The new graphics core doesn't have the issue of 785G. It has richer features than 790GX, but works at a lower frequency. The leader is obvious now, because 890GX is at least as feature-rich as 785G and works at the frequency of 790GX (700 MHz).
AMD hasn't increased the standard frequency of the graphics core. Probably because 790GX already outperforms its newest rival, Intel Core i5-661 CPU's graphics core, significantly. If you need more graphics power, AMD can offer you Hybrid CrossFire polished with the help of the previous chipset series. In this case, the graphics core will be helping an up-to-date card like Radeon HD 5450.
This is how AMD sees the entry-level graphics segment. These days, games usually run with low-end graphics cards, but only at lower settings. Sadly, integrated graphics still means you have to reduce resolution as well. But if you combine both discrete and integrated graphics, you should be able to get better visuals.
HD video decoding was actually perfected in the previous series. So, this time, developers can only boast of secondary features, like Picture-In-Picture support during Blu-ray playback.
Supporting HD content based on Adobe Flash is quite vital, however. Though, it's actually more of a drivers optimization issue, meaning that 785G and older chipsets may perform at least as well in this case.
This is the complete list of key features of AMD 890GX. We'll just add that this one is also made according to the 55nm process technology. For this reason, the newer version of PowerPlay may be the only means of reducing average power consumption comparing to 790GX. As you remember, this technology reduces core clock rate in standby and disables unused parts. As for real efficiency, we'll find it out in the nearest future in our regular reviews.
The AMD 890GX chipset is obviously an evolutional solution called to put company's product line in order and introduce the new Southbridge. We shall examine how it performs in real life, with and without the recommended discrete graphics card. One thing that is clear already is that AMD isn't going to compete with itself in terms of integrated graphics performance this time. Of course, we're still waiting when an integrated graphics core will let us play modern dynamic games with at least moderate settings at the native resolution of a typical 20-inch monitor. We'll probably have to wait for newer graphics cores, sharing the same dies with CPU cores. Though it depends on game developers as well.
And here's another conclusion, a pleasant one. Judging by Southbridge features, it will let manufacturers make motherboards with rich enough features and moderate cost prices. Which, as we know, depend on the number of auxillary controllers that add features otherwise not provided by chipset. Aside from the built-in SATA 3.0 support, the cost price may now be reduced thanks to the Gigabit Ethernet MAC, as well as PATA support. Not only the latter saves another controller, it improves compatibility with different operating systems and boot loader, eliminating the need to load controller driver first.
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