iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H Motherboard

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  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 810
  • RAM: 2 x 2GB Apacer DDR3-1333 CL9 9-9-9-24-1T for Socket AM3 boards; 2 x 2GB GoodRAM PRO DDR2-1066 CL5 5-5-5-15-2T for Socket AM2+ boards
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (SATA, 7200rpm)
  • Graphics card: ATI RADEON HD4850, 512 MB GDDR3
  • PSU: AcBel ATX-550CA-AB8FB
  • OS: Windows Vista SP1 64-bit, Catalyst 9.2, latest chipset drivers


  • 7-Zip 4.65 x64
  • WinRAR 3.80
  • XviD 1.2.1
  • x264 r1129 x64
  • FarCry 2 (Ranch Medium)
  • Crysis (DX10, HOCbenchmark, VGA test, built-in demo)
  • Devil May Cry 4 (built-in benchmark)
  • World in Conlict (built-in benchmark)

To assess performance we measure time required to archive a 297MB set of 277 files of various types and convert a 636MB MPEG2 video using XviD and x264. We also measure frames per second in game demos. In FarCry 2 we run tests in 4 modes: low, medium, high and very high quality. The first three modes imply the aforesaid quality level, 1280x720 resolution, DX9 rendering, High Performance. The last mode implies: 1680x1050 resolution, Very High setting for both graphics and system, DX10 rendering. In Crysis we also use 4 modes at 1024x768 and 1280x1024 and run tests at Low and High quality in each mode. In Devil May Cry 4 we run two tests: 1280x720 (High DX9) and 1680x1050 (Super High DX10). In World in Conlict we run test in 4 modes: 1280x720 Low, 1280x720 Medium, 1680x1050 High, 1680x1050 Very High.

It's obvious which modes should be used with integrated graphics and which, with discrete graphics. Note that if a motherboard has no integrated graphics, performance tests are only used to check for serious layout or BIOS flaws and can be reduced to minimum. Vice versa, performance tests are indicative for motherboards with integrated graphics. And if a certain motherboard review lacks certain details, we might add respective test results to make up for it.

To assess capabilities of a motherboard and its BIOS, we overclock test CPUs (which ones depends on board's market segment) to a stable maximum with the help of Zalman CNPS9700 AM2 and Cooler Master Hyper Z600 coolers. At that we use all motherboard features, like CPU core voltage adjustments and, if needed, bus multiplier and clock adjustments (Hyper-Transport, CPU NB, etc.) For RAM we select a clock rate typical for this class of modules by adjusting its multiplier, or clock rate needed to maximize CPU core clock rate. The stability of an overclocked machine is assessed in Windows Vista with the help of AMD OverDrive stability test (all tests are run for 5 minutes). Note that since overclocking potential somewhat varies from one board to another, we are not focused on finding board's exact overclocking potential accurate to 1MHz. We just try to find out if a board hampers in CPU overclocking (due to insufficient voltage stabilizer power, etc.) and see how it performs in atypical modes, including automatic BIOS recovery in cases of overclocking issues (not requiring CMOS reset) and such.

Power consumption is assessed in the light mode (with text editor running) and in the heavy mode (FarCry 2, high quality, 1280x720). At that we enable processor's standard power-saving features. Also, if a board has proprietary power-saving features, we examine their efficiency separately.

BIOS overclocking settings Availability Notes
Memory timings +  
Memory frequency + DDR3-800 ~ DDR3-1600
HT bus frequency (multiplier) +  
CPU reference frequency + 200MHz ~ 500MHz
CPU multiplier + Cores and CPU NB
CPU core voltage + -0.600V ~ +0.600V (CPU)
-0.600V ~ +0.600V (CPU NB)
2.220V ~ 3.100V (CPU PLL)
Graphics core frequency + 200MHz ~ 2000MHz
SidePort frequency + DDR3-800 ~ DDR3-2000
Memory voltage + 1.275V ~ 2.445V
Chipset voltage + 0.90V ~ 1.60V (Northbridge)
1.37V ~ 1.80V (SidePort)
1.45V ~ 2.10V (PCIE/PLL)

The BIOS adjustment ranges of the CPU voltage, as well as some other parameters, depend on the given processor. We publish the results of our AMD Phenom II X4 810. We used BIOS F5 dated March 18, 2010.

