iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Gigabyte MA770-UD3 Motherboard

Decent mainstream.

August 29, 2009

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The motherboard is based on the AMD 770 chipset (AMD 770 Northbridge and SB700/710 Southbridge). There are six SATA/300 ports (drives connected to these ports can form RAID 0, 1, and 0+1). Just like all motherboards with modern chipsets for the AMD platform, this model has a single chipset-based IDE channel supporting two PATA/133 drives.

The board also has the following additional controllers:

  • Integrated audio (8-channel HDA codec Realtek ALC888), optical and digital S/PDIF Outs on the rear panel
  • Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek 8111C, PCIEx1) 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • FireWire (TI TSB43AB23, PCI) supporting three IEEE 1394a ports: two of them are installed on the rear panel as 4- and 6-pin connectors
  • System monitoring (ITE IT8720F), fully automatic fan speed control in BIOS (CPU and system fans) depending of their sensor readings. Manual control is available via Easy Tune. Speed control is available for 3- and 4-pin fans.

We assessed the analog output quality of the integrated audio system in the 16 bit 44 kHz mode using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.2.3 and the ESI Juli@ sound card.

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.02, -0.04 Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -88.6 Good
Dynamic range, dB (A): 88.7 Good
THD, %: 0.0016 Excellent
Harmonic distortion + noise, dB(A): -82.7 Good
Intermodulation distortion + Noise, %: 0.010 Very good
Channel crosstalk, dB: -88.5 Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %: 0.011 Very good

General performance: Very good.

It's the standard quality for this codec, even above average in some parameters. So if you are satisfied with the quality of analog audio output of the integrated codecs, you may do fine without a sound card. We should also mention S/PDIF Outs of both types on the rear panel, which expands the range of use of this integrated solution.



  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 810
  • RAM: 2 x Apacer DDR3-1333 CL9 (4 , DDR3-1333, 9-9-9-24-1T)
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (SATA, 7200rpm)
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD4850, 512 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 12801024 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 + DDR2-400 to DDR2-1066
HT bus frequency (multiplier) +  
Reference CPU frequency + 200-500 MHz
CPU multiplier + Cores and CPU NB
Core voltage + -0.600 - +0.600 V (CPU)
-0.600 - +0.600 V (CPU NB)
Memory voltage + +0.025 - +0.375 V
Chipset voltage + +0.025 - +0.375 V (NB)
+0.025 - +0.375 V (Southbridge)

The adjustment range of CPU voltage as well as some other parameters in BIOS depend on a given processor. We publish results for the Phenom II X4 810 CPU; F5 BIOS was used. As usual with Gigabyte motherboards, you can open full settings by pressing Ctrl+F1 in the main BIOS Setup menu.

This product provides a sufficient set of overclocking settings. All frequently used options are grouped in one section. Automatic restoration of default settings or last good settings works like a charm. You can also look into BIOS to adjust parameters.

CPU CPU Clock, MHz Reference clock (multiplier), MHz Core/CPU NB voltage (according to BIOS), V CPU NB frequency (multiplier), MHz HT bus frequency (multiplier), MHz Memory frequency, MHz Notes
Phenom II X3 720 (2.8 GHz) 3700 200 (x18.5) 1.48/1.30 2400 (x12) 2000 (x10) DDR2-1066 Increased CPU core and CPU NB multipliers
Phenom II X4 810 (2.6 GHz) 3315 255 (x13) 1.38/1.30 2550 (x10) 2040 (x8) DDR2-1020 Increased reference clock, reduced HT bus multiplier

This motherboard demonstrates standard overclocking results with a processor with the unlocked multiplier. But its results with the locked multiplier are absolutely unimpressive. The motherboard apparently has problems with increasing the reference frequency above 255-260 MHz, because we failed to squeeze more even after reducing the multipliers for HT bus, memory, and CPU NB below the usual level. To make up for this fact, we decided to overclock CPU NB to maximum and to return to the nominal memory frequency. It hasn't affected system stability (that is the problem lies exactly in support for high reference frequencies).

Performance and power saving

We decided to compare our motherboard with the ASRock K10N780SLIX3-WiFi motherboard based on the NVIDIA nForce 780a chipset.

Test Gigabyte MA770-UD3 ASRock K10N780SLIX3-WiFi
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 2:19 2:27
x264 encoding, min:sec 1:28 1:32
Crysis (High@1024x768), fps 42 44
Crysis (High@1280x1024), fps 40 40
FarCry 2 (Highest@1680x1050), fps 55.4 56.0
Devil May Cry 4 (Highest@1600x1200), fps 85 88

We've tested only several motherboards using our updated method so far. That's why we have limited reference material for comparison. So we can only say that this motherboard from Gigabyte probably corresponds to the average level. That is it reveals potential of the installed processor and memory. The motherboard from ASRock is formally outscored in the computing tests (its BIOS might have been optimized better). In return, its interaction with the graphics system is better -- a natural result for a motherboard with the chipset "for games".

Power consumption (entire system unit)

Phenom II X4 810 + Radeon HD4850 Gigabyte MA770-UD3 ASRock K10N780SLIX3-WiFi
Text editing, W (Cool'n'Quiet ON) 82-86 85-88
Text editing, W (Cool'n'Quiet OFF) 100 100
Playing FarCry 2 (Cool'n'Quiet OFF), W 177-213 177-206


The world crisis has its bright side. Top manufacturers have been competing primarily in the High-End segment only recently (whose motherboard is rigged better), but now they apparently pay attention to the budget segment. Manufacturers start to use proprietary technologies here, which they would have grudged before. And now fastidious users can expect bells and whistles even in an inexpensive motherboard.

The motherboard has been provided by the manufacturer.

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