports concurrent PCI operations
  • Supports hiding of PCI devices by BIOS/hardware
  • Supports spread spectrum
USB Controllers
  • 5 OHCI and 1 EHCI Host controllers to support 10 USB ports
  • All 10 ports are USB 1.1 ("Low Speed", "Full Speed") and 2.0 ("High Speed") compatible
  • Supports ACPI S1~S5
  • Supports legacy keyboard/mouse
  • Supports USB debug port
  • Supports port disable with individual control
SMBus Controller
  • SMBus Rev. 2.0 compliant
  • Supports SMBALERT # signal / GPIO
Interrupt Controller
  • Supports IOAPIC/X-IO APIC mode for 24 channels of interrupts
  • Supports 8259 legacy mode for 15 interrupts
  • Supports programmable level/edge triggering on each channel
  • Supports serial interrupt on quiet and continuous modes
DMA Controller
  • Two cascaded 8237 DMA controllers
  • Supports PC/PCI/DMA
  • Supports LPC DMA
  • Supports type F DMA
LPC host bus controller
  • Supports LPC based super I/O and flash devices
  • Supports two master/DMA devices
  • Supports TPM version 1.1/1.2 devices for enhanced security
  • Supports SPI devices
SATA II AHCI Controller
  • Supports four SATA ports, complying with SATA 2.0 specifications
  • Supports SATA II 3.0GHz PHY, with backward compatibility with 1.5GHz
  • Supports RAID striping (RAID 0) across all 4 ports
  • Supports RAID mirroring (RAID 1) across all 4 ports
  • Supports RAID 10 (striping plus mirroring; 4 ports needed)
  • Supports both AHCI mode and IDE mode
  • Supports advanced power management with AHCI mode
IDE Controller
  • Single PATA channel support
  • Supports PIO, multi-word DMA, and Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 modes
  • 32x32 byte buffers on each channel for buffering
  • Swap bay support by tri-state IDE signals
  • Supports Messages Signaled Interrupt (MSI)
  • Integrated IDE series resistors
AC Link interface
  • Support for both audio and modem Codecs
  • Compliant with AC'97 codec Rev. 2.3
  • 6/8 channel support on audio codec
  • Multiple functions for audio and modem Codec operations
  • Bus master logic
  • Supports up to 3 codecs simultaneously
  • Supports S/PDIF output
  • Separate bus from the HD audio
HD Audio
  • 4 independent output streams (DMA)
  • 4 independent input streams (DMA)
  • Up to 16 channels of audio output per stream
  • Supports up to 4 codecs
  • Up to 192kHz sample rate
  • Up to 32-bits per sample
  • Message Signaled Interrupt (MSI) capability
  • 64-bit addressing capability for MSI
  • 64-bit addressing capability for DMA bus master
  • Unified Audio Architecture (UAA) compatible
  • HD Audio registers can be located anywhere in the 64-bit address space
Timers
  • 8254-compatible timer
  • Microsoft High Precision Event Timer (HPET)
  • ACPI power management timer
RTC (Real Time Clock)
  • 256-byte battery backed CMOS RAM
  • Hardware supported century rollover
  • RTC battery monitoring feature
Power Management
  • ACPI specification 3.0 compliant power management schemes
  • Supports C2, C3, C4
  • Supports C1e and C3 pop-up (AMD platform only)
  • Supports S0, S1, S2, S3, S4, and S5
  • Supports SpeedStepTM (Intel platform only)
  • Full support for On-NowTM
  • Supports CPU SMM, generating SMI# signal upon power management events
  • GPIO supports on external wake up events
  • Supports CLKRUN# on PCI power management
  • Provides clock generator and CPU STPCLK# control
  • Hardware monitoring support
  • Support for ASF
Hardware Monitor
  • Supports 3 Independent Fan Control outputs
  • Supports 4 thermal diode temperature sensing functions
  • Supports 1 AMDSI function
Normally it is not worth the space to reprint feature information that is widely available elsewhere. However, we could not find SB600 and SB460 features available anywhere else and it took ATI several days to get the complete information to us. For those reasons it appeared worthwhile to provide as much detail as possible about the new ATI South Bridges.


SB460

You may also find lower cost boards based on the ATI chipsets that use SB460. SB460 is pin-compatible with SB600, meaning either chip can be used in the same design. This is an important consideration for manufacturers that will offer several motherboards based on the ATI chipsets.

SB460 is a low-power die-shrink of SB450. That means it only supports SATA1 hard drives and it still has the same issues with USB 2.0 performance that we have found in past SB450 reviews. The good news is manufacturers now have a lower cost (and lower performance) South Bridge to use with current ATI North Bridges - both CrossFire Xpress 3200 (RD580) and CrossFire Xpress 1600 (RD480).

