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Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5

 

AMD has just released their 890 GX chipset, but if you still crave full 16x Crossfire and can’t wait for the 890 FX then this might be what you are looking for.

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Introduction

Many enthusiasts cannot settle without using the very best of everything. For an AMD/ATI enthusiast this would be full 16x CrossFire. The benefits of 16x CrossFire are not big at all, but that is something you just can’t tell a hardcore AMD/ATI enthusiast, it makes them angry. As of right now, AMD has only released the 890 GX chipset which only supports 8x CrossFire. If you simply can’t wait for the 890 FX chipset and want 16x CrossFire, Gigabyte’s 790FXTA-UD5 is about as good as it gets.

This motherboard adds USB 3 and SATA 6 GB/s support. These are the same features that you will find on many of the 890 boards, so if the SB850 doesn’t sound appealing to you then there is no big loss going with this board instead. However, if you plan on picking up the new AMD 6 core CPU, this board may not have support for it. You might be better off going the safe route with a 890 motherboard ensuring AMD hexcore compatibility.

Features

  Introduction
The 790FXTA-UD5 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 world’s first USB 3.0 logo certified host controller from NEC Electronics, AMD 700A 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, the Marvell® 88SE9128 controller, GIGABYTE AMD 700A series motherboards offer support for next generation high speed data storage devices with data transfer speeds of up to 6 Gbps. Coupled with RAID 0 (Stripe) mode, SATA Revision 3.0 enables a data transfer boost of up to 4x the speed of SATA Revision 2.0.
The AMD 700A 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.
  Supports next generation of 45nm AMD AM3 CPU
This motherboard designs with Split Power Plane, 8+2 phase VRM to support AMD the latest 45nm AM3 Phenom™I/ Athlon™II processors, delivering the great performance enchantment to system and ultimate scalability hardware expending.
  USB 3.0 Support
The GIGABYTE AMD 700A series motherboards support the latest generation SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology made possible through an onboard NEC uPD720200 host controller. With superfast transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps, users are able to experience an almost a 10x improvement over USB 2.0. Additionally, backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 assures users of long term use of their legacy USB 2.0 devices. The onboard NEC SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology also provides new power management features that include increased maximum bus power and device current draw to better accommodate power-hungry devices.
  SATA 6 Gbps Support
Yet another onboard feature of GIGABYTE AMD 700A series motherboards are Marvell’s new SE9128 chips for high-speed SATA Revision 3.0 compatibility, delivering superfast 6Gbps link speeds for twice the data transfer rates of SATA Revision 2.0 (3 Gbps). When used in RAID 0 (Stripe) mode, GIGABYTE AMD 700A series motherboards offer even faster data transfer rates of up to 4x the speed of current SATA interfaces.
  3x USB Power Boost
GIGABYTE AMD 700A series motherboards feature a 3x USB power boost, delivering greater compatibility and extra power for USB devices. GIGABYTE’s unique USB power design is also able to efficiently regulate output over the full voltage range, which greatly enhances USB device compatibility. In addition, dedicated lower resistance fuses ensure lower voltage drops, and provide more stable and plentiful power delivery.
    Ultra Durable 3
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…more
  EC AOD-ACC Support
EC AOD-ACC is described as Embedded Controller for AMD OverDrive- Advanced Clock Calibration, which is the newest feature comes from AMD SB750/ SB710 southbridge chip, destined for use AMD 790FX chipset, is set to allow AMD Black Edition CPUs to be overclocked through AMD OverDrive™ utility or BIOS setting further than it was previously possible.
