AMD 990FX Chipset
Launched during Computex 2011, the AMD 990FX chipset is the top option of the three new northbridge solutions from AMD. All three feature several new features specific to the 9-Series chipsets, but the majority of technology is carried over from AMD’s previous 8-Series products. Featuring Hypertransport™ 3.0, and native SATA 6 Gb/s connectivity via the SB950, the 9-Series from AMD is an incremental upgrade. The big marquee difference, of course, is the new AM3+ CPU support, CPUs which have yet to arrive within the retail space, and are expected later this year. All 9-series chipsets provide DDR3-1866 memory support natively, if a supporting CPU is installed. Also available is an IOMMU connection, allowing virtual machines to directly access hardware capabilities, rather than offering a software interface using hardware emulation. Although not natively supported in the Windows environment at this time, this feature is more intended for Linux users.
The AMD 970 chipset offers a single PCIe 2.0 x16 connection for a single graphics card, while the 990X allows that link to be split into two separate PCIe 2.0 x8 connections, for multi card configurations. The 990FX chipset found on this board features two full PCIe 2.0 x16 connections for graphics, with the option to split the link into two separate PCIe 2.0 x8 links, as decided by OEM board layout and design. An extra x4 link is also available via the AMD SB950, and the AMD SB950 Southbridge chipset also houses all of the I/O functionality, such as the six native SATA 6 Gb/s ports.
Of course, that leads to today's product, the Biostar TA990FXE. Will it offer an Extreme Edition for AMD products, as its name suggests? We put it through the paces, and find out.