AMD 690 Chipset Update: More Power, More Performance

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Back in February of this year, we took a look at the AMD 690 series chipset and praised it for its affordability, power efficiency, and strong performance relative to its competition.  Since then, the 690 series chipset has gone on to be somewhat of a success for AMD with over 35 different motherboards based on various flavors the chipset currently and more on the way.

Not content with the status quo, engineers at AMD have taken the 690 series chipset and optimized it further through some BIOS and software level enhancements that result in marked performance gains in a number of situations and also introduce some new features.  We've got a motherboard from Gigabyte on the test bed that feature the latest updates and thought we'd compare its performance to the unaltered board we evaluated when the chipset was first introduced in an attempt to see just how much the platform's performance has changed.

The AMD 690G/V Series Chipset
Features and Specifications

CPU Support:

  • AMD Sempron, AMD Athlon 64, AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core and AMD Athlon 64 FX

PCI Express Interface:

  • 1 - x16 Graphics
  • 4 - x1 PCI Express links

2D Acceleration Features:

  • Highly optimized 128-bit engine, capable of processing multiple pixels per clock.
  • Supports a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 @ 32bpp
  • Game Acceleration including support for Microsoft's DirectDraw

3D Acceleration Features:

  • Full DirectX 9.0 support
  • 3D Texture support, including projective 3D textures
  • Anti-aliasing using multi-sampling algorithm with support for 2, 4 and 6 samples
  • New generation rendering engine provides top 3D performance
  • Support for OpenGL format for Indirect Vertices in Vertex Walker

Motion Video Acceleration Features:

  • Enhanced MPEG-2 hardware decode acceleration
  • MPEG-4 decode support
  • Hardware acceleration for WMV9 playback
  • Supports top quality DVD and time-shifted SDTV/HDTV te levision playback with low CPU usage

TV Out:

  • Integrated TV encoder from ATI's Xilleon products with on-chip -DAC with integrated AVIVO engine
  • Supports Macrovision 7.1 copy protection standard (required by DVD players)
  • Supports the formats of YPbPr component out

SurroundView:

  • SurroundView feature allows support for up to three independent monitors for systems equipped with an additional ATI discrete graphics card

Multiple Display Features:

  • Dual Independent displays including two digital outputs
  • Resolution, refresh rates, and display rates can be completely independent for the two display paths
  • Both display controllers support true 30 bits per pixel throughout the display pipe
  • Supports both interlaced and non-interlaced displays
    Integrated HD Audio controller for HDMI audio data

Display Support:

  • Supports a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 @ 32bpp

DVI/HDMI:

  • Supports a TMDS interface, enabling DVI or HDMI 1.2
  • 1650 Mbps/channel with 165MHz pixel clock rate per link
  • HDCP 1.1 support on data stream with on-chip key storage
  • Supports HDMI audio together with Realtek's driver providing single control for user on all audio adjustments
  • Supports HDMI audio enhancements, such as equalizer, 5.1 channel, surround sound effect, karaoke and head phone virtualization

Universal Connectivity:

  • A-Link Xpress II i/f to AMD Northbridges; providing high bandwidth for high speed peripherals
  • 10 USB 2.0 ports
  • SATA Gen 2 PHY support at 3.0Gb/sec bandwidth
  • 4 ports SATA AHCI controller supports NCQ and slumber modes
  • ATA 133 controller supports up to UDMA mode 6 with two drives (disk or optical)
  • HPET (high precision event timer), ACPI 3.0 and AHCI support for Windows Vista
  • UAA (Universal audio architecture) support for High Definition Audio and MODEM
  • PCI v2.3 (up to 6 slots)
  • LPC (Low Pin Count), SPI (New Flash Bus), and SM (System Management) bus management and arbitrations
  • Legacy PC compatible functions, RTC (Real Time Clock), interrupt controller and DMA controller

We've already gone into detail on the AMD 690 series chipset, so we won't cover many of the specifics again in this article.  If you're unfamiliar with the platform, however, we suggest taking a look at our launch coverage for the necessary background information.  And while you're at it, we recommend you check out these articles as well for details on the other components that make up AMD's current desktop PC platform:

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