Our Summary & Conclusion
Performance Summary: It's always a little difficult to peg the performance of a chipset, especially so with the Athlon 64 platforms currently available. Between the integrated memory controller and copious I/O, there's very little holding any of the chipsets back, and perhaps that's why all three of our test beds swap places in our benchmarks. There's no real definite winner here and it's fair to say that even if you invest in a K8T890 motherboard, you'll get performance that's very much competitive with anything else out there today.
What really separates one Athlon 64 chipset from another is features. If you want the very best of the best--SLI graphics technology--you'll pay a premium for that. Should you decide to retain just one graphics card, an nForce4 Ultra board can be had for significantly less money. And if your only interest is bottom-dollar value, NVIDIA sells its vanilla nForce4. VIA's K8T890 chipset falls somewhere between those two lower options.
Soltek does an excellent job of bolstering VIA's somewhat dated feature set. Gigabit Ethernet replaces the 10/100 Mbps option, eight-channel audio comes standard, an add-on SATA controller brings the board's total number of SATA ports up to four, and PCI Express connectivity makes for a more modernized platform.
Priced around $115, however, we'd be hard-pressed to recommend the K890Pro over any of the nForce4 Ultra boards available online hovering around the same price. Although you'll realize comparable performance, the difference in available features is simply too significant to ignore. Chaintech's VNF4/Ultra, for example, is less expensive, enables SATA 3.0 Gbps (you don't get NCQ support on the VIA chipset), and more USB 2.0 support. While we commend Soltek for trying something new, you might want to weigh your options before adopting the K890Pro motherboard. We're giving the Soltek SL-K890 Pro-939 a 7.5 on the Heat Meter.