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
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 (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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  • JGabriel - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Good point - and yes, it does. But revenue from the microprocessor unit also increased by 23%, according to Businessweek ( ).

  • kenupcmac - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - link

    so now amd x6 is better for 3dmax compare to intel i7?
  • Drazick - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Could you add some Matlab Benchmarks?

    Moreover, do you think most of the performances advantage of Intel processors comes from highly optimized code (Towards Intel Cores)?

    It's something that should be investigated.
  • gruffi - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Yes, absolutely. I wished more GCC builds would be benchmarked. Intel's architecture is not as good as many people believe. Most of Intel's advantages come from better software support.
  • pjconoso - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Intel 6-core early adopters will feel like they were ripped-off. I have the Asus USB 3.0 (for review) for a few weeks now and I'm waiting for this processor to test it with - thanks for the review, I'm sure it'll help me a lot.
  • Scali - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Ripped off? Why?
    The performance of this six-core is nowhere near the Intel 980X.
    This six-core can barely keep up with Intel's faster quadcores.
  • pjconoso - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Well, in my opinion the difference in performance versus the price doesn't justify it. They look nice in a bar graph and all like the video encoding performance but in reality, its just a few seconds.
  • fitten - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    It's all "just a few seconds". I'm going to wait for the Intel's consumer-priced hex-cores before I do anything. Right now, AMD needs 50% more cores to even match Intel's parts in heavily threaded code. Running out right now and buying all new kit might be leaving you feeling like "cores on the ground" if Intel comes out with the consumer-priced stuff. ;)
  • Scali - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Price/performance has always been on an exponential scale.
    AMD was no different when their Athlon FX were the fastest CPUs around.
    Intel doesn't call them Extreme Edition for nothing.
    I just get tired of people who go around on the internet telling everyone that Intel only has $1000 CPUs, and therefore Intel is overpriced.
    The fastest PC on the market is just $1000, has been like that for decades, regardless of whether it was an AMD or Intel. Just seems to be how the market works.
  • pjconoso - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    I just get tired of people who go around on the internet telling everyone that Intel only has $1000 CPUs, and therefore Intel is overpriced.

    Sorry man, but this isn't what I'm implying which is why there is a "in my opinion" on my explanation. It was really just a personal opinion, nothing else.

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