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GIGABYTE 870A-UD3 AM3 Motherboard Review

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raxen

Hardware Canucks Reviewer
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
36
Location
Toronto, Canada
AMD has somewhat revolutionized the current PC market by offering extremely affordable and versatile multi core solutions to the low-end, mid-range, and high-end market sectors. With its most basic Athlon II processors starting at under $80 CDN and its top-of-the-line six-core Phenom II X6 1090T processor costing only $300 CDN, this pricing strategy will certainly appeal to most budget-conscious computer enthusiasts. AMD’s chipset offerings are also geared towards the affordable end of the spectrum. The most basic 870-based motherboards are approximately retail for about $99, and the top-of-the-line 890FX-based motherboards cost substantially less than competing products based on the Intel platform.

Today, we are going to take a look at a motherboard which is targeted at the low-end market share. Let’s all be honest; average computer users do not want to spend $300 on a motherboard, nor would they ever use half of the features those motherboards tend to offer. With a price of under $110, the GIGABYTE 870A-UD3 fits the bill perfectly for someone who wants stability and some features normally associated with enthusiast-grade products. While this motherboard features AMD’s most basic 870 chipset, you should not be too quick to judge as it packs a formidable punch. Its support for all AM3 CPUs and PCI-E 2.0 X16 graphics cards definitely makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious gamers or enthusiasts who want core unlocking, USB3.0 and SATA 6Gbps capabilities - all new technologies commonly found in the 870A-UD3’s more expensive brethren.

Since its inception in 1986, GIGABYTE has been known for making high-quality products. The company stands heavily behind everything that they make by providing a 3 year warranty on all motherboards currently sold in the US and Canada regardless of price. In other words, GIGABYTE is equally as confident with their low-end budget products as they are with the high-end enthusiast components.

The GIGABYTE 870A-UD3 featured in this review sports an AMD 870 northbridge and a SB850 southbridge chipset combo and is designed to replace the AMD 770X and SB750 chipsets that were originally introduced in 2007. While the 870 and the 770X offer identical features, the evolution to the SB850 is what provides the 870A-UD3 its list of new technologies. All in all, this product could be the perfect fit for a massive number of consumers.

PIC1-Northbridge.jpg
 
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raxen

Hardware Canucks Reviewer
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
36
Location
Toronto, Canada
Specifications

Specifications


The following specifications were taken from the GIGABYTE 870A-UD3 product page:
<o:p> </o:p>
<FORM>
<o:p></o:p>
<TABLE style="WIDTH: 327.2pt; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse; mso-yfti-tbllook: 1184; mso-padding-alt: 0in 0in 0in 0in" class=MsoNormalTable border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=436><TBODY><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 0; mso-yfti-firstrow: yes"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>CPU<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. Support for Socket AM3 processors: AMD Phenom™ II processor / AMD Athlon™ II processor <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 1"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Hyper Transport Bus<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. 5200 MT/s <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 2"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Chipset<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. North Bridge: AMD 870<o:p></o:p>
2. South Bridge: AMD SB850<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 3"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Memory<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 16 GB of system memory (Note 1)<o:p></o:p>
2. Dual channel memory architecture<o:p></o:p>
3. Support for DDR3 1866(OC)(Note 2)/1333/1066 MHz memory modules <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 4"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Audio<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. Realtek ALC892 codec<o:p></o:p>
2. High Definition Audio<o:p></o:p>
3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel <o:p></o:p>
4. Support for Dolby Home Theater<o:p></o:p>
5. Support for S/PDIF In/Out <o:p></o:p>
6. Support for CD In<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 5"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>LAN<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. 1 x Realtek 8111D chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 6"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Expansion Slots<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)<o:p></o:p>
2. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4) (Note 3)<o:p></o:p>
3. 2 x PCI Express x1 slots (The PCIEX1_1 and PCIEX1_2 slots share bandwidth with the PCIEX4 slot.) (Note 3)
(All PCI Express slots conform to the PCI Express 2.0 standard.)<o:p></o:p>

