CES 2010: Gigabyte motherboard product line preview
Subject: Motherboards | January 10, 2010 - 03:00 PM | Steve Grever
UPDATE: We have posted a video walk through of the Gigabyte product lineup hosted by Gigabyte's Tim Handley.
Today we got an in-depth preview at Gigabyte's newest line of motherboards sporting Intel's H55, H57, and P55A chipsets. The P55A and X58A-based boards support USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s that have made pretty big waves here at CES and we think should breakthrough into the mainstream market in 2010.
The Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 AM3 motherboard includes AMD's 790FX chipset and SATA 6GB/s using Marvell's SE9128 controller. This board includes three PCI-E x16 slots that support ATI CrossfireX graphics solutions. Gigabyte also added a little more performance to the board's memory support that maxes out at DDR3 1866. The GA-790FXTA-UD5 also has the NES Superspeed USB 3.0 controller that brings data transfer rates up to 5 gigabytes per second.
The GA-P55A-UD6 is an upgraded version of the GA-P55-UD6 board we reviewed last year, but includes USB 3.0 support, SATA 6GB/s, and a 24 phase power design like many boards we previewed today. This board also have some unique overclocking features that help users manipulate the board's voltages, which should be a key selling point for overclockers.
The GA-P55A-UD7 is Gigabyte's new flagship P55 board that features better memory support at DDR3 2600 and three PCI-E slots that support SLI and CrossfireX graphics cards. Most of the other features are identical to the GA-P55A-UD6 though the UD7 model does integrate a PLX PCIe bridge chip to increase performance of the USB 3.0 and SATA 6G features.
In the micro ATX form factor arena, Gigabyte used Intel's new H55M chipset on two of their newest mATX boards called the GA-H57M-USB3 and GA-H55M-USB3. The GA-H57M-USB3 can handle the latest i3 and i5 LGA 1156 processors and includes an integrated HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort interfaces for high definition video playback.
The GA-H55M-USB3 has many of the same features as the H57M version above, but doesn't include dual PCI-E slots with ATI CrossfireX support.
We also saw an upgraded LGA 1366 board from Gigabyte called the GA-X58A-UD7. Along with the USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s improvements, Gigabyte added memory support up to DDR3 2100 and an advanced 24 phase power design. They also added a silent heat dissipation solution that uses heat pipes to move heat away from the power components and chipset. For audio enthusiasts, Gigabyte included Dolby Home Theater audio for surround sound listening.
Gigabyte also had four more P55A boards on hand that included the new USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s support, which should gain in popularity after more vendors create new devices for these interfaces. We'll look for them when the Consumer Electronics Show officially opens tomorrow.
And finally, a note from Allyn, our Storage Guru:
All USB 3.0 boards of the new Gigabyte producet line also support a new feature that is perhaps just as significant as USB3 itself. Gigabyte calls it "3X USB power". The USB 3.0 spec calls for 900 mA of current from each port (up from 500 mA for USB 2.0). Gigabyte have taken it a bit further overspeccing their ports to handle 2000 mA. The power delivery circuit has been modified to decrease resistance necessary to provide such high currents, as well as the addition of special fuses to prevent overload conditions from causing additional damage elsewhere on the board.
This new circuitry is present on each port individually, meaning every USB 3.0 (and USB 2.0) port of these new 3.0 enabled boards is individually fused and can *each* handle 2 amperes of current. 10 Watts per port has the potential to open up possibilities for USB SSD's with internal RAID, as well as eliminating the need for those silly 'Y' cables used to connect a power hungry USB device to two ports simultaneously for additional power.
To clarify - while this new feature carries over to the USB 2.0 ports on the boards, it is only available on their new USB 3.0 capable boards, which are:
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