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Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 review

An expensive AMD 990FX-based motherboard with high specs to match

Our Verdict

Justifies its price tag with its performance, tons of ports and four-way SLI.

For

  • Sophisticated visuals
  • Gets the most out of CPUs
  • The more GPUs, the merrier

Against

  • Playing catch-up with Intel chipsets

This high-end Gigabyte 990FX motherboard actually represents something quite new from the Taiwanese manufacturer; namely a high-price, high-performance AMD motherboard.

Gigabyte has obviously long-supported the AMD side of the PC world, but until now hadn't released a serious top-end product in that market.

The GA-990FXA-UD7 is most definitely a serious board. Like the Asus Sabertooth 990FX, this board supports SLI as well as the standard CrossFire setups. In this UD7 trim we're talking about full four-way SLI support too.

The Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 retains the SATA 6Gbps support from 8 series boards, and Gigabyte has made full use of this by including 8 SATA 3 ports.

Rival motherboard the Asus Sabertooth 990FX isn't really leaving anyone wanting by including just six SATA 3 and two SATA 2 ports, but it's worth bearing in mind when figuring out why the Gigabyte board is pricier.

Sadly, there's no native USB 3.0 support as many were hoping. It's still handled by an onboard controller limiting the number of ports. It has just four USB 3.0 ports and 14 USB 2.0 ports.

Gigabyte's board looks great too, which is a pleasant surprise after its gimmicky Assassin enthusiast range.

Fitting any cooler shouldn't be a problem and despite cramming four GPUs into its little beige mouths, it's less of a space hog than some four-way SLI boards we've seen.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

AMD 9-Series

CPU video encoding performance
X246 v4: Frames per second: Higher is better
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX: 33
Asus M5A99X EVO: 33
Asus RoG Crosshair V: 33
Asus Sabertooth 990FX: 32
Gigabyte 970A-UD3: 33
Gigabyte H67MA-UD2H: 33
Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7: 33
MSI 970A-G45: 33

CPU rendering performance
Cinebench 11.5: Index score: Higher is better
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX: 5.86
Asus M5A99X EVO: 5.86
Asus RoG Crosshair V: 5.86
Asus Sabertooth 990FX: 5.72
Gigabyte 970A-UD3: 5.78
Gigabyte H67MA-UD2H: 5.83
Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7: 5.74
MSI 970A-G45: 5.71

Verdict

So, if you've got around £200 to spend on a motherboard, and you want a high bang for buck ratio, the bucks, if you can chuck in the extra few, must go to the Gigabyte board.

The Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 justifies its price tag with its performance, tons of ports and four-way SLI.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset Model990FX
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots2
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket AM3 PGA-941
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
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots1
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces8
HyperTransport Speed2600 MHz
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Total Number of USB Ports9
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 Slots6
Memory Form FactorDIMM
Number of eSATA Ports1
Processor TechnologyHyperTransport Technology
Width305 mm
Depth263 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelGA-990FXA-UD7
Product NameUltra Durable 3 GA-990FXA-UD7 Desktop Motherboard
Product LineUltra Durable 3
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberGA-990FXA-UD7
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 design, featuring 2 ounces of copper for both the Power and Ground layers which dramatically lowers system temperature by delivering a more efficient spreading of heat from critical areas of the motherboard such as the CPU power zone throughout the entire PCB. GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable 3 also lowers the PCB impedance by 50%, which helps to reduce electrical waste and further lowers component temperatures. A 2oz Copper layer design also provides improved signal quality and lower EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), providing better system stability and allowing for greater margins for overclocking.

Package Contents
  • Ultra Durable 3 GA-990FXA-UD7 Desktop Motherboard
  • Motherboard Driver Disk
  • User's Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 4 x SATA Cables
  • I/O Shield
  • 2 x 2-Way CrossFireX Bridge Connectors