* Please be noticed that GIGABYTE’s product warranty does not cover damages caused by overclocking.
  AMD OverDrive Support
The AMD OverDrive™ utility is provided by AMD, offering high-end users the ability to maximize the capability, flexibility, and adjustability of the platforms utilizing AMD processors, sockets, and chipsets.
* For enabling EC AOD-ACC technology, AMD OverDrive™ utility must be the version of 2.1.1 or later.
* Regarding AMD OverDrive™ utility, please visit AMD official website for details:
http://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_overdrive.aspx or click here for downloading beta version.
  ATI CrossFireX™ support
With support for latest ATI CrossFireX™ technology, GIGABYTE pushes the envelope once again by delivering highly optimized performance and flexibility demanded for power users and extreme gaming enthusiasts. Designed to provide unmatched multi-GPU support with dual PCI-E connectivity, the GA-790FXTA-UD5 allows users to take advantage of the ultra smooth 3D rendering, blazing-fast frame rates and enhanced visual quality possible.
  Dual Channel DDR3 1866+ MHz
Delivering native support for DDR3 memory up to 1866MHz, GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 motherboards allow users to easily reach higher memory frequencies at lower voltages; achieving higher memory performance with lower power consumption to run even the most memory intensive applications such as high-definition video and 3D games with ease.
* DDR3 1866+ is supported with combination of AM3 CPU and qualified memory modules, please refer “Memory Support List” for detail memory support information.
  GIGABYTE innovative technology- Easy Energy Saver
Featuring an advanced proprietary software design, GIGABYTE Easy Energy Saver is able to dynamically adjust CPU power depending on workload, delivering just the right amount of power needed for the task. Coupled with AMD’s highly efficient 45nm AM3 CPU, the Easy Energy Saver is able to provide exceptional levels of power savings and enhanced power efficiency without sacrificing computing performance.
  EasyTune6
GIGABYTE has completely redesigned EasyTune6 from the ground up to make it easier than ever to manage and monitor your hardware resources as well as tweak your system settings in order to achieve maximum system performance. Whether you are an overclocking enthusiast, or a computer novice, EasyTune6 provides the tools you need to quickly and effortlessly fine tune your system.
  Smart Dual LAN
GIGABYTE Smart Dual LAN technology features intelligent LAN port auto-switching between the 2 physical Gigabit LAN chips; offering hassle free, zero downtime, high speed network connectivity.
  eSATA/USB combo
eSATA/USB combo ports provides significant convenience by supporting eSATA and USB devices in one port, and requires no additional power source when connecting eSATA/USB combo devices through the applicable cable.
  Onboard Quick Switches
Onboard Power, Clear CMOS and Reset buttons allow for quick and easy tweaking for power users working in an in chassis environment.
  Dolby Home Theater Support
Delivers vivid surround sound for music, movies, and games, using two to eight speakers or any set of headphones.
  Norton™ Internet Security
Fast, comprehensive, and up-to-the-minute protection against online threats. It safeguards your computer, identity, and home network without slowing you down. It sets a new standard for speed and makes online shopping, banking, and browsing safer and more convenient than ever.
    Qualified for Windows® 7
The motherboard qualified for WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) certification of Windows 7 from Microsoft®, setting the standard for future Windows 7 certified motherboards…more
  ErP Lot 6 support
The ErP (as known as Energy-Related Products Directive) is part of new European Union’s environment regulations. ErP established is based on the concern of environmental issues regards electronic devices been gained popularity and how to improve energy efficiency for better and greener life. GIGABYTE presents standard motherboards to help you effectively improving system performance and saving more energy.

