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MSI 890GXM-G65 Motherboard

Examining chipset performance, Hybrid CrossFire included.

April 15, 2010



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Performance and efficiency

Since this was the first motherboard on the new chipset we had, we couldn't compare it with any counterparts. Instead, we conducted extended gaming tests to evaluate the performance of AMD 890GX graphics core. We also used an ASUS M4A78T-E motherboard based on AMD 790GX, and an Intel Core i5-661 CPU installed into a Gigabyte H55M-UD2H motherboard.



It was also very interesting to test the new Hybrid CrossFire mode in which the integrated graphics core worked together with a Radeon HD 5450 graphics card (ours had 512MB DDR3). We used ATI Catalyst 10.3 and Intel 8.15.10.2008 drivers.


Test Intel Core i5-661 AMD 790GX + Phenom II X4 955 AMD 890GX + Phenom II X3 720 AMD 890GX + Phenom II X4 955 Radeon HD 5450 + Phenom II X4 955 AMD 890GX + Radeon HD 5450 + Phenom II X4 955
FarCry 2 (Low Graphics + High Performance @ 1280x720), fps 25 33 33 34 50 64
H.A.W.X. (Medium @ 1280x720), fps 19 35 21 34 54 65
Crysis (Low @ 1024x768), fps 29 36 36 36 64 64
World in Conflict (Low @ 1280x720), fps 40 54 49 54 74 80
Warhammer 40,000: DOW2 15 15 14 14 38 38
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (Medium @ 1280x720, Static) 51 59 59 59 90 94
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (Medium @ 1280x720, FDL) 17 22 22 22 30 34
Street Fighter IV (Medium @ 1280x720) 34 44 45 45 60 60
Street Fighter IV (High @ 1280x720) - 22 22 22 43 43

As you can see, AMD 890GX performs on a par with the predecessor, so the only thing that may allow it to beat AMD 790GX is the DirectX 10.1 support (which is more quality-related, though) and the new Hybrid CrossFire mode. The performance boost is only noticeable in a small number of games, but it does exist, and for entry-level graphics every frame per second counts. Besides, the performance boost is noticeable where the hybrid mode is supported. This will let you increase resolution or quality settings to the next level.

As for the comparison with Intel's solution, AMD is still the definite leader. Note that even a slower AMD Phenom II X3 720 processor is mostly enough for the Radeon HD 4290 graphics core to outperform the rival.

Enclosure power consumption

We measured power consumption with the wattmeter built into the PSU.


Phenom II X4 810 + int. graphics MSI DKA790GX (AMD 790GX) MSI 785GM-E65 (AMD 785G) MSI 890GXM-G65 (AMD 890GX)
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 23 10 15 (APS On)
18 (APS Off)
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 35 30 35
FarCry 2, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 57-81 39-56 69-81

The 785G chipset, working at a lower clock rate, predictably remains the most power-efficient. In turn, the two motherboards based on the higher-end chipsets look identical. But in terms of standby power consumption motherboards based the AMD 890GX should be more efficient that those based on AMD 790GX. At least this is demonstrated by MSI products that have efficient CPU VRM circuitry. The optimized PowerPlay algorithms of the new chipset probably help as well.

Conclusions

MSI released a definitely interesting motherboard. Consider it, if you have no prejudice towards microATX form factor, and if you're going to use as few expansion cards as possible. With this motherboard you can build a variety of PCs, including powerful gaming rigs with a couple of high-end graphics cards and a quad-core CPU. Besides, the peripheral functionality, including a good set of video outputs, support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s (eSATA included) is sufficient for any non-gaming PC as well, be it a home theater or a machine for an occasional gamer.

According to our tests, AMD 890GX performs on a par with AMD 790GX, so the support for DirectX 10.1 and the Hybrid CrossFire mode are probably the only bonuses you get. The number of games supporting this hybrid rendering mode is much smaller than the number of games supporting regular CrossFire, but that's a matter of time.


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Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Features, overclocking

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