AMD's 890GX Chipset in Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H

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AMD 890GX Chipset

March 15, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
AM3 ATX Motherboard
Street Price

890GX is the newest high-end integrated graphics chipset from AMD, succeeding the 790GX chipset which was released in the summer of 2008. 790GX's main draw was the HD 3300 graphics chip, the fastest IGP on the market. The same core is used for the 890GX's HD 4290 IGP but it has undergone a couple of minor updates. Version 2.0 of UVD (Universal Video Decoder) and DirectX 10.1 support has been added, both features that were incorporated in the HD 4200 IGP of the budget 785G chipset. The main changes to the chipset involve increased bandwidth to accommodate the new SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 standards.

890GX block diagram.

The H55/H57 chipset saddles external controllers with slower PCI-E connections, creating a potential bottleneck for add-on USB/SATA 3.0 controllers.

The Alink Express bus connecting the Northbridge and Southbridge has been doubled to 2GB/s allowing AMD to tout native support for SATA 3.0 and its rated speed of 6 Gb/s. While both AMD and Intel have been dragging their heels when it comes to a native USB 3.0 controller, AMD has given their newest boards a bit of a boost in this department with internal PCI Express 2.0 connections, providing add-on controllers twice the PCI-E bandwidth available on Intel's H55 and H57 chipsets. H55 and H57 are the only chipsets that support their latest GMA HD graphics, so it's a natural rival for 890GX. AMD is careful to point this difference out in their literature even though the most useful application of USB 3.0 is for external mechanical hard drives that cannot push 250MB/s.

The only other real changes are Hybrid CrossFire support for the new HD 5450 graphics card, the option for an integrated gigabit ethernet MAC, and support for port multipliers with FIS-based switching in the new SB850 Southbridge. Most multi-drive eSATA enclosures/docks have built-in port multipliers that require support for FIS switching to allow all the drives inside to be accessible simultaneously through eSATA. Previously this feature was only available on more capable third party/add-on SATA controllers.

Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H box.


Our 890GX sample comes in the form of the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H, an ATX motherboard with CrossFireX support, SidePort memory for the IGP, HDMI, S/PDIF and FireWire. At $140, it is at the high-end of the spectrum for AMD motherboards sporting integrated graphics, but the accessories included are rather pitiful with only one IDE and two SATA cables included. An eSATA adapter bracket would have been a welcome addition seeing as it is one of the few $100+ AMD boards that lacks eSATA.

Specifications: Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
(from the product web page)
CPU 1. Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom™ II processor / AMD Athlon™ II processor
Hyper Transport Bus 1. 5200 MT/s
Chipset 1. North Bridge: AMD 890GX
2. South Bridge: AMD SB850
Memory 1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory (Note 1)
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR3 1866(OC)/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
Integrated Memory 1. 128MB DDR3 SidePort memory
Onboard Graphics Integrated in the North Bridge:
1. 1 x D-Sub port
2. 1 x DVI-D port (Note 2)(Note 3)
3. 1 x HDMI port (Note 3)
Audio 1. Realtek ALC892 codec
2. High Definition Audio
3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
4. Support for Dolby Home Theater
5. Support for S/PDIF In/Out
6. Support for CD In
LAN 1. 1 x Realtek 8111D chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots 1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16) (Note 4)
2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8) (Note 4)
(The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots support ATI CrossFireX and ATI Hybrid CrossFireX technologies, and conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
3. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
4. 2 x PCI slots
Storage Interface South Bridge:
1. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors 6 supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
2. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, and JBOD

1. 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
2. 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
3. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD

iTE IT8720 chip:
1. 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive
USB Integrated in the South Bridge:
1. Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (6 on the back panel (Note 5), 8 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)

NEC D720200F1 chip:
1. Up to 2 USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
IEEE 1394 T.I. TSB43AB23 chip:
1. Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (1 on the back panel, 2 via the IEEE 1394a bracket connected to the internal IEEE 1394a header)
Internal I/O Connectors 1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
3. 1 x floppy disk drive connector
4. 1 x IDE connector
5. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
6. 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
7. 1 x CPU fan header
8. 2 x system fan header
9. 1 x power fan header
10. 1 x front panel header
11. 1 x front panel audio header
12. 1 x CD In connector
13. 1 x S/PDIF In header
14. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
15. 2 x IEEE 1394a header
16. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
17. 1 x serial port header
18. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors 1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard port or PS/2 mouse port
2. 1 x D-Sub port
3. 1 x DVI-D port (Note 2)(Note 3)
4. 1 x HDMI port (Note 3)
5. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
6. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
7. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
8. 1 x IEEE 1394a port
9. 1 x RJ-45 port
10. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller 1. ITE IT8720 chip
H/W Monitoring 1. System voltage detection
2. CPU/System temperature detection
3. CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
4. CPU overheating warning
5. CPU/System/Power fan fail warning
6. CPU/System fan speed control (Note 6)
BIOS 1. 2 x 8 Mbit flash
2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
3. Support for DualBIOS™
4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features 1. Support for @BIOS
2. Support for Q-Flash
3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
4. Support for Download Center
5. Support for Xpress Install
6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
7. Support for EasyTune (Note 7)
8. Support for Easy Energy Saver
9. Support for Time Repair
10. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software 1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System 1. Support for Microsoft Windows 7/ Vista/ XP
Form Factor 1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
Note (Note 1) Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
(Note 2) The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connector by adapter.
(Note 3) Simultaneous output for DVI-D and HDMI is not supported.
(Note 4) For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot. The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When PCIEX8 is populated with a PCI Express graphics card, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
(Note 5) Two share the same ports with USB 3.0.
(Note 6) Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.
(Note 7) Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
Remark 1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
2. Most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.

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