Gigabyte stick with their usual style of packaging for the GA-790FXTA-UD5 and inside the box we find a number of user guides along with all of the cables and connectors which are required when building a system.
The board itself uses a blue PCB with 2oz copper layer for power and ground, solid capacitors, low RDS Mosfet and ferrite core chokes which all combine to make this part of Gigabytes Ultra Durable 3 family. As the model name suggests this is an AMD 790 FX based motherboard and as with all socket AM3 boards we have support for dual channel DDR3. Speeds of over DDR3-1866 are listed on the specifications which is a very impressive claim for an AMD system and we can install up to 16GB of memory.
This board has a split power plane 8+2 phase VRM which has a 24phase VRM power design that allows support of 140w CPUs, ensuring that the entire AM3 range is compatible.
Down at the bottom left of the board we find the add-in card slots. From top to bottom we have PCIe 1x, PCIe 16x, PCI, PCIe 16x, PCI, PCIe 8x, PCI. Two and three card CrossFire configurations are supported and the first two cards will run in 16x mode. Over at the right edge of the board are the eight SATA ports. The blue connectors use the AMD 750 Southbridge and allow Raid 0, 1, 5 and 10. The two white connectors use the Marvell 9128 SATA 6GB/s chip and support Raid 0, 1 and AHCI.
On the back panel of the system we have a large amount of connectivity. Running from left to right we have PS/2, Optical and Coaxial audio out, FireWire, 2x USB 2.0, 2x eSATA/USB combo connectors, mini Firewire, Dual Realtek 8111D GB LAN, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 and audio in/out (7.1 channel Realtek ALC889 with support for Dolby Home Theater).
Gigabyte use Award BIOS on their motherboards and allow the user complete control of the system. Every major configuration option we could need is available and overclockers will have plenty of potential thanks to settings such as CPU volts up to 1.975. Also available is Gigabytes Q-Flash utility which lets us update the BIOS quickly and easily from a USB drive. Finally the GA-790FXTA-UD5 features 2 BIOS chips which means we can recover from a failed flash or corrupt BIOS with ease.
Last month Intel launched their Z97 chipset, essentially an evolution of Z87, which in many cases brought new features such as SATA Express and M.2 compatibility to the mainstream desktop market. There was of course no new CPU at that time with the existing socket 1150 processors working without issue in the new boards. Since then though Intel launched (along with some lower spec models) the Core i7-4790K, a model which sits at the top of their mainstream platform. Today we see how it compares to various other models when installed on Gigabytes Z97X Gaming 5 and paired with PowerColors new dual core 290X Devil 13.
Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK vs. MSI Z97 Gaming 5 vs Asus Maximus VII Hero
It is probably fair to say that Intel don't stealth launch their products... sure they have NDAs but by the time those expire we know pretty much everything about a new product. Part of this is of their own...