BIOS updates come out for motherboards all the time and usually aren’t talked about much on review sites since they usually fix minor bugs or update the board with the latest CPU information. Nothing too impressive and nothing worth writing an article about. Earlier this week Gigabyte released beta BIOS F7B for their GA-890GPA-UD3H motherboard and we didn’t bother dedicating any time to it until this morning when we noted that the description for this board said that the BIOS update would improve power consumption. What in the world could this be? It’s not every day you see a BIOS update being released that improves the efficiency of the board!
Legit Reviews gave the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard an in-depth review last month and found it to be a great performing motherboard that was worthy of our coveted Editor’s Choice award that not to many products get. This was one of the first motherboards released that featured the AMD 890GX chipset paired with the
all new SB850 South Bridge. It was also launched with the claim that it would fully support AMD’s upcoming 6-core Phenom II X6 processor series that comes out next week. Based on our experience with the board in the review we began using it as the motherboard in our CPU testing articles as we used it with an AMD Phenom II 4 965 Black Edition processor to try and compete with the Intel Core i7-980X processor when it came out on March 11th, 2010. Needless to say when we heard that a new BIOS came out that would cut down power consumption we had to give it a try. We were still running BIOS version F4c as it was rock solid, but was not three versions old.
We ran some quick before and after power consumption tests to see if the BIOS update would change the power consumption numbers of the board. If they do change then we need to update the numbers for future CPU reviews that will be using this motherboard. To measure
idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with
no screen saver and took the measurement using a Kill-A-Watt power meter. For load measurements, POV-Ray v3.7 beta 36 was run on all the cores to make sure each and every
was at 100% load.
Results: The Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard has much improved efficiency at an idle state when running beta BIOS F7B as you can see from the chart above. The system used 13W less power at idle, which is a 15% power savings! Not a bad improvement for just updating the BIOS and doing nothing else to save power! If you keep your computer on 24/7 that power savings can add up over the course of a year. For example using the national average for KWH (currently $0.10120 per KWH) this BIOS update could save you up to ~$11.50 a year. If you own your PC for a number of years you can see how this power savings could add up!
Legit Bottom Line: If you happen to own the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard we highly suggest taking the time to update the BIOS to F7b as you’ll be getting some significant power savings from what our testing has shown. No other Gigabyte AMD chipset motherboards appear to have this ‘improved power consumption’ feature in them, but take what you can get!