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GIGABYTE gears up for AMD's Thuban with GA-890GPA-UD3H motherboard

by Parm Mann on 2 March 2010, 09:00

Tags: Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H, Gigabyte (TPE:2376)

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GIGABYTE tries its hand at 890GX

AMD has today introduced its 890GX chipset - the first from the 800-series line - and, as expected, a wave of partners are on hand with a bevy of supporting boards.

HEXUS has already taken a look at ASUS's M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 offering - you can read our in-depth review by clicking here - but for those of you who lean toward ASUS's competitive neighbour GIGABYTE, here's a brief look at the all-new GA-890GPA-UD3H.

GIGABYTE's board, pictured above, is the company's first to make use of the 890GX + SB850 northbridge-southbridge combination, and provides all the features you'd come to expect from AMD's latest platform.

An AM3 socket with a 4+1 phase power design takes up a chunk of board space and supports - you guessed it - all existing AM3 CPUs, as well as upcoming hexa-core AMD Phenom II X6 processors, codenamed Thuban and expected to arrive sometime in April. Memory, meanwhile, is catered for by a set of dual-channel slots supporting DDR3 at speeds of up to 1,866MHz.

We reckon the blue-and-white appearance of the GA-890GPA-UD3H isn't as visually appealing as competing boards, but GIGABYTE has shoehorned plenty of features into its ATX form factor. Six SATA 6Gbps ports are facilitated by the new SB850 southbridge and support RAID modes 0, 1 5, 10 and JBOD. All six ports are found angled at the bottom edge of the board, and reside next to an additional pair of angled SATA 3Gbps ports and a single IDE connector. The latter trio are powered by a GIGABYTE SATA2 chip and support RAID 0, 1 and JBOD.

A decent range of storage connectivity options, but we'd like to have seen at least one of the SATA ports routed to the board's I/O panel for eSATA connectivity, a feature the GA-890GPA-UD3H sadly lacks.

However, whilst eSATA didn't make the cut, something newer and faster did; USB 3.0. GIGABYTE makes use of an NEC controller to power two coloured USB 3.0 ports on the rear I/O panel, and a further 12 USB 2.0 ports (four on the back panel, eight on-board) are also available. A trio of FireWire 400 ports - provided via a Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 controller - round off the storage connectivity options.

Elsewhere, 890GX brings with it a Radeon HD 4290 IGP - AMD's best yet - paired with 128MB of SidePort memory. Although clocked at a default 700MHz, GIGABYTE reckons it can be easily overclocked to 1,150MHz. If that still doesn't live up to expectations, a pair of PCIe x16 slots allow for easy expansion - supporting a single discrete graphics card at x16, or a pair of cards in CrossFire configuration at x8, x8. The board supports Hybrid CrossFireX and GIGABYTE completes its choice of expansion slots with three PCIe x1 slots and two standard PCI slots.

Other features include Realtek 8111D-powered Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, DVI and HDMI output, and a wave of exclusive GIGABYTE features including 3x USB Power Boost, Easy Energy Saver, the EasyTune6 tweaking utility and Ultra Durable 3 Classic - the latter indicating the use of high-quality Japanese capacitors, dualBIOS technology and a PCB manufactured with a 2oz copper layer.

Expect to see the GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H hit retail priced at around Ā£130. Want to know more about AMD's 890GX chipset? Take a look at our in-depth review. Want to see more of GIGABYTE's board? We've included close-up pics of the board and bundle over on page two. Want to be in with a chance of winning the GIGABYTE board? Check out our latest competition.