AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 6-Core Processor Review

Article Index

AMD 890FX Motherboards: Asus, MSI

To test out the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T processor, we procured a couple of 890FX-chipset based motherboards from Asus and MSI, the CrossHair IV Formula and the 890FXA-GD70, respectively...


Asus CrossHair IV Formula

Asus' CrossHair motherboards for the AMD platform have been some of our favorites. Previous iterations of the CrossHair have all been outfitted with some unquie features to help differntiate them from the crowd, and the CrossHair IV Formula is no different.  The CrossHair IV Formula features support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6G, and the board's chipset and VRM are cooled by large angular-shaped heatsinks, linked together via heat-pipes. But the board also supports a number of Asus proprietary technologies like ExpressGate, MemOK, and TurboV, among others.

The CrossHair IV Formula is outfitted with four PCIe x16 slots and a pair of legacy PCI slots. It sports a dark colored PCB with distinctive red, black and white accents, and as is typical of high-end offerings from Asus, the board is loaded with features. The CrossHair IV Formula supports Asus' TurboV real-time overclocking, Core Unlocker, MemOK, and features integrated SupremeFX X-Fi audio. It also supports Asus' GameFirst technology, which prioritizes game packets through the integrated gigabit NIC, and RoG connect. The RoG Connect port in the CrossHair IV Formula's backplane will allow users to connect the board to a second system (like a notebook or netbook) for real-time hardware monitoring and tweaking. Very cool.

Overall, the layout of the CrossHair IV Formula is excellent, as was the layout of its feature-laden BIOS, and working with the board proved to be a pleasure, at least in the short time we've had with it.



Like Asus' offering, the MSI 890FXA-GD70 is a feature-rich motherboard that exploits all of the inherent capabilities of the 890FX-chipset, in addition to a few added features courtesy of MSI. The 890FXA-GD70 is built upon a dark colored PCB with blue and black accents. The 890FX and VRM are situated under a relatively large heatsink that rests between the CPU socket and backplane and the SB850 southbridge is under its own heatsink, situated in the traditional southbridge location. Both heatsinks are linked via heat-pipe. Along with SATA6G support (which comes by way of the SB850), the MSI 890FXA-GD70 also supports USB 3.0 a few other MSI-proprietary features. MSI claims the board uses "Military Class Components" to ensure longevity and stability, and the 890FXA-GD70 it is outfitted with an OC Dial that gives users the ability to overclock by simply turning a knob on the board (it is visible in the corner by the power and reset switches).

The MSI 890FXA-GD70 has five PCI Express x16 slots, a single x1 slot, and a single PCI slot, and its I/O backplane is loaded with other connectivity options, including eSATA, USB 3.0, audio, etc. Overall, the layout of the board is very good and we had no issues with its installation into a generic mid-tower case. The layout of its BIOS is also very good and should please even the most ardent overclockers.

Related content