There are a few more features that differ from the previously reviewed Gigabyte 790FX. Namely, SATA 6 GB/s support. This is something that enthusiasts will be glad to see. There is also Dolby Home Theater support which will give you better sound quality.

Specifications

Feature/Specification Gigabyte 790FX 890GX 790FX
Memory Standard

DDR3

DDR3 DDR3/2
Memory Slots
4 4 4
SATA 6 Gb/s

Y

Y N (On some)
USB 3

Y

N (On Most) N (On some)
CPU Support

AM3

AM3 AM2/3

There really isn’t a whole lot separating the 890GX and this 790FX as far as features and specifications go. Some other 790FX boards support DDR2 memory which is not supported on this board. You will not be able to run AM2 CPU’s as this board is socket AM3 and DDR3 memory compatible only.

Pictures & Impressions

The box is pretty standard for recent Gigabyte motherboards. Gigabyte clearly shows that this board supports both USB 3 and SATA 6 GB/s. Gigabyte also prominently displays their three year warranty.

Gigabyte packaged the board like many other motherboards. There is a cardboard cutout that lays over the motherboard. The accessories are put above this so no damage can occur to the motherboard. The motherboard has an anti static bag over it to keep any random static discharges from ruining the board.

Gigabyte includes all of the extras that you will need. This includes a driver disc, two manuals, two stickers, an I/O plate, four SATA cables, and an IDE cable.

The color scheme of the board is similar to many other Gigabyte boards. We have no problem with the blue and white. In fact, its a step up from the rainbow themed boards that Gigabyte used to make.

There is certainly no shortage of PCIE slots here. If you look closely, you can see that the very bottom one is actually an 8x PCIE slot. The other two are 16x, and operate at 16x when in Crossfire. We see that Gigabyte left a PCIE 1x slot above the first PCIE slot just in case you want to use a sound card or another PCIE 1x card. All of the other slots are PCI, which will all be covered if you are using three dual slot cards.

As with many other Gigabyte boards, the front panel connectors are color coded. This should make it easy to figure out what cable goes where. If you look to the right, you will see eight SATA connectors. The dual BIOS chips are right above the SATA connectors, and above the BIOS chips is the SB750 heatsink. There is a heatpipe going through it, so it should run extremely cool.

To the right is the 24 pin connector. Right above that is the power and reset buttons. These come in handy if you are running a bench top system and want easy access to the power and reset buttons. To the left of that is an IDE and floppy connector. We are not sure why this board has a floppy connection since the 790X doesn’t have one. This board has four RAM slots like all AM3 motherboards. The two blue slots are quite close to the CPU socket, so larger coolers may block these slots from being used.

Here we have the CPU socket area. The heatpipe runs through the VRM’s which is always nice to see since it spreads the heat throughout the system so everything runs cooler. The heatsinks are low enough that they shouldn’t interfere with any aftermarket CPU coolers.

Staring from the left we have two PS/2 connectors for a mouse and keyboard. Then we have two S/PDIF outputs. Next to them are a firewire port, two USB’s, one mini USB, and two eSATA connectors. To the right of these are two ethernet connectors, two USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Finally we have the standard audio connectors.

BIOS

Here we have the main screen in the BIOS. This is where you will start off. You can get anywhere from here, but we are going to focus on the M.I.T.

When you first enter the M.I.T. you are greeted with what is above. The CPU Clock Ratio is really the CPU multiplier. The CPU Host Clock Control is what you will mainly be using if your CPU is not a Black Edition. The Memory Clock setting is your memory multiplier. If you raise this your RAM will run at a faster speed, but it is limited to 1600 MHz if you do not increase the CPU host clock. The voltage controls are at the very bottom. These include all of the voltages that really make a huge difference with overclocking.

Here we have the few voltage options that you couldn’t see from above.

This is the ACC menu. From here you can activate a shut off core if you so please.You can also mess with Advanced Clock Calibration, but this is only recommended if you are an experienced user.

This is what we see when we enter the DRAM Config menu. There are many settings in here so you can tune your RAM just right to achieve the most performance.

There really isn’t a whole lot in the Gigabyte BIOS, but there’s plenty for the casual and semi pro overclocker. You should have no issues running any CPU to its air cooling max.

Methodology

To test the Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5 motherboard we used the same components in every machine. The only component we switched was the motherboard. We did a fresh load of Windows 7 Ultimate on the test rig. Keeping the components the same across a variety of boards will ensure a level playing field for all the motherboards tested.

We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably for P55(A) and will continue to use the same tests across most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. We run each test a total of at least three times minimum, some tests we run more than 3 times. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.

The OS we use is Windows 7 Ultimate with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We don’t disable a bunch of background tasks or particularly tweak the OS or system for bigger numbers. We do turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing in that one test might occur without defragging going on and the next test defragging might be active, the same thing goes for drive indexing. We can’t control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, so we turn them off.

Prefetch tries to predict what you will load the next time you boot the machine. We disable it because we want to know how the program runs without any of the files being cached, otherwise each test run we’d have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch, Superfetch loads often used programs into memory and is one of the reasons people consider Vista to be such a memory hog. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what you will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files being un-cached would result in skewed numbers. Again since we can’t control it we turn it off. Other than those 4 things which can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and do so out of our control, we leave everything else running.

