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AMD’s 890GX Chipset: Low-End Price, High-End Features

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HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Feb 26, 2007
Initial Impressions

Initial Impressions

For a company that seemed to be struggling just to stay afloat less than two years ago, AMD’s recent success has been nothing short of astonishing. With their ATI division running wild in the DX11 marketplace, the Phemon II processors putting some much-needed pressure on Intel and the appeal of the Athlon II series winning over new converts, things couldn’t be looking better. To us, it seems like AMD is well on its way to achieving some serious market share instead of being the perennial “also ran”.

In our opinion, it is a bit too early for us to come up with an informed opinion of this chipset based solely on the few benchmarks we have been able to conduct, but what we have seen looks promising. No, there really isn’t anything ground-breaking when it comes to the 800-series but AMD’s 700 series was in desperate need of a refresh. The 800 series basically allows AMD to offer up some technologies like SATA 6Gb/s that consumers have been waiting for while acting as a stop-gap product before the next generation arrives in 2011. We do however see a bit of a missed opportunity in the omission of USB 3.0 since AMD is still looking to their motherboard partners to add functionality through a secondary controller. Luckily, AMD is giving more than enough bandwidth for these controllers but native support would still have been a nice addition.

The 890GX in particular looks to be a compelling option for users who want great performance and overclocking capabilities in a value-priced product. We actually consider it a perfect bridge between the lower end, infinitely less feature-rich 880G / SB810 combination and the higher end 890FX. From what we have seen from the two motherboards we have, the 890GX series has the real possibility of being a community favourite. Unfortunately, its integrated GPU doesn’t perform any better than the one which graced the 790GX. While the inclusion of UVD2 will take away some of the disappointment, this lack of any forward movement in the performance department still stings a bit. This is especially true when you consider ATI’s newfound dominance in the DX11 field.

Even though we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what these boards from Gigabyte and ASUS have to offer, there is already a lot to be excited about; particularly when it comes to their feature sets. Having access to products such as these at a sub-$150 price point is like a dream come true. We just hope that the BIOS development will be as quick as it is on the Intel side of things.

The new AMD 800-series boards do have a lot going for them and while we weren’t able to bring you a full review in this article, stay tuned in the coming weeks as we put some of these products under the microscope.


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