Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5 Review

Between the 7xx and 8xx series AMD chipsets , there are few differences. Hardware enthusiasts who are planning to build a crossfire setup will like to buy a board with at-least 2x x16 pcie slots and usb 3.0 with Sata 6GB/s if they can afford such a board. Since 790GX and 890GX boards come with 2 x pcie slots on x8 mode, one will think of buying a 790fx board with all the unique and unique features that an 890FX will have without burning a hole in the pocket.

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The board which I will be reviewing is Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5 Rev 1.0. This board is aimed for enthusiasts and overclockers. Whether this board makes the cut is something you will decide as we progress with the review.

Packaging, specs and contents

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The board comes inside a bigger-than-usual box.As usual, the box comes with all the detailed explanation about the features of the board.

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Gigabyte gave the basic essentials along with the board- IDE cable, 4 sata2 cables, an I/O panel, a utility disk, multilingual installation guide book and a user’s manual. There’s no crossfire bridge included with the contents, but judging by the spacing between the slots, the bridge that usually is bundled with the graphic card will suffice.

Layout

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Gigabyte seem to have permanently keep the pcie x1 slot permanent next to the northbridge heatsink. Since the northbridge hardly stays warm on load, there’s nothing to be cautious about. However it would be awfully nice if there was more space between x1 and the x16 slot. The second and the third are pcie x16 slot with a pci slot in between, followed by 2 pci slots with a pcie x8 slot in between

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The board comes with 8+2 phase CPU VRM and AMD high-TDP 140W support. The 8 pin EPS connector is nestled next to the sink like the 890GPA UD3H. Depending on the pc case, connecting/removing the EPS connector will be bit convinient. The large MOSFET sink protects the solid capacitors, MOSFETS and the phase units and still maintains adequate distance from the slot. The basic layout of the board is very much similar compared to other AMD boards from Gigabyte’s stable. There’s always room for improvement, for example certain heatsinks paired with certain rams with tall heatspreaders will sacrifice the first 2 slots. Installation on Lian li a70f had no issue, but its about time Gigabyte works on putting the panel audio connector in a suitable place.

 

The board comes with 5 fan headers (4 pin CPU and fan sys_FAN1, 3 pin NB, SYS_FAN2 and PWR fans) and they are put up in easy-to-reach places. Also Gigabyte provides CD_IN, SPDIF IN and OUT headers on the lower right of the board.

After installing the Noctua U12PSE2 and the OCZ rams, it was obvious that installing large heatsinks and rams with tall heatspreaders on the first 2 DIMM slots.

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But there’s no problem with rams with low profile heatspreaders. You need to make sure you install the rams first before installing the large heatsinks.

 

Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5 comes with Serial, LPT, IDE and floppy connector. Many users in this day of age and hardware enthusiasts wouldn’t mind to buy a board without these connectors as long as it helps to get a better layout on the board. Since this is an enthusiast class motherboard, it comes with power, reset and CMOS clear button. There is no onboard diagnostic LED nor does it come with an Onboard Debug LED display.

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The board uses heatsinks with a heatpipe design. When one sees closely, there are 2 heatpipes, one connecting the MOSFET to the top part of the northbridge sink, whereas another connecting from the Southbridge sinks to the lower part of the northbridge. The MOSFET sink is secured the plastic push-pin, whereas the northbridge and the Southbridge uses spring screws with a support bar behind the board. Since Gigabyte went an extra mile with the backplate support for the northbridge and Southbridge, it would be nice to do the same for the MOSFET heatsinks as well. Throughout the time I had this board for reviewing, the MOSFET and the northbridge was always cool, whereas the Southbridge was a bit warm.

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As expected from a gigabyte board, the heatsink with push-pull config stays well within the board.

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The MOSFET and the Northbridge sinks are pretty tall, but it in no way it becomes an obstacle even if one installs a heatsink like Noctua U12PSE2 with push-pull config

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On the lower left, the board comes with 2 realtek 8111D for each gigabit Ethernet port, Realtek ALC889 with Dolby home theater support for the audio. On the lower right, there is Marvel SATA 3 chip and the 2 BIOS chips. The board comes with 5 fan headers and supports IDE/Floppy connectors with serial, 1394 and 2 USB 2.0 headers.

