Articles: Mainboards

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Computer enthusiasts often clash in hot arguments over what CPUs are better: the ones from Intel or from AMD. We guess the truth can be easily found out without running any tests or reading comparative reviews. Just take a look at the prices. AMD processors sell at a lower price, therefore they are objectively worse. It is clear that the difference in price, although set by the manufacturers, is determined by market laws rather than by the goodwill of Intel or AMD. As an example, we can recall the last time when AMD processors were better. It was at the dawn of the multi-core CPU era and Intel used to sell its dual-core Pentium D processors, based on rather poor Prescott cores, for about half the price of AMD’s excellent Athlon 64 X2.

By the way, the fact that Intel processors are better does not mean that they are immaculate. We have a lot of critical remarks about them. The last time we were indeed all laudatory about them it was when the Conroe core came out. Besides being an excellent CPU, Conroe came to replace the problem-ridden Pentium IV.

The fact that AMD’s modern processors cannot compete against Intel’s ones allows Intel to develop new CPU models without much haste and set rather high prices for them. What can AMD do if their processors are objectively weaker? Keep their prices lower! In this case, even though the specs and capabilities of AMD processors do not change, they miraculously become more appealing from the end-user’s point of view. Moreover, they can occasionally outperform Intel processors selling at comparable prices. You can refer to our AMD Phenom II X6 1055T overclocking article where that six-core processor did very well in multithreaded applications.

It is not only new processors that make us turn towards AMD products. There are also new mainboards based on the new chipset that includes an AMD 890FX North Bridge together with an SB850 South Bridge. You could learn about the functionality of that South Bridge from our AMD 890GX in Action article. As for the North Bridge, you can have a look at the comparative table on the AMD website which makes it clear that AMD 890FX is the senior model among the 8 series chipsets and allows combining two graphics cards in a CrossFireX configuration using full-speed graphics interface (PCI Express 2.0 x16) or four cards at 8x speed each.

In this review we are going to test two flagship mainboards based on the new chipset: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula and Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD7. We will compare their features, overclockability, performance (particularly, USB 3.0 performance) and power consumption using an AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition processor that starred in our Six Cores from AMD review.

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