Asrock 890GM Pro3 mATX Socket AM3 Motherboard

Posted by on Monday, June 7, 2010 - 12:00am

asrock 890gm pro3Over the course of the last two weeks you have seen reviews from us based on the 890GX chipset which can be read here and here. The 890GX chipset came in the form of mATX first from most companies. Asrock took the high road and release a full-sized model. A board that we were really fond of. But now we get to place on the bench Asrock's latest micro ATX board entitled the 890GM Pro3.

Introduction to the Asrock 890GM Pro3

Over the course of the last two weeks you have seen reviews from us based on the 890GX chipset which can be read here and here. The 890GX chipset came in the form of mATX first from most companies. Asrock took the high road and release a full-sized model. A board that we were really fond of. But now we get to place on the bench Asrock's latest micro ATX board entitled the 890GM Pro3.


Specifications

CPU - Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom™ II X4 / X3 / X2 (except 920 / 940) / Athlon II X4 / X3 / X2 / Sempron processors
- Six-Core CPU Ready
- Supports UCC feature (Unlock CPU Core)
- V4 + 1 Power Phase Design
- Supports CPU up to 140W
- Supports AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
- FSB 2600 MHz (5.2 GT/s)
- Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
- Supports Hyper-Transport 3.0 (HT 3.0) Technology
Chipset - Northbridge: AMD 890GX
- Southbridge: AMD SB850
Memory - Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
- 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR3 1800(OC)/1600(OC)/1333/1066/800 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 16GB*

*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
BIOS - 8Mb AMI Legal BIOS
- Supports "Plug and Play"
- ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
- Supports jumperfree
- SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
- CPU VID, VCCM, NB Voltage Multi-adjustment
 Audio, Video and Networking
Graphics - Integrated AMD Radeon HD 4290 graphics
- DX10.1 class iGPU, Shader Model 4.1
- Max. shared memory 512MB
- Built-in 128MB DDR3 1333/1200MHz SidePort Memory
- Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
- Supports HDMI Technology with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 (1080P)
- Supports Dual-link DVI with max. resolution up to 2560x1600 @ 75Hz
- Supports D-Sub with max. resolution up to 2048x1536 @ 85Hz
- Supports HDCP function with DVI and HDMI ports
- Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback with DVI and HDMI ports
Audio - 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection
- DAC with 110dB dynamic range (VIA® VT2020 Audio Codec)
- Premium Blu-ray audio support
LAN - PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Realtek RTL8111E
- Supports Wake-On-LAN
- Supports LAN Cable Detection
 Expansion / Connectivity
Slots - 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (blue @ x16 mode)
- 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
- 2 x PCI slots
- Supports ATI™ Hybrid CrossFireX™
SATA3 - 5 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, RAID 0+1 and RAID 5), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
USB 3.0 - 1 x USB 3.0 port by Fresco FL1000G, supports USB 3.0 up to 5Gb/s
Connector - 5 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors
- 1 x IR header
- 1 x COM port header
- 1 x IEEE 1394 header
- CPU/Chassis/Power FAN connector
- 24 pin ATX power connector
- 4 pin 12V power connector
- Front panel audio connector
- 4 x USB 2.0 headers (support 8 USB 2.0 ports)
Rear Panel I/O I/O Panel
- 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
- 1 x VGA/D-Sub Port
- 1 x VGA/DVI-D Port
- 1 x HDMI Port
- 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
- 5 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
- 1 x eSATAIII Connector
- 1 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Port
- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
- 1 x IEEE 1394 Port
- HD Audio Jack: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
 Other Features / Miscellaneous
Unique Feature - ASRock OC Tuner
- Intelligent Energy Saver
- Instant Boot
- ASRock Instant Flash
- ASRock OC DNA
- Hybrid Booster:
- CPU Frequency Stepless Control
- ASRock U-COP
- Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
- Turbo 25 / Turbo 30 Technology
Support CD - Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), AMD OverDrive™ Utility, AMD Live! Explorer, AMD Fusion, ASRock Software Suite (CyberLink DVD Suite - OEM and Trial; Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi MB - Trial)
Accessories - Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
- 4 x SATA Data Cables (optional)
Hardware Monitor - CPU Temperature Sensing
- Chassis Temperature Sensing
- CPU/Chassis/Power Fan Tachometer
- CPU Quiet Fan
- Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore
Form Factor - Micro ATX Form Factor: 9.6-in x 9.0-in, 24.4 cm x 22.9 cm
- All Solid Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)
OS - Microsoft® Windows® 7 / 7 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit / XP / XP Media Center / XP 64-bit compliant
Certifications - FCC, CE, WHQL
- ErP/EuP Ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)

