MSI 890GXM-G65 Motherboard Review Featuring AMD Latest 890GX Chipset

Motherboards/AMD AM3 by massman @ 2010-03-25

Today we have a look at MSI´s 890GXM-G65 motherboard featuring the new AMD 890GX chipset and compare it against that other HTPC solution: Intel´s Clarkdale.

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I remember very well that when I tested the 790GX chipset one year and a half ago I was pleasantly surprised by the attractiveness of a dead silent workstation. In contrary to the silence I experienced before, it wasn't accompanied by the soothing sound of 12V fans averaging 3500RPM ... no, I actually had to check (and double-check) if the system was still running. Of course, that silence came at a price: the 3D performance in particular wasn't that fantastic and it took me a bit of overclocking to make Crysis run somewhat fluent. Obviously, these things are not meant for gaming.

Just a few months ago, Intel released its Clarkdale processor. Nothing new, you'd wrongly assume, be it that this architecture comes in the shape of only 32nm and has a (note: 45nm) graphics processing core in the CPU package. Needless to say that the decrease in size and the integration of what used to be a separate chipset meant that less cooling was necessary to keep the system temperature under contole. And less cooling means less noise. Let's recap what we mentioned in the conclusive thoughts of that review:

... whereas Intel's Core i5 661 is far from the high-end top model of their technology, the Phenom II X4 965 is in fact the best AMD CPU available at this moment. Judging from the results however, both products are in fact pretty similar in performance ... when it comes to gaming, the difference between the Core i5 661 and the 785G's HD4200 is not that big, especially when you increase the clock frequency of the HD4200, which can be easily done even without increasing the voltage ... in terms of single threaded performance, the Clarkdale has no problem keeping up with and sometimes beating the AMD Phenom II X4 ... in multi-threaded applications, the true quad core nature of the 965 outperforms the Clarkdale clearly, which leaves us with the conclusion that although the Clarkdale may be faster for lightly threaded applications, for heavily multi-threaded applications you should opt for the Phenom II.

(~ "Intel Clarkdale vs AMD Phenom II with 785G – Mainstream Showdown")

Using this quote, we can get to business by going over the changes in this new chipset. To start with: it's identical to the 785G, but with an updated (read: overclocked) graphics core and native support for SATA 6GB.

And that's it.

No major revision changes, no major technology or architecture changes ... no, for that we'll have to wait for the next processor paradigm shift coming with the Bulldozer somewhere in 2011. Now, before we start testing the Bulldozer, let's have a look at the 890GX sample on our test bench.
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