Test Rig

 

 

Test Rig
Case Type NZXT Hades
CPU AMD Athlon 2 635
Motherboard

Asus M4A89GTD Pro
Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
Gigabyte 790XT-USB3
Gigabyte 790FXT A-UD5
Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3

RAM GSkill 4GB DDR3 1600 @ CAS 8
CPU Cooler Cooler Master TX-3
Hard Drives Western Digital SE16 640 GB
Optical Lite-On DVD R/W
GPU(s) Sapphire HD 5770 Vapor-X
Testing PSU Corsair HX-850

Test Suite

Synthetic Benchmarks & Games
Everest 5.0
Winrar 3.9
POV Ray
Excel
Blender
Cinebench R10
Vantage
SiSoft Sandra 2010
HD Tach
HD Tune Pro
ATTO
Far Cry 2

Overclocking

To overclock we slowly brought up the bus speed. We briefly tested to make sure we were stable then moved on. We slowly bumped up the voltage trying to reach the maximum speed possible. When we hit an unstable frequency we tried to stabilize the board. If we were unsuccessful, we lowered the speed and made sure the chip was stable at the lowered speed. Below is the CPU-Z screenshot.

The results we achieved were not too shabby. We were able to get 5 more MHz on the bus with the 890 GX, but overall 245MHz is a very respectable result.

ATTO

ATTO is a little long in the tooth but still provides a good method of checking hard drive performance. Since you’re comparing results from the same benchmark to other drives benched on the same software it provides a basis for comparison and in most cases provides reliable and reproducible results.

The 790 FX is right in the middle of the pack here. When the board is overclocked we don’t see any real world difference.

The 770 was magically better than all of the other boards. This is probably one of those random anomalies. The overclocked 790 FX was able to pull slightly ahead of the rest of the pack.

HD TUNE PRO

HD Tune Pro is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as: write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark. HD Tune Pro is a computer benchmarking application that can test the performances of any PC.

Here are some key features of “HD Tune Pro”:

  • Benchmark: measures the raw performance
  • Transfer Rate
  • Access Time
  • CPU Usage
  • Burst Rate
  • Hard Disk information which includes firmware version, serial number, disk capacity, buffer size, transfer mode
  • Hard Disk Health
  • S.M.A.R.T. Information (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)
  • Temperature
  • Power On Time
  • Copy text to clipboard
  • Copy screenshot to clipboard

We see here that the 890 GX boards score lower on burst here. It may be due to drivers or something else, but everything else looks normal. The overclocked 790 FX scored higher than any other board here.

HD Tach

HD Tach is a physical performance hard drive test which utilizes a special kernel mode VXD in order to get maximum accuracy by bypassing the file system. A similar mechanism is used in Windows NT/2000.

The HD Tach sequential read test is a little bit different from other benchmarks. Most benchmarks create a file on the hard drive and test within that file.

The problem is that modern hard drives use a zone bit recording technique that allows different read speeds depending on where the data is located. Data on the outside of the drive is much faster than data recorded on the inside. SSD’s are freed from this limitation due to their Nans Flash technology.

HD Tach reads from areas all over the hard drive and reports an average speed. It also logs the read speeds to a text file that you can load into a spreadsheet and graph to visually read the results of the test.

In addition to sequential read, HD Tach tests the drive’s random access time. Random access is the true measure of seek speed. Many drives advertise sub 10 millisecond seek speeds, but seek speeds are misleading.

Finally, HD Tach tests the drive burst speed. The burst speed is the speed that data can be accessed from the drive’s on-board read-ahead memory. This measures the speed of the drive and controller interface.

All of the motherboards are neck and neck here. In the real world you would not notice any difference between them.

Again, all of the boards are neck and neck. If you are using an SSD, especially a SATA 6 Gb/s SSD you would probably see more of a difference here.

Everest Ultimate

“EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.”

CPU AES

This integer benchmark measures CPU performance using AES (a.k.a. Rijndael) data encryption. It utilizes Vincent Rijmen, Antoon Bosselaers and Paulo Barreto’s public domain C code in ECB mode.

