AM3+ Last Gasp?
Over the past several years I have reviewed quite a few Asus products. The ones that typically grab my attention are the ROG based units. These are usually the most interesting, over the top, and expensive products in their respective fields. Ryan has reviewed the ROG graphics cards, and they have rarely disappointed. I have typically taken a look at the Crosshair series of boards that support AMD CPUs.
Crosshair usually entails the “best of the best” when it comes to features and power delivery. My first brush with these boards was the Crosshair IV. That particular model was only recently taken out of my primary work machine. It proved itself to be an able performer and lasted for years (even overclocked). The Crosshair IV Extreme featured the Lucid Hydra chip to allow mutli-GPU performance without going to pure SLI or Crossfire. The Crosshair V got rid of Lucid and added official SLI support and it incorporated the Supreme FX II X-Fi audio. All of these boards have some things in common. They are fast, they overclock well, and they are among the most expensive motherboards ever for the AMD platform.
So what is there left to add? The Crosshair V is a very able platform for Bulldozer and Piledriver based parts. AMD is not updating the AM3+ chipsets, so we are left with the same 990FX northbridge and the SB950 southie (both of which are essentially the same as the 890FX/SB850). It should be a simple refresh, right? We had Piledriver released a few months ago and there should be some power and BIOS tweaks that can be implemented and then have a rebranded board. Sounds logical, right? Well, thankfully for us, Asus did not follow that path.
The Asus Crosshair V Formula Z is a fairly radical redesign of the previous generation of products. The amount of extra features, design changes, and power characteristics make it a far different creature than the original Crosshair V. While both share many of the same style features, under the skin this is a very different motherboard. I am rather curious why Asus did not brand this as the “Crosshair VI”. Let’s explore, shall we?
AMD Unleashes the 990FX: Paving the way for Bulldozer
Word of the AMD 990FX chipset first came around the end of last year. Speculation was brisk as to what new features it would bring, and when exactly it would help to usher in the age of Bulldozer to the world. Most thought that it would be a shrink of the then current 890FX, and the new SB950 southbridge would have improvements to the SATA 6G controller, as well as a native USB 3.0 implementation. Today we finally get to see the reality of the situation. It is not groundbreaking, nor is it altogether exciting, but it is certainly interesting.
The 990FX and SB950 chips are identical to the previous 890FX and SB850. They are the same silicon. For those hoping for new technology will be disappointed. But all is not lost! AMD did increase the HyperTransport specification from 3.0 to 3.1, which allows the HT bus to run at 6.4 GTPS as compared to the older 5.2 GTPS. This is in place to allow the upcoming Bulldozer chips to run the northbridge portion of the chip up to 3.2 GHz, and to give the CPU more bandwidth between the different busses on the board (eg. SATA, USB 3.0, and PCI-E connections).
Subject: Motherboards | May 24, 2011 - 02:20 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: sb950, msi, amd, am3+, 990fx
AMD’s 900 series chipsets are coming. Not exactly news here. What is news it that we will be seeing them very soon. Details are scarce, but from what all we can gather the 900 series will not be all that different from the 800 series. The SB950 looks to be a tweaked SB850, but with no real new features over the older part. The Northbridge portions should remain relatively unchanged, but again we could see a few tweaks and fixes applied throughout. So in other words, no PCI-E 3.0 here or a significant die shrink.
We have on hand a few “spy shots” for the upcoming MSI 990FXA-GD65. For those who pay attention, this sounds very familiar to the 890FXA-GD65. When we take a look at the snapshots, we will see that the resemblance is more than just the name.
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