Product: Asus M4A89GTD Pro/USB3
Company: ASUS
Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: March 2nd, 2010
Summary & Conclusions

AMD 890GX Chipset

ASUS
ASUS

The new AMD 890GX chipset is designed for the mainstream segment, with plenty of partner options to move it up or down the price stack. If you've been wondering why 780, 785 and 790 chipset based motherboards have been on 'firesale' for that last few weeks, wonder no more. Kudos to AMD, not only for bringing a competent and powerful new chipset to market, but for bringing support for the new Phenom II X6 hexacore processors. The consistent naming scheme for not only processors, but chipsets too, means it is simple to get at-a-glance information to design your own system upgrade or new build. The HD 4290 may be a renamed device, but it's name is consistent in its performance and capabilities - no masquerading HD 5000 IGP series here. AMD tells us that existing AM3 motherboards with suitable TDP socket support should be capable of running the new Phenom II X6s, with the requisite microcode (BIOS) upgrade from the manufacturer. Of course, we've heard that before with the original Phenom X4 and AM2 motherboards, so we'll see which partners actually deliver X6 capable BIOS updates.

ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3

The ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 is a strong first implementation of the new chipset, lacking only minor details. The price is a little higher than current 790GX offerings, but will come down as time goes on. The system fits all the primary criterion for a good purchase - stable, strong and varied overclocking features, flexible display configurations, quality build using high performance components. It's sharp looking, if you like blue, and doesn't offer too many gotchas in its layout. The CMOS battery location means add-in boards in the lower slots must be removed if you want to pull the battery. There's no rear backplane clear CMOS push switch, but the MemOK and BIOS OC recovery features mean you shouldn't have to clear it unless its a last resort. The SATA ports are clear of the PEG slots, although long PCI cards in the lowest slot might foul against the cables.

The single PCIe x1 slot will be covered by a dual-height card in the upper PEG slot, leaving the PCIe x4 slot open. Likewise the first PCI slot will be covered by a dual-height card in the primary PEG slot, like the HD 5450 passive. These, however, are the extent of the niggles I can find with this board - and the latter are common to all motherboards. The double spaced PEG slots means larger and hotter cards can be accommodated and feed themselves air. Only the highest of the high end GPU's will feel the dual x8 + x8 crossfire configuration as constrictive, and that's something we'll examine further soon.

ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3
ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3

Award
Award
The ASUS implementation in the ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 is a solid, feature-rich and strong platform to base your PC around. Native full speed SATA 3 and onboard USB 3 offer future proof connectivity. Rage3D awards the ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 Motherboard 4 1/2 stars!   With plenty of capacity for any mainstream use, it will scale from low power storage server through high definition media center to gaming powerhouse, allowing you to find whatever extra performance is locked up inside your CPU along the way. We're happy to have this as the centerpiece for our AMD based review system, hopefully for some time to come.


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