ASRock 890FX Deluxe 4 Motherboard

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Product: ASRock 890FX Deluxe 4 Motherboard
Provided By: ASRock
Price: Shop ASRock Boards Here

 

Introduction:

In the last few years ASRock has been producing great high-performance, bargain priced motherboards.  Today we are reviewing the 890 FX Deluxe 4 motherboard.  This board claims to be a "World's First" as it supports front USB 3.0.  This board is designed for AMD AM3 processors only - which includes the AMD Phenom II X6 6-Core CPUs. It also boasts true 333: USB 3.0, eSATA 3.0 and SATA 3.0 (6GB/s).

 Box
Box

The ASRock 890FX Deluxe 4 comes in a large flashy box that has recently graced the high-end ASRock motherboard series.  Included in the box is the standard Rear I/O shield, manual, driver CD and Molex to SATA adapters. Also in the box are three SATA cables, an IDE cable and a floppy cable as well as their front USB 3.0 Panel. The board supports ATI CrosfireX, 3-Way CrossfireX and Quad CrossfireX.


 Bundle
Bundle

First Look:

The 890FX Deluxe 4 comes with four DDR3 slots that have a max capacity of 16GB. This board has three PCIe 2.0 16x slots, two PCIe 2.0 1x slots, two PCI slots, six SATA 3.0 GB/S connectors.  The SATA system is based on the AMD SB850 chipset which supports RAID (RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5).  There are also two SATA3 6.0GB connectors thanks to the Marvell SE9123/9120.

 

Closer Look:

Those of you that are looking for a completely silent board thanks to a passive cooling solution should look elsewhere as the 890FX Deluxe 4 from ASRock has a fan over the CPU power mosfet that also cools the northbridge chipset thanks to a single heatpipe. The northbridge has its own fins as well so the fan probably isn't required for normal operation. That being said, the fan seems to be very quiet and should add better overclocking potential to this board. Although the MOSFET cooling is located away from the CPU area, some large heatsinks may have mounting issues due to this design. Make sure you check your clearances before you install a large aircooler.

 Board Profile
Board Profile
Cooling
Cooling

 

The rear of the 890FX Deluxe4 I/O has six USB  2.0 ports, an eSATA3 connector, IEEE 1394 port, two USB 3.0 ports, 8 channel audio and a digital coaxial SPIDF as well as PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports and a clear CMOS switch.

Rear I/O
Rear I/O

 

The Dual-Channel DDR3 supports speeds of 1866(OC), 1800(OC), 1600(OC), 1333, 1066, and 800MHz.  The SATA 3.0 slots are in the bottom left and the end of the PCI slots. The power and reset buttons on the board as well as the diagnostic LED.  This is a nice little feature.

Portsand LED
Ports & LED

RAM Slots

RAM Slots

 

 

Features:

As we carry on through the features and specifications of this board, we'll go and pull some of the information from ASRock's product page and post it here for your convenience.  If you want all the details, make sure you check out their site for all the info.

  • World's First AMD 890FX Motherboard Supporting Front USB3.0
  • ASRock DuraCap (2.5 longer life time), 100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors
  • Phenom II X6 6-Core CPU Ready
  • Supports ASRock Turbo UCC
  • Supports ASRock UCC - Unlock CPU Core
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1866(OC)
  • Supports ATI™ Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
  • 2 x Front USB 3.0 ports, 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports, 8 x SATA3 connectors, 2 x IEEE 1394 ports
  • Dr. Debug, Smart Switch Design: Power/Reset/Clear CMOS Switch with LED
  • Supports ASRock Instant Boot, Instant Flash, OC Tuner, IES, OC DNA, Good Night LED, Multi-Speed Fan Control, AIWI, APP Charger
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), THX TruStudio PRO™ and Premium Blu-ray audio support
  • Free Software : CyberLink DVD Suite - OEM and Trial
  • Free Bundle: 1 x Front USB 3.0 Panel
  • ErP/EuP Ready

 

Specifications:

 General
CPU - Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom™ II X6 / X4 / X3 / X2 (except 920 / 940) / Athlon II X4 / X3 / X2 / Sempron processors
- Six-Core CPU Ready
- Supports UCC feature (Unlock CPU Core)
- Advanced V8 + 2 Power Phase Design
- Supports CPU up to 140W
- Supports AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet Technology
- FSB 2600 MHz (5.2 GT/s)
- Supports Untied Overclocking Technology
- Supports Hyper-Transport 3.0 (HT 3.0) Technology
Chipset - Northbridge: AMD 890FX
- Southbridge: AMD SB850
- AMD Vision Black
Memory - Dual Channel DDR3 memory technology
- 4 x DDR3 DIMM slots
- Supports DDR3 1866(OC)/1800(OC)/1600(OC)/1333/1066/800 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Max. capacity of system memory: 16GB
*

