AMD 990FX Mobo Round-Up: Asus, ASRock, Gigabyte

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Next up we have the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7. As you can see in the images below, this board sports Gigabyte’s newer black, grey and gold color scheme and as we’ve come to expect from high-end motherboards from the company, the 990FXA-UD7 is a very full-featured product. It’s outfitted with USB 3.0 ports and features an 8+2 phase CPU power design, Gigabyte’s “Ultra Durable 3” technology with two ounces copper layers within the PCB, 4-way CrossFireX and SLI support, DualBIOS technology, and On/Off Charge support.

Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7
Specifications & Features
CPU AM3+ Socket:
  1. Support for AMD AM3+ FX processors
  2. Support for AMD AM3 Phenom II processors / AMD Athlon II processors
Hyper Transport Bus
  1. 5200 MT/s
Chipset
  1. North Bridge: AMD 990FX
  2. South Bridge: AMD SB950
Memory
  1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory (Note 1)
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules (Note 2)
Audio
  1. Realtek ALC889 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for Dolby Home Theater
  5. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  1. 1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
  1. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2) (Note 3)
  2. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2) (Note 4)
  3. 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x4 (PCIEX4_1, PCIEX4_2)
    (All PCI Express slots conform to the PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  4. 1 x PCI slot
Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for 2-Way/3-Way/4-Way AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI technology
Storage Interface South Bridge:
  1. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3_0~SATA3_5) supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 10 and JBOD
2 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips:
  1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3_6, GSATA3_7) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors (including 1 eSATA/USB Combo connector) on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  3. Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1
USB South Bridge:
  1. Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 ports on the back panel, including 1 eSATA/USB Combo connector, 6 ports available through the internal USB headers)
2 x Etron EJ168 chips:
  1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
IEEE 1394 VIA VT6308 chip:
  1. Up to 2 IEEE 1394a ports (1 port on the back panel, 1 port available through the internal IEEE 1394a header)
I/O Controller
  1. ITE IT8720 chip

Looking at the specifications and overview above, it should be evident that Gigabyte seemingly went all out on the 990FXA-UD7. While the board is feature laden and clearly targeted at enthusiasts, it does lag behind the Asus and ASRock boards in our opinion in terms of its BIOS—notice we didn’t say UEFI setup utility. More on that later.

  

  
Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 Motherboard

The Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 has an excellent layout and its expansion slot configuration is top-notch. All of the slots of the board except for one standard PCU slot are of the PCI Express x16 variety, and all of the board’s headers and expansion ports are clearly labeled and situated well around the edges of the board. With that said, while we do like the dark color scheme, having everything black or gray can get a little confusing. Case in point, the DIMM slots. Without color coding the DIMM slots, you’ve got to whip out the manual or carefully inspect the tiny print on the PCB to figure out which slots to use for a dual-channel configuration.

In terms of its features, the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 is arguably the leader of the three boards included in this article. In addition to all of the features offered by the chipset itself, the 990FXA-UD7 is outfitted with USB 3.0 support, Firewire, a POST code error reporter, two additional Marvell 88SE9172 SATA controllers, on/off USB charging support, and a Realtek ACL889 HD audio codec that’s capable of 108dB Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) playback quality.
 

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Comments

Comments
realneil 3 years ago

This is cool. Bulldozer is ~really~ gonna pop soon.

I like that the performance of the ASRock board stayed so close to the ASUS. The fact that it has more features for less money has me sold. I may just buy one of them soon, and keep it on the shelf for when Bulldozer is here.

ThunderBird 3 years ago

I wish AMD all the best hopefully they bounce back this round.

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

"Nice round-up Marco. But I cant agree with the conclusion, I feel that the Asrock board should have been the editors choice. First of of all, it has more features as you mentioned, like Firewire, dual-Gigabit LAN, and a front-mountable USB 3.0 panel. Second , it cost less. Third, it came out on top, in four of the test. The only thing I dont like is John's face in the bios."

"A request that I have for a future special report or article,that either you or Joel can hopefully take on is, Dual Gigabit lan. what are the advantages of this and how does it perform versus a standard gigabit lan , especially in gaming and in a workstation environment."

"One thing I noted, when Bulldozer arrives, the RAM specifications will change to native 1866 instead of 1800(OC)"

-Optimus

marco c 3 years ago

@Optimus - I hear your points, but the more refined UEFI utility, Intel LAN controller, overall layout and configuration of the Asus board, plus the easy to use OC tools give the the edge for me. I put less stock in Firewire (I never use it) and dual gigabit LAN.

