Gigabyte 870A-UD3 – Features

In terms of features the Gigabyte 870A-UD3 is a far more serious product than Asrock's budget offering. In place of the AMD 880G/SB710 configuration, the Gigabyte 870A-UD3 employs the AMD 870/SB870 chipset combination. The AMD 880G and 870 chipsets are almost identical spec-wise, with the only difference being the integrated Radeon HD 4250 graphics engine which is not supported by the 870.

That aside, Gigabyte has decided to slap an extra $10 on the price tag and offer a number of notable features not found on the Asrock 880GMH/USB3 -- features such as Firewire and dedicated eSATA ports.

Using the AMD SB850 south bridge the Gigabyte 870A-UD3 provides six SATA 6Gb/s ports with support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID5, RAID 10, and JBOD, giving users a great deal of flexibility. Besides the SATA support offered by the SB850 south bridge chip, Gigabyte has also included the Gigabyte SATA2 and JMicron JMB362 chips.

The Gigabyte SATA2 controller (a re-labeled JMicron JMB363) offers an IDE connector and a pair of SATA 3Gb/s ports. Meanwhile, the JMicron JMB362 serves up an additional two SATA 3Gb/s connectors used to provide the board's eSATA support. This degree of storage expansion is incredible for a sub-$100 motherboard.

Not only does the Gigabyte 870A-UD3 delivers on the storage front, but it's also quite impressive when it comes to connectivity. Alongside the twelve USB 2.0 ports provided by the SB850 south bridge are a pair of USB 3.0 ports courtesy of the NEC D720200F1 controller, as well as a T.I. TSB43AB23 chip providing three Firewire (IEEE 1394a) ports.

An interesting feature that Gigabyte has added to all their new AMD 8-series motherboards is called "3x USB Power Boost". This unique feature is able to efficiently regulate output over the full voltage range, which greatly enhances USB device compatibility. In addition, dedicated lower resistance fuses ensure lower voltage drops and provide more stable and plentiful power delivery.

Like the Asrock 880GMH/USB3, the Gigabyte 870A-UD3 relies on the popular Realtek ALC892 audio codec to deliver 7.1 channel high definition audio. However, unlike the former it features all six audio jacks and S/PDIF in/out.

Providing network support is the Realtek 8111D Gigabit Ethernet controller that relies on the PCI Express bus.

Gigabyte also included a way to unlock the dormant cores of certain AMD processors, a feature that was denied by the SB850 south bridge. With this users should have the ability to turn a Phenom II X2 into a full blown quad-core processor -- something we will be testing later on.