With the advent of all singing and all dancing graphical BIOS interfaces and UEFI implementations, Gigabyte was slow off the mark. Their first iterations were observed in X79 - so while their main competitors were enjoying the highlife since P67 and Sandy Bridge, Gigabyte was always playing catch-up. This is, as a result, also seen on their 9-series motherboards, as we have nothing more to look at than a very simple Award software implementation.
We've got the black PCB which looks great along with the little highlights of blue throughout the board that as always lets us know it's part of the UD5 family. You can see the black color scheme goes throughout the whole board and it's nice to see there aren't some random colors thrown in for the slots.
Moving in closer, we've got a legacy PCI slot, single PCIe x1 slot and five PCIe x16 slots. Starting from the left, the PCIe x16 configuration is x16 / x4 / x16 / x4 / x8. The board supports three-card CrossFireX and SLI, so in that configuration the setup would be x16 / x16 / x8. Considering the price point of the board, that's pretty awesome. Along with that you still have the PCIe 1x slot if you have any devices that make use of that connection.
The whole backbone of a system is the power plane – the part of the motherboard that distributes the power to where it is needed and gets everything going. Using a series of FETs and other utilities, the board has to deliver a clean source of power to ensure stability of its components, and thus also the longevity. In this instance, the CPU is an excellent component requiring stable voltages to run at required speeds. Load Line Calibration is a feature on motherboards that reduces voltage drop across the processor at high loads, and to ensure that the processor has enough voltage to cope with the extra requirements.
Also around here we've got our BIOS battery and next to that, the main 24-Pin ATX power connector. The only other bit that stands out around here is the single fan header next to our main ATX power connector.
The Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 does not immediately jump out in terms of looks. The board sports the Gigabyte higher end black PCB and slots, and is combined with silver heatsinks that feel relatively substantial. With the AM3/AM3+ socket being the size that it is, there should not be any trouble installing substantial CPU coolers, though as with previous Gigabyte models, the DRAM slots seem to be further in from the edge of the board compared to other companies designs. This should not have much effect on the overall usage of the board.
Finishing up with the I/O side of things, we've got from the left, a PS/2 combo port and two USB ports. Optical out, two more USB 2.0 ports, FireWire off the VIA VT6308 and eSATA off the Marvell 88SE9172 chip. We've got two more USB 2.0 ports and another eSATA port followed by two USB 3.0 ports running off the Etron EJ168 controller. We've got a further two USB 2.0 ports and Gigabit networking off the Realtek RTL8111E chip.
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