GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 AMD 890FX Motherboard ReviewFri, Aug 27, 2010 - 12:00 AM
Some really like the colors that GIGABYTE typically uses, some don’t. Personally, colors always take a back seat to the performance I like and the features I need. The GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 is packed with features that will meet most users’ needs. With over twenty years of manufacturing experience, GIGABYTE has built a reputation for bringing quality products to the table. With a bit of luck the GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 will be no different. Just a few short weeks ago I took a look at another GIGABYTE board, the GIGABYTE 880GMA-UD2H. That board, for the most, part blew my mind especially when you consider that it is a sub $100 board. The GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 is a more expensive board, although it is also the top tier GIGABYTE ATX AMD motherboard. At $179.99 it is the fourth least expensive board in the AMD 890FX series (or the fifth most expensive).
Despite having a lower cost than several of the AMD 890FX boards out there, the GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 has no shortage of features. As you undoubtedly discerned by now, the GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 motherboard is based around the AMD 890FX+SB850 chipset. Currently this chipset is the cream of the crop chipset for enthusiasts.
AMD’s 890FX chipset has a couple of significant differences when compared to the 890GX chipset. The first and most obvious on the GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 is the lack of onboard graphics while the 890GX features the Radeon HD 4290 integrated graphics. The second and quite possibly the most important to the enthusiast looking for the best performance from the GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 when running in CrossfireX is the number of PCI Express lanes. The 890GX chipset is limited to 16 lanes while the 890FX chipset has double that at 32 lanes. Most people will most likely never notice a difference unless, of course, you are one of the lucky ones that can afford a pair of ATI Radeon HD 5970’s or one of the insane ones who is lucky enough to pick up a pair of the ASUS ARES. Another significant difference is the IOMMU (input/output memory management unit). This is a feature that is typically available only on server boards, although is included in the 890FX chipset only when comparing the 8xx series chipsets. According to AMD: The IOMMU (input/output memory management unit) included with the 890FX chipset is a function of a chipset that enables enhancements to system-level software and that prevents illegal access of memory by I/O devices. By preventing illegal access of memory, the IOMMU can prevent problems with latency.
An IOMMU can map device memory addresses to physical memory addresses, but in a manner that is transparent to the device hardware. The IOMMU automates the translation between the physical address of the I/O device and the host system.
|CPU||Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom II processor / AMD Athlon II processor|
|Hyper Transport Bus||5200 MT/s|
|Storage Interface||South Bridge:
GIGABYTE SATA2 Chip:
JMicron JMB362 chip:
ITE 8720 chip:
NEC D720200F1 Chip:
|IEEE 1394||T.I. TSB43AB23 chip
|Internal I/O Connectors||
|Back Panel Connectors||
|H/W Monitoring||System voltage detection
|Bundle Software||1.Norton Internet Security (OEM version)|
|Operating System||1.Support for Microsoft Windows 7/ Vista/ XP|
|Form Factor||1.ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm|
Above is full list of the GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 specifications. Throughout testing we will look at some of the key features such as USB3 and SATA6 performance. Of course we will also be taking a look at the overall performance of the GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 with games and applications such as Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage.
First though, let’s take a peek at the box and bundle that comes with the GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5.