CPU Interface
  • Supports the Intel Pentium 4, Prescott, Mobile Pentium 4, Mobile Prescott, Banias, and Dothan processors
  • Supports the AMD Sempron 64, Athlon 64, and Athlon 64 FX processors
A-Link Express interface to the RADEON IGPs
  • 2 / 4-lane A-Link Express interface to RADEON IGPs
  • High data transfer bandwidth
PCI Host Bus Controller
  • Supports PCI bus at 33MHz
  • PCI Rev. 2.3 specification support
  • Supports up to 6 bus master devices
  • Supports 40-bit addressing
  • Interrupt steering supported for Plug-n-Play devices
  • Concurrent PCI operation support
USB Controllers
  • 2 OHCI and 1 EHCI Host controllers to support 8 USB 1.1/2.0 devices
  • All 8 ports are USB 1.1 ("Low Speed", "Full Speed") and 2.0 ("High Speed") compatible
  • ACPI S1 ~ S5 supported
  • Legacy Keyboard/Mouse support
SMBus Controller
  • SMBus Rev. 2.0 compliant
  • Support SMBALERT # signal / GPIO
Interrupt Controller
  • Supports IOAPIC/X-IO APIC mode for 24 channels of interrupts
  • Supports 8259 legacy mode for 14 interrupts
  • Supports programmable level/edge triggering on each channels
  • Supports serial interrupt on quiet and continuous modes
DMA Controller
  • Two cascaded 8237 DMA controllers
  • Supports PC/PCI DMA
  • Supports LPC DMA
  • Supports type F DMA
LPC host bus controller
  • Supports LPC based super I/O and flash devices
  • Two Master/DMA devices supported
  • Support for TPM version 1.2 devices for enhanced security
SATA Controller
  • Supports four SATA ports, complying with the SATA 1.0 specification
  • Speeds up to 1.5 GHz (150MB/s data throughput)
  • Integrated Silicon ImageTM controller and PHY interface
  • RAID Striping (RAID 0) support
  • RAID Mirroring (RAID 1) support
IDE Controller
  • Supports 1 (One) IDE controller (Primary Channel)
  • Supports PIO, Multi-word DMA, and Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 modes.
  • 32x32 byte buffers on each channel for buffering
  • Swap bay support by tri-state IDE signals
  • Supports Message Signaled Interrupt (MSI)
  • Integrated IDE series resistor
AC Link interface
  • Support for both audio and modem codecs
  • Compliant with AC'97 codec Rev. 2.3
  • 6 / 8 channel support on audio codec
  • Multiple functions for audio and modem codec operation
  • Bus master logic
  • Up to 3 codecs are supported simultaneously
  • Support S/PDIF output
HD Audio
  • 4 Independent output streams (DMA)
  • 4 Independent input streams (DMA)
  • Up to 16 channels of audio output
  • Up to 16 channels of audio input
  • Support up to 4 codecs
  • Up to 192kHz Sample Rate and 32-Bit Audio
  • Message Signaled Interrupt (MSI) capability
  • 64-bit addressing capability for DMA Bus Master
  • 64-bit addressing capability for MSI
  • HD registers can be located anywhere in the 64-bit address space
Timers
  • 8254 compatible timer
  • Microsoft High Precision Event Timer (HPET)
  • ACPI power management timer
RTC (Real Time Clock)
  • 256-byte battery-backed CMOS RAM
  • Hardware supported century rollover
  • RTC battery monitoring feature
Power Management
  • ACPI specification 2.0 compliant power management schemes
  • Supports C2, C3, C4
  • Supports S0, S1, S2, S3, S4, and S5
  • Wakeup events for S1, S3, S4/S5 generated by:
    • Any GEVENT pin
    • Any GPM pin
    • USB
    • Power Button
    • Internal RTC wakeup
    • SMI# event
  • Support for SpeedStepTM
  • Full support for On-Now
  • CPU SMM support, generating SMI# signal upon power management events
  • GPIO supports on external wake up events
  • CLKRUN# supported on PCI power management
  • Provides clock generator and CPU STPCLK# control
Index MSI K9A Platinum: Basic Features & Board Layout
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28 Comments

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  • mike6099 - Thursday, September 21, 2006 - link

    The review does not list the ASUS M2N32-SLI as having raid 5. however, at newegg it lists that it does. does the ASUS M2N32-SLI indeed have raid 5 capability? Reply
  • dougcook - Friday, September 08, 2006 - link

    Be careful with the MSI K9A. If you get one, you'll probably want to get a better chipset cooler for it.

