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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  • Belard - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    While in general the upper end i5/i7 CPUs are a bit faster, there are other costs involved.

    Basic AMD boards are $80, upper end Cross-fire boards are $100~150, while typical P55 boards are $100~200, and X58s are $200~300.

    So, with cost of the intels is about $150~400 in price to get a few seconds performance improvements.

    Also, if someone buys a lower-end i3 CPU, they can't upgrade to a top end i7 CPUs because of different CPU sockets. While those who bought an AMD class board a year ago will most likely have the option to upgrade.
    Reply
  • Scali - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    Who would want to run a six-core CPU on a two-year old board though?
    You wouldn't have things like USB 3.0, SATA 6 gbps, probably not even PCI-express 2.0 either.
    I don't think it's a good idea to upgrade a CPU in the same board in general.
    Usually the old board will severely hamper performance, so you're not getting your money's worth for the new CPU. And you'll miss out on the new features.
    In all the years that I've been building PCs for myself and for friends/family, I have never found a CPU-upgrade very compelling, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it's better to get a 1055T instead of a 1090T, and spend the extra money on a new board, rather than running the 1090T on the old board. There's a very interesting article in there for Anand I suppose.
    Reply
  • stalker27 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Tested on Crosshair IV, th 1090T did far better than any i7... proves how much MSI and Gigabyte suck at this thing. Reply
  • hooga - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Can you please make a note of wheather or not all power saving functions like C"n" Q and C1 for PhenomII is activated? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    All power saving features were enabled on all chips - C1E and CnQ were enabled on the X6. You need to enable these features otherwise Turbo Core doesn't work.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • KaarlisK - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    With 6 cores, memory bandwidth might be more important. The gain from DDR3 for Phenom II was minimal. Or is L3 cache bandwidth the bottleneck? Reply
  • hooga - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    I meant C1E obviously, and what about overcloking? Just a half heartet attempt? makes me wonder if there is some fanb** no, im not going to say that word, iv always seen you guys as very professional and cant quite believe that, im hopeing that you post the 4,2GHz results very soon. :) Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Bit-tech couldn't exceed 3.89GHz with their sample. Guru3d managed 4.1GHz using an OCZ Vendetta air cooler.

    These things are usually quite variable.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    That's certainly helpful.

    Considering the intended uses for this type of processor - i.e. heavily threaded applications - it offers more performance for the price as compared to anything Intel is throwing out.

    Yes, Intel's products are faster per clock, but they just can't match AMD for performance at a given price point. Guru3D touched upon the point that you could build a 1055T machine for $600; that's $400 less than the 980 on its own. How much would it cost to build a 980 setup, or even a 930 solution in comparison?
    Reply
  • fitten - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Depends on where you buy stuff... Microcenter runs great deals on the i7/930 (around $200), for example. Reply

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