GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD7 Motherboard Review

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GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 Motherboard

GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 Motherboard Layout and Features

GIGABYTE has a long line of quality motherboards, today we have an opportunity to look at their latest motherboard. The GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 is the flagship motherboard in GIGABYTE’s AMD product stack. Along with the flagship status comes a price to match. The GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 has a sticker price of $209.99 after rebate at Tiger Direct. It’s a little on the steep side for AMD motherboards, but your getting a whole lot for your money.

The GIGABYTE name alone is synonymous with quality. Just about anybody who has been building their own systems in the last couple of decades has likely owned at least one GIGABYTE product if not more. In recent years GIGABYTE has expanded their product line to include just about everything under the sun when it comes to computer components and peripherals. Right now you can arm yourself with GIGABYTE cases, gaming mice, gaming keyboards, optical drives, power supplies, CPU coolers, and just about anything else you can think of! The only computer components GIGABYTE doesn’t have in their array is processors, RAM, hard drives and SSD’s! Aside from those few components you can build a complete system with all GIGABYTE components!

But, I digress. Getting back to the object on hand, the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7. The GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 is based upon the latest and greatest chipset from AMD, the AMD 990FX and AMD SB950. A couple of features come along with the AMD 990FX chipset that weren’t available with the previous generation chipsets. The first and arguably the most notable is ability to run NVIDIA SLI (Scalable Link Interface). While there were no actual changes to the chipset design to allow this, NVIDIA will now allow motherboard manufacturers the capability for SLI licensing on their AMD 990 motherboards. Of course this comes at a price from NVIDIA, and adds to the final cost of the board. Oh the price we have to pay for full functionality. The second feature that the AMD 990 chipset brings to the table is AM3+ support. The AMD AM3+ socket is the only socket that will support the new AMD FX ‘Bulldozer’ processors. Good new though, you can still run the previous generation AM3 Phenom II/Athlon II processors in socket AM3+ motherboards like the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7.

GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 Touch BIOS

GIGABYTE has thrown all of the technology available on their AMD motherboards into the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7. One of the features that the jury is still out on the the GIGABYTE Touch BIOS. It’s not a bad little utility, but GIGABYTE may have been better off following the trend and implementing a UEFI solution rather than blazing their own path on this one.

Many of the features on the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 are the same that features that are employed on all of their motherboards. That isn’t a bad thing by any means. Some of the features are considered extra, meaning that they don’t necessarily effect the performance of the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7, but add to the overall value of the board. These include GIGABYTE’s On/Off Charge technology, 3x USB Power Boost, AutoGreen, and Cloud OC. If you aren’t familiar with GIGABYTE On/Off Technology, this allows you to charge devices like your iPhone, iPad, iPod and certain other ‘smart devices’ while the system is on, in standby mode, or even off. The 3x USB Power Boost delivers more power to your USB devices. This allows devices to charge faster when plugged into these specific ports. The 3x Power Boost uses a unique USB power desing that is able to efficiently control the power output over the full voltage range. The GIGABYTE AutoGreen technology is a feature that can put your system to sleep when your bluetooth enabled cell phone is out of range. If your cell phone is out of range, the are anticipating that you are as well. Keep in mind that the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 does not include a bluetooth device so a third party device is required. The GIGABYTE Cloud OC is an application that will allow you to tune the BIOS through a secondary web connected device. It’s handy for on the fly overclocking or monitoring the system when running benchmarks. GIGABYTE has a video all about the Cloud OC technology that you can see below.

Many of the remaining features of the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 would be considered vital to the overall performance. Many of them we are also quite familiar with. Features such as SATA III 6Gbps, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, 4 way SLI and 4 way CrossFireX, RAID, eSATA/USB, onboard Debug LED and onboard power and reset switches have become common place features on the current generation motherboards. The GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 also features DualBIOS 3TB+ HDD support, Dual Channel DDR3 2000+MHz support, Driver Mosfets, and Easy Tune6. Each of these features is key to making the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 the enthusiast level board that it is.

GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 Specifications and Features

CPU AM3+ Socket:
Support for AMD AM3+ FX processors
Support for AMD AM3 Phenom II processors / AMD Athlon II processors
Hyper Transport Bus

5200 MT/s

Chipset

North Bridge: AMD 990FX
South Bridge: AMD SB950

Memory

4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
Dual channel memory architecture
Support for DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules

Audio

Realtek ALC889 codec
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for Dolby Home Theater
Support for S/PDIF Out

LAN

1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Expansion Slots

2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)
2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2)
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.)
1 x PCI slot

Multi-Graphics Technology

Support for 2-Way/3-Way/4-Way AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI technology

Storage Interface South Bridge:

  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3_0~SATA3_5) supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
    Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 10 and JBOD

2 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips:

  • 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (GSATA3_6, GSATA3_7) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors (including 1 eSATA/USB Combo connector) on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  • Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1
USB South Bridge:

  • 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:

  • 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:
Up to 2 IEEE 1394a ports (1 port on the back panel, 1 port available through the internal IEEE 1394a header)
Internal I/O Connectors

1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x PCIe power connector
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x CPU fan header
2 x system fan headers
1 x power fan header
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
1 x IEEE 1394a header
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
1 x clearing CMOS jumper
1 x clearing CMOS button
1 x power button
1 x reset button

Back Panel Connectors 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector
1 x IEEE 1394a port
7 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
1 x eSATA/USB Combo connector
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector
1 x RJ-45 port
6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller

ITE IT8720 chip

H/W Monitoring

System voltage detection
CPU/System temperature detection
CPU/System/Power fan speed detection
CPU overheating warning
CPU/System/Power fan fail warning
CPU/System fan speed control

BIOS 2 x 32 Mbit flash
Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
Support for DualBIOS
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features

Support for @BIOS
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
Support for Download Center
Support for Xpress Install
Support for Xpress Recovery2
Support for EasyTune (Note 6)
Support for Easy Energy Saver
Support for Smart Recovery
Support for Auto Green
Support for ON/OFF Charge
Support for Cloud OC
Support for 3TB+ Unlock
Support for Q-Share

Bundle Software

Norton Internet Security (OEM version)

Operating System

Support for Microsoft Windows 7/ Vista/ XP

Form Factor E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.3cm

Now that I’m sure you’ve memorized all the features and specifications of the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 we can continue our journey. Join us on the next page where we will take a look at the retail packaging and bundle of the 990FXA-UD7!

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