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Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 R5 mini review:

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Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Hey everyone,

I am not much of a writer, but here goes:

Yesterday I picked up a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 R5 with an FX-8320e from Microcenter. Total cost before tax was roughly $230 usd. Not too shabby. I'll give a quick rundown of my feelings towards this board:

System hardware used:
AMD FX-8320E
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 R5
8 gigs Gskill Sniper 1866 (@1866)
Samsung 830 256gb SSD
Corsair H80 AIO cooler
Antec HCG-750 PSU
Antec ThreeHundred Case (original)
Windows 7

1. Upon unboxing, you can feel it is a solid board. Some decent heft to it. Compared to my old Asus M5A97 (R1.0, vanilla as I call it, non-pro or evo), its mass is significantly greater. Right off the bat, during install I was happy it was a full ATX board, compared to the shortened ATX board that the M5A97 was (did not extend to the third screw holes).

2. Bios/UEFI: Overall, it has everything you need for a decent overclock. Very easy to use UEFI. I actually did not have to look anything up in the manual to figure out what that knob was for. LLC for the vcore, multipliers etc... but there are a few detractors here:
-Voltages are ONLY set via offset. Not the end of the world, especially when OCing. The inital settings can be annoying, mostly cause math is involved, and that is not as much fun as seeing the dials turn with the knobs
-Voltage tweaks: LLC settings are pretty decent, (auto, regular, normal, medium, high, ultra high, ultimate). Overall, they work. Downside is who named these? I feel like the settings would be better served with % numbers versus
confusing naming. There was not some more advanced controls, such as LLC for CPU/NB, or Over-current settings (such as the Crossblade Ranger has).
-I used the AISuite pretty extensively for dialing in my OC between crashes. Easy Tune seems terrible, and only seemed to contribute to instability. Luckly, AMD OverDrive can easily adjust multipliers between crashes and works well
for this purpose.
-I use WOL (wake on LAN) pretty heavily. That and VNC. Want to download a steam game before you get home? VPN into your own network, WOL the desktop, login from VNC and start the download, all from your smartphone. Well
well I cannot find a WOL setting. Maybe its set already, without the option to turn it off? I'll find out once I move off Win7 to Win10. From my experience Win7 does not play nice with WOL from a cold shutdown.

3. Overclocking: Again, I am pretty happy with this board. I have my poor old H80 cooler choking down this FX-8XXX @ 4.5ghz. It works, and best of all, is less painful than my old M5A97 ON/OFF/AUTO LLC board was. The VRM/NB sink does get fairly warm to the touch, but not burning nor painfull. I'll attach some screenshots from my overclocking foray below.

4. Features:
-A) Audio: leaps and bounds better than my M5A97. The onboard audio is strong enough to drive my CM Storm Sirus headset (4 drivers each ear) well. It sounds decent, without having to run the USB CM Storm software which is a
plus.
-B) Utilities: We already know about my opinion of the N Tune utility. I'll say it again for emphasis: CRAP. I honestly have not tried the network manager utility, as I really don't need it. My router does all that for me. Or my Cisco
switch. Speaking of which, its hard to leave enterprise grade gear when you have so much flexability with it. But that is another post :D
-C) Onboard lan: no complaints. Runs at 1000BaseT as it is supposed to.
-D) USB 3: no idea, I don't have a drive to test it, nor would I really care that much.


5. Overall:

Decent board. I paid $110 for it with the Microcenter processor purchase discount. It works (which is usually good). It overclocks (which is why I bought it in the first place). It is missing alot of knobs, but TBH, if you spend time on lesser than the top tier boards (CHV, Saberkitty, etc), you would completely understand that those 'features' the UD5 R5 is missing are actually really not required for a decent overclock. They may be needed for high end overclocking by far, and I do miss some of the features my Crossblade Ranger had (FM2+ board). The knobs are nice, and they turn dials in UEFI/BIOS. Good stuff. I got what I was aiming for, 4.5ghz on an 8-core, without killing my poor H80, and without breaking the bank. YMMV, but overall my experience has been pleasant with this board.


Bottom Line:

Pros:
-Decent board for the cost, especially if on sale or combined with other discounts
-Solid VRM section for overclocking
-Easy to use UEFI/BIOS
Cons:
-Not a Saberkitty/CHV, missing many knobs
-Voltage controls work, but lack in UEFI feedback.
-N Tune is a turd.

Bottom-line, my opinion is that it is a decent board, with better features than the various 970 boards you can get. If you cannot grab one on sale, or at a discount, I would recommend another board as its MSRP is rather high.

