AMD Latest IGP North & South Bridge Chipset—BIOSTAR TA890GXE

Dec 1, 2008
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Over these years, AMD’s All in One products, with ATI technology in the field of GPU, have been very popular in the market;
moreover, AMD built-in GPU chipset also shows great 3D performance, usually being in the lead.
AMD released several Micro ATX products, such as AMD 780G/790GX/785G, all of which were also very popular.

Recently, the highest C/P All in One motherboard should be AMD 785G.
Another advantage of AMD CPUs is more parity.
Therefore, MB manufacturers released plenty of 785G motherboards, and 785G with ACC (Advanced Clock Calibration) technology was more popular.
In March and April this year, AMD rapidly released new chipset—Northbridge 890GX and Southbridge SB850—to update its product line.

At the early stage of marketing, since new SB850 did not support ACC function,
most MB manufacturers made 890GX use or unlock hidden cores by updating version, modifying BIOS, or adding jumpers.
890GX motherboards can be classified two specifications according to their size: the price of ATX is higher,
and that of Micro ATX lower. However compared with that of 785G, the price of 890GX is much higher.

This time I use BIOSTAR TA890GXE, and the price is about USD 120, $20~30 lower than other MB manufacturers’ Micro ATX 890GX motherboards.

The appearance:

The main matching colour of recent BIOSTAR products is bright red:

890GX of ATX-version:
GIGABYTE released higher-level 890GPA-UD3H, and the price is about USD 140

The latest version 2.0 supports ACC technology; version 1.0 also supported this function by updating BIOS.

Back to the introduction of BIOSTAR TA890GXE:
Lower-left of the motherboard:
1 X PCI-E X16
1 X PCI-E X1
LAN chipset: Realtek RTL8111DL
Codec: Realtek ALC892, with 8+2 channels and supporting Blu-ray Audio

Lower-right of the motherboard:
SB850 provides 5 X red SATA3 ports, supporting RAID 0 / 1 / 5 / 10
Power button, reset button, and debug indicators

Upper-right of the motherboard:
4 X DIMM DDR3, supporting 800/1066/1333/1600(OC), maximum capacity of DDR3 is 16GB
1 X IDE, 24-pin power connector

Upper-left of the motherboard:
Location of AM3 CPU, with 4+1 phases power supply

4 X USB 2.0
1 X RJ-45
1 X S/PDIF Out
1 X IEEE 1394

Heatsink of Northbridge 890GX, beside it is 128MB DDR3 SidePort Memory.


Dec 1, 2008
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4+1 phases power supply, with bigger silver aluminium heatsink:

Heatsink of southbridge SB850:

The main feature of BIOS is overclocking. The following illustration is TA890GXE with 300Mhz.
Main page of T-TSERIES setting:

CPU information:
If frequency is overclocked over 300Mhz, it is suggested that NB FID should be lowered to 1400MHz.

Clock setting of built-in GPU HD4290:

Voltage adjusting:
Memory Over Voltage -0.600~+0.945V
HT Over Voltage +0.015~+0.315V
NB Over Voltage +0.015~+0.900V
NB IO Over Voltage +0.05~+0.15V
NB 1.1V Over Voltage +0.05~+0.15V
SB Over Voltage +0.05~+0.15V
Side Port Over Voltage +0.05~+0.15V

DDR3 Timing Configuration

Setting of built-in IGP:
Including Internal Graphics Mode, UMA Frame Buffer Size, and SIDEPORT Clock Speed.

Testing platform:
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 910e
VGA: ATI Radeon HD 4290
POWER: be quiet!Straight Power Deluxe 400W
Cooler: Thermaltake V1 AX
OS: Windows7 Ultimate 64bit

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 910e is used, with 65W, and also an AMD low-voltage product.
Dec 1, 2008
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PSU: be quiet! latest version Straight Power Deluxe 400W, certified by 80Plus Bronze.

Japanese solid capacitors, quiet 12cm FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) fan,
and 87% conversion efficiency all make it possbile that there will be enough power supply to update this AMD platform, either using X6 CPU or basic VGA.

Default performance testing:
CPU 200 X 13 => 2600.1MHz
DDR3 1600.2 CL7 7-7-21 1T
VGA 698MHz

Hyper 4 X PI 32M=> 26m 48.425s
CPUMARK 99=> 361

Nuclearus Multi Core => 10859
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 13.43/6447

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 163303

CPU => 2.32 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 0.79 pts

PCMark Vantage => 9673

AMD Phenom II X4 910e, although without high clock, still can easily deal with almost all software;
particularly with X4 multi-cores, this CPU shows great performance on drawing, conversion, multimedia, etc.

