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

    I agree with your approach, Anand. As a customer, and for a general review, I'm most interested in what performance I can get without increasing the core voltage and power consumption.

    Pushing the overclock seems more suited for a separate article, or for sites specializing in overclocking or gaming.

  • GullLars - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    +1 on more overclocking testing. It could be a new article dedicated to investigating OC vs stock against the i5 cpus. Also, i remember seing some results for powerconsumption pr performance on different clocks and voltages, that would be interresting to see for the PII x6.
    I would also like to see what effect just bumping the FSB up from 200 makes, and how high you get it with stable turbo modes. Finding the max stable FSB with lowered multiplier gives a hint to how far it can clock, and how far the non-BE versions can clock.

    I'm considering a a 1090T BE or 1055T to replace my 9850BE (too hot, and won't OC) untill bulldozer chips come out. If the 1055T can take a 20-25% FSB increase and stay stable, that would be my choice.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Ask and you shall receive:
  • jav6454 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    I miss when Intel was on the run for the market... AMD's 6-core does well, but it'd marginally better than a 4-core from Intel... true you get more cores, but is them small performance worth it? I think not.
  • KaarlisK - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Overclocking it is definitely interesting, and it would be nice to know whether it's power consumption is much lower or not. It's a lower bin, so it should have slightly higher power consumption at the same clock, but it does have a much lower clock.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    We didn't have an actual Phenom II 1055T, we simply underclocked our 1090T and lowered the turbo core ratios to simulate one. This is why we don't have power consumption results for it either.

    Take care,
  • adrien - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link


    I find the results of the 7zip compression benchmark a bit weird. I own a Phenom II X4 955 and I'm currently compressing something (800MB) in a windows7 virtual machine with only two cores (way to go MS!). Still, I'm getting something more than 2MB/s (and this virtual machine has crappy disk I/O, maybe less than 4MB/s sustained). LZMA is slower on data that compresses badly so it's not possible to draw conclusions but overall, it still looks weird.

    Which version of 7zip is being used? 4 or 9? And which minor version?
    Also, are you using LZMA or LZMA2? IIRC, LZMA can only use 2 threads while LZMA2 can use more (maybe powers of two, not sure).
    Also, I think that the 64bit versions are faster. I guess you're using 64bit binaries but it's better to check (running 32bit software on 64bit OSes indeed has a cost), maybe like 5% to 15%.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    I'm using 7-zip 9.10 beta and LMZA compression in order to compare to previous results, which unfortunately limits us to two threads. In the future we'll start transitioning to LMZA2 to take advantage of the 4+ core CPUs on the market. Today I offer both the benchmark results (max threads) and the compression test (2 threads) to give users an idea of the spectrum of performance.

    Take care,
  • adrien - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    OK, very good. Thanks. :-)

    That explains why the deca (and actually quad) cores don't benefit much from that. It'd probably deserve a mention on the chart or next to it.
  • adrien - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Not decacores but hexacores of course. Too early in the morning I guess.

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