ASUS M5A97 EVO and M5A99X EVO
AMD 900 Chipset
Let’s start off with a quick look at the positioning of the new 9 series chipsets.
AMD has positioned the 9 series as a good/better/best strategy (970/990X/990FX). The base differences between the chipsets are more PCIE slots on the 990FX and no eSATA ports on the 990X and 970. The 970 offers one slot for graphics upgrade, the 990X up to two slots and the 990FX up to four slots. Also note, the 970 chipset does not feature USB 3.0 on the board itself but does have two USB ports on the I/O panel.
The Northbridge on the 990X is a PCI Express 2.0 switch 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 offers additional PCI express lanes and all 6 of the serial ATA ports use 6Gbps of connectivity. Also, the I/O blocks have not changed either from previous generation 890 motherboards. Folks, there also is no cutting edge differences on both the 990X with SB950 compared to 890X with SB850. Those who do not intend on using more than three PCIE slots may ask themselves if a 990FX motherboard may be overkill as a 990X will suffice. For anyone not needing more than one PCI-E slot, the M5A97 EVO might be a good choice. If you need something a bit more, then moving up to the M5A99 EVO could do the trick. If you really want to push things further, then we’d recommend going with the full-out 990FX, as the ASUS Sabertooth and Crosshair V Formula would be much better options for the demanding enthusiasts who require something with more punch.