*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
BIOS - 8Mb AMI Legal BIOS
- Supports "Plug and Play"
- ACPI 1.1 Compliance Wake Up Events
- Supports jumperfree
- SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
- CPU, VCCM, NB, SB Voltage Multi-adjustment
 Audio, Video and Networking
Graphics - n/a
Audio - 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec)
- Premium Blu-ray audio support
- Supports THX TruStudio Pro™
LAN - PCIE x1 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
- Realtek RTL8111E
- Supports Wake-On-LAN
- Supports LAN Cable Detection
- Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
 Expansion / Connectivity
Slots - 3 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (PCIE2/PCIE4 @ x16 mode; PCIE5 @ x4 mode)
- 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
- 2 x PCI slots
- Supports ATI™ Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™
SATA3 - 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by AMD SB850, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and RAID 5), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
- 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by Marvell SE9120, support NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions
USB 3.0 - 2 x Rear USB 3.0 ports by NEC UPD720200, support USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
- 1 x Front USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) by NEC UPD720200, supports USB 1.0/2.0/3.0 up to 5Gb/s
Connector - 8 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors
- 1 x ATA133 IDE connector (supports 2 x IDE devices)
- 1 x Floppy connector
- 1 x IR header
- 1 x COM port header
- 1 x IEEE 1394 header
- 1 x HDMI_SPDIF header
- 1 x Power LED header
- CPU/Chassis/Power FAN connector
- 24 pin ATX power connector
- 8 pin 12V power connector
- CD in header
- Front panel audio connector
- 2 x USB 2.0 headers (support 4 USB 2.0 ports)
- 1 x USB 3.0 header (supports 2 USB 3.0 ports)
- 1 x Dr. Debug (7-Segment Debug LED)
Rear Panel I/O I/O Panel
- 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
- 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
- 1 x Coaxial SPDIF Out Port
- 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
- 6 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
- 2 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Ports
- 1 x eSATA3 Connector
- 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
- 1 x IEEE 1394 Port
- 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
- HD Audio Jack: Side Speaker / Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
 Other Features / Miscellaneous
Unique Feature - ASRock OC Tuner
- Intelligent Energy Saver
- Instant Boot
- ASRock Instant Flash
- ASRock OC DNA
- ASRock AIWI
- ASRock APP Charger
- Hybrid Booster:
- CPU Frequency Stepless Control
- ASRock U-COP
- Boot Failure Guard (B.F.G.)
- Turbo 50 / Turbo 60 CPU Overclocking
- Turbo UCC
Smart Switch - 1 x Power Switch with LED
- 1 x Reset Switch with LED
- 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
Support CD - Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), AMD OverDrive™ Utility, ASRock Software Suite (CyberLink DVD Suite - OEM and Trial)
Accessories - Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
- Floppy/ATA 133 Cables
- 4 x SATA Data Cables (optional)
- 2 x SATA 1 to 1 Power Cables (optional)
- 1 x Front USB 3.0 Panel
- 6 x Screws
Hardware Monitor - CPU Temperature Sensing
- Chassis Temperature Sensing
- CPU/Chassis/Power Fan Tachometer
- CPU Quiet Fan
- CPU/Chassis Fan Multi-Speed Control
- Voltage Monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, Vcore
Form Factor - ATX Form Factor: 12.0-in x 9.6-in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
- All Solid Capacitor design (100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors)
OS - Microsoft® Windows® 7 / 7 64-bit / Vista™ / Vista™ 64-bit / XP / XP 64-bit compliant
Certifications - FCC, CE, WHQL
- ErP/EuP Ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)


 

ASRock 890FX Deluxe 4 BIOS:

The motherboard BIOS isn't always very exciting and we have a few screenshots of the BIOS without much comment.  One great feature of the 890FX chipset is that when you boot the system, you can press a single key (X) and your PC will automatically reboot and unlock extra cores that exist in CPUs like the Phenom II X3 processors.  This could help you enjoy an extra performance boost.  Also simple overclocking that allows increased CPU, memory and related voltages is a simple BIOS "click" away.

Main Boot Screen
Main Boot Screen

 

Below are some images taken from the BIOS.  This BIOS is very similar in feature and function as the ASRock X58 Extreme 3 BIOS Zeus posted a lot of details about over here.  Take a look if you want to know more about the OCTweaker features and more. 

BIOS - Main
BIOS - Main
BIOS - OCTweaker
BIOS - OCTweaker
   
BIOS - Advanced
BIOS - Advanced
BIOS - HWMonitor
BIOS - HWMonitor

 

 

Overclocking:

Just as in all of our motherboard reviews, we tried to max out the bus and reduce the multiplier in order to achieve the highest bus possible.  I soon discovered that high-end AM3 CPUs don't have a lot of overclocking headroom as the bus topped out somewhere between 230MHz and 235MHz.  We were able to run at 230MHz rock stable, but we didn't get a lot of extra performance with this setting.  We tested out the CPU limitation by increasing the CPU multiplier as well.  Either way we managed to hit a brick wall with the CPU at slightly over 3.6GHz.  We were able to keep things running smooth at 3.61GHz however.  As I'm an overclocking n00b, I left all voltages at stock speeds as I only had stock cooling for the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition CPU.

