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Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 Review - Armchair Empire

Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 Review

  • 8/10
    Overclocking - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Compatibility - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Performance - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Stability - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Expansion - 8/10
7.8/10

We Recommend the Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 For

We would not recommend building a brand new machine using this motherboard and the AM3+ socket simply because of the brand new Ryzen processors. However, if you find a good cheap and used FX-8350 or 8320 chip and want to pair it with a decent motherboard, go with this one. It is currently the best rated AM3+ motherboard and has already proven its worth.

GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Storage Interface:6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors,Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5,RAID 10 and JBOD, 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1
  • Expansion Slots: 2 x PCI Express x16 slot running at x16 ,1x PCI Express x4 slots, 2 x PCI Express x1 slot, 1x PCI slots
  • Memory: 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory.

Introduction

Using an AMD FX CPU today is like opting to start last at a marathon and intentionally coming last. FX CPUs are now a decade old, and they cannot match the performance of current generation Core i3 processors let alone the latest Ryzen 5 processors. Nevertheless, if you need a motherboard to go with your AMD FX CPU, then the 990FX chipset is what you should get. This Gigabyte motherboard is designed for serious overclocking, and that is how you should be using your FX CPU today.

For less than $100, this is the cheapest 990FX motherboard currently on the market with the best reviews. With newer tuning abilities, this motherboard will easily run two graphics cards in SLI or Crossfire configuration. Though the FX series and AM3+ socket are nearing their death, if you really need an AM3+ motherboard, get this one. It will help you boost your CPU benchmarks by at least 20% in single thread performance.

Specifications

Probably the last 990FX chipset to get manufactured, the Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 is a slight update on the previous generations of the GA-990FXA. This motherboard supports AM3/AM3+ series processors and provides high-TDP CPU support with 3 PCIe interfaces supporting dual way Crossfire and SLI. It comes with 6 SATA3 ports and RAID 0/1/5/10 support. A total of two USB 3.0 slots to the back with Power Off fast-charging USB ports colored separately Blue. This motherboard can handle water Cooled AIOs and many fans though there are limited headers to connect external fans.

It offers 4 DIMM slots of DDR3 rated at 1.5V each and supported OC frequencies of 2000/1866 MHz though to achieve these speeds you need to use an AM3+ processor. As for audio, it offers Dolby Surround sound using Realtek ALC1150 codec.

Our Review

Like we mentioned previously, the only real reason to buy this motherboard is if you are an enthusiast who loves building and benchmarking PCs or already has a compatible AM3/AM3+ processor at hand. Regardless, the Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 is an excellent motherboard considering how old the technology is. Yes, you have to settle for DDR3 memory though with AM3+ processors you can use the overclocked 2000MHz modules that come close to DDR4 stock speeds and benchmarks.

Another excellent feature of this motherboard is the onboard M.2 socket that allows you to add a modern M.2 SSD. That is a great addition as a single M.2 SSD can make a huge difference in performance. Naturally, being an AMD motherboard, it works great with gaming even though the technology is outdated. Unless you plan on using a 1070 or 1080 GTX graphics card, there should be no bottlenecking due to the AM3+ processors or the motherboard.

In various benchmarks using this motherboard at its highest RAM configuration, an overclocked 9590 processors operating at 4.7GHz with an AIO liquid cooler, we observed stable performance and relatively low temperatures across the board. Yes, we used an infrared heat gun with this motherboard (it does not have onboard temperature sensors though the CPU has a temperature gauge).

This motherboard has no light scheme. Back then AMD boards did not provide LED strips as default like they do now. Regardless, the fact that in our benchmarks we came pretty close to Core i3 6th generation processors suggests that this motherboard is quite capable of matching current day gaming performance and normal usage. You are limited by choice of processor, and though a 9590 is hard to come by, you can easily find a used 8350 or 8320 AMD processor for less than $50, which makes this combination the cheapest possible gaming rig.

Games do not really demand much from the CPU today. They are mostly GPU intensive and unless you play real time strategy games or massive titles such as Ashes of Singularity, this particular setup of the AM3+ processor with the Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 should serve you for at least another couple of years.

However, we still suggest spending another ~$100 and skipping this generation of AMD processors. You can even settle for a B350 motherboard and a Ryzen 5 1400 if you are on a tight budget.

Pros

  • Still in production with support from Gigabyte. The motherboard has a stable UEFI BIOS and decent overclocking potential.
  • Works with AM3 and AM3+ chipsets.
  • Will work with any DDR3 memory module though speeds above 1866MHz require an AM3+ processor.
  • Cheap and reliable design that has stood the test of time.
  • Allows SLI and Crossfire with up to two cards.
  • 32GB of memory support.

Cons

  • Outdated technology that will not match up to the cheapest configuration available today.
  • Gigabyte can pull support for this motherboard any day now that AM4 motherboards are available for almost the same cost.
  • 990FX is a high-end chipset from yesteryears and as such is best coupled with a good AM3+ processor. This purchase only makes sense if you have a spare AM3+ chipset lying around.

Conclusion

It isn’t always we review an old technology. With new gods ruling the heavens now, why are we appraising the old gods? Well, the Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 happens to be one of our favorites from when AMD AM3+ processors were introduced as a cheaper alternative for gamers worldwide. It continues to hold its own if you only consider gaming performance at 1080p or less. And if you are really on a tight budget, this is a decent bet provided you can source components at lower than the market price.

The Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 might be years old, but it continues to gather rave reviews for its simplicity and current generation offerings such as the M.2 slot, dual PCIe 16x slots and 4 DIMM slots with support up to 32GB.