4. 3 x PCI slots<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 7"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Storage Interface<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">South Chipset: <o:p></o:p>
1. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors supporting up to 6 SATA 6Gb/s devices<o:p></o:p>
2. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 10, and JBOD<o:p></o:p>
GIGABYTE SATA2 chip: <o:p></o:p>
1. 1 x IDE connector supporting ATA-133/100/66/33 and up to 2 IDE devices<o:p></o:p>
2. 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices<o:p></o:p>
3. Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1 and JBOD<o:p></o:p>
JMicron JMB362 chip: <o:p></o:p>
1. 2 x eSATA 3Gb/s connectors on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 3Gb/s devices<o:p></o:p>
2. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD<o:p></o:p>
iTE IT8720 chip: <o:p></o:p>
1. 1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 8"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>USB<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">Chipset: <o:p></o:p>
1. Up to 12 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8 on the back panel, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)<o:p></o:p>
NEC chip: <o:p></o:p>
1. Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 9"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>IEEE 1394<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">T.I. TSB43AB23 chip: <o:p></o:p>
1. Up to 3 IEEE 1394a ports (2 on the back panel, 1 via the IEEE 1394a bracket connected to the internal IEEE 1394a header)<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 10"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Internal I/O Connectors<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector <o:p></o:p>
2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector<o:p></o:p>
3. 1 x floppy disk drive connector <o:p></o:p>
4. 1 x IDE connector<o:p></o:p>
5. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors<o:p></o:p>
6. 2 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors<o:p></o:p>
7. 1 x CPU fan header<o:p></o:p>
8. 2 x system fan header <o:p></o:p>
9. 1 x power fan header <o:p></o:p>
10. 1 x front panel header <o:p></o:p>
11. 1 x front panel audio header <o:p></o:p>
12. 1 x CD In connector <o:p></o:p>
13. 1 x S/PDIF In header <o:p></o:p>
14. 1 x S/PDIF Out header <o:p></o:p>
15. 1 x IEEE 1394a header <o:p></o:p>
16. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers <o:p></o:p>
17. 1 x serial port header <o:p></o:p>
18. 1 x parallel port header <o:p></o:p>
19. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 11"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Back Panel Connectors<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard or mouse port <o:p></o:p>
2. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector<o:p></o:p>
3. 1 x coaxial S/PDIF out connector <o:p></o:p>
4. 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports <o:p></o:p>
5. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports <o:p></o:p>
6. 2 x IEEE 1394a port <o:p></o:p>
7. 2 x eSATA 3Gb/s ports <o:p></o:p>
8. 1 x RJ-45 port <o:p></o:p>
9. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 12"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>I/O Controller<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. ITE IT8720 chip <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 13"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>H/W Monitoring<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. System voltage detection<o:p></o:p>
2. CPU/System temperature detection<o:p></o:p>
3. CPU/System/Power fan speed detection<o:p></o:p>
4. CPU overheating warning<o:p></o:p>
5. CPU/System/Power fan fail warning<o:p></o:p>
6. CPU/System fan speed control (Note 4)<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 14"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>BIOS<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. 2 x 8 Mbit flash<o:p></o:p>
2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS<o:p></o:p>
3. Support for DualBIOS™ <o:p></o:p>
4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 15"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Unique Features<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. Support for @BIOS <o:p></o:p>
2. Support for Q-Flash <o:p></o:p>
3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue<o:p></o:p>
4. Support for Download Center<o:p></o:p>
5. Support for Xpress Install <o:p></o:p>
6. Support for Xpress Recovery2 <o:p></o:p>
7. Support for EasyTune (Note 5) <o:p></o:p>
8. Support for Easy Energy Saver <o:p></o:p>
9. Support for Smart Recovery<o:p></o:p>
10. Support for Auto Green<o:p></o:p>
11. Support for On/Off Charge<o:p></o:p>
12. Support for Q-Share<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 16"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Bundle Software<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 17"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Operating System<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. Support for Microsoft Windows 7/ Vista/ XP<o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 18"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Form Factor<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 23.0 cm <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 19"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Note<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">(Note 1) Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
(Note 2) To reach DDR3 1866MHz or above, you must install two memory modules and install them in the DDR3_3 and DDR3_4 memory sockets.
(Note 3) The PCIEX1_1 and PCIEX1_2 slots share bandwidth with the PCIEX4 slot. When PCIEX4 slot is populated with a x4 card, the PCIEX1_1 and PCIEX1_2 slots become unavailable.
(Note 4) Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.
(Note 5) Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.<o:p></o:p>

</TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 20; mso-yfti-lastrow: yes"><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; PADDING-LEFT: 2.3pt; WIDTH: 45.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 0in; BACKGROUND: #e9f5fe; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt" width=61>Remark<o:p></o:p>
</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #f0f0f0; PADDING-BOTTOM: 4.55pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; PADDING-LEFT: 4.55pt; PADDING-RIGHT: 4.55pt; BORDER-TOP: #f0f0f0; BORDER-RIGHT: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.55pt; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .5pt">1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website. <o:p></o:p>
2. Most hardware/software vendors no longer offer support for Win9X/ME. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website. <o:p></o:p>
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>​
</FORM>​
 
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raxen

Hardware Canucks Reviewer
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
36
Location
Toronto, Canada
A Closer Look at the 870A-UD3

A Closer Look at the Gigabyte 870A-UD3


2-Front-Box.jpg
3-Back-Box.jpg


On the front of the box, GIGABYTE’s UltraDurable 3-years warranty program is prominently advertised, as are the supported USB3.0 and SATA 6Gbps technologies. GIGABYTE also boasts compatibility for the new Phenom II X6 processors, as well as an “auto unlock” function for the older Athlon II and Phenom II processors. Using this function, the user can enable any CPU cores which were locked by AMD. We will explore this later in the review.

Also advertised on box’s front is the ON/OFF Charge function. This function simply allows you to charge your phone, GPS, or any other device through the USB port even when the computer is turned off or in sleep/hibernation mode.

On the back of the box, GIGABYTE goes into more detail about the advertised features. For those who like to use your computer as battery charger, you will be happy to know that the blue USB ports on this motherboard deliver up to three times more current than regular USB ports, which means charging your device will take 40% less time than normal.

4-Accessories.jpg

As with other lower end motherboards from other manufacturers, there aren’t many accessories included with this motherboard. For the 870A-UD3, the packaged accessories include a standard I/O shield, one PATA IDE cable, one SATA cable featuring a 90-degree angled connector, and one SATA cable with straight connectors. Also included with the motherboard are a manual, a multilingual installation guidebook, and a DVD containing GIGABYTE software and drivers for the motherboard.

5-Full-Board.jpg

Just like previous GIGABYTE AM3 motherboards, the “light blue, dark blue, and white” colour scheme makes a reappearance. Being a standard ATX-size board, the connector layout of the 870A-UD3 follows its brother, the 890GPA-UD3H, very closely. Along the right edge of the motherboard, we find the ATX power connector, IDE, Floppy Port, and SATA connectors. These ports are all at optimal locations that have been standardized in most motherboard and case designs.


7-MOSFETs.jpg

Because this is a low-end motherboard, it was not surprising to see GIGABYTE neglect a heatsink for the power delivery MOSFETs. This was most likely done for cost-saving measures. Nonetheless, this board features an 8+2 power phase design commonly found in higher-end boards, and the coils and capacitors used in the power phase circuits are identical to more expensive boards as well. It is comforting to know that GIGABYTE does not use cheaper parts for less expensive motherboards.

8-NB-Heatsink.jpg
9-Southbridge.jpg


Moving onto the heatsinks - the Northbridge and Southbridge heatsinks are compact and seem anaemic in comparison to some towering examples currently on the market but should be sufficient enough to handle the low heat output of the AMD 870 and SB850 chipsets. The sizes of these heatsinks are similar to the offerings from other manufacturers. Later in the review, we will be monitoring the temperatures of these two components at idle and 100% load conditions and test their effectiveness.

