Gigabyte 78LMT-USB3 review
This budget AM3+ motherboard doesn’t have SATA3 or many expansion slots, but USB3 support is good to see
Review Date: 10 Mar 2013
Price when reviewed: £40
Reviewed By: Katharine Byrne
The 78LMT-USB3 is one of Gigabyte’s budget AM3+ motherboard that uses AMD’s low-end 760G chipset and supports its FX, Phenom II and Athlon II processors. This chipset lies at the complete opposite end of the spectrum compared to AMD’s top range 990FX chipsets and, as such, has fewer features.
The biggest omission here is its lack of SATA3 support. Instead, you have six SATA2 ports, which means that the motherboard will support plenty of storage, but the downside is your disks won't be as fast. For mechanical hard disks this isn't too much of a problem, as they struggle to use SATA3 speeds, but it's very limiting for SSDs, which require the faster SATA standard to get the most out of them.
Although fast internal storage may be out of the question, the motherboard at least supports super-fast external storage thanks to its titular USB3 support. This is a fairly rare sight on budget motherboards, but the 78LMT-USB3 has two USB3 ports on the rear and one USB3 header. It also has four USB ports and two USB headers, along with a Gigabit Ethernet port, a legacy PS/2 port and three 3.5mm audio outputs on the back panel.
This motherboard is one of the few that has integrated onboard graphics thanks to its Radeon HD 3000 GPU. It will struggle to play games, although it's fine for general desktop use. With VGA, DVI-D and HDMI graphics outputs, you can use a wide-variety of monitors, which is good to see.
Despite measuring the standard 244x244mm for a micro-ATX board, it doesn’t have much room for expansion. There’s one PCI-E x16 slot for an external graphics card, but this will obscure its single PCI-E x1 slot, leaving you with just one other legacy PCI slot.
It's good to see four DDR3 DIMM memory slots that support up to a maximum of 32GB of RAM. This is more than plenty for anyone. We're pleased to say that this old chipset still provided decent performance in our benchmarks. Our AMD FX-8350 processor and 4GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM scored 89 overall in our multimedia benchmarks. This is in-line with what we expect from this kind of processor.
One word of caution: the latest processor support was only introduced with BIOS version F3, so you may have to perform an update to get support for your chosen model. This will require a supported processor to do. Gigabyte's website has a full list of supported processors and the required BIOS version.
There's no UEFI, and an old-fashioned Award BIOS instead. It's a little clunky when you're used to the new system, but perfectly functional and provides access to overclocking settings if you want to squeeze a bit more performance out of your components.
Its two USB3 ports makes the 78LMT-USB3 a great buy if you’re not too fussed about its lack of SATA3 support. At this price it's hard to argue, but if you want to use an SSD now or in the future, we recommend spending a bit more money to get a SATA3-equipped motherboard.
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