The 990FX looks very similar to its predecessor, the 890FX. There are no new innovations to the chipset to speak of, but if you look closely, the HyperTransport 3.0 processor link gets upgraded to version 3.1. It now has 6.4 GT/s of bandwidth on the 990FX. There are no changes to the silicon but perhaps the Hypertransport speed may be improved with the additional bandwidth. The Northbridge is a PCI Express 2.0 switch with 42 lanes of connectivity and the 990FX now supports Nvidia GeForce cards (though not all motherboard models will feature this). This is a welcome sight, seeing AMD users were pretty much stuck with AMD/ATI graphic cards for some time.
The SB950 Southbridge offers additional PCI express lanes and all 6 of the serial ATA ports use 6Gbps of connectivity. The USB ports still feature USB 2.0 as the next generation has not been embraced, as the I/O blocks have not changed either. Folks, there really is no cutting edge differences on both the 990FX and SB950.
While the 990FX is only one of the 9 series chipsets, let’s take a look here at the entire 9 Series line up. One item we would like to touch on a little more here is that AMD suggests the new Vishera series should be used with its 9 series line up. Some motherboard partners with AMD have been rumored to release BIOS updates on the 8 series chipsets that will work with this series. However, it’s not recommended by AMD and they strongly suggest that, in order to take full advantage of this new update, we should use the 9 series chipsets.
Now that you have taken a look at what the 990FX chipset has to offer, let’s take a look at the motherboard.