10-PCI-Slots.jpg
9-Southbridge.jpg


Starting from the top by the Northbridge heatsink, GIGABYTE has included a PCI-E 1x, PCI-E 16x, PCI-E 1x, PCI, PCI-E 4x, a second PCI, and a third PCI slot. Between the PCI-E 16x and the first PCI slot is the CMOS battery and the CMOS header. Unfortunately, this is an extremely poor location for the CMOS header as installing a dual-slot graphics card will make it nearly impossible to reach the header without first removing the card. Ideally, the CMOS header should have been repositioned so that it is near the case headers on the motherboard, thus making it easily accessible for users.

In terms of the PCI expansion slot layout, GIGABYTE has allowed ample room for the installation of extra long video cards without obstruction to any SATA ports. Meanwhile, for the PCI-E 1x slot at the top, GIGABYTE has purposely shortened the Northbridge heatsink to allow cards of any length to be installed without problems.
 
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raxen

Hardware Canucks Reviewer
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Messages
36
Location
Toronto, Canada
A Closer Look at the GIGABYTE 870A-UD3 Pg.2

A Closer Look at the GIGABYTE 870A-UD3 Pg.2


11-SATA-ports-BIOS-chips-and-Firewire.jpg

Right by the SB850 heatsink we have six blue SATA ports and two white right-angled SATA ports. The six blue ports are directly connected to the SB850, and are SATA 6Gbps capable. The two white ports are fed from GIGABYTE’s SATA II controller located right next to the slots themselves. With this SATA port layout, there shouldn’t be any interference from installing PCI or PCI-E cards, as long as you aren’t being outrageous and installing an ATI Radeon HD 5970 into the PCI-E 4x slot.

15-BIOS.jpg

Moving to the bottom right of the motherboard, you’ll notice that the GIGABYTE has soldered a master and a backup BIOS chip on board for redundancy purposes. This is a nice feature to find in a low-end motherboard, and can be a lifesaver during a bad BIOS firmware update. In this picture, you can also see the Texas Instrument TSB43AB23 chip which provides the motherboard with Firewire 1394 capabilities.

At the bottom edge of the motherboard, there are colour-coded case headers for connecting your power and reset switches, LEDs, and a case speaker. Next to the case headers are two USB headers, an LPT port header, and a COM connection header. Also of notable mention is the pin header for a Firewire 1394 port that is between the bottom two white PCI slots.

13-IT8720F.jpg
14-NEC.jpg

An ITE IT8720 controller can be found sitting at the bottom left corner of the board. This controller is commonly found on other motherboards, and provides temperature, voltage and fan monitoring as well as legacy floppy drive and Serial COM port support. Third party monitoring applications such as HWMonitor have no problem detecting and reading from the IT8720.

To the left of the ITE IT8720 controller, we find the new Realtek ALC 892R audio processor which supports 8-channel high definition Dolby Home Theatre audio. Naturally, SPDIF IN/OUT ports are located beside this chip. Further to the left, near the rear I/O audio ports, we can see that GIGABYTE used a Realtek 8111D PHY chip to provide the Ethernet port with 10/100/1000Mbps connectivity.

Right behind the rear I/O audio parts, you can see the front panel audio header. Naturally, this is not the most ideal location if your case has a short connecting cable. Placing this header near the SATA ports would have been much more ideal. While most competing manufacturers also have this header located in the same area, it would have been great if GIGABYTE took an extra step to make this header more accessible.

To provide the 870A-UD3 with USB 3.0 functionality, GIGABYTE used a NEC controller which is the standard for all current motherboards available on the market.

12-Rear-IO-Ports.jpg

For the 870A-UD3, GIGABYTE was extremely generous in providing numerous USB, Firewire, and eSATA backplate ports. There are a whopping eight USB 2.0 ports, two USB3.0 (colour-coded in blue) ports, one 6-circuit and one 4-circuit Firewire port, two eSATA ports, and the standard PS/2, audio, and gigabit Ethernet ports.
 
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raxen

Hardware Canucks Reviewer
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Messages
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Toronto, Canada
Included Software

Included Software


GIGABYTE has bundled with the 870A-UD3 some software that users may find helpful.

ud3h_soft1.jpg

On the included DVD, all the necessary drivers for the motherboard can be found. In addition, users can also install Easy Tune, Easy Energy Saver, and Face Wizard.


