9 Series Chipset
When it comes to the 9 series chipset, the 970 chipset is pretty much almost the same as the 990FX chipset that has been dumbed down a bit in terms of graphics card support and PCIe lanes. Otherwise its pretty indentical. Let’s tackle the 990FX Chipset first and then we will cover the differences.
The 990FX looks very similar to its predecessor, the 890FX. There are no major new innovations to the chipset, but if you look closely, the HyperTransport 3.0 processor link gets upgraded to version 3.1. It now has 6.4 GB/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, because 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 yet, and the I/O blocks have not changed either. Folks, there really is no cutting edge differences on 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 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.
Let’s compare the 2 chipsets.
One physical PCIe 2.0 ×16 slot, one PCIe 2.0 ×4 slot and three PCIe 2.0 ×1 slots, the chipset provides a total of 22 PCIe 2.0 lanes and 4 PCIe 2.0 for A-Link Express III solely in the Northbridge
HyperTransport 3.0 up to 2400 MHz and PCI Express 2.0
13.6 Watt TDP
One physical PCIe 2.0 ×16 slot or two physical PCIe 2.0 ×16 slots @ x8, one PCIe 2.0 ×4 slot and two PCIe 2.0 ×1 slots, the chipset provides a total of 22 PCIe 2.0 lanes and 4 PCIe 2.0 for A-Link Express III solely in the Northbridge
HyperTransport 3.0 up to 2600 MHz and PCI Express 2.0
Support for up to two graphics cards
14 Watt TDP
Now that you have seen the Chipset comparisons, let’s take a look at the package and contents.