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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  • chrnochime - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Even with the 930 being 200 at MC(I got one nearby so yes I know that), X58 motherboards are still more expensive overall. The cheapest is 160+, and goes to 400. The thing is with x58, just finding a decent board that doesn't have a bunch of weird problems voiced by owners on forums/newegg is very very difficult. One has to either spend around 300 to perhaps have a higher chance of buying a relatively problem-free board, or just pray the board that arrives doesn't have one of the memory slot DOA(seems to plague quite a few mobos).

    I don't think the situation is anywhere nearly as bad on AM3 side.

    Too bad it's not like the old days (5+ years ago) when boards would just WORK without having to eff around to even keep it stable at stock speed.
    Reply
  • vectorm12 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    I'd really like to see how the 1055T stacks up in terms of overclocking ability.

    Seems to me as if the 1055T overclocked to around 3.4-3.6 GHz would result in a good stepstone from the current Phenom X4 (non black edition) lineup.
    Reply
  • Etern205 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Just to give a heads up that Maxxon released a new Cinebench
    version R11.
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    If you are building a new system, of course you will want to use DDR3 memory for there is little to no price difference between the two.

    But some people have older systems. I wouldn't be surprised if people are upgrade from their AMD 5000+ or 6000+ and they have a compatible motherboard and memory. I am just wondering how much of a bottleneck is the DDR2 and will it cause any rational not to do a partial upgrade but instead a full upgrade.

    It doesn't have to be all the tests, just a couple.
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    IIRC the tangible performance benefit from DDR3 over DDR2 is in the range of 2%

    Higher speed but higher latency.
    Reply
  • Goopfruit - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    w00t! Go Netburst!

    xD
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    That my Q9450 clocked to QX9770-spec is still very competitive.

    I think it will be awhile before I change platforms, especially what with Intel planning socket changes for 2011. By then, we should see some more interesting options and maybe DDR3 will drop in price --I can always dream.
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    When testing your 1366 i7 CPUs you need to use 6gb of ram. Why? Because they can utilize that extra bandwidth for increased performance. You stated that early on, but since 1156 came out your tests have been only with 4gb of ram. Drop 6gb of ram in the 1366 and retest. I'm sure that is what most 1366 owners are using in their systems. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    In order to keep memory size constant we use 4GB on all systems (4x1GB on the LGA-1366 boards). You get full triple channel access for the first 3GB of memory, only the final 1GB is limited to dual channel. It's the only compromise we could come up with short of giving LGA-1366 a memory size advantage.

    The vast majority of our tests fall in the 2 - 3GB range, so I don't believe we're holding back the Nehalem/Gulftown performance much if at all here.

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

    if most of the benchmarks use only 2-3GB's what differenece then does it make to have the i7 with 6gb of ram? Reply

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