The Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H
Gigabyte’s GA-890GPA-UD3H is the first 890GX motherboard we’ve managed to get our hands on, and like preceding 790GX motherboards from Gigabyte, the board is tailored for the enthusiast crowd rather than the no-frills, price conscious budget shopper.
Gigabyte equips the board with a wealth of features. As a part of their “333” series of boards, the GA-890GPA-UD3H includes support for USB 3.0, with NEC’s popular D720200F1 USB 3.0 controller used to provide USB 3.0 functionality. The GA-890GPA-UD3H also features Gigabyte’s 3X USB power boost feature. As a result, both the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports on the board are capable of supplying three times more power to USB devices than traditional motherboards.
In the case of the USB 2.0 ports, Gigabyte’s latest boards provide up to 1500 milliamps of power, versus the standard 500mA, while their USB 3.0 ports support up to 2700mA.
With more power per port, you can run power-hungry devices through one USB port instead of two. Many external USB hard drives for instance require two USB ports, one port is dedicated for data transfers, while the second is used solely for providing power to the device. With Gigabyte’s latest boards, you can run that same USB hard drive through just one USB port.
We’ve tested this feature with an old KingWin USB 2.0 drive we keep on hand for storing game patches and other critical files needed for testing and can verify that the Kingwin drive ran perfectly with just one USB port.
The third feature Gigabyte offers with their 333 boards is third-generation SATA 6Gbit/sec support. This feature is of course provided natively by the 890GX chipset though and isn’t unique to Gigabyte.
In terms of power delivery, the GA-890GPA-UD3H features a 4+1 phase power design. With four power phases devoted to the CPU, the board is capable of supplying enough power for the latest AMD Phenom II CPUs, including the 140W Phenom II X4 965. The board will also support AMD’s upcoming six-core Phenom II X6 CPUs when they’re released later this year.
The board’s power design also provides enough headroom for good OC’ing, we managed to hit 4.0GHz with our 125W C3 965 sample quite easily, and were able to hit HyperTransport speeds up to 294MHz before stability became an issue.
When compared against its direct predecessor, Gigabyte’s socket AM3 790GX-based GA-MA790GPT-UD3H board, the GA-890GPA-UD3H has a number of improvements beyond the new chipset though.
For starters, the board sports more powerful cooling for the chipset’s North Bridge and VRM circuitry. Gigabyte uses a heatpipe to cool these components now, the GA-MA790GPT-UD3H relied on heatsinks only for these components. Interestingly enough, the heatsinks themselves that are used on the GA-890GPA-UD3H are carbon copies of the units used on the GA-MA790GPT-UD3H. A single heatpipe is merely added to improve cooling.
The other significant addition Gigabyte has added to the GA-890GPA-UD3H is extra SATA ports. The board features eight SATA ports compared to the older 790GX’s six.
If there’s one thing we’ve noticed with Gigabyte boards lately, it’s all of the extra SATA ports their latest motherboards are outfitted with. Their high-end P55 and X58 offerings ship with 10 SATA ports!
On the graphics side, Gigabyte equips the Radeon 4290 graphics core with 128MB of 1333MHz DDR3 memory. One neat feature that’s been added to the board is you can also OC the graphics memory (in addition to the IGP) if you wish. Memory speeds of 667-2000MHz are all provided inside the board’s BIOS.
Gigabyte even brags that the IGP’s graphics core can be OC’ed up to 1150MHz right there on the box for the GA-890GPA-UD3H board.
In terms of connectivity, the back plane of the GA-890GPA-UD3H is pretty standard fare amongst GX boards. Six USB ports are offered out back, with the two blue ports devoted for USB 3.0 devices. VGA, DVI, and HDMI outputs are also provided along with a SPDIF out. Finally, IEEE-1394, Ethernet, 8-channel audio, and a combo PS2 mouse/keyboard connections are also provided.