Gigabyteís GA-890GPA-UD3H: AMD-890GX Arrives
The introduction of the 790GX chipset was a bit of a redemptive moment for AMD amongst enthusiasts. Thanks to its SB750 South Bridge, the 790GX chipset was the first to offer native support for Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC), AMDís slick feature that could be used to tweak Phenomís internal timings to improve overclocking headroom.
Depending on the processor, ACC typically delivered an additional 200-400MHz when OCíing; thatís a pretty substantial improvement considering that most Phenom CPUs of that era couldnít be pushed much further than 200MHz over their stock frequency: a 2.5GHz Phenom 9850 that may have topped out around 2.7-2.8GHz before ACC could now hit 3.0-3.1GHz with full stability!
And thanks to its Radeon 3300 IGP, the 790GX chipset was the most powerful integrated graphics offering of its era.
Over time though the 790GX chipset became less relevant. Newer 790FX motherboards from ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and others were updated to include ACC support, and more importantly, AMD resolved the issue altogether with the introduction of newer, more powerful Phenom II and Athlon II CPUs last year. ACC isnít needed to deliver monster OCs with these processors.
Because of these developments, it has become harder for do-it-yourselfers who build their own systems to rationalize the need for 790GX, and because of its higher price tag than other IGP offerings, 790GX was never a viable product with OEMs -- despite offering improved 3D gaming performance over 780G/785G, the platform is just too pricey for use in low-cost PCs.
AMDís got a new generation of 8-series chipsets though, and once again theyíve decided to give the GX variant the new South Bridge first, as their oft-delayed SB850 chip debuts for the first time with todayís 890GX launch.
Letís make things clear though, despite its new name, the 890GX chipset isnít an entirely new, next-generation IGP with DirectX 11 graphics. If you were hoping for that, youíll unfortunately be disappointed, as AMD has opted to wait for their upcoming Fusion CPUs beginning with Llano next year before integrating DX11 graphics.
What the 890GX chipset does bring though is a brand new South Bridge, SB850, and an improved North Bridge built around ATIís Radeon 4290 IGP. SB850 brings with it native support for 6Gbps SATA, making it the first chipset to offer built-in support for the latest SATA standard.