Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H Motherboard Review – AMD 890GXTue, Mar 02, 2010 - 8:00 AM
Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H Layout
The Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard supports many of the features that Gigabyte is known for over the past couple years, like the blue PCB, 2oz copper PCB layers, Dual-BIOS and a clean looking layout.
From the top down you have to admit the Gigabyte PCB looks clean with the blue
with white color scheme. For an ATX motherboard that retails for $139.99 you’d expect the board to have some issues; the layout on Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard is surprisingly solid looking.
The backside of the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard has no components on it and the only thing worth noting is the support bracket for the CPU coolers.
The Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H supports dual-channel DDR3 memory kits up with the ability to support 16GB of system memory. The supported speeds of
DDR3 are 800, 1066, 1333 and 1600MHz with standard multiplier options, but the board has the ability to go beyond 1866MHz when overclocked. Here is a list of the officially
supported memory modules in case you are curious. The 890GPA-UD3H lacks any on-board power buttons, but for a board in this price range we didn’t expect them. Along the bottom edge of the board you’ll find the 24 pin ATX connector, IDE connector and a 3-pin fan header that is ideally located if you’d like to run a memory cooler at some point in time.
The one issue that we noticed with this memory layout is that it was in close proximity to the CPU cooler. If you are using a retail boxed cooler that came with your AMD processor then you’ll be fine, but if you use aftermarket cooling you might be in trouble. The Xigmatek HDT-S1283 CPU cooler shown above has been around a couple of years and is one of our favorite AMD coolers to use on the test bench since it cools well and is very easy to install and remove. When using the HDT-S1283 we noticed that the two closest memory slots become blocked. Not a deal breaker unless you want to run four memory modules! Our Kingston HyperX T1 memory kit fit just fine in the secondary memory slots.
The bottom right corner of the board has a small heatsink that cools the AMD SB850 southbridge and associated third party chips.
The SATA 6Gbps connections are provided by SB850, so this is the first motherboard to be featured on Legit Reviews with native SATA3 storage capabilities. The SB850 also provides RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 support, which is impressive for a sub $140 motherboard. The Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H has support for up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (6 on the back panel and 8 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers). The board also has support for up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (1 on the back panel, 2 via the IEEE 1394a bracket connected to the internal IEEE 1394a header). The Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 FireWire controller is located directly above the ‘1394’ on the motherboard. Also in this picture are the pair of DualBIOS chips that are located right below the SB850 passive cooler and last, but not least, the color coded front panel connectors.
Before moving on here is a look at the eight SATA connectors on the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard. The six blue ones are the SATA 6Gb/s connectors and the two white ones are SATA 3Gb/s connectors. The two white SATA 2 headers are powered by the GIGABYTE SATA2 chip and not the AMD SB850. This chip controls the board’s single IDE connector (supporting ATA-133/100/66/33) and the two SATA 3Gb/s connectors. These 2 SATA 3Gb/s headers offer support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD.
The PCI and PCIe slots are arranged nicely on the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard.
The board features dual PCIe 2.0 x16 slots for CrossFireX multi-GPU setups if one is desired. If a single video card is run in the primary slot it operates at x16, but in CrossFire mode each x16 slot runs at x8. The motherboard also has three PCI Express x1 slots and two legacy PCI slots. Also seen in this picture would be the Realtek ALC892 codec for the 7.1 audio and the Realtek 8111D Gigabit Ethernet chip. The ALC892 Codec is a high-performance DAC (Digital-Analog Convertor) with 100 dB signal-to-noise ratio playback quality and it also has support for Dolby.
The I/O panel on the 890GPA-UD3H is packed full of ports. It has one combination PS/2 port for a keyboard or mouse. For video output it has DVI-D, HDMI and VGA connection. Above the HDMI connector is the optical S/PDIF out connector. The blue USB
ports are the USB 3.0 ports while the four other black USB ports are USB
2.0 only. Rounding out the I/O panel are the single IEEE 1394a port, RJ-45 port and the six audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side
Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone).
The pair of USB 3.0 headers that we just talked about is powered by this NEC D720200F1 SuperSpeed USB 3.0
controller. We are told this controller has super fast transfer rates of
up to 5 Gbps.
Gigabyte places a large heat-sink on the north-bridge chipset that allows for better cooling performance during overclocking, but we have to admit it looks pretty slick. The heat-sink is connected by a heat-pipe to the MOSFET heat-sink to help cool both devices better. Under this heat sink lies the AMD 890GX chipset, which has the Integrated ATI Radeon HD 4290 graphics processor with 128MB DDR3 Sideport Memory that operates at 1333MHz.
Last up is the CPU socket and associated PWM. The central controlling chip is an Intersil ISL6324a monolithic dual PWM hybrid controller. In a nut shell the board has a 4+1 power phase for CPU VRM. The maximum headroom for an AMD processor with this design would be 140W. This should be ample power for the processors on the market today and still give you overclockability and optimized power delivery.
Overall, the layout of the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H motherboard is very good, with well placed headers, components and connectors clearly labeled. The only issue we had with the layout was with the memory slots in relation to the CPU socket, but that is an issue on other AMD 890GX motherboards as we ran into it on the ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 as well.