AMD’s 890FX Chipset

The Phenom II X6 will work in all existing Socket-AM2+ and AM3 motherboards that can 1) support the 125W TDP of the processors, and 2) have BIOS support (apparently over 160 boards at launch). Despite this impressive showing of backwards compatibility, we also get a new chipset today for those of you looking to build a new system instead of upgrade.

The 890FX is a mildly updated version of AMD’s 790FX chipset, mostly adding AMD’s SB850 South Bridge with 6Gbps SATA support. The number of PCIe 2.0 lanes and other major features remains unchanged.

  AMD 890FX AMD 890GX AMD 790FX
CPU AMD Socket-AM3 AMD Socket-AM3 AMD Socket-AM3/AM2+
Manufacturing Process 65nm 55nm 65nm
PCI Express 44 PCIe 2.0 lanes 24 PCIe 2.0 lanes 44 PCIe 2.0 lanes
Graphics N/A Radeon HD 4290 (DirectX 10.1) N/A
South Bridge SB850 SB850 SB750
USB 14 USB 2.0 ports 14 USB 2.0 ports 12 USB 2.0 ports
SATA 6 SATA 6Gbps ports 6 SATA 6Gbps ports 6 SATA 3Gbps ports
IOMMU 1.2 N/A N/A
Max TDP 19.6W 25W 19.6W

You get IOMMU support (an advantage over 790FX) and despite the chipset being built on TSMC's 65nm process, it pulls less power than the 890GX as it lacks any integrated graphics.

The Test

To keep the review length manageable we're presenting a subset of our results here. For all benchmark results and even more comparisons be sure to use our performance comparison tool: Bench.

Motherboard: ASUS P7H57DV- EVO (Intel H57)
Intel DP55KG (Intel P55)
Intel DX58SO (Intel X58)
Intel DX48BT2 (Intel X48)
Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-UD5P (AMD 790FX)
MSI 890FXA-GD70 (AMD 890FX)
Chipset Drivers: Intel 9.1.1.1015 (Intel)
AMD Catalyst 8.12
Hard Disk: Intel X25-M SSD (80GB)
Memory: Corsair DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Corsair DDR3-1333 2 x 2GB (7-7-7-20)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce GTX 280 (Vista 64)
ATI Radeon HD 5870 (Windows 7)
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 9.12 (Windows 7)
NVIDIA ForceWare 180.43 (Vista64)
NVIDIA ForceWare 178.24 (Vista32)
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit (for SYSMark)
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
Windows 7 x64
The Performance Summary SYSMark & Photoshop Performance
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  • Eeqmcsq - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Hey, found a typo, on the AMD Turbo page:

    "While mainstream CPUs are down at 65nm". I think you meant 65w.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Thank you! Fixed! Reply
  • falc0ne - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    :O) lol Reply
  • Rick83 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    there's also an "i7 670" in one of the charts on the first pages, which should clearly be an i5. Reply
  • msc_chandu - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    nm refers to nano-meter and 65nm is a technology node. So, the processor manufacturing has been rolling down. For example, 250nm to 130nm to 90nm to 65nm to 55nm etc...

    It is not a typo and was mentioned correctly. :)
    Reply
  • DaCentaur - Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - link

    Chandu naanna, if you take a look at the context, i.e. the sentences before and after the "wrong" sentence, you should be able to understand why it should be "W" instead of "nm".

    "High end desktop CPUs now spend their days bumping up against 125 - 140W limits. While mainstream CPUs are down at 65W. Mobile CPUs are generally below 35W. These TDP limits become a problem as you scale up clock speed or core count."

    Ardhamainada? :D
    Reply
  • creathir - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    As usual Anand, the article was great and really helped with figuring out where I am taking my wife's next computer. I was tempted to go AMD this time around for her next PC, but after reading this I believe I will stick with an Intel solution. Thanks man!

    - Creathir
    Reply
  • webmastir - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    yup. agree...very informative article. thanks! Reply
  • pow123 - Wednesday, May 05, 2010 - link

    You would have to be insane to pay $1000 for a chip that may be good for gaming. at $199 with slightly lower performance its a no brainer. When I build a system, I don't care if the frame rates etc is 10 to 15% better. Who cares ; the chip is fast and I have not problems playing high end games. I have no special setup and it does everything that my friends I7 can do. Good for me I get more pc for the buck . Go ahead and go broke buying just a motherboard and cpu when I can get a modern motherboard a cpu, 6gigs of ddr3 1600, a 1tb hd and a dvdrw. More for me. Reply
  • abd-jbr - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    i compared intel and AMD from almost AMD start ( K6 II ) CPU , i believe that AMD did not change their Policy much : they still offer more for less , with one different , in that time the market was also different from today , now a days , you can easly found all the hardware you need and it's compatible and works with AMD ,
    it's accurate Say : it's not about absolute Perf , it's about pref at a given price
    and in this , i think AMD wins .
    Reply

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