As for the perf of dual gigabit LAN, I'm sure we can work up some benchmarks that show a bandwidth advantage, but for gaming and real-world perf. it's not going to be noticable. It won't have an impact on pings in-game, etc.

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

[quote user="Marco C"]@Optimus - I hear your points, but the more refined UEFI utility, Intel LAN controller, overall layout and configuration of the Asus board, plus the easy to use OC tools give the the edge for me. I put less stock in Firewire (I never use it) and dual gigabit LAN.[/quote]

"OK, The Intel Lan is better quality, Firewire I will never use, Dual Lan, maybe. The OC tools wasn't mentioned or expanded in the "Bios Comparo and Overclocking" but Asrock has a neat Auto OC feature that people love. Also, the Asrock board supports 4 Way Sli and 4 Way Crossfire, the Asus only supports 3 Way of both. Which brings me to this Question : Even though the GTX 590 and AMD 6990 are dual GPUs in one and are internally SLI'ed and Crossfired, is the Asus Crosshair V limited to only handle one 590 or one 6990?'

-Optimus

marco c 3 years ago

Not at all. 3-way vs. 4-way means it can physically fit 3 or 4 cards.

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

[quote user="Marco C"]

Not at all. 3-way vs. 4-way means it can physically fit 3 or 4 cards.

[/quote]

"Thanks for clearing that up for me"

[quote user="Marco C"]As for the perf of dual gigabit LAN, I'm sure we can work up some benchmarks that show a bandwidth advantage, but for gaming and real-world perf. it's not going to be noticable. It won't have an impact on pings in-game, etc[/quote]

"That would be great, I have always been curious about Dual Lan"

 

realneil 3 years ago

[quote user="OptimusPrimeTime"]Firewire I will never use, [/quote]

One thing that Firewire does that I really like is that you can Daisy-Chain several drives together with only one initial connection to your PC and they'll be seen, and work. A guy that I knew in California produced films for owners of racehorses, about their horses. (something to do with attracting investors) He had a Mac Pro with 6 external Firewire 800 drives all plugged into one another and only one connection to the PC. All of them worked and all ran at full speed. He could use any combination of them at the same time and had no problems with losing data.

So I ended up buying three of them and using them on my IBM clone. (EDIT: After adding a Firewire adapter card to my system) Same result, all of them worked without a hitch. Firewire's speeds have been eclipsed by USB 3.0 and E-SATA since then, but at the time, it was the fastest game in town.

Firewire works, and I'm surprised that it never saw any better adaptation by consumers than it did. I still have one of those (now old) drives and it still works.

 

hellonearthis 3 years ago

USB 2.o :(

SFree 3 years ago

gigabyte and msi should really exit the 19th century. UEFI should be standard by now. who the hell wants to use a non-intuitive old school tandy 1000 type interface anymore? I miss ABIT and all the others that shut down. They would always push for new tech to be standard.

JuicyFruitSweeT 3 years ago

I'm currently using a AMD Phenom II X6 1090T @ 4.02GHz

My friend said I won't see any performance boost from upgrading to a Bulldozer

Is he right? any suggestions?

realneil 3 years ago

[quote user="JuicyFruitSweeT"]My friend said I won't see any performance boost from upgrading to a Bulldozer,...Is he right? any suggestions?[/quote]

As of right now, probably not enough benefit to make it worth the costs involved. It's sad, but he's right at this point.

AMD is coming out with a new and improved chipset for their mainboards soon, many are waiting to see if it somehow unlocks more performance from Bulldozer CPU's, but it's by no means a sure bet that it will happen like that.

Either way, save your money up and if AMD doesn't bear fruit, maybe an Intel system will brighten your future. It's already a known fact that they'll be ~very~ fast performers.

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

[quote user="JuicyFruitSweeT"]Is he right? any suggestions?[/quote]

http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-FX8150-8Core-Processor-Review-Bulldozer-Has-Landed/?page=11

+1 @realneil

JuicyFruitSweeT 3 years ago

This motherboard looks badass I gotta admit
You know I have one and I love it so much :)
Actually my first gaming motherboard....

AKnudson 3 years ago

Thank you. that cleared up a lot of my confusion on what mother board would support the Fx processor i bought. this is really useful for me to know and thought its not always the most interesting hothardware has done its job.

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