While so far we have only received one of AMD's 690 chipsets that will eventually hit the market, it's clear that the AMD/ATI merger has really taken a turn for the better. AMD has never really had the capacity to produce its own chipsets for its processors which has in the past really hindered the company.
Some of you out there may remember the AMD Athlon debacle back with the 750 chipset, AMD's first and only chipset generation for the K7 range. It was very buggy and plagued with compatibility problems with the GeForce GPU range. It was a makeshift at best chipset that AMD didn't want to produce in the first place, it had to as the VIA/Intel war was so hot no one wanted to touch it.
With the collective ability of ATI at its disposal and the companies ATI now work closely with such as Sapphire (graphics card and motherboard partner), any chipset that AMD/ATI now throws out, you can expect to see hit the market.
ECS has done a good job at this early stage with their AMD690GM-M2 motherboard. While it doesn't overclock, we are hoping that a new BIOS will fix that and we look forward to seeing the rest of the 690 range of chipsets.
It's surely not a motherboard for gamers and enthusiasts but with fairly decent onboard graphics through the Radeon X1250 and an affordable price tag, it will make a great basis for a basic budget or office system. Mate it with an AMD Sempron CPU and you'll have a capable performing PC without costing a bomb. It misses the mark at being a true home theatre capable motherboard, skipping features such as HDMI, HDCP and any form of digital audio output but it could make for a low-end and simple HTPC.
We have no details on pricing at this stage but we are expecting a rather attractive and affordable price tag when it goes up for sale at the end of this month.
First AMD 690G motherboard to market
Integrated graphics not bad for basic no thrills PC gaming
Perfect office productivity or budget system chipset
Uses latest ATI SB600 Southbridge
Doesn't overclock at this stage
Not for enthusiasts or gamers
No digital audio output or HDMI / HDCP
Rating - 8 out of 10