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AMD FX 8150 Black Edition 8-Core Review (with Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7)

We have reviewed the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 motherboard before, but it is well worth a recap for today’s review. It is fully loaded, offering support for DDR3 memory up to 2000mhz and 2,3 and 4 way AMD CrossfireX and Nvidia SLI configurations. The board also includes support for SATA 6GB/s, IEEE 1394a and USB 3.0 devices.

It is shipped in a large, brightly coloured box with the focus on the stylishly crafted gold and gun metal coloured heatsink. There is a list of specifications along the bottom of the box, ideal for browsing in a store.

The box is a gatefold design which opens up to detail selling points, such as the power efficiency, support for 4 way SLI and Crossfire and USB 3 and SATA 3 connectivity. Gigabyte also detail the boards design, featuring Japanese solid capacitors and Ferrite Core chokes which are rated to 50,000 hours.

The bundle is comprehensive, including a manual, driver and software disc, I/O backplate, SATA cables and several stickers for a case. Additionally, there are a plethora of SLI and Crossfire cables in the box: 3 way SLI bracket, 4 way SLI bracket, single SLI cable and two Crossfire cables.

The 990FXA-UD7 is a very attractively designed board, with eye catching gold and silver heatsinks.

The board has 6 PCI E x16 slots. Two of them run at x16, two x8 and two x4.

Gigabyte say: “For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16_1 slot; if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots. The PCIEX8_1 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 slot and the PCIEX8_2 slot with PCIEX16_2. The PCIEX16_1/PCIEX16_2 slot will operate at up to x8 mode when the PCIEX8_1/PCIEX8_2 is populated.”

Along the bottom of the board are three USB 2.0 headers, a single USB 3.0 header, a FireWire header and the front I/O audio connector. There are only three CPU fan headers on the board, which still stuns me, even a few months later. This is a high end board, not a budget model.

Along the bottom of the board are 8 SATA ports. All of these ports are SATA 6GBp/s capable. The two grey ports on the right are handled by the Marvel 88SE9172 controller while the other six are powered by the onboard AMD SB950 South Bridge controller. Next to the SATA ports is a diagnostic debug readout which is used for troubleshooting in case of any problems.

The motherboard can support memory with speeds at 1066mhz/1333mhz/1600mhz/1866mhz and 2000 mhz (OC). A total of 32GB of memory can be installed and obviously it is a dual channel memory architecture.

Gigabyte include a cover over the reset CMOS button to prevent accidental activation. They have also included a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header to aid with hardware based security.

The back panel connectors include: 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector, 1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector, 1 x IEEE 1394a port, 7 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports, 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports, 1 x eSATA/USB Combo connector, 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector, 1 x RJ-45 port, 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone).

Above, the AMD FX 8150 Black Edition engineering sample ‘locked and loaded’.

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