Easy Tune 6

Easy Tune 6 is an application that we’ve become familiar with over the past few GIGABYTE board releases. This particular application is the sort of “technical centerpiece” of the software suite allowing for both viewing of system vitals as well as the application of both overclocking and other system tweaks.

ud3h_soft_et1.jpg
ud3h_soft_et2.jpg

Much like the very popular CPU-Z application, the CPU and Memory tabs of Easy Tune provide all of the essential system information.

ud3h_soft_et3.jpg
ud3h_soft_et4.jpg

The real fun happens in the “Tuner” tab. As you can see, there are several profiles to cater to both the novice and advanced overclocker. The “Quick Boost” feature is a handy one for those very uncomfortable messing around in the BIOS, or for those who probably shouldn’t be overclocking in the first place. Simply select your desired level of overclock, reboot and you are off to the races. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Under the advanced tab, things get a lot more granular. Users can increase both frequencies as well as voltages from the operating system. Although this works great for the most part, we found ourselves encountering system instability when increasing the BCLK values from within Easy Tune. It wasn’t always consistent, but settings stable in the BIOS were not always stable when configuring from within Easy Tune.


Easy Energy Saver

Next up is GIGABYTE’s power saving application called “EES” or “Easy Energy Saver”. Some readers may be familiar with GIGABYTE’s “Dynamic Energy Saver 2” and this application appears to be a trimmed down version of it.

ud3h_soft_ees1.jpg

In GIGABYTE’s own words: “GIGABYTE now makes it even easier for users to save energy with the new GIGABYTE Easy Energy Saver™. One click of the Easy Energy Saver™ button and users are able to instantly take advantage of power savings, without a confusing setup or complicated calibration processes. Not only can users see real-time CPU power consumption in Watts, but once Easy Energy Saver™ is enabled, users can see how much power they are actually saving. Now, everyone can benefit from quick and easy energy savings, helping to not only save electricity costs, but also making it easy to do your part to help save the environment.”

Although GIGABYTE provides very little information as to what exactly is happening in the background, we can only speculate that some voltage and frequency adjustments are being done above and beyond what is provided by the standard power states and “Cool’N’Quiet”.

Easy Energy Saver is disabled by default, and has to be enabled by clicking the large button at the top right hand corner of the application. There is a definite hardware component to DES2, as we could see by the “Powered by Intersil” logo at the bottom of the application. More than one Intersil IC can be found around the power delivery area of the motherboard to make this functionality possible.

Given the interest in going “green” these days, we were very pleased to see GIGABYTE’s innovative power saving features.


Face Wizard

UD7_soft12.jpg

Let’s “face” it – pun intended - most self-respecting system tweakers disable the “full screen logo” that appears during the boot-up process. But what if that logo could be changed into absolutely anything? That certainly changes things. GIGABYTE’s “Face Wizard” application allows you customize this logo in any way you see fit. You can pull down the current image stored on the board, and upload a new one. It’s really as simple as that.
 
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raxen

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Location
Toronto, Canada
BIOS Rundown

BIOS Rundown


16-Bios1.jpg

Like all other GIGABYTE motherboards, the 870A-UD3 features the very popular Award BIOS. The picture above shows the root BIOS menu, where we are happily greeted by the “MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T)” submenu which is first on the list and contains all of the functions for overclocking your system. It is surprising to see this on a budget motherboard, and subliminally it seems like GIGABYTE is encouraging overclocking by placing it first! However, before we jump into the “MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T)” submenu, let us take a look at the other menus first.

17-Bios2.jpg
18-Bios3.jpg

Under the “Advanced BIOS Features” submenu, settings like Cool & Quiet, C1E Support, and Virtualization can be enabled and disabled. The CPU Unlock function of the motherboard is also in this menu and we will take a look at this ability later in the review.

In the “Integrated Peripherals” menu, there are options to enable AHCI / IDE for the SB850 SATA controller. Furthermore, you can disable or enable any other onboard components in this menu.

19-Bios4.jpg

Under “PC Health Status”, fan control settings can be enabled or disabled. In addition, this screen also displays the current motherboard voltages, temperature, and fan speeds. Temperature thresholds for CPU throttling can also be enabled here.