    I bought an MSI K9A board (after reading this review). The 570 chipset seemed about right for me. Everything seemed ok (some things seemed a bit cheap, but nothing really unusual). There were reports about it being incompatible with some memory, so I was careful there and got the good stuff. I got it all installed and it looked like it was running fine...

    For one day (until I actually tried to use it).

    The first real thing I did was burn a few CDs. In the middle of the 3rd CD, the Northbridge overheated and the machine turned itself off. This happened 2 more times, and then the machine failed to boot at all (even after giving it time to cool off). I wasn't overclocking, and the box had decent ventilation. The CPU's temperature was fine, the GPU's temperature was fine, the case temperature was fine, but the chipset temperature was through the roof. I had to return the motherboard.

    This may not happen for everybody, but looking on NewEgg, it seems that this has happened to many other people. The MSI northbridge does not have an adequate heatsink and is likely to burn up. Save the time and get something better. I got the equivalent ABit 570 SLI motherboard, and I've been very happy so far. I hear good things about the ASUS 570 as well.
    Reply
  • Stele - Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - link

    Great article! If only there were more Xpress 3200 boards on the market now... perhaps Anandtech would do a further roundup when that is the case?

    Good to see that most motherboard manufacturers are keeping that 24-pin ATX connector well at the edge. So far the only outstanding exception to this practice seems to be EpoX...

    As for the 4-pin 12V connector, well, it may not be the best place to be for airflow and cable routing reasons, but that location is actually part of the ATX form factor specifications, which clearly states that the 12V connector should be "next to Voltage Regulator" (ATX Specification v2.2, pg 8). Motherboard designers likely just followed that to make life easier. Specifications aside, it also makes much engineering sense as it keeps traces short - crucial to maintain the quality of power supplied to something as important as the CPU VRM. Besides, airflow considerations are less of an issue with respect to four strands of wire.

    IMHO perhaps the one improvement the designers could do while keeping with the spirit of the specifications would be to put the connector on the other side of the VRM, nearer the motherboard edge, though still at the I/O side of the motherboard instead of at the edges nearer the 24-pin ATX connector.
    Reply
  • lopri - Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - link

    Boy, do I love this article! Thanks to Wesley for this great review. Usually in previous AT motherboard reviews, many difficulties/bugs that end-users experience were often overlooked. (Warm-boot, Cold-boot, Vdroop(?), etc.) I sort of understood it as a result of working with motherboard manufacturers (It's been mentioned that they get BIOS updates on a daily basis), but I used to think AT's motherboard reviews were somewhat different from end-users' experience of retail products.

    This review feels much realer and it sounded almost like what I went through with a couple of the boards that I bought after reading AT reviews. I'm very glad and grateful, and hope AT keeps this critical viewpoints for future reviews, especially for motherboards.

    lop
    Reply
  • Le Québécois - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    When you are talking about the SB600 features
    quote:

    # Supports the following AMD processors: Desktop: Athlon 64, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 FX X2, Sempron, Opteron, dual-core- Opteron


    Shouldn't it be: Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon FX, Sempron... To my knowledge Amd have Athlon 64 X2 ;) and even if the FX-60 (939) and the FX-62(AM2) have 2 core AMD still call them simply by FX and not FX X2.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    Edited. Basically, SB600+RD580 supports all current 939/AM2 AMD CPUs. Not sure about SB460, as Wes specifically didn't list dual core and Opteron parts there. I would guess it does, but I will leave that edit to him just to be safe. Reply
  • Furen - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    =)
    He just meant that FX X2 doesn't exist. There are A64s X2s and A64 FXes but even the dual-core parts are plain FXes.
    Reply
  • mendocinosummit - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    So, awards were handed out despite the fact that ASUS and other top mobo manus don't have ATI boards yet? Am I to assume that this is the end of the mobo lineup? I would really like to see at least two more boards featuring a ATI chipset; especially since the ECS board will basically be a flop at launch. Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Am I to assume that this is the end of the mobo lineup?
    We also have a few mATX AM2 boards along with a couple of value solutions that we will be reviewing shortly. There is still the upcoming DFI 590SLI AM2 board to review also. :)
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    Will you guys be testing any of the ABIT boards ? For me personaly, so far, my choice is the ABIT AN9 32x (non fata1ity). I like this board because it offers the SIL 3132 controller, and has an eSATA socket in the I/O section. This is, I'm hoping to use this board with a SATA port multiplier, for some external RAID 5 goodness :) Reply

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