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The board comes with comes with all the needed connectors one will ever require, including a dedicated ps/2 port for a mouse and a keyboard, 2 lan connectors, 1 coaxial and 1 optical out connector, 1 firewire, 4 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 2 esata/USB combo connector and 6 audio jacks.
Bios
The board uses AWARD bios.

maino.th.jpg The main BIOS screen is standard, except for M.I.T. where overclockers will spend most of the time on.
miti.th.jpgaccd.th.jpg The F2 bios comes with ACC support.
cpuclockratio.th.jpgnbfreq.th.jpgcpufreq.th.jpghtfreq.th.jpgmemclock.th.jpg The board comes with all the needed overclocking options one will need.
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The board gives you the option to save upto 8 profiles and to save it on a HDD/floppy or a USB drive. Pressing “clr CMOS”, flashing bios or removing the CMOS battery does not clear away the profile saves.

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Saving the bios on corsair voyager flash drive worked as it should, but it takes about 3-4 minutes to complete it.

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Updating the bios is a breeze and Q-flash does give an option to shut the system unlike certain other bios from other boards that usually gives an option only to restart the system.
Test setup and benchmarks

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Settings Resolution: 1650x 1050; Anti-aliasing: 2x AA; Texture filters: Optimal
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3D Mark Vantage
Settings Resolution: 1680x 1050; Preset: High
3dvantageud5.png Dirt 2
Settings Resolution: 1680x 1050; Anti-Aliasing: 4x MSAA; Preset: High
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Call of Juarez
Settings Resolution: 1680x 1050; Details: High; Anti-aliasing: MSAA X2
coj.png S.T.A.L.K.E.R.- Call of Pripyat
Settings Resolution: 1680x 1050; Preset: High; Renderer: Enhanced full dynamic lightning (DX10)
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X264 HD Benchmark
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Cinebench 11.5
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Winrar Benchmark
Benchmark was done using a main folder with 20 sub-folders containing images 1.21GB in size.
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Overclocking and conclusion I overclocked the motherboard using the f2 bios that came with the board and then moved F3F beta bios.

I initially overclocked the c2 stepping 550BE to 3.8 ghz for starters.

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After bumping the voltages, I managed to bump 3.9 ghz OCCT stable on the 790FXTA-UD5.

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When I overclocked using the F3F beta bios, I wasn’t able to push more than 3.8ghz irrespective of the voltages I’ve used. There are no features added or taken out (including the ACC) in the F3F bios.

 

The northbridge sink remained cool on load inside the Lian-li a70f case. The only parts of the board that was somewhat warm was the southbridge and the heatpipe between the NB and the SB.

 

Comparing the potential of this board with 890GPA-UD3H, overclockers/enthusiasts will keep their options open with this board and pair it with a potent processor. However, in any case both are equally capable boards and future ready with both boards coming with sata 6GB/s and USB 3.0 with technically the same features. Even when one has a dual crossfire setup using currently available graphic cards on 890GPA-UD3H with dual pcie x8 slots, its not going to show any difference compared to a crossfire setup with 790FXTA-UD5.

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Only difference is the heatpipe design, 1 pcie x1 slot, power/reset/Clear CMOS button, lack of onboard graphics (Note: Not a con), dual pcie x16 slots and the price being on a higher side on the 790FXTA-UD5. Gigabyte India informed me that the retail pricing is Rs. 12,999/- but as checked with few online stores, the motherboard is available for between Rs. 11,000/- to Rs. 12,000. Since it costs bit more than 890GPA-UD3H, the lack of onboard diagnostic LED and Debug LED display is more of a con. On the bright side, you are getting 2 e-sata/USB combo port and dual gigabit lan. At the end of the day, if for any reason you need an alternate choice for an 890GPA-UD3H or you have to make a choice between the two, you won’t go wrong if you choose the 790FXTA-UD5.

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