Surprise, surprise -- PCIe 3.0 was baked into AMD's 990FX chipset all along.
Our CES video coverage continues with a tour of Asus' booth, where Deputy Editor Gordon Mah Ung captured on camera the company's E2KM1-L Deluxe mini-ITX motherboard (shown in thumbnail image). It's a replacement for the old E45 Brazos 2.0 boards, the big difference being a soldered on dual-core Trinity CPU. But the real surprise was still to come.
Intel's Sandy Bridge-E is the talk of the town right now, but let's not forget about another little chip maker named Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Sapphire certainly hasn't forgotten about AMD, nor has it blanked out on how to build a high end motherboard. Proving both is Sapphire's new Pure Black 990FX board with support for the latest AMD processors.
To be honest, between Z68 this and Sandy Bridge-e that, we haven’t had much time to check out many of AMD's latest motherboard offerings.
It’s not that we don’t care; it’s just that the fire is burning on the other side of the fence these days. That’s not to say that the 990X chipset in Asus’s midrange M5A99X Evo is a slouch. As a real AM3+ board, it’s guaranteed to work with the Bulldozer line of CPUs from AMD. On the other hand, plenty of older 890FX boards will also work fine with Bulldozer, so is it even worth your time to check out a 990-series board? In a word: yes.
Gigabyte has no intention of being caught short handed once AMD's Bulldozer platform rolls into town. Getting a jump on the new CPUs, Gigabyte just added three more AM3+ boards to its lineup, all of which sport AMD's AM3+ socket. These include the rather plain-named GA-990FXA-UD3, GA-990FXA-D3, and GA-990XA-UD3.
Don't you hate it when leaked pictures of future products pop up on the web, but they turn out all blurry like a kid with a $10 Kodak snapped the photos? Yeah, we do too, but luckily that isn't what we have here. Mysteriously manifesting out of the deepest corners of cyberspace are several closeups of MSI's upcoming Bulldozer board, the 990FX-GD6A.
Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) is doing its best to shed its old reputation as strictly a budget board maker by focusing on higher end chipsets. That includes AMD's upcoming 990FX chipset, the one built for Bulldozer sporting a new AM3+ socket. This is the chipset enthusiasts will reach for when popping in new four-, six-, and even eight-core processors.
So what if Nvidia and AMD make unlikely bed fellows, and who cares that the two are currently duking it out in the discrete graphics market? Certainly not Joe Gamer, the unbiased enthusiast who only wants to build the best gaming machine his budget will allow. Unfortunately for Joe, his decisions have always been partially dictated by artificial compatibility constraints, and the decision to roll with multiple Nvidia or AMD graphics cards depends on his choice of platform. Not anymore, folks!