Phenom II X6 Post-Release and More 800 Series Chipsets

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2010 - 06:25 PM |
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    Now that the dust has settled after the avalanche of Phenom II X6 reviews have hit the web, it is time to move on to greener pastures.  Which means more AMD news.

    The Phenom II X6 1090T was mistakenly listed as a $285 part.  It is in fact given a MSRP of $295.  This does not change many of the price/performance dynamics, as it is still an excellent part for the price.  Most other sites that have reviewed this chip gave it many of the same praises and criticisms that we did.  Multi-thread good, gaming decent but not compelling, and the price for the parts are tremendous compared to what Intel generally offers.

The Asus M4A87TD-EVO looks to be a no-nonsense budget enthusiast board based upon the AMD 870/SB850 chipset.  8+1 power phases should allow a large degree of overclocking, all at a pretty reasonable $109 US price.  USB 3.0 is standard on the EVO board as well.

    AMD released the 890FX chipset as well yesterday, but that is not the whole story.  The 880G and 870 based chipsets were also released, but we saw very little mention of those parts.  The 880G is essentially a downclocked 890GX, which in turn is essentially a slightly more tuned 785G.  In short, the 880G is taking over from the 785G.  The only major change is of course the southbridge being used with the 880G vs. the older SB710 that was seen with the 785G.  The SB850 is a major upgrade to the platform, and it certainly deserves the new product naming scheme.  SATA 6G and I/O performance enhancements finally give AMD a southbridge they can be proud of.  Intel on the other hand will not be releasing a SATA 6G part until perhaps late 2010, and most likely 1H 2011.

    The 870 chipset is perhaps the second most interesting part in the launch after the 890FX.  It is essentially unchanged from the older AMD 770.  The actual chip itself is not all that appealing, but the boards being designed around it are.  Most motherboard manufacturers have noticed that the majority of people out there will never use a Crossfire setup.  These guys also have the last generation of products to look at and see what sold, and why.  The AMD 785G turned into a compelling part, and many budget-enthusiast boards were built around this chipset (like the Asus 785G EVO series).  Most of those users also did not utilize the onboard graphics functionality of these boards, and elected to use a standalone video card.  So manufacturers really scratched their heads and figured, “Why exactly are we building enthusiast boards around an integrated chipset that costs more than the more focused and power efficient 770/870?”

The spiritual successor to my favorite AMD 770 board of all time.  This number includes dual Gig-E LAN, 8+2 power delivery, USB 3.0, and the latest Realtek audio codec.  Plus eSATA provided by a secondary chip (so internally users get the full 6 SATA 6G ports that the SB650 delivers.  $109 US seems the standard price for these new boards.

    With that in mind, the major players all went to the drawing board and created a new class of budget enthusiast motherboards built around the 870 chipset.  Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte are first on the scene with these boards, and they certainly look to be impressive.  The use of 8+2 power phases on the Asus and Gigabyte boards are sure to catch overclocker’s attention.  SATA 6G and USB 3.0 are of course highly touted.  And we even see Gigabyte releasing a 870 board with dual Gig-E LANs onboard.  These boards now exist in the $90 to $109 range, which is slightly higher than the average last generation 770 board.

    The 890GX is now taking over the spot that was previously occupied by the 790X series of boards.  The 790X did not fare all that well in sales, especially when compared to the 790GX and the 785G boards.  As such, we will not be seeing an 890X board.  The 890GX has helped streamline AMD’s product lineup, and we will no longer have the mish-mash of 790X, 790GX, and 785G parts that all were within stone’s throw of each other in price.

    Availability of these boards is good the first day after their release.  AMD has seeded the market with plenty of Phenom II X6 1055T and 1090T processors.  So too do we see a lot of 870, 880, and 890 based motherboards to run these chips with.  There is a question of continued availability of the SB850 chip though, there are currently rumors that supply is constrained on these parts.

Source: AMD

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