Features, Layout, Included Extras
Here’s a rundown of some of the key features available on the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P:
- Ultra Durable 3 Technology with copper cooled quality for lower working temperature
- Revolution energy saving design with Easy Energy Saver technology
- Supports socket AM3 45nm AMD Phenom II series processors
- Advanced 8+2 power phase design for 45nm CPU highly efficiency support
- Dual Channel DDR3 1666+ for remarkable system performance
- 2 PCI-E 2.0 x16 interface with ATI CrossFireX support for ultimate graphics performance
- 2 Gigabit Ethernet LAN with Teaming functionality
- Power/reset/Clr CMOS onboard button for power users
- Blu-ray playback supported by high quality 106dB SNR ALC889A HD audio
- Supports Dolby Home Theater audio to enjoy a rich surround sound experience
- Patented DualBIOS with dual hardware BIOS protection
Gigabyte encased the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P in the company’s signature brand packaging that prominently displays the Ultra Durable 3 logo that touts having two ounces of copper in the PCB.
The back panel of the retail box contains all the key features that matter most to consumers and enthusiasts. Their box designs are very well thought out and give consumers the data they need in a graphical format which differs from many vendors who just include a simple text list of specifications.
Here’s a nice profile shot of the front panel of the motherboard itself. Gigabyte has their mobo design and layout down pat and every aspect of the board is organized and color coded. One aluminum heatpipe runs from the chipset to the heatsink that covers the power components. This heatpipe design is very efficient and doesn’t produce any noise which makes it perfect for a user looking to build a silent, high-end PC.
The back panel of the PCB contains a large aluminum back plate behind the CPU socket as well as two brackets that hold the aluminum heatsinks in place over the Northbridge and Southbridge chipset.
The back I/O panel has a host of available features including eight USB 2.0 ports, one regular Firewire port, one mini Firewire port, two Gigabit LAN jacks, PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, one SPDIF, one coaxial port, and audio jacks for 7.1 surround sound audio. This is a very comprehensive feature set and I think it’s very well layed out provides all the necessary ports most enthusiasts will need from a high-end AM3 board.
The bread and butter of the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P is definitely the two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots with ATI CrossFireX support. Gigabyte also included three PCI-E x1 slots and two PCI slots for greater expandability. Dual video cards are definitely the way to go for power users looking for greater performance in high-definition gaming as well as rendering and transcoding video.
Here’s a close-up shot of the iTEIT8720 I/O controller chip, serial port header (COM), and parellel port header (LPT).
This board also has two USB 2.0 headers on board that support four USB devices. Gigabyte also through in a Firewire header for additional Firewire expandability.
The front panel header connects the reset button, power button, hard drive activity LED, and speaker. The power LED header is located on the left side of the front panel header. Notice there are two fan headers available around the front panel header. One fan header can handle four-pin fans, while the other can use fans with three-pin connectors.
One of the new trends is having the SATA headers face outward on the far right side of the motherboard. This makes installing SATA devices a lot simpler and saves space at the same time. The AMD SB750 controller supports six SATA devices (color coded in blue) that can handle RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10 and JBOD. The GIGABYTE SATA2/JMB322 controller supports up to four SATA devices and can do RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD configurations.
The clear CMOS button is covered by a clear, plastic cover to prevent accidentally pushing of the button during installation or other minor changes to the PC system.
The top right-hand section of the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P houses one floppy header, one PATA header, a 24-pin power connector, one fan connector, power and reset button, and four DIMMs that can handle DDR3 1666+ in a dual-channel configuration.
Lastly, we come to the CPU socket portion of the board that is creatively designed with an advanced 8+2 power phase design that’s specifically built to increase efficiency support for 45nm CPUs. Consumers will also note that there is plenty of room for a third-party CPU cooling solution.
To recap, the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P has all the bells and whistles that you would expect from a high-end AM3 motherboard. Support for dual channel DDR3 1666 memory as well as being able to handle CrossFireX with x16 speeds on both graphics cards should result in great performance and power efficiency. It also should give us a glimpse into the 790FX’s overall capabilities.
The included extras with this board are pretty scarce, but they do include a decent PCI SATA bracket to connect external SATA devices directly to the motherboard. This provides higher bandwidth and transfer rates than using USB or Firewire.
This bundle also includes one floppy connector, one PATA connector, four SATA cables with two right-angle connectors, and a color-coded back panel I/O plate.
Gigabyte provided adequate documentation witthis board through their standard user’s manual and multilingual installation guide book.
Lately, Gigabyte provided a simple driver disc and case badget to round out the bundled accessories. Overall we weren’t too impressed with the bundled accessories avaialble with the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P, but factoring in the price really helped make the board’s price tag more bearable. This sub $200 board includes some basic accessories, but it’s true value comes from its ability to support DDR3, AMD’s newest Phenom II processors, and also handled CrossFireX graphics.