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Gigabyte 970A-UD3 review

Getting on board the Bulldozer-ready motherboard bandwagon before it starts

Our Verdict

A good value Bulldozer-ready motherboard with excellent extras, but it may be surpassed later

For

  • Good value
  • Excellent features for the price
  • Back-up Bios
  • Bulldozer supported

Against

  • Single card graphics only
  • Bulldozer delayed

Looking to build a new PC based around an AMD Phenom processor? No, us neither, but that's not the point about AMD's recent refresh of its motherboard chipsets. What makes them interesting is the news that they bring: boards such as this 970A-UD3 from Gigabyte are ready for the soon-to-be-launched Bulldozer CPUs.

Unfortunately, Bulldozer is a completely new chip and almost inevitably ran into manufacturing problems. So it's been delayed rather beyond the original summer launch date.

Still, if you are looking to build an AMD system it's churlish to complain that you get to play with all of the platform birthday toys before the main present is unwrapped. It's fully backwards-compatible and priced pretty keenly too.

Apart from supporting Bulldozer through the AM3+ socket, Series 9 chipsets such as the AMD 970 featured in the Gigabyte 970A-UD3 aren't substantially different to the previous AMD 890 and 870. So what exactly is that Gigabyte toy box full of?

Gigabye 970a-ud3

Despite many structural similarities, the AMD 970 chipset isn't as fast as the higher end 990X and 990FX. The differences are perhaps over-amplified in the PCMark result, although in real life you won't be missing out on much performance by opting for this board.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset Model970
Onboard VideoNo
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots1
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket AM3+
Brand NameGigabyte
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedPhenom II X3, Phenom II X4, Phenom II X2, Phenom II X6, Athlon II X3, Athlon II X4, Athlon II X2, Athlon II, Sempron, Phenom II
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots2
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces6
HyperTransport Speed2600 MHz
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports10
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports8
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports6
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots5
Memory Form FactorDIMM
Processor TechnologyHyperTransport 3.0 Technology
Width305 mm
Depth244 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelGA-970A-UD3
Product NameUltra Durable 3 Classic GA-970A-UD3 Desktop Motherboard
Product LineUltra Durable 3 Classic
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberGA-970A-UD3
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

The 970A-UD3 motherboard is designed to offer a stable, high-speed platform for delivering amazingly fast data transfer via the GIGABYTE 333 onboard acceleration technologies. Featuring the USB3.0 controller, AMD 900 series motherboards allow users to take advantage of super fast USB transfer rates of up to 5Gbps, delivering 10x faster data transfer compared to USB 2.0. Utilizing the industry's first Serial ATA Revision 3.0 solution via AMD SB950 chipset, GIGABYTE AMD 900 series motherboards offer native 6 ports of next generation high speed data storage devices support with data transfer speeds of up to 6 Gbps with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10. The AMD 900 series motherboards introduce a unique hardware design with lower resistance fuses for ensuring lower voltage drops and providing more stable and plentiful power delivery. All USB ports also benefit from a 3x power boost for better power delivery to power hungry USB devices.

Package Contents
  • Ultra Durable 3 Classic GA-970A-UD3 Desktop Motherboard
  • Motherboard Diver Disk
  • User's Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 4 x SATA Cables
  • I/O Shield