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Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H 

Gigabyte's 890GX-based mainboard, the 890GPA-UD3H model, is a typical product that has all the traits of this brand's earlier Socket AM3 mainboards. As opposed to the above-discussed ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, there is nothing unusual about the design of the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H. It is quite a pleasure to use and offers a traditional selection of interfaces. 

Like its ASUS competitor, the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H has a couple of graphics slots for using two graphics cards in PCIe 2.0 x8 + x8 mode. The switching of the slots is automatic. There is no need to insert a dummy card into any of the slots if only one graphics card is used. The primary PCIe x16 slot is the one which is closer to the CPU socket. If you install a graphics card with a tall cooler, one of the mainboard's three PCIe x1 slots is going to be blocked. The two PCI slots available on board will be accessible then. 

After our inspection of the ASUS mainboard above, we cannot get rid of the feeling that the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H is like a twin brother of it. The two mainboards are very similar. Particularly, Gigabyte's engineers installed about the same selection of onboard controllers. The Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H has 14 USB ports like the ASUS mainboard. 12 of those ports are connected to the SB850 South Bridge and two USB 3.0 ports are implemented with the NEC controller we have already seen above. 

Like the ASUS mainboard, the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H comes with a FireWire controller, a Gigabit Ethernet controller (which is a Realtek 8111D here), an eight-channel ALC892 codec, and an additional SATA controller. As opposed to the ASUS, the Gigabyte mainboard does not support eSATA. Instead, it offers six SATA-600 ports via the chipset and two SATA-300 ports via the additional controller. 

Unlike their colleagues from ASUS, Gigabyte's engineers have provided support for legacy interfaces. The 890GPA-UD3H offers one PATA slot, one COM port, and even a connector for a 3.5-inch floppy drive which is not available on the ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3. 

The mainboard's back panel carries three ports to connect monitors to the integrated graphics core: D-Sub, DVI and HDMI. It must be noted that, like on any other mainboard based on AMD's integrated graphics chipsets, the DVI and HDMI ports cannot be used simultaneously and you cannot connect analog monitors to the DVI port even via an adapter.


The rest of the interfaces you can find at the mainboard's back are standard enough. There are four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one IEEE1394 port, a PS/2 connector for mouse or keyboard, a Gigabit Ethernet port, six analog audio sockets and an optical SPDIF. Additionally, there are eight more USB 2.0 ports and two IEEE1394 ports available as onboard headers. The only special feature is that the reinforced USB power circuit can give more power to USB devices than usual. 

There is nothing extraordinary about the CPU power circuit. It consists of only four channels plus an additional channel for the CPU-integrated North Bridge but can easily cope with 140W CPUs. The power converter's transistors are cooled by a medium-sized heatsink connected to the North Bridge heatsink with a heat pipe.

Both heatsinks are secured with spring-loaded plastic locks and use a rubber-like thermal interface of rather mediocre quality. By the way, Gigabyte's engineers have tucked the Sideport Memory chip down under the chipset heatsink, but the latter does not actually touch the chip and does not cool it. 

Although the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H is targeted at high-performance configurations, it lacks many enthusiasts-oriented technologies. It does not have a POST controller or diagnostic LEDs or any buttons and switches. The manufacturer only did not save on the two BIOS chips.

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