Quick Testing On Gigabyte 890FXA-UD5

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If you’re looking for a review of Gigabyte’s 890FXA-UD5 with AMD’s Thuban X6 and super high end graphics, there’s a really good one posted here.  If you want to see Gigabyte’s 890FXA-UD5 turn a wimpy 2.7GHz single-core sissy into a 4.2GHz+ dual core beast, you’ve come to the right place.  I will do some Thuban testing with this board in the near future though.  So while this review will be short and to the point, the follow up article will be more extensive as far as overclocking and performance results are concerned.

First Look

CPU AMD Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron AM3 Processor
Chipset Northbridge: AMD 890FXSouthbridge: AMD SB850
Hyper Transport Bus 5200 MT/s
Memory 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory
Dual channel memory architecture
Support for DDR3 2000(OC)/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
Expansion Slots 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)
1 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
1 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
2 x PCI Express x1 slot (All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 Standard.)
1 x PCI slot
Multi-Graphics Technology Support for 2-way/ 3-way ATI CrossFireX™ technology
LAN 2 x Realtek 8111D chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Support for Teaming
Support for Smart Dual LAN
Audio Realtek ALC889 codec
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for Dolby Home Theater
Support for S/PDIF In/Out
Support for CD In
Storage Interface South Bridge:
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 10 and JBOD
GIGABYTE SATA2 Chip:
1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices
2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD
JMicron JMB362 chip:
2 x eSATA 3Gb/s connectors (eSATA/USB Comobo) on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices
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
USB South Bridge:
Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, including 2 eSATA/USB Combo, 6 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)
NEC D720200F1 Chip:
Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
Form Factor ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
890FXA-UD5 Box

890FXA-UD5 Box

890FXA-UD5 Box Back

890FXA-UD5 Box Back

890FXA-UD5 On/Off Charge

890FXA-UD5 On/Off Charge

890FXA-UD5 Accessories

890FXA-UD5 Accessories

Removing the 890FXA-UD5 from the box, the first thing we see is the white and blue color scheme typical of Gigabyte motherboards.  Next, we see the UD5 has a nice, neat layout.

890FXA-UD5 Front

890FXA-UD5 Front

890FXA-UD5 Back

890FXA-UD5 Back

There’s a lot going on around the CPU socket, and although it’s neat, it’s also a little crowded.  For anyone overclocking this board on air or water, this is not a problem, but it may make insulating for sub ambient cooling a hassle.  Also, the DDR3 slots are a little close to the CPU for my liking, so we may run into clearance issues with tall DIMMs and an oversized CPU heatsink.  Another thing to consider is condensation in the inner memory slots under sub ambient cooling.   Here we see the memory slots have been pushed over to make room for the onboard power and reset buttons, some power handling circuitry, and the included floppy and PATA connectors.

Socket Area

Socket Area

More Socket Area

More Socket Area

DDR3 Slots

DDR3 Slots

DDR3 Slots

DDR3 Slots

The 8-pin CPU power connector is easily accessible, even with the huge MOSFET heatsink hanging out right next to it.

8-Pin CPU Power

8-Pin CPU Power

24-Pin ATX

24-Pin ATX + Power & Reset

In addition to the 6x SATA 3 6Gb/s ports, Gigabyte has thrown in the usual GSATA2 for some extra storage options.

PATA IDE + Floppy

PATA IDE + Floppy

SATA Ports

SATA Ports

GSATA 2

GSATA 2

SATA 3 6Gb/s

SATA 3 6Gb/s

The onboard Clear CMOS button makes life much easier for the serious overclocker.  Gigabyte put this one in a pretty good spot, between the SATA and PATA connectors.  On some of their boards it’s located out back on the I/O panel.  This is a feature that has become commonplace on Gigabyte’s mid to high end products.

Clr CMOS Button

Clr CMOS Button

With Gigabyte’s On/Off charge, you can charge you iPhone, iPad, ect. with the computer in sleep mode, hibernation, or even turned off.  I actually use this feature to charge my phone every night.

Panel Connectors

Panel Connectors

USB Headers + On/Off Charge

USB Headers + On/Off Charge

Four full-size PCI-E slots is almost always a good thing.  From the specs above (as well as common sense), we already know we’re not going to be able to run four graphics cards in 16x mode on this board, or any similar board from any manufacturer.  I’m only saying this because if I don’t I’ll get eight dozen people asking if all of the slots are 16x.  The important thing to note is that the board does support Tri-Fire (3-way Crossfire).

