On the back of the motherboard, Gigabyte has equipped it with supporting plates for the south and Northbridge, as well as the CPU socket. We’ve previously seen plastic for stiffening the board when mounting large CPU coolers. This time, Gigabyte has chosen a larger metal plate to stiffen the board, which is right up the enthusiast alley.
The I/O panel is also something out of the ordinary. Here we see double outputs for 100/1 GB network connections. A whopping 6 USB ports is located on the back, which should be more than enough. The last 4 can be connected at the case front, depending on the options for this. Besides the 2 eSATA connections also on the board, everything looks normal. 6 sound connections have been fitted too.
BIOS: The Gigabyte board has all the usual options for adjusting the many connections. You still need to use Ctrl+f1 to access the ”exotic” parts of the chipset. Gigabyte has hidden all the optimizing features in the menu M.I.T. (Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker). Here, options for CPU, RAM, PCI-Express and HT etc., is found.
The board can be adjusted to increase the CPU frequency or to make the RAM work out of sync with the CPU.
It’s also possible to adjust the PCI-Express bus, CPU bus, HT bus and RAM bus. Adjusting voltage can be made on things like CPU, RAM, Chipset, PCI-Express and Hypertransport. Mostly this is done in steps of 0.05V, making it possible to get the exact settings for the board.
As a kind of safety feature, the high voltages are marked with red color, so the novice shouldn’t break anything.
Because of problems with the Phenom CPU’s at the start, one should keep an eye on new versions of the BIOS for this board among others. I didn’t experience any problems when stress testing, and with an AMD X2+ CPU.
Overclocking: As usual I saw that some standard overclocking software was bundled for the board. This isn’t something I have good experiences with, so I didn’t use it. Instead I moved on to the BIOS and tried to find the limit with the board and my 4000+ X2 CPU.
I slowly raised the FSB and lowered the Hypertransport frequency to compensate. This gave good results and I managed to raise the FSB with 270 MHz, which is a bit more than the last 790FX board I reviewed.