The Cold Hard Truth
So here is where it is a bit disappointing; the 990FX shares exactly the same silicon as the 890FX and has seen no major changes. Even the added SB950 is a rebadged SB850. Initially, there were hopes that the chipset and new SB950 had some major additions: adding native USB3 support, using a smaller die size, additional PCI-e lanes – but these were not added. Rather, the major features of the 990FX were key support for the eight-core processors and support for the faster HyperTransport 3.1 with signaling up to 6.4 GT/s (on 890FX you get 3.0 with up to 5.2 GT/s).
You may have also noticed that many press releases went out recently that announced AM3+ support for 890FX and that customers have been bestowed additional life to their existing AMD setups. So what is the point of 990FX?
The 990FX was introduced primarily as a way for customers to easily identify the motherboards that are guaranteed to be compatible with upcoming Zambezi AM3+ CPUs. AMD also shares the stance that the AMD 900 series chipsets are the choice for Bulldozer CPUs. This is always important for shoppers to be provided a clear option on what is the best choice for the new generation platform.
While there could be a case made to just use the existing 890FX instead, motherboard manufacturers have sweetened the pot by adding their own unique features like better components, UEFI BIOS, and improved overclocking technologies without having to revisit the older chipsets. Even more so, they’ve licensed a technology that has been dearly missed on the AMD platform and provides a major incentive for enthusiasts to merely consider the 990FX right now.