Let’s take a look at one of the motherboards based on the AMD 890GX chipset released by ASRock, featuring SATA-600 and USB 3.0 ports and three PCI Express x16 slots.

We have already posted a detailed comparison between AMD chipsets with integrated video. In summary, AMD 890GX graphics engine has the same basic specs as AMD 790GX’s, but being a DirectX 10.1 part, not a pure DirectX 10 part as its older brother. The main difference on AMD 890GX is the use of a new south bridge chip, called SB850. This south bridge chip natively supports SATA-600 ports (a.k.a. “SATA 6 G”) and in fact this is the first chipset to arrived on the market with this feature (currently on motherboards based on other chipsets featuring SATA-600 ports an external controller chip must be used).

So far ASRock released two models based on AMD 890GX: 890GX Extreme3, which is the model we are taking a look, and 890GM Pro3. We created a table showing the main differences between these two products. As you can see 890GX Extreme3 is a more complete model, using the ATX form factor, while 890GM Pro3 is a microATX product. Both use only solid Japanese capacitors, but 890GX Extreme3 uses a better voltage regulator (10+1 phases against 4+1 on 890GM Pro3). Both have 128 MB “SidePort” memory.

  890GX Extreme3 890GM Pro3
Form Factor ATX microATX
Memory 4 sockets 4 sockets
PCI Express x16 slots Three One
PCI Express x1 slots One One
PCI slots Three Two
SATA-600 Six ports Five ports
eSATA One eSATA-300 port One eSATA-600 port
USB 3.0 Two ports One port
Audio Codec VIA VT2020 VIA VT2020
Networking One Gigabit Ethernet port One Gigabit Ethernet port
Voltage Regulator 8+2 4+1

In Figure 1 you can have an overall look from ASRock 890GX Extreme3.

ASRock 890GX Extreme 3 motherboardFigure 1: ASRock 890GX Extreme 3 motherboard.

As mentioned, this motherboard has 128 MB video memory soldered on the motherboard. In Figure 2, you can see the 1 Gbit GDDR3-1333 chip (1 Gbit = 128 MB) in charge of this feature.

ASRock 890GX Extreme 3 motherboardFigure 2: 128 MB GDDR3-1333 memory chip.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.