CPU-Z - Stock
CPU-Z Stock
CPU-Z - OC
CPU-Z Overclocked
   
OCTuner - Stock
OCTuner - Stock
OCTuner - Overclocked
OCTuner - Overclocked

 

On the next page we'll start testing out the board and dive into the performance testing as I was unable to test some of the subsystem including network performance on my 100Mb/sec network. 

 

Test System Specs:

While we tried to come up with a similar system for comparing some of the performance on this board, we really had nothing that came close for a comparison.  I know Zeus is working on this boards brother - the 890GX Deluxe 4, so until then, we'll have to be happy with single comparisons for the most part.  We do have some results from other systems, but that is still really comparing apples to grapefruit in many ways.  We've included them for reference only.

 
ASRock 890FX Deluxe 4
CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE
Motherboard
ASRock 890FX Deluxe 4
Memory
Graphics
NVIDIA 9800GTX 512MB
Cooling
Stock
Hard Drives
Western Digital 300GB Raptor
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
NVIDIA Drivers
258.96

 

 

Synthetic Performance:

To start things off we'll take a look at PCMark Vantage numbers.  We've only included stock vs. overclocked results as this test shows dramatic results by changing a single component in the system.  These numbers are for reference and if you have a similar system, please note the individual tests for better comparison results.


PCMark

 

As we were able to only gain an overclock of a mere 200MHz, the overclocked performance numbers aren't anything to impressive to write home about.  You'll see a greater percentage in performance increase with a processor that has a slower stock speed as many AMD processor tend to top out at a similar speed.

 

We used SiSoft Sandra to test memory performance at stock speed and it came to 12GB/sec of memory bandwidth.  This is pretty decent for a dual-channel kit and it shows that AMD has done a pretty good job with their latest CPUs and memory controllers.

 

Finally we take a look at PMCore - a program that calculates prime numbers.  This program is multi-threaded and we used it to calculate 10,000 prime numbers.  The results below are in seconds.tenths. 

PMCore

Again, we see very poor overclocking performance as we only managed a 5% stable overclock - which appears to be the fault of the CPU, not the motherboard.  Still, the results don't look very impressive.

On the next page we'll carry on with some real-world application tests before we run a couple of gaming related tests with this motherboard.


 

Cinebench 11.5:

It's no secret that 3D Rendering and modeling through programs like 3DStudioMax, Blender and others are very CPU intensive.  Of course with all the stream processors available in today's graphics cards, some of heavy workload is now being offloaded to the GPU, but a good 3D program can bring a system to its knees - especially when rendering lighting effects and very smooth models.  We've put the latest Cinebench 11.5 to the test and dropped the older versions as part of our updated motherboard testing suite.  This program lists results for the CPU as well as OpenGL performance which relies heavily on the graphics system.

Cinebench

 

As previously mentioned, this is a new version for us at BCCHardware and we'll be able to compare other systems with these results soon.


Next up we have a look at x.264HD.  This little program converts a 30 second MPG movie clip into the H.264 codec as fast as possible.  This program is multi-threaded and pushes systems to 100% CPU load very easily.  We have results posted from other systems for your enjoyment.  Keep in mind that the results are listed in FPS (frames per second) and faster is better.


x264
(Click for full-sized chart)

 

The AMD system can keep up with more expensive Intel Core i7 systems at stock speeds, but the extra overclocking headroom on the Intel side of things takes the cake when comparing overclocked numbers.

 

Gaming Performance:

As we fired up some gaming performance benchmarks, I struggled to find a good way to compare numbers with different platforms that BCCHardware has done in the past.  As it turns out, this was pretty much impossible with the huge difference in hardware.  I ended up using FRAPS to do some in-game performance testing of Supreme Commander 2, Call of Duty: World at War as well as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  In the end, most of these games stayed pinned at the maximum 91FPS that the games are capped at, so we didn't include the actual numbers.  We did include a simple 3DMark Vantage result however in order to sate your need for a gaming performance result on this board.  Again, results vary by hardware, but you can see how it performs with the hardware we posted earlier in this review.

3DMark Vantage 

 

Oddly enough, overclocking lowered the overall 3DMark score but it increased the CPU score marginally.  I'm not sure why exactly this is the case, but there you have it.  It's an average showing for a PC with a 9800GTX.

 

Final Thoughts:

The ASRock 890FX Deluxe 4 is a loaded deluxe board that doesn't cost a fortune.  It offers great things like Firewire, front and rear USB 3.0 as well as rear eSATA3 (6Gbps) and enough other goodies and connections to keep you happy all day long.  The DuraCap capacitors are great as they should provide years of trouble-free service.  I like the fact that the system panel header is at the bottom of the board as this makes my custom setup much tidier. 

 



Pros:

  • Nice layout
  • Good placement of the SATA ports
  • Double spaces for PCIe slots
  • Easy to access panel header
  • Front USB 3.0 panel
  • Power, Reset and Diagnostic LED on-board

 

Cons:

  • No extra rear USB/Firewire brackets 

 

BCCRating
 
 Silver

 

I'd like to thank ASRock for setting us up with the Deluxe 4 motherboard.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.