Features

  • Phenom II X6 6-Core CPU Ready
  • Supports Exclusive ASRock UCC Chip - Unlock CPU Core feature
  • ASRock DuraCap (2.5 x longer life time), 100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors
  • Supports CPU up to 140W
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1800(OC)
  • Supports ATI™ Hybrid CrossFireX™
  • Integrated AMD Radeon HD 4290 graphics, DX10.1 Class iGPU, Shader Model 4.1, Max. shared memory 512MB
  • Built-in 128MB DDR3 1333/1200MHz SidePort Memory
  • Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI
  • 1 x eSATAIII Connector, 5 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 2 x IEEE1394 ports
  • Supports ASRock Instant Boot, Instant Flash, OC Tuner, IES, OC DNA
  • ErP/EuP Ready
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection, DAC with 110dB dynamic range (VIA® VT2020 Audio Codec with QSound) , Premium Blu-ray audio support

AMD 890GX Chipset features

The AMD 890GX Chipset with ATI Radeon™ HD 4290 Graphics enables an exceptionally power-efficient platform at an incredible value.  Bringing features and performance that enrich what you see and do, including next generation gaming and a superior HD video experience1, the ATI Radeon™ HD 4290 Graphics with AMD 890GX Chipset transforms your PC into a digital media powerhouse.

  • Versatility

    • Redefine the Way You Play
      Enjoy awesome gaming performance for the mainstream PC with stunning visual effects and dynamic interactivity with Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1 and support for high-end discrete ATI Radeon™ HD graphics
    • Accelerate Your Digital Life
      ATI Stream technology enables AMD graphics processors, working in concert with AMD Processors, to accelerate many applications beyond just graphics. This enables superior balanced platforms capable of running demanding computing tasks fast.
    • Designed for Microsoft® Windows® 7
      Get a smooth and amazingly visual PC experience for Microsoft® Windows® 7, with support for features such as “Aero Shake”, “Aero Glass”, “Transparent Windows” and more!5
  • Visual Experience
    • Get the Ultimate HD Experience1
      Let your desktop PC be the center of your entertainment lifestyle with full 1080p HD playback. Get dual-stream PiP (Picture in Picture) on Blu-ray™ 1.1 playback with multi-monitor capability and support for DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs.1, 2, 3, 4
    • Enhanced DVD Upscaling1
      Watch standard DVD movies in near high-definition quality with DVD upscaling. The GPU uses post processing algorithms to enhance standard and low resolution videos and movies on your HD display.1 
    • HDMI Enjoy the latest audio technologies using HDMI v1.3 which includes xvYCC support to enable a wider range of color when connected to a capable HDTV.4 
  • Connectivity
    • Connect and Transfer
      Take advantage of advanced technology to accelerate your connectivity with SATA 6Gbps, Gigabit Ethernet, HyperTransport™ 3.0 technology, and PCI Express® Generation 2.0.
Graphics ATI Radeon™ HD 4290
DirectX 10.1
Up to 2 slots for Graphics Upgrade
CPU Compatibility AMD Athlon™, AMD Athlon™ II, AMD Phenom™, AMD Phenom™ II
Memory Support AM2+ socket motherboards support DDR2
AM3 socket motherboards support DDR3
PCI Express® PCI Express® 2.0
USB Up to 14 USB 2.0
SATA Supports SATA 6Gb/s devices* (when paired with a SB850)

AMD 8xx Series Feature Comparsion

Feature Name

870

880G

890GX

890FX

PCI Express® Generation 2.0

1x16

1x16 1x16
Or
2x8
2x16
Or
4x8

ATI CrossFireX™ Technology

   

Yes

Yes

Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1

 

Yes

Yes

 

Unified Video Decoder(UVD)2

 

Yes

Yes

 
ATI Stream Technology   Yes Yes  
ATI Powerplay   Yes Yes  

Gigabit Ethernet

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SATA 6Gb/s

Yes

Available

Yes

Yes


Closer look 890GM Pro3

For the low price of $115 Asrock did not skip out on the features of the 890GM Pro3 as it is just a feature-rich as the MSI 890GX-65 we reviewed about a month ago. And for the asking price we are proud to say that they did not skip out on the physical aspects either. Just like the 890GX Extreme3 we reviewed right after the MSI model this model shares the black, blue and white color scheme. Making it visually attractive to the masses.

The model shares the mATX form factor like more motherboards using the 890GX chipset. Movement of the various connectors and slots are not bad at all. What this motherboard is lacking at tall grossly looking heatsinks that would prevent any large more popular air-coolers from mounting correctly. The space around the CPU socket is totally clear of any obstructions.

Next to the CPU socket are two pair of white and blue DIMM slots. Each f the slots are capable of supporting up to $GB each of DDR3 at 1800MHz when overclocked. The main ATX connector is located commonly on the very edge of the motherboard next to the ATX connector.

Strangely the USB headers are located below the DIMM slots and above the SATA connectors. Not a bad location for these until you actually getting into the build of the rig as cable management at this point is a little off but nothing major. When it comes to SAT connectors the 890GX Pro3 has five SATA III ports that supports RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, RAID 0+1 and RAID 5.

