Earlier this year AMD introduced it's new 690G chipset which caught our focus as it's cheap, fast, fully fetched and loaded with features and additionally has an integrated graphics adapter harbored in it. The chipset used as tested on the Jetway mainboard today, actually consists out of 690G en SB600 silicon. The AMD 690 chipset is the first launch for motherboards since AMDs acquisition of ATI and that means graphics.
The integrated graphics thus comes from ATI, now gaming wise the integrated graphics adapter sucks, but for low-power desktop usage and with full fetched HDMI support (over DVI with this mainboard) it's a very interesting product for both the generic PC user, yet also HTPC builders.
Very blunt: this mainboard harbors Radeon X1200 class integrated graphics and provides for a low-cost platform that has a soft spot for multimedia capability. The ATi Radeon X1250 graphics has a core freq of 400MHz and 4 shader pipeline support, is a DX9 compliant 2D/3D graphics processor. Actually does this sound familiar? Yep it surely does ... the X1250 is the X700 GPU, which itself was a direct derivative of ATI's R300. Interestingly enough, the GPU has enough muscle to comfortably run Microsoft Vista's Aero interface and is actually certified Vista Premium Ready. It has a maximum DAC of 400MHz and supports a resolution of up to 2560x1600. It also support AVIVO and multiple display configurations VGA+DVI-D or HDMI. If you use the integrated VGA and add a discrete Radeon-based graphics card with dual outputs and taking advantage of SurroundView, the multi-view technology, you'll be able to run a 4-monitor setup without requiring any specialist hardware.
Jetway built the M2A692-GDC mainboard based on the 690G chipset. Slightly unfortunate though, no HDMI output, but the mainboard has both one VGA and one DVI connector. When we take a closer look at it we see 4 DIMM slots for memory (supports DDR2-800/667/533/400 DDR2), a 16x PCI-express slot, 2x PCI slots integrated Gigabit ethernet controller, 8x USB 2.0 support (yet only 4 really integrated), integrated sound based on Realtek's ALC880 which will get you high-def audio, RAID 0/1/5/10, socket AM2 processor compatibility and rather interesting to see on a budget mainboard, a diagnostic LED which will return an error or valid code for you to diagnose any issue.
What's also fun to see is that the mainboard is completely passively cooled. Not only does that save in overall build-cost, it's not making any noise either which is perfect for a HTPC.
- AMD 690G Chipset and AMD SB600 Chipset.
- Support Socket AM2 64-bit dual core AMD AthlonTM 64 X2 processor.
- Support HTT 1000MHz.
- Dual Channel DDR2 800 Memory DIMMs Supported.
- Support 4 Serial ATA Devices with RAID 0. 1 . 10 .
- Ready for Windows Vista.
- PCI Express Gigabit LAN Supported.
- Azalia HD 8-Channel Audio CODEC.
- CPU Vcore 7-Shift / BIOS BACK & DeBug Port .
- Micro ATX Form Factor.
This mainboard is a mATX form factor board and is ready for AMD Athlon 64 FX- Athlon X2 Dual-Core/Athlon 64/ Sempron processors with up to 1GHz HT interface speed. But hey; again, the most interesting feature for me personally is that it's a bloody good multi-media mainboard for a HTPC as you get to have a digital output. Since it's the X1250 graphics processor you also get the functionality of the Avivo video-processing engine which can enhance and decode your movies. I think it's even supporting hardware-accelerated H.264 decoding up to 720p.
ATI used the SB600 as Southbridge silicon. The SB600 hooks up to the RS690 via a PCIe channel and offers some extra lovin' with 4 SATA2 ports with RAID striping and mirroring as well as 4-port RAID10 mode of operation. You also have a a single ATA133 PATA connector for another HD or two or optical device. Yet get the idea by now, this mainboard is crammed with features.
Bundle wise ... well what can you expect for roughly 55 bucks, right? The mainboard, a SATA cable, IDE and floppy cable, backplate, manual and driver CD. That's what you'll get, and that's all. It's enough to get you started; which is exactly what we'll do right now.
Enough details. Let's have e peek at the product that is the Jetway M2A692-GDG mainboard followed by some test-results, benchmarks and the ol' verdict.