The BIOS on the GA-890FXA-UD7 is the same as other GB motherboards. They all follow the Award layout. For most people buying any of the boards in the UD7 line-up the MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T) pages are where it is at.
For our testing we used the F2 version of the BIOS. The reason for the update was a few minor problems with memory and the Phenom II X6 1090T. When using the F1 BIOS the system would reboot randomly during updates, driver installs etc. Once that was past we were able to get in and play around.
On the MIT pages you have a good selection of options for overclocking and tweaking. The new Core Performance option in the BIOS works with the "T" series CPUs from AMD. This allows the board to dynamically increase the speed of half of the CPU cores for better single and dual threaded applications.
The voltage settings are a mix of direct input (although you still have to cycle through them) and offset. It was a little bit of an odd configuration to be perfectly honest.
The DRAM page is the typical one you find on a high-end AMD board. The memory dividers were a little limited, though.
The Advanced BIOS Features have both CPU and system side settings.
The Integrated Peripherals pages gives you the flexibility to tweak or even to shut down all the extras on the board.
On the PC Health Status pages you can set all of the warning options. At the top of the page is a setting for Hardware Thermal Control. We discovered that this was causing a very large issue with our overclocking tests. If you plan to overclock with this board we would recommend disabling this.
When we went to OC the GA-890FXA we ran into a very odd issue. Every time we pushed the bus over 240MHz the system would throttle the CPU back to a x4 multiplier. This would not be a big issue if the board would pull out of that, but no matter what load we put on it the board stayed at x4. We turned off Cool N Quiet and core performance boost and even Core Control to no avail. The system was still cutting back over 240MHz.
Then, looking in the PC Health page we noticed the Hardware Thermal Control setting. We had over looked this before as the CPU was never overheating. We disabled this setting and magically we were over 240MHz.
In the end we were able to hit a stable OC of 4.016GHz (251x16). This is not bad, although it did take us much longer to get to this point than normal.
You can see the validation for the GA-890FXA-UD7 here.
Easy Tune 6
As a part of all of our reviews now we are going to touch on any software based overclocking tools that may be included. With GIGABYTE this is going to be Easy Tune.
Here you can see your system status at a glance as well as overclock the CPU, memory and GPU fairly quickly.
The overclocking functions break down into Easy, Advanced and then Easy Boost. We played around with all three on this board and found them to be decent tools.
The GPU overclocking feature is something of a nice touch, although we did not use it at all during our testing.
The monitor tab is clean, although I wish there were a few more options for monitoring the temperatures and voltages.
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.
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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]