Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 Review

Most enthusiasts and ruthless gamers are continuously seeking for the best AM3+ motherboard, I guess you too. Socket AM3+ motherboard are backward compatible with socket AM3 processors, as they always does, this is the reason why we like the AMD over Intel, right?

The Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 is a mid-entry level motherboard from the latest Gigabyte lineup that supports the 32nm CPU in socket AM3+, this targeted all AMD’s FX processors.

The Looks

The GA-990FXA-UD5 looks great in all black design, I’m always after with the performance and less with the appearance but in the case of the GA-990FXA-UD5 you get them both. The CPU socket also comes in black color that provides a descent space for the oversized CPU heatsink, this is ideal when you do some overclocking stuff in which this board is made of.

All 4 x DIMM slot in all black color with proper spacing with the PCI-E slot that doesn’t touch the GPU when installed. All 4 x PCI-E 2.0 slots are also comes in black including the 2 x PCI-E 1x and a single PCI. Heatsinks for the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets including the MOSFET’s are in charcoal gray color with blue stripes on the edge to easily recognize the difference between the UD3 version.

Heavier sized heatsink are provided to withstand tremendous heat when overclocked. It Provides 8 x SATA slots in right angle position located on the board edge for fast access. Overall, this board has an excellent cool looking in a full ATX form factor design.

Specs

Support for AMD AM3+ FX processors and AMD AM3 Phenom II processors / AMD Athlon II processors

Chipsets: AMD 990FX North Bridge and AMD SB950 South Bridge

Hyper Transport Bus 6,400 MT/s

4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory

Supports Dual channel memory architecture for DDR3 2000(O. C. )/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz

Support the 2-Way/3-Way AMD CrossFireX and NVidia SLI multi GPU technology

2 x PCI-E x16 slots, running at x16

1 x PCI-E x16 slots, running at x8

2 x PCI-E x16 slots, running at x4

1 x PCI Express x1 slots

1 x PCI slot

8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

14 x USB 2.0 ports (8 x back panel, 6 x internal USB headers)

2 x eSATA/USB combo supporting SATA 3Gb/s at the back panel

2 x IEEE 1394a ports on the back panel

HD Audio with 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel

1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip LAN (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Connectivity

The GA-990FXA-UD5 board supports the Dual Channel DDR3 2000+ MHz up to 32GB of memory. It provides 5 x PCI-E 2.0, the two can be run at x16 and 8x, while the other is at x4 configurations. This also includes 1 x PCI-E x1 and 1 x PCI. This provides a total of 8 SATA 6GB/s ports which is also fully compatible with SATA 3GB/s drives.

After nailing for quite some time in CrossfireX, this board breaks the barrier between the NVidia’s SLI and Radeon CrossfireX multi GPU by offering the support for both, to have more freedom to choose your preferred one.

The GA-990FXA-UD5 totally outnumbered most previous motherboard by giving you a total of 18 USB ports, 14 of these are in 2.0 and 4 in 3.0. There’s 8 USB 2.0 are provided at the back panel including 2 eSATA/USB combo connectors and 6 x ports trough headers. 2 USB 3.0 are available at the back panel and 2 port via headers. This also includes the 2 Firewire 1394a which is readily available at the back panel that supports SATA 3GB/s.

Features

The GA-990FXA-UD5 belongs to the Ultra Durable 3 series motherboard which the most distinguished features here. This is the Gigabyte’s tough quality board includes a 2 ounces of copper design for power and ground layers that lowers the system temperature, this produce a high efficient energy to withstand during overclock. This includes an all Japanese Capacitors for a longer lifespan for more than 50,000 hours of usage.

BIOS setup always cause pain for novice enthusiast using the traditional keyboard control. Some EFI BIOS motherboard uses mouse to navigate to make it easier but, Gigabyte engineers creates the simplest way by introducing the touch BIOS. Using your touch screen monitor, you can simply point your finger onscreen to select the desired settings.

