GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 AMD 890FX Motherboard Review

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GIGABYTE 890FXA-UD5 Motherboard Layout

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 890FX Chipset

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
  • North Bridge: AMD 890FX 
  • South Bridge: AMD SB850
  • 1.4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory (Note 1)
  • Dual channel memory architecture
  • Support for DDR3 2000(OC)/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
  • Realtek ALC889 codec
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for Dolby Home Theater
  • Support for S/PDIF In/Out
  • Support for CD In
  • 2 x Realtek 8111D chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
  • Support for Teaming
  • Support for Smart Dual LAN
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2) (Note 2)
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
  • 1 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
  • 2 x PCI Express x1 slot (All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 Standard.)
  • 1 x PCI slot
Multi-Graphics Technology
  • Support for 2-way/ 3-way ATI CrossFireX technology
Storage Interface South Bridge:

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


  • 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
  • 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  • Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD 

JMicron JMB362 chip:

  • 2 x eSATA 3Gb/s connectors (eSATA/USB Combo) on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  • Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD

ITE 8720 chip:

  • 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive
USB South Bridge:

  • Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, including 2 eSATA/USB Combo, 6 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)

NEC D720200F1 Chip:

  • Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
IEEE 1394 T.I. TSB43AB23 chip

  • Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (2 on the back panel, 1 via the IEEE 1394a bracket connected to 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 floppy disk drive connector 
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 2 x system fan header
  • 1 x North Bridge fan header
  • 1 x power fan header
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x CD In connector
  • 1 x S/PDIF In header
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  • 1 x IEEE 1394a header
  • 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x serial port header
  • 1 x parallel port 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
  • 2 x IEEE 1394a port
  • 6 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 2 x eSATA/USB Combo connectors
  • 2 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 fan speed detection
  • CPU overheating warning
  • CPU/System fan fail warning
  • CPU/System fan speed control
  • 2 x 8 Mbit flash
  • Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  • Support for DualBIOS
  • PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
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.

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