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ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 - 890GX/SB850 Motherboard

Date: March 2, 2010
Product: M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 - AMD Socket AM3
Company: ASUS
Author: Jason Rabel

New 890GX/SB850 Chipset Combination:

You might remember back in August 2009 AMD released the 785G northbridge chip, with it came the RV620 integrated graphics core (also known as the Radeon HD 4200) and most notably a bump to support DirectX 10.1 (vs the 790GX which only supports DirectX 10). The whole 780G / 785G / 790GX trio seemed to blur together with only subtle differences in what each supports (or lacks).

Now AMD is releasing yet another chipset (the 800 series), starting with the 890GX & SB850. The biggest feature of this combo is the SB850 now supports SATA 6Gb/s! Granted, there are not too many hard drives or SSDs out on the market currently that support SATA 6Gb/s. I think as we progress through 2010 we will quickly see a shift in the market, especially with the fast paced evolution of SSD drives as they can utilize the theoretical 750MB/s maximum bandwidth the most.

The 890GX IGP is kind of a mesh between the 785G and 790GX. Essentially, AMD took all the features of the 785G and bumped the core speed up from 500MHz (like the 785G) to 700MHz (like the 790GX). It still has the same shader count, core model, and pretty much everything else. The name has changed slightly, this IGP is known as the Radeon HD 4290. Before I forget, this board does support CrossfireX and Hybrid CrossfireX. Hybrid CrossfireX is only support with a select few models of cards (as has been the case with previous chipsets).

Because this is a new chipset, for everything to be recognized (mainly the graphics), you must install at minimum the ATI Catalyst 10.3 drivers (which should hopefully be released the same day this chipset launches).

So why was a whole new 8xx model necessary? Remember how we just talked about SATA 6Gb/s support in the southbridge? You are effectively doubling the amount of bandwidth through potentially up to six hard drives. In order to accommodate this increase, and also the amount of bandwidth necessary for USB 3.0, AMD doubled the A-Link bandwidth to 2GB/s (the link between the northbridge and southbridge).

The 890GX boards will support all current Phenom II & Athlon II AM3 processors, and planned compatibility with the upcoming Phenom II X6 processors.


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