20-Bios5.jpg
21-Bios6.jpg

Remember the MB Intelligent Tweaker submenu that we skipped over? By far, it is the most interesting one that every overclocker looks forward to. Starting from the top, we can increase or decrease the CPU multiplier (for those with non-Black Edition CPUs, you can only decrease), the CPU-NB multiplier, CPU Frequency (more commonly known as Bus Speed), and a whole slew of other options. Further down below are the voltage settings which are crucial for tweaking.

Inside of the DRAM Configuration submenu, we find options to tweak ram performance and timings. Unfortunately, more advanced settings like Drive Strengths are not available for tweaking, Nonetheless, the options included by GIGABYTE are more than enough for most users and it is great to see these options being included especially on a low-end board like this one.

22-Bios7.jpg

In the BIOS, there is a hidden “Advanced Chipset Features” menu available from the main menu when CTRL+F1 is pressed. There’s nothing exciting here though, with only a Southbridge “Spread Spectrum” option.

23-Bios8.jpg

Just like all other GIGABYTE motherboards, flashing the BIOS is extremely simple with the “Q-Flash Utility” that is built into the motherboard. You can copy the new BIOS flash file onto a USB key, plug it into the motherboard, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the flash.
 
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raxen

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Messages
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Location
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Test Setup and Methodologies

Test Setup and Methodologies



The following hardware configuration was used for all benchmarking:

Config.jpg

Temperature testing was done using a Mastercraft 52-0052-2 Digital Multimeter and a K-type Thermocouple.

For all of the benchmarks, appropriate lengths are taken to ensure an equal comparison through methodical setup, installation, and testing. The following outlines our testing methodology:

A) Windows is installed using a full format.

B) Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed followed by a reboot.

C) To ensure consistent results, a few tweaks were applied to Windows 7:
  • Sidebar – Disabled
  • UAC – Disabled
  • System Protection/Restore – Disabled
  • Problem & Error Reporting – Disabled
  • Remote Desktop/Assistance - Disabled
  • Windows Security Center Alerts – Disabled
  • Windows Defender – Disabled
  • Screensaver – Disabled
  • Power Plan - High Performance

D) Programs and games are then installed & updated.

E) Windows updates are then completed installing all available updates.

F) Benchmarks are each run three times after a clean reboot for every iteration of the benchmark and the results are then averaged. If they were any clearly anomalous results, the 3-loop run was repeated. If they remained, we mentioned it in the individual benchmark write-up.

Here is a full list of the applications that we utilized in our benchmarking suite:
  • 3DMark06 Professional v1.2.0
  • 3DMark Vantage Professional Edition v1.0.2
  • Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
  • Crysis Benchmarking Tool (Retail build 6156)
  • HyperPi 0.99b
  • wPRIME 2.03
  • Lavalys Everest Ultimate v5.50.2143 Beta
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • PCMark Vantage Advanced 64-Bit Edition (1.0.1)
  • ScienceMark 2.0 Build 21MAR05
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R Call of Pripyat Benchmarking Tool
  • WinRAR 3.8.0
  • x264 HD Benchmark v1.0
 
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raxen

Hardware Canucks Reviewer
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
36
Location
Toronto, Canada
Overclocking and Core Unlocking Results

Overclocking and Core Unlocking Results


First and foremost, if you are completely new to Phenom II overclocking we highly recommend that you check out our article on the subject, aptly titled "Hardware Canucks: Benchmarkers Guide to the Phenom II". Although it is limited to the AM2+ versions, the fundamentals remain the same as with the AMD Phenom II AM3 processors.

For our overclocking tests today, we’ll be using the Phenom II X6 1090T processor. This is the top-of-the-line AMD processor currently on the market and features an unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking.

Let’s see how it does in the GIGABYTE 870A-UD3 motherboard.


Maximum Core Overclock

For those readers who have experience in overclocking the Phenom II series, we don’t have to remind you how difficult it is to reach the magical “4.0GHz” threshold. Most older C2 revision Phenom II chips hit a wall at 3.8GHz, and without voltages greater than 1.5v and extreme cooling solutions, it was nearly impossible to hit 4.0GHz.