With the Hybrid EFI technology, Gigabyte introduces the DualBIOS that uses two physical BIOS chipset. The second BIOS serves as a backup in case the main BIOS, this automatically recover all your data settings. In the new EFI BIOS, this fully support more than 2.2TB hard drive for a fast growing demands for a larger disk space. You can now install more than 3TB HDD that can easily detect and can be use as your boot drive without the need for partitioning.

Some of its features are seen on Gigabyte’s previous motherboard such as the On/Off charge technology, this allows you to charge faster with your iPhone, iPad and iPod even your PC is off. This will give you a boost with 3x faster charging than the regular USB ports.

The Easy Tune6 is the easiest way to overclock in the safest speed it can achieved. This is great for novice user or if you don’t want to go on sweat, with a single push of a button you get an instant overclock that boosts your performance in no time. Easy Energy Saver animatedly adjusts the CPU power consumption according to its workload, this will saves you power while giving the maximum efficiency.

The 108 signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) playback eliminates the sound noise to deliver the highest audio quality for multi-channel HD. This also includes the Dolby Theater Support thus creating the best surround sound for you to enjoy when playing games, watching movies and listening to your favorite MP3’s.

Testing the GA-990FXA-UD5 

The Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 was tested with the following components. In the absence of the FX processor which is not yet available, it uses the AMD Phenom II X4 980BE 3.7GHz processor, 2 x 2GB 1600MHz memory sticks, Sapphire HD 6950 Graphics card, WD Caviar Black 750GB SATA II, 750w PSU in Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

The easiest way to overclock this board is to take advantage of the Easy Tune 6 software provided in bundled. By hitting the Easy Boost button, the Easy Tune 6 does it all for you. This will achieve a 4.2GHz with 1.45v. This is a very impressive gain in speed with such a stable system that runs smoothly that adds 500MHz on top of the 3.7GHz stock speed of Phenom II x4 980BE.

You can increase the speed by manual tweaking to push it further if you still hunger for speed. By increasing the multiplier by x22 and the voltage is up 1.475v 4.4GHz is achievable, adding another 200MHz on the previous 4.2GHz using the Easy Tune 6 shows much better performance in any games tested.

Conclusion

The GA-990FXA-UD5 is no doubt a solid performer that shows lots of overclocking possibilities. Using the Easy Tune 6 is an excellent feature that even a novice user can do overclocking in a simple push of a button without the fear of damaging the system. With this, a quick jump on system performance is surely expected with total stability. This also includes the core unlocking potential if there’s some core potential dormant.

You can’t be short on its features, all the enthusiast needs are provided. From the latest SATA 6GB/s, USB 3.0/2.0, eSATA, Firewire can be found here abundantly. This board is design to make it simpler and easier for you to use. Aside from the Easy Tune 6, it introduces the touch BIOS, this removes the traditional keyboard control that doesn’t cause you pain in navigating the desired CMOS setup.

Although it doesn’t have to offer much features in the new 990FX chipset, this gives you freedom to use both SLI and CrossFireX multi GPU configuration. This is good news for Nvidia fans after sticking in CrossFireX with AMD motherboard for a long time.

The backward compatibility with AMD motherboards is truly unbeatable, you can still enjoy this new board in socket AM3+ using the older Phenom II, Athlon II including the Sempron processors. This is somewhat the greatest advantage for AMD users in contrast with those Intel fans.

This is built under the Ultra Durable 3 series having solid caps, filter chokes and the 2 oz copper board making it tough in any harsh condition for longer life span. Gigabyte is generously giving a 3 year warranty to prove its toughness.

With the arrival of the new octa core Zambezi processor in tandem with GA-990FXA-UD5, you can expect a monster computer rig at hand. Having a tough motherboard, Gigabyte keeps it in a lower price range making it affordable to anyone who plans to build a powerful computer rig. Click Here to get it at its Lowest Price!