The Gigabyte 890FXA-UD7 is a premium AM3 motherboard, and enthusiasts will no doubt be looking at it as an option for AMD’s Thuban hex-core chips, particularly if SATA III and USB 3.0 are on the wish list of upgrade features.
In terms of layout and functionality, the UD7 is very good, although there are a few niggles, such as the SATA ports being located at the bottom of the board which is unfriendly for tall full-tower cases. The area adjacent to the DIMM slots is awfully crowded with the 24-pin power connector, along with the inclusion of a dated PATA port, and the onboard power/reset buttons end up being harder to access unless you’re on an open bench setup. The Southbridge also tends to get hot if overclocking and not actively cooled with a fan. Lastly, we’re perplexed by the inclusion of the waterblock on the NB; it doesn’t really serve much purpose since the block sits on the fins and not the chip itself. These are minor issues though, and are by no means any sort of dealbreakerfor the UD7; in fact, this board is very capable and impressive.
In terms of performance features, the On/Off charge support is a welcome and unique addition for those of you with iPhone or iPad devices, for example. The increased power output on the USB 2.0/3.0 is also innovative and helpful in avoiding stability issues with your peripherals. Easy Tune 6 is extremely handy when fine tuning your overclock. The SATA 6G and USB 3.0 can clearly harness the power of a fast SSD. The 890FX and SB850 offer bundles of bandwidth, far more than Intel’s X58 or P55, so there is some amazing connectivity and performance potential here. And the Core Unlocking feature is icing on the cake for those of you who may be looking to unless the additional power of a handcuffed CPU.
The build quality here is also very well done; Gigabyte has been consistent over the last several years in establishing themselves as one of the top players in the marketplace. The Ultra Durable 3 designation isn’t just marketing hype; this board is build solidly, and can withstand the punishment from extreme cooling as we saw during our sub-zero benching runs.
Before the release of the Crosshair IV Extreme, the 890FXA-UD7 was the most expensive motherboard available for socket AM3. Now, however, it is not. It is now the most inexpensive board for 4-way Crossfire. Of course, if 4-way Crossfire is on the menu, then it’s easy to doubt that cost effectiveness is all too important.
The 890FXA-UD7 is available for approximately $245 USD, which sits in the upper range for AM3 motherboards that feature SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0. Interestingly, the very capable Gigabyte UD5 is considerably less money and has most of the featurs and performance, so we think the UD7 does have a few superfluous things that unnecessarily add to the cost, with the exception of the 4-way Crossfire which is a rare setup.
The Gigabyte 890FXA-UD7 is a great motherboard, running rock solid and offering something for everyone, from the novice to the hardcore overclocker. With a smart layout for the most part, great performance, extensive features, and ease of use, the UD7 is a very good choice if you’re looking for a new 890FX board.