One pretty nice advantage the MSI version has over this Asrock model is the number of PCIe 16x slots. On the MSI board there is total of two to support Crossfire. Our Asrock has just one along with one 1x PCIe and two standard PCI slots. Crossfire is not totally out of the question on this board as it still has a hybrid version. Combined with the on-board Radeon HD 4290 video and an add-on GPU like a Radeon HD 5450 you have your Crossfire.

The Asrock 890GM is doubt short of exterior connectivity as there are five USB 2.0 Ports and a single USB 3.0 ports. And that is not all as there is one eSATA rated at SATA III speeds but there is one firewire ports six-point type. A single LAN port will get you online. But what this chipset is known for is video and it has all the video connections on-board in the form of VGA, DVI and HDMI all of which is backed by the Radeon HD 4290 iGPU.


BIOS


Testing Begins

Testing Hardware:

Motherboard: Asrock 890GM Pro3 Processor: Phenom II X4 965 Black
Ram: Patriot
Video Card: Sapphire HD 5750
HDD: Seagate 7200.11
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 1000 (Donated by Thermaltake for our test bench)
Case: Open Air
Cooling:
OS: Windows 7

Competition Hardware:

Motherboard: MSI 890GXM-G65/Asrock 890GX Extreme3
Processor: AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black/Phenom II X4 965 Black
Ram: OCZ DDR3 PC12800 4GB Dual-Channel
Video Card: Sapphire HD 5750
HDD: Seagate 7200.11
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 1000 (Donated by Thermaltake for our test bench)
Case: Open Air
Cooling: Thermaltake Silent 1156
OS: Windows 7 RC


Futuremark PCMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 performance of your graphics card. We’ve been making 3DMark for over 10 years, with each new edition using the latest 3D technology to determine real-world performance.

A 3DMark score is an overall measure of your system’s 3D gaming capabilities, based on comprehensive real-time 3D graphics and processor tests. By comparing your score with those submitted by millions of other gamers you can see how your gaming rig performs, making it easier to choose the most effective upgrades or finding other ways to optimize your system.

3DMark is widely used by the PC industry, press and media as well as individual users and gamers, for comparing performance levels between whole systems or even specific components


SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2007 SP1
SiSoftware has announced the availability of Service Release 2 (SR2) for SiSoftware Sandra 2005, the latest version of its award-winning utility. The focus of this service release has been improved support, compatibility and reliability rather than new features. We have been working closely with more hardware vendors than before to be able to bring greater direct support of an increased market share of commodity and server technologies.

Lavalys Everest
Lavalys EVEREST Home Edition is freeware system information, system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for home PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. It offers the world's most accurate system information and diagnostics capabilities, including online features, memory benchmarks, hardware monitoring, and low-level hardware information. EVEREST Home Edition is uniquely available for home users without any charges, based on the freeware license.


Maxon Cinebench
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

Super PI Modded 1.5
In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.


S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military "Fairway" operation aimed to take the CNPP under control.

According to the operation's plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map out the detailed layouts of anomalous fields location. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched.

Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the avant-garde helicopters crash. In order to collect information on reasons behind the operation failure, Ukraine's Security Service send their agent into the Zone center.
From now on everything depends on the player.

Tech ARP x264 HD 3.15
Simply put, it is a reproducible measure of fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other.


HD Tune
HD Tune is a hard disk utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive's performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more.


Overclocking the Asrock 890GX Pro3 and the AMD Phenom II 965 Black

Due to limit time we spent just a short time for the overclocking process. So, we upped the voltage on the CPU to 1.5V in the BIOS and started to up the bus 10MHz at a time until things became shaky. We ended at 4080MHz stable using Super Pi to test for stability.

Conclusion

The Asrock 890GM Pro3 is one of those motherboards that looks like it has a purpose. That purpose to me would be sitting at home in a nice vertical desktop case or home theater enclosure. The motherboard has more than enough top integrated components to make the build complete and not having to give up any type of visual or audio quality. We have seen a few motherboard on our pages that is more than capable of playing back the most demanding high definition video and have a great audible experience. The Radeon HD 4290 graphics is pumped up via a DVI or HDMI each all of today's flat panel have.

If you are not looking for such a motherboard as described above well the Asrock 890GM is ideal for the beginning of a nice gaming LAN box. Simply add in a nice GPU say a Radeon HD 5770 or HD 5850 and you are set to frag with the best of them. It would be nice to have the second PCIe slot the MSI version of this motherboard. This would have elevated the same LAN box from nice to ultimate.

The Asrock is an ideal motherboard for those that make have an unlockable AMD X2 or X3 processor. The integrated UCC circuit or Unlock CPU Core allows you to open up the extra core that are often closed off by AMD. This what all the motherboard manufacturers are calling a free CPU upgrade.

If you need the latest and greatest in storage connectivity, you have it with this motherboard. Just like the Asrock 890GX Extreme3, this board offers USB 3.0 aka SuperSpeed and SATA III.

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