AMD’s 900 series chipsets are coming. Not exactly news here. What is news it that we will be seeing them very soon. Details are scarce, but from what all we can gather the 900 series will not be all that different from the 800 series. The SB950 looks to be a tweaked SB850, but with no real new features over the older part. The Northbridge portions should remain relatively unchanged, but again we could see a few tweaks and fixes applied throughout. So in other words, no PCI-E 3.0 here or a significant die shrink.
We have on hand a few “spy shots” for the upcoming MSI 990FXA-GD65. For those who pay attention, this sounds very familiar to the 890FXA-GD65. When we take a look at the snapshots, we will see that the resemblance is more than just the name.
The first stripe gives us the overall layout of that particular portion of the board. Decent cooling on the DrMOS chips, which is always a positive. Looks to share the same 8+2 layout as the 890FX model.
Sure enough, in this shot we see the PWM portion looking identical to the 890FXA-GD65.
Sure enough, the socket is labled "AM3b", which is sort of a fancy way of saying AM3+.
Finally we see the actual 890FXA-GD65, and again it is obvious that the layout and design of the upcoming 990FXA-GD65 will be essentially identical. But what changes can we expect/hope for? Well, my first guess is that we will see the code base for the BIOS get a major overall and likely support UEFI. This will give slightly better support for 2.2 TB hard drives and above. We might also expect to see slightly better SATA 6G performance, hopefully enough to put AMD close to Intel in SATA 6G performance. Even though the Sandy Bridge based chipsets had that flaw initially, the SATA 6G support was nearly flawless and significantly faster than what had been seen in the AMD SB850 chip.
This is not a disappointing development for people hoping for something different. The 990FX and SB950 chipsets are pin compatible with the older products, so they can be dropped into recent designs when it comes to hardware/traceroutes. BIOS changes will likely have to be made though.
In my review, the MSI 890FXA-GD65 was an excellent implementation of the 890FX chipset. It was fast, very stable, and was able to overclock very well. It had a few negatives when it came to component and slot placement decisions, but it still garnered the Silver Award from PCPer.