3DMARK2006 => 2247

StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1024 X 768 => 25.66FPS

Biohazard5 Benchmark
800 X 600 => 14.2 fps

Most consumers expect that for the sake of higher 3D performance, 890GX should be with the next generation HD 5X00;
however, HD4290 is adopted finally. Compared with that of 785G HD4200 and 890GX HD429, the 3D performance shows little difference.
Therefore, this time some people feel a bit of pity that 3D performance is not as expected after AMD releases new chipset.
Dec 1, 2008
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Overclocking performance testing:
CPU 300 X 12.5 => 3750.2MHz
DDR3 1600 CL7 7-7-21 1T
VGA 1009MHz

Hyper 4 X PI 32M=> 20m 42.477s
CPUMARK 99=> 496

Nuclearus Multi Core => 16524
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 19.06/9150

CrystalMark 2004R3 => 212111

CPU => 3.26 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 1.13 pts

PCMark Vantage => 11667

Due to the differences of every testing software, 910e, after overclocked to 3750MHz, has 20~30% performance improved.
C3 process has been adopted, so DRAM arguments are better; besides, the whole clock can be overclocked more 100~200MHz.

3DMARK2006 => 2547

StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1024 X 768 => 30.10FPS

Biohazard5 Benchmark
800 X 600 => 17.6 fps

The advantage of HD4290 is that CPU can be overclocked higher clock, and it is not necessary to add too much voltage to make the CPU reach 1009MHz.
About the result of 3DMARK2006, compared with that of HD 4200, the 3D performance of HD4290 has 10~15% improved.
As to Biohazard5 needing higher 3D ability, it is suggested to add extra VGA to make the game run more fluently.

DDR3 bandwidth testing:
Default CPU Frequency: 2600Mhz
DRAM DDR3 1600 CL7 7-7-21 1T
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 12525 MB/s
EVEREST Memory Read - 8976 MB/s

Default CPU Frequency: 3750Mhz
DRAM DDR3 1600 CL7 7-7-21 1T
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 13513 MB/s
EVEREST Memory Read - 9526 MB/s

DDR3 performance of AM3 structure is so-so, bandwidth performance is just ok. As for DDR3 frequency,
the frequency was limited about 1600~1700, and some 890GX/890FX MB of the new generation performs over DDR3 1800.
It is judged that AMD wants to improve DDR3 frequency first, hoping to improve DDR3 bandwidth performance with new structure in future.


Dec 1, 2008
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1. Motherboard material adopts whole Japanese solid capacitors, SATA 3.0, and 4+1 phase power supply.
2. The matching colour red makes the product appearance eye-catching.
3. The range of voltage adjusting in BIOS is wide, and options of other setting are many.
4. The overclocking range of CPU frequency is wide; after the testing, 300MHz is very steady.
5. The clock of HD4290 is higher, and has wider range for overclocking.

1. BIOSTAR products are not very common in some countries.
2. The overclocking range of DDR3 is only about 1700, and compatibility of BIOS leaves some to be desired.
3. USB 3.0 is suggested to add on this motherboard.

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The default clock of 890GX HD 4290 is about 700MHz, a bit higher than 500MHz, the default clock of 785G HD 4200.
At default setting, 3D performance improves a little; moreover, the overclocking range of HD4290 is wider than that of HD4200.
Although AMD does not change GPU structure a lot, 890GX, with the rising clock, can improve 10~20% 3D performance.

The main features of BIOSTAR products are parity and overclocking. This time, TA890GXE also shows excellent overclocking ability.
The latest version of TA890GXE also supports ACC technology, and it is convenient for users with X2~X3 CPU.

For consumers wanting to buy AMD Micro ATX platform in the near future,
two options are being provided: cheaper 785G, and 890GX with higher price and specification.
In my opinion, budget is the primary concern because it is easy to update X6 CPU in future; most AMD products are easy to expand with moderate price.

In near future, I shall share testing report of AMD high-level platform¡ªX6 CPU with 890FX chipset.
I hope AMD can make newer Leo structure perform higher performance, and release cheaper and better high-level products.

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