CPU AES test uses only the basic x86 instructions, the test consumes 48 MB memory, and it is Hyper Threading, multi-processor (SMP) and multi-core (CMP) aware.

CPU PhotoWorxx

This integer benchmark performs different common tasks used during digital photo processing.

It performs the following tasks on a very large RGB image:

• Fill

• Flip

• Rotate90R (rotate 90 degrees CW)

• Rotate90L (rotate 90 degrees CCW)

• Random (fill the image with random colored pixels)

• RGB2BW (color to black & white conversion)

• Difference

• Crop [EVEREST Version 2.10 and later]

This benchmark stresses the integer arithmetic and multiplication execution units of the CPU and also the memory subsystem.

CPU PhotoWorxx test uses only the basic x86 instructions, and it is Hyper Threading, multi-processor (SMP) and multi-core (CMP) aware.

CPU Queen

This simple integer benchmark focuses on the branch prediction capabilities and the misprediction penalties of the CPU. It finds the solutions for the classic “Queens problem” on a 10 by 10 sized chessboard.

CPU Queen test uses integer MMX, SSE2 and SSSE3 optimizations. It consumes less than 1 MB system memory and it is Hyper Threading, multi-processor (SMP) and multi-core (CMP) aware.

CPU ZLib

This integer benchmark measures combined CPU and memory subsystem performance through the public ZLib compression library Version 1.2.3 (http://www.zlib.net).

CPU ZLib test uses only the basic x86 instructions, and it is Hyper Threading, multi-processor (SMP) and multi-core (CMP) aware.

All of the stock clocked boards have similar performance here, but when overclocked the 790 FX is easily able to surpass the competition. 

Everest Memory

As with the CPU, the stock clocks are about the same. Since we are using a non Black Edition CPU when we increase the bus speed the memory speed is also increased.

Cinebench

“CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more. MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based). The resulting values among different operating systems are 100% comparable and therefore very useful with regard to purchasing decision-making. It can also be used as a marketing tool for hardware vendors or simply to compare hardware among colleagues or friends.”

All of the boards here scored similar. The 790 FX and 890 GX however did score a bit higher on the speed up ratio.

WinRar v. 3.9

This module in WinRar generates random data, which contains specially introduced redundancy, increasing the load to both the processor and memory. Data is then passed through RAR compression and decompression algorithms, and the output of the decompression algorithm is compared to the source data. If any differences are found, WinRar then reports “Errors found – Yes” in the command window. WinRar displays a size of processed data and compression speed, current and resulting, in kilobytes per second.

All of the boards where within megabytes, but when overclocked the 790 FX easily worked faster.

Sisoft Sandra

“SiSoftware Sandra (the System Analyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.”

We had very similar scores here on stock speeds. The overclocked 790 FX faired much better than the stock clocked boards.

As with the Arithmatic test, the overclocked 790 FX splattered the competition.

POV-Ray 3.7 Beta 25

The Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer was developed from DKBTrace 2.12 (written by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins) by a bunch of people (called the POV-Team) in their spare time. It is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux. The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package. These scenes can be modified so you do not have to start from scratch. In addition to the pre-defined scenes, a large library of pre-defined shapes and materials is provided. You can include these shapes and materials in your own scenes by just including the library file name at the top of your scene file, and by using the shape or material name in your scene. Since this is free software feel free to download this version and try it out on your own.

The boards are all fairly close to each other. The overclocked 790 FX still struggles to render the scene, but does a much better job than the stock clocked boards.

Microsoft Excel 2007

Monte Carlo Black-Scholes Option Pricing Test

Microsoft Excel is the widely known and most used spreadsheet application for the manipulation and calculation for number crunching. With Excel you can analyze and share information on small scale or the largest scale you can imagine. We’ve seen spreadsheets in every day use that contain literally tens of thousands of numbers and hundreds of equations. Bjorn3D uses two tests in Excel to determine CPU and Motherboard performance.

 

Big Number Crunch

This workload is from a 6.2 MB spreadsheet and executes about 28,000 sets of calculations. It uses the most common calculations in Excel, addition, subtraction, division, rounding and Square Root. It also analyzes statistical functions such as Min, Max Median, and Average. The calculations are done after the spreadsheet with a large data set is updated with new values and must recalculate a large number of data points.