Expansion Slots

Expansion Slots

Expansion Slots

Expansion Slots

So who still uses a PS2 keyboard or mouse?  Lately I’ve seen a few motherboards excluding the PS2 slot altogether, but for that one unique case where you need one, Gigabyte went ahead and threw a combo PS2 port in.  This has actually been pretty common on Gigabyte motherboards for quite some time now.  Since some of them (in my experience anyway) have issues with a USB keyboard at first, this has come in handy for me countless times.  We also see two USB 3.0 ports on the I/O panel, dual gigabit LAN, and tons of audio and storage options.

IO Panel

I/O Panel

I/O Panel

I/O Panel

NEC USB 3

NEC USB 3

Gigabyte always has stylish, functional, and unique heatpipe assemblies and I wasn’t expecting this motherboard to deviate from this.

MOSFET Heatsink

MOSFET Heatsink

SB Heatsink

SB Heatsink

NB Heatsink

NB Heatsink

NB Heatsink

NB Heatsink

Naked SB

Naked SB

Exposed MOSFETs

Exposed MOSFETs

Bare NB

Bare NB

Disrobed CPU Socket

Disrobed CPU Socket

Here we see the top two full-size PCI-E slots are indeed wired for 16x, the 3rd one for 4x, and the bottom one for 8x.

I/O Back

I/O Back

Expansion Slots Back

Expansion Slots Back

Testing

  • AMD Sempron 140
  • Gigabyte 890FXA-UD5
  • 2x2GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 2000MHz, BDBG chips
  • HD 5870
  • OCZ 1000w PSU
  • Sub-ambient cooling 😉

I said this was going to be some quick testing, and I meant it.  The reason for this is Gigabyte also sent me an X58A-UD3 for some extra testing, and between that and GO OC 2010 NA Finals, I chose to run the Sempron testing on this for now (since I’m quite impressed with the results), move on to the X58 board, go to GO OC 2010 NA Finals, finish the X58A-UD3R, and then grab a nice Thuban and do some follow up testing with this board and some LN2.

I have no idea how many Sempron 140’s I’ve bought in the past year to get a head start on reviewing various AMD motherboards.  They’re around $30 at Microcenter, and I always end up selling them for half that after finishing a review, thinking I’ll never possibly have a use for them.  So when this board arrived, I promptly went to Microcenter to buy a Sempron 140.  Again.  Anyway, none of the 140’s I’ve purchased to date unlocked.  The first thing I tried, after installing Windows and getting all of my benchmarking apps installed, was going straight to the core unlocking section of the UD5’s BIOS.  I enabled core unlocking, booted into Windows, and checked CPU-Z, which showed two processing cores.  A 1024m wPrime run showed there were no apparent stability issues so I kept going.  I ended up with this for a good 24/7 setup, provided adequate CPU cooling.

Sempron 140 Dual Core @ 3600MHz

Sempron 140 Dual Core @ 3600MHz

3.9GHz was about the highest I got completely stable with the second core locked.

Sempron 140 @ 3900MHz, Single Core

Sempron 140 @ 3900MHz, Single Core

So I decided to drop the temps to a few degrees below freezing point with some extra LN2 I had left, and here are my results.  I’ll definitely be revisiting this at some point in the near future.

Single Core Sempron 140 @ 4266MHz

Single Core Sempron 140 @ 4266MHz

Dual Core Sempron 140 @ 4266MHz

Dual Core Sempron 140 @ 4266MHz

Final Thoughts

My experience so far with the 890FXA-UD5 has been a blast.  I haven’t put any hex-core monsters under the cold, and I haven’t done any serious game testing.  But, I haven’t had this much fun overclocking anything in a long time, and that’s what this hobby is really about for me.  So what have I shown here really?  Well, for starters I’ve shown you a ton of cool features the 890FXA-UD5 has to offer.  I’ve also shown that if you want to do any overclocking and unlocking of some budget AMD chips, this board will not disappoint.  I’d like to thank Gigabyte US for letting me test this product.  I’ll be back with more results when I get another Phenom II X6 to go with my HD 5870.

sno.lcn

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