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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

Board Layout (cont):

In an age where usually all switches and jumpers have been transitioned to BIOS / software settings, ASUS has added a few nifty features to help people get started. First is a "MemOK" button, which will automatically test your memory with various settings to ensure stable performance. A switch labeled "Turbo_Key_II" which is basically an auto-overclocking feature. One can also manually overclock in the BIOS, and even via the Auto-tune software in Windows.

UPDATE: The "Mem OK" feature is actually a hardware based chip solution that ensures the best possibility of posting/booting the system in the event there are memory related issues. Mem OK will cycle through different stages adjusting timings, frequency, and even voltage, all in the attempt to have the system complete a POST. This feature can even be used when overclocking, if you hit a wall with your memory you can have Mem OK run its thing to hopefully get some stable settings at higher memory speeds.

Finally there is a switch for unlocking CPU cores, "Core Unlocker". We noticed there are no ACC settings in the BIOS, I'm not really sure if ASUS decided to hide this or it was removed from the 8xx Series chipset. Regardless there is still the ability to unlock extra cores, and ASUS offers three ways to do it.

  1. Core Unlocker switch
  2. Press "4" during POST
  3. Enable in the BIOS

UPDATE: I talked to ASUS and they confirmed that the 890GX no longer offers ACC. To overcome that obstacle and offer their "Core Unlocker" feature, they utilize a hardware based Turbo V EVO chip (a similar chip was first introduced on ASUS' X58 platform).


Let's talk a little about the extra chips on the board. ASUS chose to use the Realtek ALC892 HD Audio Codec, as well as a Realtek 8111E Gigabit LAN controller. The gigabit controller is a discrete PCIe chip, which seems a little odd since AMD is now offering a Gigabit MAC in the southbridge. I can only assume it boils down to availability, cost, and features for how things get implemented. Firewire support is provided from a VIA VT6308P chip, and the pair of USB 3.0 ports is powered by a NEC D720200F1 chip.


While it's rare these days to fine a PCIe video card with additional cooling on the back side, there are a few that still lurk around (especially passive cooling models). If you end up running dual video cards and happen to have one of those styles with a bunch of cooling on the back side, there *could* be a potential clearance issue with the northbridge heatsink. I honestly don't think this is going to be an issue for anyone, but I figured I would at least throw it out there.


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