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June 27, 2013

GIGABYTE Rolls Out 990FXA-UD7 Rev 3.0, with Updated Feature-Set

GIGABYTE created UEFI-equipped revisions of most of its socket AM3+ motherboards with the advent of FX "Vishera" processors last year, but held back with its flagship motherboard for the platform, the 990FXA-UD7. The company released an updated revision of the motherboard, dubbed 990FXA-UD7 Rev 3.0, completely skipping "Rev 2.0." While the new board is essentially laid out similar to its predecessor, a lot has changed. 

To begin with, its based on GIGABYTE's newer (though not latest) Ultra Durable 4 construction. A 10-phase high-amperage VRM powers the AM3+ socket, which appears to be ready for AMD's FX-9000 series CPUs for overclockers. The CPU VRM uses driver-MOSFETs, although not quite the PowIRStage chippery we find on Ultra Durable 5 motherboards. A thicker, chunkier heatsink is used to cool these driver-MOSFETs and the AMD 990FX northbridge. This cluster of heatsinks is connected to the one that cools the AMD SB950 southbridge over a heat pipe. The AM3+ socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, which support up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2000+ MHz memory.

Expansion slots on the 990FXA-UD7 Rev 3.0 include four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots wired to the 990FX northbridge (x16/NC/x16/NC or x16/NC/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8); two additional PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots (electrical gen 2.0 x4, wired to the southbridge); and a legacy PCI. On the storage connectivity front, you get six SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the southbridge, all assigned as internal ports, two internal SATA 6 Gb/s ports from a Marvell 88SE9172 controller, and a pair of eSATA 6 Gb/s ports from another Marvell 88SE9172. A pair of Etron EJ168 chips give the board a total of four USB 3.0 ports, two on the rear panel, two by header. 

Other connectivity include 8-channel HD audio with optical and coaxial SPDIF (Realtek ALC889 CODEC), a gigabit Ethernet interface (Realtek 8111F), FireWire, PS/2 mouse/keyboard combo, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports. Unlike its predecessor, the 990FXA-UD7 Rev 3.0 is driven by AMI UEFI BIOS, enhanced by GIGABYTE's dual-UEFI technology, which protects against failed BIOS updates. The new revision should cost the same as its predecessor, around the US $200 mark.