Traditionally for Gigabyte motherboards, the complete list of options can be invoked by pressing Ctrl+F1 in the main menu. But the overclocking options, including voltages, are shown by default. Hidden are options you would rarely use.

The list of options is excessive -- another tradition among Gigabyte's mid-end and high-end motherboards. The BIOS shows current values of frequencies and voltages. This is especially useful during overclocking by means of reference frequency. Compared to similar competing products, the only drawback is that you can't save user profiles. On the other hand, the emergency settings reset feature works fine.

CPU Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8 GHz Phenom II X4 810 2.6 GHz
CPU frequency, MHz 3800 3796
CPU reference frequency (multiplier), MHz 200 (x19) 292 (x13)
Core/CPU NB voltage (according to BIOS), V 1.475/1.300 1.50/1.35
CPU NB frequency (multiplier), MHz 2400 (x12) 2336 (x8)
HT bus frequency (multiplier), MHz 2000 (x10) 2044 (x7)
Memory frequency, MHz DDR3-1333 DDR3-1168
Notes Increase core and CPU NB multipliers Increase reference frequency, reduce CPU NB and HT bus multipliers

Excellent results for both processors! Just a piece of advice: to provide stable operation at clock rates over 3.5GHz, it's reasonable to increase the voltage of Northbridge and CPU PLL by 0.02V ~ 0.04V. Especially if you're overclocking a CPU with a locked multiplier.

The graphics core easily overclocks from 700MHz to 1000MHz. And it's obviously not the limit, provided there's additional cooling. The video buffer frequency can also be raised, at least to the chip's rated 1600MHz.

Performance and efficiency

We compared GA-890GPA-UD3H with the previously tested ECS A890GXM-A based on the same chipset.

ATI Radeon HD 4850 Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H ECS A890GXM-A
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:17 2:20
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:15 1:15
HDPlay (DXVA Off/On), CPU load 26%/3% 26%/3%
Far Cry 2 (Very High @ 1680x1050), fps 62 55
World in Conflict (Very High @ 1680x1050), fps 29 30

Int. graphics Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H ECS A890GXM-A
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:17 2:19
Archiving with WinRAR, min:sec 1:15 1:17
HDPlay (DXVA Off/On), CPU load 26%/3% 29%/3%
Crysis (Low @ 1024x768), fps 36 36
World in Conflict (Low @ 1680x1050), fps 32 32
FarCry 2 (Low @ 1280x720), fps 35 34

Both boards perform on a par. That slump demonstrated by ECS A890GXM-A with the discrete graphics card in FarCry 2 was, most likely, caused by some malfunction during the test (unfortunately, we can't re-test it) or just by some BIOS bug. It's interesting that the 890GX chipset got very close to our more or less mid-end graphics card in HD video decoding tasks.

Enclosure power consumption

We measured power consumption with the wattmeter built into the PSU.

AMD Phenom II X4 810 + ATI Radeon HD 4850 Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H ECS A890GXM-A
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 84 71
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 101 95
Far Cry 2, W 170-206 148-184

AMD Phenom II X4 810 + int. graphics Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H ECS A890GXM-A
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet On, W 18 13
Text editing, Cool'n'Quiet Off, W 47 28
Far Cry 2, W 74-92 64-84

As you can see, ECS engineers obviously paid more attention to power efficiency.


GA-890GPA-UD3H is a decent motherboard, but, frankly speaking, Gigabyte has somewhat spoilt us by previous bestsellers based on AMD integrated chipsets. The today's motherboard doesn't look as excellent as Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-DS2H or Gigabyte GA-MA78G-DS3. Objectively, one drawback is the lack of eSATA. At the same time Gigabyte added an additional SATA controller -- something that even a top-class motherboard can do without. Anyway, GA-890GPA-UD3H will surely be in demand. At least because of its excellent overclocking potential and the convenient layout of graphics slots.

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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Design cont'd, features

Page 3: Overclocking, performance, consumption

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