Loads of USB ports and PCI-E slots make this a fantastic AM3+ motherboard a must-buy for gamers.
AM3+, ATX, AMD 990FX chipset, supports: FX, Phenom II, Athlon II, Sempron 100
The 990FXA-UD5 is Gigabyte’s top of the range AM3+ socket motherboard and uses AMD’s 990FX chipset. As it’s a large ATX board, it comes with a range of features that make it perfect for overclockers and gaming enthusiasts.
One of the first things that you’ll spot about this motherboard board are the five PCI-E x16 slots. You can use three of them for graphics cards: using one or two will run the slots at x16 speed; installing three cards causes the primary slot to run at x16 speed, while the two other slots drop to x8 speed.
The other PCI-E x16 slots run at x4 speed and are designed for other expansion cards, although they’ll be blocked by a graphics card installed in the slot above. If that’s not enough, then there’s a PCI-E x1 slot, out of the way that won’t be blocked by a graphics card, and a legacy PCI slot.
As you’d expect from a high-end motherboard, there are four DDR3 DIMM memory sockets that support up to 32GB of RAM at speeds of 2,000MHz when overclocked. Storage isn’t’ going to be a problem either thanks to the eight SATA3 ports. This gives you enough room for all the hard disks you could want to install and the speed to take advantage of a fast boot SSD.
There’s also single PCI-E x1 and PCI slots for extra sound cards and USB expansion hubs if you need them, but with a grand total of ten USB ports on the back panel, two of which are USB3, and two USB and one USB3 header on the front, your USB support should be well-accounted for.
Elsewhere on the rear, there’s a FireWire port, two eSATA ports, an S/PDIF optical output, 6x analogue surround sound outputs, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a legacy PS/2 port. You won’t find any graphics outputs like HDMI and DVI-D, as the 990FX chipset doesn’t have any integrated graphics and AM3+ processors don’t have on-chip graphics.
It will get the best out of your CPU as well, as our AMD FX-8350 processor and 4GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM achieved 90 overall in our benchmark tests. This is exactly what we expect from this kind of processor, but its unwieldy Award BIOS menu is a little dated and it makes it fiddly to access the detailed overclocking options.
The Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 is one of the best AM3+ motherboards we’ve ever seen. It’s crammed full of features, and while we would have liked to have seen a few more USB3 ports for this price, that’s a minor issue. If you want the best, this is it and it wins a Best Buy award.
|FX, Phenom II, Athlon II, Sempron 100
|Processor external bus
|Chipset north bridge
|Chipset south bridge
|Passively-cooled north bridge
|Supported memory type
|Maximum memory speed
|1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
|PCI-E x16 slots
|Dual graphics architecture
|PCI-E x4 slots
|PCI-E x1 slots
|Serial ATA ports
|RAID chipset (max disks)
|AMD SB950 (6x SATA III, RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, JBOD)
|Wired network ports
|Realtek ALC889 (6x analogue out, optical S/PDIF)
|USB2 ports / headers
|Firewire ports / headers
|4x SATA, 1x SLI bridge
|Norton Internet Security (OEM)
Setup and Overclocking
|CPU clock max adjustment