The evolutionary changes in the PC market have transformed the structure of a computer platform. The chipset, which used to support peripheral interfaces as well as to link the CPU, memory and graphics subsystem, has lost its importance, its key components, like the memory controller, having moved into the CPU. As the result, the chipset now often degenerates into a single chip that combines a few controllers of external interfaces. This explains why any changes in the chipset market have been so few and so infrequent lately. In fact, new chipsets come out only when a new CPU series or a new CPU socket arrives.
Chipsets for AMD processors have not yet fully become an auxiliary component, though. AMD was the first CPU maker to move the memory controller into the CPU, but chipsets for AMD processors can still contain an integrated graphics core. It is the improvement of this core that has been the main reason for new Socket AM3 chipsets to keep on coming out. Half a year ago, this gave birth to the AMD 785G and now, under similar circumstances, we meet the new AMD 890GX.
Although free from any momentous innovations, the AMD 890GX has been warmly welcomed by mainboard makers because this may be the reason for some users to upgrade their computers. When there are no new chipsets, mainboard sales decline considerably, especially in the sector of top-end, enthusiast-targeted models. The AMD 890GX, on its part, is going to appeal especially to users who want to utilize its integrated graphics core. As a matter of fact, the 890GX has been AMD's answer to Intel's Clarkdale processors with their rather fast HD Graphics core. Besides, the new chipset's South Bridge has been improved, so purchasing an 890GX-based mainboard makes sense even if an external graphics card is going to be used.
We will discuss the new features of the AMD 890GX in this review and take a look at a couple of mainboards based on it. The mainboards are from the major makers ASUS and Gigabyte.