There is no doubt, AMD's current processor line-up is priced with affordability in mind. And motherboards based on AMD chipsets have gotten more and more affordable as well, as the chipsets have gotten more mature.
As we were working with these new processors from AMD, Gigabyte sent along a pair of new socket AM3 motherboards designed to support all of the new chips. And as AMD has done with the processors, these new motherboards are affordably priced too, relatively speaking of course...
As its name suggest, the Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P is based on the mainstream AMD 770 chipset. It sports an SB710 southbridge, AM3 socket, with official support for DDR3 memory speeds in excess of 1666MHz. The UD3 in the product name denotes that the board is part of Gigabyte's family of Ultra Durable 3 family of products, and as such, it sports solid Japanese capacitors, ferrite core chokes, and 2oz copper layers in the PCB to aid with power efficiency and cooling.
The GA-MA770T-UD3P also supports Gigabyte's dynamic Easy Energy Saver technology, DualBIOS feature, and it is compatible with AMD processors with TDPs of up to 140w. The board's slot configuration consists of a single PCI Express x16 slot, four PCI Express x1 slots, and dual PCI slots. There are small aluminum coolers on the north and south bridge chips, and all of the various connectors and headers are color coded and labeled for easy installation.
The GA-MA770T-UD3P has PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports in its I/O backplane, along with eight USB 2.0 ports, analog and digital audio inputs and outputs, dual Firewire ports, and a single RJ45 Gigabit LAN jack. The GA-MA770T-UD3P ships with a basic bundle including and IDE cable, two SATA cables, a user's manual, a driver CD, and a custom I/O shield. Current street prices on this board hover in the $85 - $90 range.
Gigabyte's GA-MA790FXT-UD5P is a much higher-end board, and it commands a much higher price. At about $179 though, this high-end, enthusiast-friendly socket AM3 motherboard is still significantly cheaper than many similarly targeted Intel-based mobos. The GA-MA790FXT-UD5P is built around the 790FX chipset, and supports all of the features mentioned with the GA-MA770T-UD3P, and then some. In addition to all of the features supported by the GA-MA770T-UD3P, the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P adds dual-Gigabit LAN and CrossFire support.
The GA-MA790FXT-UD5P's slot configuration consists of dual PCI Express x16 slots, three PCI Express x1 slots, and dual PCI slots. The chipset is outfitted with a more elaborate cooling solution, with heatpipes linking the VRM, north, and southbridge chips, and the board features a clear CMOS button and right-angle SATA connectors. The I/O backplane is identical to the GA-MA770T-UD3P's, save for the additional LAN jack, but the bundle is more plentiful. Along with the board, user's will fine a multi-lingual guidebook, a user's guide, four SATA cables, an IDE cable, an eSATA case bracket with accompanying power and data cables, and a custom I/O shield.