AMD 690G IGP First Looks and Performance


ECS AMD690GM-M2 Motherboard

ECS AMD690GM-M2

Among all the announced AMD 690 series motherboards, ECS was the first to have their board reach out labs for an early evaluation. Because the RS690 is pin compatible with the older RS485, ECS managed to get their board out with minimal redesign or development. The ECS AMD690GM-M2 is a micro-ATX board that shares a nearly identical PCB design and layout as its predecessor, the ECS RS485M-M. Based on the AMD 690G/SB600 combination, the AMD690GM-M2 will feature DVI and VGA output, but sadly no HDMI (or HDCP), which limits the 690G's usefulness and lessens its appeal as a HD capable motherboard. The board does have a PCIe x16 slot though, so you can still add an external graphics card. It also features one PCIe x1 and two PCI slots for upgrades.

Onboard audio is powered by a Realtek 8-channel ALC883 HD Audio CODEC, though again it is disappointing that there are no available S/PDIF connectors onboard. ECS does include an S/PDIF and TV-Out header, but brackets do not seem to be provided in the package. Other features include ten USB 2.0 ports (four rear, six via headers), Gigabit PCI LAN (Realtek RTL8110SC), four SATA 3.0Gbps ports and an IDE port supporting two Ultra-ATA 133 devices. The SB600 SATA controller is capable of RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and also supports AHCI modes.

Though our board came properly packed in its full retail box, we suspect that the ECS is very early in its development BIOS. After playing around with the AMD690GM-M2 awhile, we found out that many of the options in our BIOS (dated 13/01/2007) were not really functional. There were no memory timing controls, so the board would only run with SPD timings. We also noticed that the board seemed to have its CPU ratio hard locked to 10x. After trying various CPUs from an Athlon 64 X2 5000+ to the latest Athlon 64 X2 6000+, the board properly identifies the processors, but only operates at 2GHz (10 x 200). We confirmed this through CPU-Z and running a few benchmarks to indicate approximate CPU performance. Because of these limitations, we felt that we were unable to properly conduct a full review of the board at this time.

On the other hand, we do have a fully working AMD 690G motherboard, so we were able to get some preliminary performance benchmarks of the new 690G IGP performance in comparison against the previous generation Radeon Xpress 1100 and NVIDIA's GeForce 6150.