ECS A890GXM-A review -
SB850 Southbridge | ECS A890GXM-A BIOS
The SB850 Southbridge
The new Southbridge is a nice update over the older SB7x0 series. The Southbridge ASIC is always used for peripheral connectivity like your HDDs, audio, USB, PATA and so on.
The biggest changes then. Well firstly, we see the first chipset vendor to actually implement SATA 6G (SATA3), this new update of your SATA connectors will increase the bandwidth on the SATA controller from 3 towards 6 GBit/sec. Now for regular HDDs that is not really very important. But with the tremendous rise of fast SSD drives this really is a large plus. Typically we get 3000 Mbit/s : 8 = 375 MB/sec bandwidth minus tolerances and random occurrences. SATA3 is doubling it up, as such we get 6000 Mbit/sec : 8 = 750 MB/sec of available bandwidth for your storage devices. As you can understand, with SSDs getting faster and faster, that's just a much warmed and welcomed increase of bandwidth. Also do not forget RAID performance, which can see massive benefits from the updated SATA interface.
The early adoption of SATA 6G is a bold yet extremely good move from AMD.
There's more to the SB850 though, it will now allow you to connect up-to 14 USB 2.0 devices, it of course comes with support for PATA and 8 channel HD Audio and the old fashioned PCI interface, but new is the inclusion of a 1000/100/10 Mbit/s Ethernet. And all these facts combined allow any ODM to make a very diverse motherboard with the usage of just the AMD 890GX chipset. Literally, you pop in memory, a processor, an HDD and a PSU and you'd already have a fully functional extremely diverse PC. So with the new chipset AMD can address any market whether that is entry level, mainstream or when you pop in high-speed DDR3 and a dedicated graphics card ... high-end.
So we have received several 890GX motherboards a while ago, I wanted to show you what to expect, and of course we'll then dive into a performance overview of the new chipset combined with a Phenom II X4 965 processor. Let's start off in this review with the motherboard BIOS and then head onwards to a detailed photo shoot.
Below an overview of the BIOS. The BIOS is very much catered for overclocking and offers a really wide variety of choices.
Since showing motherboard BIOS screenshots always misses out a lot we are now switching to high-definition video footage showing you around in the BIOS. This way we hope to give you a better insight of BIOS features and functionality.
A plethora of options can be found really. Small side note, if not enabled at default click on HD and select 720P in the YouTube window to see the high-definition footage. We record our footage in 1080P. That can help out a lot in readability and sharpness, especially when showing a BIOS with a lot of letters and numbers.
We hope you like this new approach to showing you BIOS features; and as you can see, this motherboard has a fantastic BIOS feature set and firmware flash options.
eBLU BIOS flash software
We also wanted to show you a new handy feature that ECS offers to make BIOS updates really easy. They developed a small Windows application called eBLU, and within your operating system this application can lookup the latest System BIOS, download it and install it all with the help of just a few clicks.
Anyway -- have a look at the video where we update the System BIOS with the help of this application. Very easy, very handy.
We test the ECS A890GXM-A. AMD's new 890GX chipset is merely out for what, two weeks ? This already will be the third AMD 890 based motherboard review. This time around from the good folks at ECS. The AMD 890GX based motherboard chipsets proof their strength and by all means is really fun to work and play around with. When you plant the two chips from AMD on a mainboard from ECS, they'll try to do some more stuff. It's the ECS Black series style - with a bucket load of features like integrated graphics sub-D, DVI, HDMI and display port connectors, passive cooling, 8-channel sound, dual GigE Ethernet, Crossfire ready ... and pretty decent overclockabilty.