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ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 890GX Motherboard Review

ajmatson    -   March 1, 2010
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Conclusion:

The new 890GX / SB850 chipset surely takes its place among the top. Not only does it increase the overall performance of the hardware over the previous chipsets, but it is also paired with the offerings that ASUS has included on the M4A89GTD Pro/USB Motherboard - these combined, and you have yourself a winner. Sure there are some issues that could be improved, but overall this is a top contending board. First, let me go through some of the features that make this board so great. First and foremost, while some might find it simplistic, the design of the DIMM slots with the ability to stagger the modules so that they are not pressing right up against each other in a two module setup is a design I really want to see on more AMD based boards. This design makes it possible to install memory with large and unusual heatsinks, which are not possible when the modules are installed right next to each other. Intel based boards had done this forever and I wish AMD ones would follow suit. Also, the inclusion of newer technology such as the USB 3.0 ports and SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports helps those looking to take the upgrade path without wanting to install PCI cards to gain the technology. Another feature I would really love to show some praise to is the Core Unlocker switch. With no effort on my own (except of course flipping the switch), I was able to unlock the other two cores on my Phenom II X2 555 "Black Edition" processor. With this feature, I have been running the X2 with all four cores unlocked and have had no stability issues. Now while I know this is not guaranteed, it surely worked in this instance.

On the flip side, there were a couple of items that I would like to see improved on. First is the Turbo Key II feature which auto tunes your system to the best stable overclock, however, when I enabled the feature it actually hindered the performance by crippling the memory speed and timings, which affected the overall score when running PCMark Vantage to compare it to. While this is a great feature for a novice, anyone who is into overclocking will skip this and tune it themselves and those who are not overclockers will actually lose performance with this. The other feature that got me was when two discrete cards are used, the speeds drop down to x8 versus x16. With the speeds and technology that has been out for some time, it would be nice to have the full potential of our hardware to run them as fast as they are designed for.

The performance of the ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 motherboard is impeccable. Not once did it falter and fall way behind however, it remained on the top and when it came to overclocking the same durability and speed shone through with a tremendous overclock. With making a few adjustments and tweakings I was able to push my Phenom II X4 965 over 4.2GHz and stable at that. While overclocked to those speeds and benchmarking, the temperatures stayed well below the maximum threshold specified for the processor. Even though the system was cooled using a water cooling setup, this just goes to show you the potential that and enthusiast has when pushing their hardware with the right cooling.

If you are looking for a great board with plenty of features for a new build or are considering upgrading to the latest and greatest technology, definitely look to the new AMD 890GX / SB850 chipset and if you are wanting a killer board with that chipset you would not go wrong with, the ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 motherboard, with a price of $155, is one of the top board that will be on the market for the AMD processors.

 

Pros:

  • Onboard USB 3.0
  • SATA 6.0 Gb/s
  • ASUS Core Unlocker
  • ASUS MemOK!
  • Excellent Overclocking potential
  • Excellent performance increase over previous chipsets
  • Alternating memory slot design allowing for RAM with larger heatsinks

 

Cons:

  • ASUS Turbo Key II
  • CrossFireX only at x8/x8 speeds



 

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