The GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H uses an Award BIOS, which has a fairly clean layout. For the most part you will be spending your time in the M.I.T. (Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker) section. This area gives you all of the most common settings to improve performance.
One of the first places you might want to head is to take a look at the IGP (internal graphics processor). Here is where you can push the HD 4290 embedded in the 890GX. You have different options for memory performance as well as the ability to overclock the actual GPU.
Under the DRAM settings menu you can adjust the timings as well as setup ganged or unganged modes for memory performance stability. Although the timings here show manual settings, the only settings we adjusted for our review were the four major ones to match the stated timings on the Kingston DDR3 (9-9-9-24). The rest we set to auto.
Other areas of interest are the integrated peripherals and advanced BIOS features menu. Interestingly enough there is another link to the IGP (which AMD calls the IGX).
When the 890GX launched we only had a C2 stepping version of the Phenom II X4 955. This limited our overclocking in a very serious way. We were not able to hit over 3.6GHz (227x16). The CPU simply would not do it.
This time things are different; we have a C3 stepping Phenom II X4 965. This new CPU allowed us to hit a fairly decent 4.08GHz on air (240x17). Over that we found that highly threaded loads (like Cinebench R11.5 and LightWave) would fail in a spectacular way. We are looking into the reasons for this as we feel we should be able to get higher levels of performance from the 890GX and this board.
You can see the validation for our overclocking here.
As is now a common practice, GB has their own Windows based overclocking tool; they call this Easy Tune 6. The layout is fairly well done and when we tested it out we got quite a bit of flexibility in what settings we could tinker with. One feature that I particularly like is the temperature monitor page. It allowed me to keep track of the X4 965 while I had it up at 4.08GHz.
As all overclocking results are dependent on the hardware you use, your results may vary.
Results of our overclocking tests are included in the performance section with the stock scores.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.