It has been a little over five months since AMD first introduced their 690 chipset to the world. In that time AMD has picked up numerous board partners – already over 35 different AMD-690 motherboards from various manufacturers have been announced – and AMD has gone on to ship “millions” of chipsets. This figure includes chipsets for both the desktop and mobile markets. (The mobile variant of AMD’s 690 chipset has received design wins from system vendors like Acer, ASUS, Dell, Gateway, HP, and Toshiba.)
Back when AMD announced they were buying ATI, there was lots of talk about platforms and the importance of being able to deliver a fully-packaged, complete platform to system manufacturers, much like Intel has done with their family of desktop and mobile chipsets. Based on AMD’s recent success with AMD-690, it looks like a lot of this talk was more than just hype.
With the AMD-690 chipset launch successfully behind them, you’d assume AMD would be hard at work on their next generation RS740 and RS790 chipsets, but actually they’ve been working on improving the 690 platform.
The 690 chipset…A quick refresher
In case you’re not familiar with the specs of the AMD-690 chipset, we’ll provide a very quick recap. The most significant aspect of the chipset is its built-in multimedia/video features. AMD-690 was the first chipset to offer support for two independent digital outputs. This allows motherboard manufacturers to include both DVI and HDMI outputs directly on the back plane of the motherboard, in addition to the standard VGA output. In fact, the motherboard we’re looking at today, Gigabyte’s GA-M69GM-S2H, supports this particular feature. One item we should note here is that the 690 chipset supports dual-link DVI and HDMI 1.3. This means that the chipset supports resolutions as high as 2560x1600, which is the native res of 30” LCDs like the Dell 3007WFP
Another really cool feature that the 690 chipset supports is Surroundview; with this feature up to four monitors can be driven when a dedicated Radeon graphics card is plugged into the PCI Express graphics slot. For enhanced video quality, the chipset also supports Avivo.
The chipset also boasts 10-bit display output and HDCP support. Both of these features were missing on many GeForce graphics cards just one year ago.
Because of its unique video capabilities, the chipset has been a hit among media center PC users. It also doesn’t hurt that the chipset consumes very little power, requiring just a simple passive heatsink to keep the North Bridge of the chipset cool.
Since launching the 690 chipset, AMD has taken steps to enhance the appeal of the platform even further…