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Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5

Gigabyte mainboards can be identified at first sight by a number of distinguishing traits like the blue color of the PCB, the original shape of the heatsinks, labels inside some connectors, and two BIOS chips.

Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 has four graphics card slots, two of which work in full-speed PCI Express 2.0 x16 mode. The third slot is x4 and the fourth is x8. The latter shares 16 PCI Express lanes with the first PCI Express slot, so if you use it, for example to build a 3-way CrossFireX graphics configuration, the speed of the first slot is reduced to x8. There are glowing Power, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons on the mainboard. The latter button is covered with a cap so that you couldn’t press it accidentally.

The back panel has no empty space as is typical of Gigabyte mainboards. Everything is occupied by ports and connectors:

  • PS/2 connector for keyboard or mouse;
  • Coaxial and optical S/PDIF and six analogue audio-jacks supported by eight0channel Realtek ALC889 codec;
  • Two IEEE1394 (FireWire) ports implemented via T.I. TSB43AB23 controller, the third port is available as an onboard pin-connector;
  • Two combination eSATA/USB 3Gbps ports provided by JMicron JMB362 controller;
  • Ten USB ports including two eSATA/USB and two USB 3.0 (blue connectors) implemented by NEC D720200F1 controller, another six can be connected to onboard pin-headers;
  • Two local network ports (network adapters are built on Gigabit Realtek RTL8111D controllers).

Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 is superior to the rest of the tested mainboards in a number of parameters. For example, it offers legacy interfaces: a FDD connector, one COM and one LPT. Most of the mainboards are equipped with 14 USB ports (which is the number of ports supported by the chipset), and the models from ASRock and Biostar even offer only 12, but the Gigabyte board has as many as 16 of them! The AMD SB850 South Bridge supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports are provided by an onboard NEC D720200F1 controller. One onboard USB pin-connector is colored white instead of blue. It is designed especially for recharging mobile devices and will be working even if the computer is turned off but not disconnected from the power source. Gigabyte boosted the output power of USB ports back in its “333 Onboard Acceleration” set of technologies and was the first to support the recharging of mobile devices from Apple that require higher electric currents. Today, nearly every mainboard maker offers this feature. GA-890FXA-UD5 also offers the largest number of SATA ports: as many as ten! Six of them (SATA 6 Gbps) are provided by the South Bridge. Two SATA 3 GBps and PATA PORTS are implemented via Gigabyte SATA2 controller, and JMicron JMB362 chip supports the combination eSATA/USB 3 Gbps ports on the back panel.

We have described the BIOS of Gigabyte mainboards a number of times in our reviews. It is user-friendly, informative and offers all necessary setup and overclocking options. Although this Gigabyte mainboard is the only one in this roundup to lack an automatic CPU overclocking feature in its BIOS, we cannot call it a drawback because inexperienced overclockers can try the Windows-based Easy Tune 6 utility which can overclock the system both in manual and automatic modes. The mainboard features an integrated BIOS update tool and can store multiple BIOS profiles. The only problem we can find is that the CPU voltage adjustment increment is too big at 0.025 V. This is bigger than with every other mainboard in this roundup. On the other hand, it is easy and simple to overclock CPUs on Gigabyte mainboards, so we achieved the maximum frequency of our test CPU without any problems.

Thus, Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 looks like a regular and even trivial product at first glance. It does not try to amaze you with some sophisticated features and technologies and does not blind you with lots of LEDs. However, this outward simplicity conceals broad functionality. The mainboard supports legacy interfaces, so you can use it to upgrade an old computer. It offers the maximum number of USB and Serial ATA ports and makes full use of its back panel space. The single issue we could find about it, the big CPU voltage adjustment increment, is not so crucial after all. It doesn’t make overclocking any more difficult. So, GA-890FXA-UD5 is a very good mainboard just like every other contemporary model from Gigabyte.

 
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