Well, here we are nearly ¾ the way through the second full year of the worldwide recession. To be honest, I did not really expect much to happen this year in the enthusiast PC world, but there has been some really significant hardware released this year. Late last year the first motherboards capable of running the new USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s were released, in anticipation of new USB devices and SSDs using those mediums. At the first of this year, Intel released their 32nm 2010 Core i5 and Core i3 processors, with onchip graphics, along with H55 and H57 chipsets to support them. Intel and AMD both now have released six-core processors, Intel’s Core i7 980X Extreme, and AMD’s “Thuban” cores, the Phenom II X6 1090T and Phenom II X6 1055T.
Intel decided not to create a new chipset for the new Core i7 processor, so Intel’s partners have released updated X58 motherboards to give the USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s capability to those building new 980X systems. AMD decided to build four new chipsets, the “8 series” which includes the 890FX and 890GX, the 870, and the 880G. The former three have native support of SATA 6Gb/s, the latter is SATA 6Gb/s capable.
If you didn’t know, AMD and partners market and sell the “GX” and “G” series motherboards as economy boards. They differ from the FX in that they have integrated graphics, but they are fully capable of running discrete video cards. Though their graphics capabilities are more for HTPC and “surf the net and read email” people, the onboard VGA is getting better and will actually play a number of games at lower settings.
Today I will be looking at one of ASUS’ new 890 GX motherboards, the M4A89GTD Pro/USB3. This board is just bursting with new features, some we haven’t seen before, others we’ve seen on Asus’ Intel boards but not their AMD boards. The chipset not only natively supports SATA 6Gb/s, it also has brand new integrated graphics, the Radeon HD 4290, which ATI says far surpasses the earlier HD 4200. Will the M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 pass the test? Read on to see!
For 2010 Asus gives us a new green color scheme for AMD boards. As always the box is covered with graphics, specs, and features.
Inside, as usual, the motherboard is protected from the accessories by a cardboard divider. The board itself is well protected in an Asus static-free bag.