4200.jpg 4500.jpg 4500-2hrs.jpg 4500-2hrs-lowervcore.jpg 4500cinebench.jpg

IMG_20151010_134653resize.jpg

151019173325.jpg 151019173336.jpg 151019173342.jpg 151019173348.jpg 151019173402.jpg 151019173407.jpg 151019173425.jpg 151019173442.jpg 151019173447.jpg 151019173506.jpg 151019173528.jpg 151019173539.jpg 151019173614.jpg

Edit: so I have revisited the Gigabyte software on windows 10. The fab control software is much better, as are the other features (when installed with the Gigabyte APP software). Much happier with the software now that I can better tame my noctua iPPC-3000 fans! If you have one of the R5 boards on windows 10, it's worth a try to revisit the software.

Edit again: Uploaded some additional screenshots of the newer Gigabyte APP center. This is a modular system, and you can choose which parts to install. I have installed everything but the Cloud Server and Cloud software (allows remote access to machine, as well as some n-tune controls via phone app). Overall, the fan control software is MUCH better, allowing a curve to be created. I did have to compromise some as you cannot add extra points, but it worked well enough for how I wanted to set my jet-engine fans in my new case (NZXT S340 w/ 2 140mm Noctura iPPC-3000 fans for intake). Below are the screen shots:

ntune.JPG ntune-mem.JPG app-center.JPG fan-control.jpg
 
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Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Thanks for the write up on the R5 Bluefalcon! :thup:

This would be the next board I purchase for my FX rig, so I'm glad to hear it's not a crap board like some of the other gigabytes.
Real test come when you have to time an cooling to hit 4.8 Ghz or so. :)
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Blue post up some screen shots of the BIOS if you can, I'm curious of what options are available in it.
 
OP
Bluefalcon13

Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
So here is the fun thing mandrake, it lacks option menus like the Asus boards have. you can +/- to change the options, but you cannot view a full list, I will post up some screens here in a bit.
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Thanks I'm just curious how far it lets you dive into voltages and memory timings.
 

chrisjames61

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Location
Holed up in Branford, CT
I think Gigabyte makes some decent AMD hardware. I have an older 990FX UD5. I also have a UD3 R4. That being said the EUFI bios is a work in progress to say the least. Its sparse, barebones and very unintuitive. There are lousy fan speed options. The voltage settings are not good. My ASUS boards show the stock voltages and show the changing values. The less said about the LLC settings the better. (auto, regular, normal, medium, high, ultra high, ultimate). What difference is there between regular and medium in the English language? Ultimate? I would not equate that to a voltage setting. Plus why on earth do you need 7 settings? Think of how much better this board would be with a good bios. BTW, Bluefalcon13 it was a very solid review.
 

NZKshatriya

DMCA Violated Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Location
San Antonio, TX *aka hellsville*
lol same with the sabertooth LLC settings....why don't we just use percentages, or output ranges to express what the setting is.
4 LLC settings would suffice in my opinion. Low, medium, high, redline.

What I have noticed on BIOS fan speed settings, from my dads current GA board, the last GA board I had *GA-7dx*, and my sabertooth....the fan speed options are not as broad as I would like. That's the main reason I switched to stand-alone fan controllers. First one was a 4 channel, PCtoys System Maxx, now a 5 channel NZXT Sentry 3, just for the ability to link multiple fans into a group, and control them at once.
 

chrisjames61

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Location
Holed up in Branford, CT
lol same with the sabertooth LLC settings....why don't we just use percentages, or output ranges to express what the setting is.
4 LLC settings would suffice in my opinion. Low, medium, high, redline.

What I have noticed on BIOS fan speed settings, from my dads current GA board, the last GA board I had *GA-7dx*, and my sabertooth....the fan speed options are not as broad as I would like. That's the main reason I switched to stand-alone fan controllers. First one was a 4 channel, PCtoys System Maxx, now a 5 channel NZXT Sentry 3, just for the ability to link multiple fans into a group, and control them at once.

I haven't used either my Sabertooth Gen 1 or R2 in a while so the LLC settings aren't fresh in my mind. I always use medium or its equivalent anyway. My main boards are a CBR on the FM2+ side and a CH5FZ on the AM3+ side. The board I am playing with now is a GD80. The bios is pretty good imho. Not a crap ton of settings but enough. Of course there is no LLC option. I am currently running a 6300 at 4.8+ GHz in it anyway. No throttling or anything. I am almost deaf so as long as I can get the fans humming on the mobo headers at full rpm I am happy.
 
