Let’s take a look at this forthcoming socket AM3 motherboard from ASRock, featuring five SATA-600 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, three PCI Express x16 slots, and 128 MB on-board video memory.

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).

The forthcoming 890GX Extreme4 motherboard is an upgraded version of the 890GX Extreme3 motherboard, with two extra USB 3.0 ports. The number of internal SATA-600 ports was reduced from six to five, because the sixth SATA-600 port was routed to the rear panel of the motherboard to become an eSATA-600 port (on the Extreme3 the eSATA port is SATA-300). The audio codec was changed from VIA VT2020 to Realtek ALC892. We have no opinion about this change because strangely enough the manufacturers of both chips don’t publish technical information about these products at their website. At the table below you can compare the main specs of the three motherboard models ASRock has based on the AMD 890GX chipset. All three have 128 MB “SidePort” memory, but while the Extreme3 and Pro3 models use a DDR-1333 part, the new Extreme4 uses a DDR3-1666 chip (but still running at 1,333 MHz).

  890GX Extreme4 890GX Extreme3 890GM Pro3
Form Factor ATX ATX microATX
Memory 4 sockets 4 sockets 4 sockets
PCI Express x16 slots Three Three One
PCI Express x1 slots One One One
PCI slots Three Three Two
SATA-600 Five ports Six ports Five ports
eSATA One eSATA-600 port One eSATA-300 port One eSATA-600 port
USB 3.0 Four ports Two ports One port
Audio Codec Realtek ALC892 VIA VT2020 VIA VT2020
Networking One Gigabit Ethernet port One Gigabit Ethernet port One Gigabit Ethernet port
Voltage Regulator 8+2 8+2 4+1

In Figure 1, you have an overall look at ASRock 890GX Extreme4.

ASRock 890GX Extreme4 motherboardFigure 1: ASRock 890GX Extreme4 motherboard

As mentioned, this motherboard has 128 MB video memory soldered on the motherboard. In Figure 2, you can see the 1 Gbit GDDR3-1666 chip (1 Gbit = 128 MB) in charge of this feature.

ASRock 890GX Extreme4 motherboardFigure 2: 128 MB GDDR3-1666 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.