Introduction and Specifications

We’ve had the opportunity to review two motherboards featuring AMD’s 790GX chipset in both AM2+ and AM3 flavors. But, we haven’t had the chance to evaluate a board with AMD’s top 7-series chipset called the 790FX. So, when Gigabyte shipped us a GA-MA790FXT-UD5P for review, we were extremely curious and excited to see how this board would fare against others we’ve tested that utilize the 790GX chipset.

Throw out the name Gigabyte in any forum and you will likely receive a strong mixture of emotions regarding the company.  The three tier-1 motherboard manufacturers in the world are comprised of Asus, MSI, and of course Gigabyte.  Being a large company, sometimes the quality of parts can suffer due to the massive output by the company.  Gigabyte certainly was bit by the quality bug in the early-2000s, and a lot of people were negatively affected by the quality and design issues that Gigabyte had.  But, the company has certainly rebounded in the past few years, and as a reviewer they have certainly regained our trust with products like the 790FX-DQ6 and the PA35-DS3.

It was actually 8 years ago this Spring that one of the more significant motherboards in Gigabyte’s history was released.  The GA-7DXR was a huge entry into the AMD market, as it brought the power of the AMD-761 Northbridge with DDR 133 support along with the excellent (for the time) I/O connections brought by the VIA 686B Southbridge.  The board featured third party raid, a plethora of overclocking features, dual BIOS support, and sound provided by the Creative Labs CT5880 integrated sound chip.  This motherboard was pretty amazing for the time.  I seem to remember good stability and decent overclocking potential combined with all the bells and whistles that were provided with the board and its excellent bevy of peripherals.

In May, Gigabyte delivered its latest high-end motherboard for the AMD market.  We are well past the DDR 266 days, and moving on to DDR3 1666.  AGP has been replaced by dual PCI-E 16X slots, and the four IDE connectors are pushed aside for a grand total of 10 SATA 3 Gbps connections.  Will it stack up to our rose tinted memories of the 7DXR?


Gigabyte unleashes GA-MA790FXT-UD5P sporting 790FX chipset

We’ve had the opportunity to review two motherboards featuring AMD’s 790GX chipset in both AM2+ and AM3 flavors. But, we haven’t had the chance to review a board with AMD’s top 7-series chipset called the 790FX. So, when Gigabyte shipped us out a GA-MA790FXT-UD5P for review, we were extremely curious to see how this board would fare against others we’ve tested that utilize the 790GX chipset. Both 790FX and 790GX chipsets use the AMD SB750 Southbridge so most of the features, and performance differences, should come from the differences in the Northbridge.

Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P 790FX AM3 Motherboard Review - Motherboards  1
(Courtesy of Gigabyte)

The Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P is the top AM3 motherboard in the vendor’s arsenal. It features two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots that support ATI CrossFireX as well as dual-channel DDR3 1666+ to round out a motherboard designed for high performance gaming. To cater to those users with high definition video demands, Gigabyte threw in Blu-ray play back support with high quality 106dB SNR ALC889A HD audio.

 

Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P 790FX AM3 Motherboard Review - Motherboards  2
(Courtesy of Gigabyte)

 

Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P Specifications (from Gigabyte’s website

CPU Support for Socket AM3 processors:
AMD Phenom™ II X4 processor / AMD Phenom™ II X3 processor 
Front Side Bus 5200 MT/s
 
Chipset:
North Bridge: AMD 790FX
South Bridge: AMD SB750 
 
Dual channel memory architecture:
Support for DDR3 1666(OC)/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory  

Audio Realtek ALC889A codec:
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for S/PDIF In/Out
Support for CD In
 
LAN Realtek 8111C/DL chip (10/100/1000 Mbit):
Support for Teaming
 
Expansion Slots:
2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (The PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots support ATI CrossFireX technology, and conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
3 x PCI Express x1 slots
2 x PCI slots
 
Storage Interface South Bridge:
1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
6 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors supporting up to 6 SATA 3Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 10 and JBOD
GIGABYTE SATA2 chip:

2 x JM322 chips (Smart Backup):
– 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (GSATA2_0, GSATA2_1, GSATA2_2, GSATA2_3) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices (Note 3)
– 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
 
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)
 
USB Integrated in the South Bridge:
Up to 12 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)
 
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
10 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
1 x CPU fan header
2 x system fan header
1 x power fan header
1 x North Bridge fan header
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x CD In connector
1 x S/PDIF In/Out header
1 x IEEE 1394a header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x serial port header
1 x parallel port header
1 x chassis intrusion header
1 x power LED header
1 x power switch
1 x reset switch
1 x clearing CMOS switch
 
Back Panel Connectors:
1 x PS/2 keyboard port
1 x PS/2 mouse port
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
1 x coaxial S/PDIF out connector
2 x IEEE 1394a port
8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
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 (Note 6)
 
BIOS 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
 
Unique Features Support for @BIOS:
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Virtual Dual BIOS
Support for Download Center
Support for Xpress Install
Support for Xpress Recovery2
Support for EasyTune (Note 5)
Support for Easy Energy Saver
Support for Time Repair
Support for Q-Share
 
Bundle Software: Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
 
Operating System: Support for Microsoft Windows Vista/ XP 
 
ATX Form Factor: 30.5cm x 24.4cm 
 


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