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OP
Bluefalcon13

Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
lol same with the sabertooth LLC settings....why don't we just use percentages, or output ranges to express what the setting is.
4 LLC settings would suffice in my opinion. Low, medium, high, redline.

What I have noticed on BIOS fan speed settings, from my dads current GA board, the last GA board I had *GA-7dx*, and my sabertooth....the fan speed options are not as broad as I would like. That's the main reason I switched to stand-alone fan controllers. First one was a 4 channel, PCtoys System Maxx, now a 5 channel NZXT Sentry 3, just for the ability to link multiple fans into a group, and control them at once.

TBH, I wish either medium was higher, or high was lower. High causes a bump in vcore on my settings, and medium still causes vdroop. I settled for high due to the droop being less desirable, but the excess heat from high is limiting me somewhat as well. With that many LLC options, I kinda dock if for the fact that the percentage of LLC doesn't cover me as well as it should...
 

NZKshatriya

DMCA Violated Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Location
San Antonio, TX *aka hellsville*
I haven't used either my Sabertooth Gen 1 or R2 in a while so the LLC settings aren't fresh in my mind. I always use medium or its equivalent anyway. My main boards are a CBR on the FM2+ side and a CH5FZ on the AM3+ side. The board I am playing with now is a GD80. The bios is pretty good imho. Not a crap ton of settings but enough. Of course there is no LLC option. I am currently running a 6300 at 4.8+ GHz in it anyway. No throttling or anything.

according to my saber r2 manual:
LLC: auto, regular(0%), medium(25%), high(25%), ultra high(75%), extreme(100%)
CPU/NB LLC: auto, regular, normal, extreme *no listed percentages*

So, at least the saber doesnt have a regular and normal lol
 

chrisjames61

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Location
Holed up in Branford, CT
according to my saber r2 manual:
LLC: auto, regular(0%), medium(25%), high(25%), ultra high(75%), extreme(100%)
CPU/NB LLC: auto, regular, normal, extreme *no listed percentages*

So, at least the saber doesnt have a regular and normal lol

"Regular and Normal". How do these equate to voltages exactly? And if they did don't they mean about the same? I attribute it to the bios designers being based in Taiwan and the bios are interpreted for mainly an English language export market.
 

NZKshatriya

DMCA Violated Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Location
San Antonio, TX *aka hellsville*
I meant at least in LLC they don't have regular and normal.
Ugh, I need more coffee, I keep missing logic errors in my typing.

Most companies have localization teams, What needs to happen is that the BIOS, once stateside, just needs to be sent to someone for a grammar/spelling/logic check. lol.
 

chrisjames61

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Location
Holed up in Branford, CT
I meant at least in LLC they don't have regular and normal.
Ugh, I need more coffee, I keep missing logic errors in my typing.

Most companies have localization teams, What needs to happen is that the BIOS, once stateside, just needs to be sent to someone for a grammar/spelling/logic check. lol.

What you said was clear. You are right about the localization teams.
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
TBH, I wish either medium was higher, or high was lower. High causes a bump in vcore on my settings, and medium still causes vdroop. I settled for high due to the droop being less desirable, but the excess heat from high is limiting me somewhat as well. With that many LLC options, I kinda dock if for the fact that the percentage of LLC doesn't cover me as well as it should...
When you were trying to find stability, did you have the LLC set at medium and then set it to high after you found stability? Reason I ask is if you set it to high after the fact you may be able to lower the set voltage/offset because the board voltage isn't drooping as much.
 
OP
Bluefalcon13

Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
When you were trying to find stability, did you have the LLC set at medium and then set it to high after you found stability? Reason I ask is if you set it to high after the fact you may be able to lower the set voltage/offset because the board voltage isn't drooping as much.

No, medium had quite a bit of vdroop. I set it back to high and that was why I was able to drop it a bit to my last run's vcore. I may still be able to drop it another notch, but I had to pour on the volt-bumps to get to 4.3 to 4.5.
 
OP
Bluefalcon13

Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Again, its not a bad board, but I am limited by my cooling solution at this point. The vrm sink gets quite warm (not burning hot, but merely warm to the touch). As you all can see, I have an H80, and a GTX670 stuffed into an old antec three hundred case (first gen). Not really much space for the h80 in there.
 

ShrimpBrime

~MadHatDeLidder~
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
This is a nice mini review! Great for any one with questions!

Thanks for sharing this Bluefalcon13! Can you list the system specs in the OP in case you update HW in your sig please?