The GA-890FXA-UD7 is a very busy board. The ATX form factor has been pushed to the limit to get everything on. There are a full six PCI x16 mechanical slots on the board. Combine this with all the USB, Firewire, fan and other headers and things get a little cramped and cluttered.
Looking at the area around the CPU socket and RAM slots, we find more of the cramped style from the 890FXA. This is not completely a bad thing, though. GB has managed to stuff quite a bit in this area, including a PATA and Floppy port. These are things that many now leave out.
It is also important to recognize that AMD's clinging to the ZIF socket hinders board makers. The need for the large plastic bracket for cooling means less area to put capacitors and chokes etc. GB also moved the power and reset buttons up next to the RAM and 24-pin ATX power connector. This makes them easier to use on the typical test bench.
Take a close look at the image above. You can see just how cramped the board is right here. The average sized hand (fingers) does not fit easily into this small space. It makes attaching the 8-pin Aux ATX power cable something of a pain. The PSU that we use has this connector split so that you can easily use it with 4-pin connectors (as with many PSUs). In this case it was a hindrance and made connecting things a pain.
In the shot above we see the heart of the board level cooling system. This is a combination cooler, though. GB has designed it to work with either water cooling or air.
If you do not have access to, or do not want to use water cooling, you can simply remove the water block from the board.
From there you attach the Silent Pipe 2 cooler. This gives a large surface area to cool down the major heat generating components. There is a small problem, though. If you place a GPU that generates a lot of heat, like a GTX 480 or a HD 5970, the Silent Pipe 2 gets quickly saturated and loses its efficiency.
The Silent Pipe 2 also crowds the primary PCIe x16 slot and renders a fan header useless. But for all that it is still a good option. In this same image we get a clear picture of the six PCIe x16 slots. As we mentioned, not all at x16 electrical; you can see that slots two, three, four and six are only x8 max by the pins inside the slots. This leaves slots one and five as the only x16 electrical slots on the board.
As you might guess, the recommended slots for Quad Crossfire are one, three, five and six. That gives you x8 across the cards from the documentation provided in the manual.
Looking at the opposite side of the board from the peripheral slots, we find the six SATA 3.0 ports, GIGABYTE's G-SATA ports (both SATA II), a pair of diagnostic LEDs and also a clear CMOS button that has a plastic cover over it. This cover prevents accidental pressing, but gets easily covered by any long graphics card put into PCIe slot one.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [The Box and What's Inside]
- Page 3 [The Motherboard]
- Page 4 [BIOS and Overclocking]
- Page 5 [Test System Setup and Comments]
- Page 6 [Synthetic Tests - Part I]
- Page 7 [Synthetic Tests - Part II]
- Page 8 [Synthetic Tests - Part III]
- Page 9 [Real-World Tests - Part I]
- Page 10 [Real-World Tests Part II]
- Page 11 [Power Usage and Heat Tests]
- Page 12 [Final Thoughts]