ASRock 890GX Extreme3 Mainboard Review (with Phenom II X4 960T and Phenom II X3 710)
Bluetooth 6 May 2010

Last week, we presented the ASRock 880G Extreme3 mainboard. Today, we take a look at the bigger brother the 890GX Extreme3 mainboard. Some what alike, both board features very similar specifications and functionalities. In fact, we aren’t able to find much difference between the two other than the 890GX Extreme3 uses the AMD 890GX north bridge which clocks it’s internal GPU at 700MHz instead of 560MHz on the 880G Extreme3.

The 890GX Extreme3 has a very complete feature set. It has  ASRock DuraCap (2.5 x longer life time), 100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors with Advanced V8 + 2 Power Phase Design which can supports CPU up to 140W. This board also supports the Phenom II X6 6 core processor. The most interesting would be the UCC which allows it to unlock the hidden cores e.g. the Phenom II X4 960T, enabling the two hidden cores and ‘convert’ it into a  6 core processor.

As for memory wise, it supports Dual Channel DDR3 1800(OC). Graphics capability is better as it comes integrated with AMD Radeon HD 4290 graphics, DX10.1 Class iGPU, Shader Model 4.1, Max. shared memory 512MB. It also has a 128MB DDR3-1333 side port memory which can be overclocked to DDR3-1670 without any issues. The Radeon HD 4290 is also capable of decoding HD videos using UVD2, thus playing back of bluray is chicken feed.You can choose to use Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI. 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection, DAC with 110dB dynamic range (VIA® VT2020 Audio Codec with QSound) will definitely make it a good choice for a home entertainment box. If integrated graphics is not to your liking, you can always upgrade it to Hybrid CrossFireX, 3 way or quad CrossFire X.

In terms of peripheral connectors, this board supporst 1 x eSATA3 Connector, 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 2 x IEEE 1394 ports. For overclockers, you would be delighted with the Smart Swith Design : 1 x Power Switch with LED, 1 x Reset Switch with LED, 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED and Dr. Debug (7-Segment Debug LED). There is also a comprehensive BIOS options in the BIOS like 30% Overclock etc.

Other software that comes free include  ASRock Instant Boot, Instant Flash, OC DNA, OC Tuner, IES, Multi-Speed Fan Control, CyberLink DVD Suite – OEM and Trial; Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi MB – Trial