general rule of thumb is that newer hardware is better than older hardware... or
at least that's what we're led to believe. Inflated marketing budgets, fancy
sounding names, and an abundance of extreme-ultra-super-platinum-diamond
nomenclatures underscore incremental upgrades as revolutionary advancements.
Clearly this is not always the case.
The VIA K8T890 chipset has the capability of
transforming a mainstream motherboard into a platform which can compete on the
same level as other high-end models, but at less cost. When it comes to
"features" like SLI or Crossfire, the VIA K8T890 chipset offers no support, yet
when it comes to practical items like USB, PCI Express, SATA, networking and
other everyday technologies the K8T890 chipset represents well.
It helps that AMD's Athlon64 architecture evens out the
playing field for new and old alike, top of the line or entry level. If you
haven't been following the latest AMD trends, the VIA K8T890 was originally
released as a PCI Express solution for the Socket 939 K8 platform in late 2005,
and as you can see, was ported over to Socket AM2 in this most recent revision.
The K8T890's feature set is not as padded as what nVIDIA offers in its latest
core logic, but if you're looking to build an entry level system or workstation
PC, who really cares about dual videocards?
AM2V890-VSTA motherboard retails for little more than $84 CDN ($75 US, £40GBP),
half what an nForce 590 SLI based motherboard with all the bells and whistles
costs. The AM2V890-VSTA has a concise feature set, but all the bases are
covered. On the other hand, overclocking is not the ASRock AM2V890-VSTA's
strength. Clearly, an overclock to 230MHz is less than mundane.
Don't let the VIA K8T890's relatively old age
fool you, it is no slouch in terms of performance. As we've demonstrated
in the benchmarks, the ASRock AM2V890-VSTA performed on par with its Socket
AM2 competition. The SYSMark2004 and Office Productivity numbers are
particularly telling as entry level mainstream motherboards generally handle
these content creation/office application tasks just as well as enthusiast grade
In the gaming benchmarks, when equipped with a high-end
video card the ASRock AM2V890-VSTA is easily able to keep up with nForce 590 SLI
based motherboards. The results for Doom 3, FarCry and X3: Reunion underscore
this point. Or, think of it this way, with the money you would have saved
on a board like the ASRock AM2V890-VSTA, you could invest the difference in a
faster gaming videocard. ;-)