J&W Minix 890GX-USB3 Review

November 30, 2010 | 13:33

Tags: #6-core #890gx #am3 #crysis #mini-itx #motherboard #oc #overclock #overclocking #pci-express #performance #result #review #thuban

Companies: #amd #jw #test

J&W Minix 890GX-USB3 review

Manufacturer J&W
UK price (as reviewed) €193.80 (inc tax and shipping)
US price (as reviewed) $182.45 (ex tax)

It's hard to call what a good or bad layout is for a mini-ITX board, but as far as our time with J&W's Minix 890GX-USB3 goes, it was very easy to build with. Incidentally, it's similar to the Asus M4A88T-I Deluxe, although with some subtle differences. These include the use of the 890GX chipset and SB850 Southbridge, instead of the 880G chipset and more basic SB710 Southbridge of the older Asus board.

We found the SATA ports, power sockets and fan pin-outs of the Minix all easily accessible near the boards edges, with only the front-panel audio pin-out likely to give users some stress as it's nestled between rear I/O and Northbridge heatsink.

J&W Minix 890GX-USB3 Review J&W Minix 890GX-USB3 Review
Click to enlarge

J&W follows a growing trend of using DDR3 SODIMMs instead of full size DIMM sockets, which means an extra purchase instead of reusing old hardware. You're also pretty much limited to to a maximum of 1,333MHz for now, but that’s hardly slow, and the SODIMM sockets mean that there’s more room to cram in other features.

As it is J&W has had to opt to use the underside for the mini PCI-Express wireless/bluetooth combo card, which then plugs into (the provided) tiny, laptop-esq adapters for the aerials. These are routed to the rear I/O where they screw in via a clever little notch in the PCB. Pedants might complain this is not as neat at integrating it onto the PCB itself, but the upside is that this flexibility is ideal for modders who want to route the ugly plastic antenna out the way.

This Minix also manages a full-width 16x PCI Express slot, unlike the J&W Minix 780G board we reviewed two years ago, which only had a 4x slot.

J&W Minix 890GX-USB3 Review
Click to enlarge

J&W 890GX-USB3 Specification

  • AMD 938-pin AM3 socket with CPU support up to 95W TDP;
  • AMD 890GX northbridge and SB850 southbridge;
  • Two DDR3 SO-DIMM sockets with support for up to 8GB of memory;
  • Four SATA 6Gbps ports with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 support;
  • PCI-Express 2.0 16x slot;
  • Two NEC USB 3.0 ports;
  • Eight USB 2.0 ports (4 via rear I/O, 4 via pin-out);
  • Realtek ALC892 7.1 channel High-Definition audio codec;
  • Two Broadcom BCM57768A1KMLG Gigabit Ethernet controllers;
  • One AzureWave AW-NB037 mini PCI-E 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 3.0 card.

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