The 790 FX is right in the middle of the pack once again. The overclocked board makes the calculations much quicker.

3DMark Vantage

For complete information on 3DMark Vantage Please follow this Link:

www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmarkvantage/features/

The newest video benchmark from the gang at Futuremark. This utility is still a synthetic benchmark, but one that more closely reflects real world gaming performance. While it is not a perfect replacement for actual game benchmarks, it has its uses. We tested our cards at the ‘Performance’ setting.

Currently, there is a lot of controversy surrounding NVIDIA’s use of a PhysX driver for its 9800 GTX and GTX 200 series cards, thereby putting the ATI brand at a disadvantage. Whereby installing the PyhsX driver, 3DMark Vantage uses the GPU to perform PhysX calculations during a CPU test, and this is where things get a bit gray. If you look at the Driver Approval Policy for 3DMark Vantage it states; “Based on the specification and design of the CPU tests, GPU make, type or driver version may not have a significant effect on the results of either of the CPU tests as indicated in Section 7.3 of the 3DMark Vantage specification and white paper.” Did NVIDIA cheat by having the GPU handle the PhysX calculations or are they perfectly within their right since they own Ageia and all their IP? I think this point will quickly become moot once Futuremark releases an update to the test.

 

The GPU score was increased slightly which could point to the 5770 being bottle necked at stock speeds. However, the difference isn’t much so maybe it wasn’t. The overall score and CPU score gain a decent amount.

Conclusion

The Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5 is a great addition to the 790 FX series of motherboards. It adds new technologies like USB 3 and SATA 6 GB/s which future proof it a bit. Of course this board lacks AMD’s new SB850, which technically puts it behind the times. However, the SB750 is certainly not old technology. With the addition of a USB 3 and the SATA 6 GB/s controller, the SB750 can easily keep up with the SB850 in terms of performance. The FX itself is better than the 890 GX as far as multi GPU configurations go. Not only does the 790 FX support three graphics cards, but it runs two in full 16x mode. The 890 GX however can only do 8x CrossFire. The difference between 8x and 16x Crossfire is marginal most of the time, so the 890 GX may be a better route to take. If you want to run three cards though, the 790 FX is the only way to go.

It is nice to see Gigabyte add some new technology to the 790 FX platform, but with the 890 FX just around the corner you are probably better off waiting for the 890 FX. We also understand that many of you just can’t wait, so for those who fit into that category this is looking like your best option. The bus overclocking was great which shows the overclocking strength of the board. You should have no issues running a black edition CPU at a very high frequency. If you are using a locked multiplier CPU then you will also find a pretty nice speed increase with this board.

OUR VERDICT:  Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5
Performance 8
Value 8
Quality 9
Features 8
Innovation 7
We are using an addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the rating system.
Total 7.5
Pro Cons

Great Performance

Great Overclocking

 No SB850 Chipset

A Little Pricey

 

Summary: The Gigabyte 790FXTA-UD5 adds the latest features to keep the 790 FX platform up to date. This board adds SATA 6GB/s and USB 3 which is a must for many enthusiasts. Not only that, it is also an amazing overclocker.

 

Motherboard Name RAM SB USB SATA Socket Price
Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 DDR3 750 2 3 Gb/s AM3 $185
MSI 790FX-GD70 DDR3 750 2 3 Gb/s AM3 $168
Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 DDR3 750 3 6 Gb/s AM3 $140
MSI 790GX-G65 DDR3 750 2 3 Gb/s AM3 $139
Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P DDR3 750 2 3 Gb/s AM3 $110
ECS A790GXM-A DDR2 750 2 3 Gb/s AM2+ $100
Asus M4A78T-E DDR3 750 2 3 Gb/s AM3 $128
Asus M4A79T Deluxe DDR3 750 2 3 Gb/s AM3 $179
MSI K9A2 Platinum DDR2 600 2 3 Gb/s AM2+ $126
MSI K9A2 CF-F V2 DDR2 600 2 3 Gb/s AM2+ $106
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