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Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-UD4H Review

Date: 2009-7-4

   IntroductionThere is sufficient anecdotal evidence and hard numbers to show that AMD is gradually clawing its way back in the CPU stakes. Part of the reason probably has to do with its Phenom I...

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There is sufficient anecdotal evidence and hard numbers to show that AMD is gradually clawing its way back in the CPU stakes. Part of the reason probably has to do with its Phenom II processors. Competitive in terms of pricing and performance with Intel's older Core 2 quad-cores and even compared to the entry Core i7-920, the Phenom II has been helped by being compatible with both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, giving it access to a wider variety of motherboards (AM2+ and AM3) and subsequently, the cost of going the Phenom II route can span a broad range of budgets.

One could go with the cheaper DDR2 and an older AM2+ motherboard for the maximum cost savings, or opt for the more enthusiast-friendly DDR3 with a high-end AM3 motherboard combo. As we saw in our previous mainstream AM3 motherboard roundup, even going the DDR3 route is increasingly affordable nowadays, with memory prices that can only go lower and chipsets with integrated graphics like the AMD 790GX and 780G.

When we did our roundup however, we noticed that of all the big vendors, Gigabyte is the only one that did not have a native AM3 board using AMD's 790GX chipset. Perhaps the vendor figured that users who went for the 790GX were likely going the budget route, for which DDR3 memory would be a cost factor, or perhaps the differences between DDR2 and DDR3 are not as obvious.

In any case, Gigabyte did upgrade its Socket AM2+ 790GX boards with its latest Ultra Durable 3 technology, which basically involves using quality components like ferrite choke cores and solid capacitors, while doubling the amount of copper in the PCB so as to improve stability and lower the operating temperature.

One of these AM2+ 790GX Gigabyte motherboards landed in our lab recently and we took the opportunity to run it through our usual benchmarks. Here's a look at the Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-UD4H:

Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-UD4H Review
As usual, Gigabyte's bright and colorful motherboard designs gives it a cheerful demeanor. The board layout looks quite standard, with some quibbles evident.

Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-UD4H Review
We could do with more USB ports at the rear but the presence of the video outputs means some compromises need to be made. There's no eSATA option on this board either.

Before we continue, here's what we found in the package:
  • 1 x IDE cable
  • 1 x floppy cable
  • 2 x SATA cables
  • I/O shield
  • 2-port USB 2.0 cable
  • Utilities and Drivers DVD
  • User manual

Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-UD4H Technical Specifications
CPU Support
  • Support for Socket AM3 / AM2+ / AM2 processors
  • Northbridge: AMD 790GX
  • Southbridge: AMD SB750
  • 128MB DDR3 SidePort memory
  • 4 x 1.8V DDR2 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB ofsystem memory
  • Support for DDR2-1200/1066/800MHz memorymodules in dual channel mode
  • Southbridge
    • 6 x SATA 3.0Gbps interfaces
    • 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 andup to 2 IDE devices
    • Support AHCI controller with SATA RAID 0, RAID 1,RAID 5, RAID 10 and JBOD configurations
  • iTE IT8718 chip
    • 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1floppy disk drive
  • Realtek ALC889A HD CODEC
  • Realtek 8111C Gigabit LAN chip
IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
  • T.I. TSB43AB23 chip
  • Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (1 on the back panel, 2 viathe IEEE 1394a bracket connected to the internal IEEE 1394a header)
Rear I/O
  • 4 x USB 2.0ports
  • 1 x RJ45 LANport
  • 6 x audio jacks
  • 1 xOptical S/PDIFOutput
  • 1x PS/2keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 1 x FireWire port
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DVI-D (does not support D-Sub connection byadapter)
  • 1 x VGA analog output
Internal Connectors
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1x Floppy connector
  • 1 x Ultra ATAIDE connector
  • 6 x SATAconnectors
  • 4 x USB 2.0 headers (Up to 8 USB 2.0 ports)
  • 1 x S/PDIF In/Out header
  • 2 x IEEE 1394a headers
  • 1 x serial port header
  • Up to 4 fan headers (including CPU fan)
Expansion Slots
  • 1 x PCIe x16slot, (PCI Express 2.0)
  • 1 x PCIe x8slot, (PCIExpress 2.0)
  • 3 x PCIe x1 slot, (PCI Express 1.0)
  • 2 xPCI slots,PCI 2.3 compliant
  • @BIOS
  • Q-Flash
  • Virtual Dual BIOS
  • Download Center
  • Xpress Install
  • Xpress Recovery2
  • EasyTune
  • Easy Energy Saver
  • ATX FormFactor (30.5 x 24.4cm)

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