25.jpg

For the Phenom II X6 1090T, this was definitely not the case. Combined with 870A-UD3’s 8+2 phase power delivery circuit, our 1090T reached 4.0GHz at only 1.45v Vcore. This setup passed a gruelling 13 hour Prime95 Blend test with flying colours.

While this chip could have been pushed up to 4.3GHz at 1.55v Vcore, we felt uncomfortable doing so, especially when Prime95 was used to test stability. As previously mentioned, the MOSFETs from the phase delivery circuit do not have a heatsink attached and during the Prime95 test, they reached more than 100°C as detected by our thermocouple. For those readers who intend to push this motherboard and their processor to the absolute limit, we highly recommend purchasing an aftermarket heatsink for the MOSFETs.


Maximum BUS Clock

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For those who do not have Black Edition processors, do not fear because the 870A-UD3 is perfectly capable to handle a bus speed of 336MHz. This exceeded the abilities of the higher-end 890GPA-UD3H we had previously reviewed, which topped out at 315MHz. Not shabby for a low-end motherboard, is it?


AMD Phenom II Core Unlocking

Readers who are planning to buy or currently own an Athlon II X3, Phenom II X2, or a Phenom II X3 processor, have you tried to unlock the hidden cores in your processor?

As it turns out, some Ahtlon II X3, Phenom II X2, and Phenom II X3 processors have perfectly functioning cores which were disabled by AMD. Depending on the luck of the draw, it is possible to enable some or all of these cores and have a completely stable processor. One key ingredient in enabling these cores is choosing a motherboard which will support unlocking.

The GIGABYTE 870A-UD3 trumps its brother, the 890GPA-UD3H again as it fully supports core unlocking out of the box. With this motherboard, we used our AMD Phenom II X2 555BE processor and turned it from a dual-core to a speedy little quad-core processor.

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In the next section, we will investigate the performance of the 870A-UD3 motherboard using the Phenom II X2 555BE and the Phenom II X6 1090T processors. Naturally, we will take advantage of the core unlocking abilities and run benchmarks with a X2, X4, and X6 processor setup.
 
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raxen

Hardware Canucks Reviewer
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Sep 16, 2009
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Location
Toronto, Canada
Synthetic Benchmarks

Synthetic Benchmarks


Lavalys Everest Ultimate v5.02

Everest Ultimate is the most useful tool for any and all benchmarkers or overclockers. With the ability to pick up most voltage, temperature, and fan sensors on almost every motherboard available, Everest provides the ability to customize the outputs in a number of forms on your desktop. We selected two of Everest's seven CPU benchmarks: CPU Queen and FPU Mandel. According to Lavalys, CPU Queen simple integer benchmark focuses on the branch prediction capabilities and the misprediction penalties of the CPU. It finds the solutions for the classic "Queens problem" on a 10 by 10 sized chessboard. At the same clock speed theoretically the processor with the shorter pipeline and smaller misprediction penalties will attain higher benchmark scores. The FPU Mandel benchmark measures the double precision (also known as 64-bit) floating-point performance through the computation of several frames of the popular "Mandelbrot" fractal. Both tests consume less than 1 MB system memory, and are Hyper-Threading, multi-processor (SMP) and multi-core (CMP) aware.

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Lavalys Everest Ultimate v5.02

Everest Ultimate is the most useful tool for any and all benchmarkers or overclockers. With the ability to pick up most voltage, temperature, and fan sensors on almost every motherboard available, Everest provides the ability to customize the outputs in a number of forms on your desktop. In addition to this, the memory benchmarking utility provides a useful tool of measuring the changes to your memory sub-system.

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ScienceMark v2.0

Although last updated almost 3 years ago, and despite its rudimentary interface, ScienceMark v2.0 remains a favorite for accurately calculating bandwidth on even the newest chipsets.

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Through these synthetic benchmarks, we can see that the CPU tests scale pretty well according to the number of CPU cores in the system. The GIGABYTE 870A-UD3's unlocking capabilities allowed us to observe this linear relationship. What is most interesting is that the Phenom X6 1090T scored lower than its X2 and X4 counterparts on Memory Read tests, and yet the X6 was the best in the Memory Write and Memory Copy tests.
 
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