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Gigabyte 990FX-Gaming AM3+ Motherboard Review

Rating: 8.0.

It seems like the AM3+ platform has been around forever, yet competitive value options on the CPU side mean that motherboard vendors are still battling for a slice of the pie with 970 and 990FX offerings. How do you make a chipset approaching its 5th birthday valid in 2016? Gigabyte takes the approach of adding valuable features such as 20Gbps M.2 PCIe NVMe connectivity, 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type-A & Type-C, and an enhanced audio solution.

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Despite its ripe age, the plentiful PCIe connectivity of AMD's 990FX Northbridge and SB950 Southbridge gives motherboard vendors compelling options for add-on devices. Realising the storage trends of modern PC builders, an M.2 connector supporting 20Gbps PCIe and SATA 6Gbps connections is built onto the board. There are also 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports to complete the show for modern storage connections.

Focusing more on the 990FX-Gaming's features, audio is built around Gigabyte's AMP-UP solution that features a replaceable op-amp for a customisable listening experience. Networking is handled by a Killer E2200 series NIC which is bolstered by its OS-based management software for gamers. Catering for the target audience, Gigabyte gives its 990FX-Gaming the G1 treatment which includes fancy heatsinks and a red-and-black colour scheme.

Gigabyte ticks long-time checkboxes for a strong power delivery system and multi-GPU support, whilst also giving users an array of modern features. Can Gigabyte's 990FX-Gaming prove itself as a worthy option for building a modern AM3+-based gaming machine?

Features:

  • Supports AMD AM3+/ AM3 Processor
  • Dual Channel DDR3, 4 DIMMs
  • Fast USB 3.1 with USB Type-C™ – The World’s Next Universal Connector
  • PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2 Connectors with up to 20Gb/s Data Transfer (PCIe NVMe & SATA SSD support)
  • 2-Way Graphics Support with Exclusive Ultra Durable Metal Shielding over the PCIe Slots
  • 115dB SNR HD Audio with Built-in Rear Audio Amplifier
  • Killer™ E2200 series Gaming Networks
  • High Quality Audio Capacitors and Audio Noise Guard with Ambient LED Trace Path Lighting
  • USB DAC-UP ports
  • APP Center Including EasyTune™ and Cloud Station™ Utilities
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ Technology

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17 comments

  1. Considering you used the new Wraith cooler from AMD, I’m surprised you didn’t include temps on your overclocking page. Maybe AMD told you not to? Kudos for including minimum fps though.

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  4. You can see temps over here: http://www.kitguru.net/components/cpu/luke-hill/150-gaming-cpu-amd-fx-8370-w-wraith-vs-intel-core-i5-6400/9/

    The FX 8370 hit around 53C under OC load, but was loud in doing so.

  5. It’s okay, Luke. There’s a reason he’s accusing – oops, I mean suggesting – that you’re shilling for AMD.

    Notice he didn’t have a problem when you didn’t include temps on the reviews of the Asus Maximus VIII Impact ( http://www.kitguru.net/components/motherboard/luke-hill/asus-maximus-viii-impact-z170-motherboard-review/10/ )

    Or the MSI X99A SLI Plus ( http://www.kitguru.net/components/motherboard/luke-hill/msi-x99a-sli-plus-motherboard-review/10/ )

    Or the ASRock Z170 Extreme4 (http://www.kitguru.net/components/motherboard/luke-hill/asrock-z170-extreme4-motherboard-review/9/ )

    Or the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 ( http://www.kitguru.net/components/motherboard/luke-hill/msi-z170a-gaming-m7-motherboard-review/10/ )

    But hey, at least you included them on the Asus Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1, right? Oh, no, wait, that was just motherboard temps. ( http://www.kitguru.net/components/motherboard/luke-hill/asus-sabertooth-z170-mark-1-motherboard-review/12/ )

    But no. Clearly AMD told you not to include temps on this review.

  6. Gigabyte did a great job with the motherboard but how many PCB layers does it come with. In the audio picture there seems to be 2 squares where I normally see the PCB layer count. The USB performance is partly hampered by the OS used in the review. I believe the results would have been very different with windows 8.1 due to native uasp. Good motherboard for all of those looking to upgrade existing AM3+ builds.

  7. I own a MSI 970A SLI KRAIT EDITION, is working well, but i don`t think that is a good idea build AM3+ Motherboard this days, we will have Zen before 2017, i will update

  8. Graziano Schrödinger Lenzi

    I have this MB and AMD FX-9590 and I have no complain about cpu-related stability: at stock speed and all power features like C6, c&c, ecc it is really stable: Prime95 stress tests were really good and temperature never went in overheated zone, while other MBs did.

    The really bad, bad, bad issues are BIOS related: system is unable to use some manual settings. The same problem related to multiplier explained in this review occurred in DRAM settings: XMP profile work perhaps, but manual settings are as goods as comments: system doesn’t use manual DRAM voltage settings, I’m not even sure manual timigs are taken into consideration.
    Actually I’m using failsafe ram configuration because of that.

    Any other experience related?

  9. Haha!

  10. Yeah I have been having difficulty trying to overclock RAM. I can run at 1866 but trying for 2133 like in review. Going to try adjusting voltages and try 2 dimms instead of 4. I am using the same CPU as you. My Asus CHVF-Z was much better for RAM oc, but couldn’t fit 2 triple slot cards without blocking the motherboardcase connectors. It was also missing the nice reinforced Pcie slots and the M2 slot that comes with the G1. I’m very happy with it overall. Handles the 220W beast no problem.

  11. Graziano Schrödinger Lenzi

    Gigabyte sent me a beta firmware to help ram issues.
    Fact is, it works, BUT…
    Yeah, to run at 2133 you need to use 2 banks only. This is bad.
    And… I am able to run at 1600 x 4 banks, it is good, but when I set bios at 1866 it still runs at 1600.

    N.B.: related to temperatures, I put a 140 fan running at minimum, perpendicular to VRM heatsink, having air flowing thru heatsink: result is 10°C less in gaming.
    Is was worth the try.

  12. I changed the voltage and took out 2 sticks. Running stable at 2133. I ran 4 sticks with 2 different brands at 1866 no problem, on original bios. Don’t use the xmp profile. Make a custom one.

  13. just picked this MB up for $120 from Newegg +$10 rebate so $113 after rebate and shipping. I hope it gives my comp life until Zen comes out and is settled in..

  14. How did you get the fx 9590 to run on it; my system is a new build and says the cpu is incompatible with the mb?

  15. Graziano Schrödinger Lenzi

    It worked from beginning.
    Or BIOS has to be re-flashed, or CPU is not well mounted.

  16. Thanks Graziano, i’ll give them a try.

  17. I’m looking at doing a water cool loop with this mother board and would love to include the vrm and nb as they get ridiculously hot I find. Is it hard to remove the heatsinks covering those and would you know of any water blocks that would fit? having a near impossible time locating any. Spectacular review as usual!