GIGABYTE GA-990X Gaming SLI Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅12-06-16
Unboxing & Closer Look

The packaging resembles GIGABYTES contemporary line of G1 Gaming motherboards, which is ultimately the successor to the Sniper Series. The model name is clearly identifiable as with information about its chipset and supported processors.

On the underside there is information regarding the features and details of the motherboard as well as a smaller image of said product. In the bottom left hand side the technical specifications are detailed.

The motherboard comes with a fairly standard selection of accessories, including two pairs of reflective SATA cables, I/O backplate, manual, front header EZ-plug, a G1 sticker, software disc, a door hanger and an SLI bridge.

The motherboard itself has a red on black appeal with the two primary PCIe slots reinforced using GIGABYTES Ultra Durable metal shielding. This improves the retention strength for larger, heavy graphics cards. Gamers will be pleased that there is a triple slot spacing between each of the PCIe x16. This is where the primary different between the 990FX and 990X is relevant, that is, the 990FX can run two graphics cards in SLI/XF at x16 speeds, where as the 990X will run them at x8 speeds. This is even more relevant considering that the AM3+ platform is still stuck on PCIe Gen 2.0, not 3.0.

The black AM3+ socket is powered by a 10+1 phase power delivery, and we are disappointed to not see two CPU fan headers for push/pull setups that are common for higher end coolers.

A fairly standard row of DDR3 DIMMS, supporting 1866MHz natively, and OC at 2000+. There is another 3 pin fan header labelled PSU fan, while unlikely to be used for a PSU (not impossible) it will surely find a use anyway.

There are 6x SATA 3.0 ports, with an additional 4pin fan header to the left. Between the main 24pin ATX power socket and the SATA ports there is no USB3.0 header to be found, which is normally the more convenient positioning, it does however exist next to the front header ports along the bottom. As this motherboard is more aimed at gaming, than overclocking, there are no onboard controls, buttons or switches.

Along the bottom edge you will find headers in their relatively normal places, including the front panel audio headsets, COM and TPM headers.

Continuing on, we get and additional 3 x2 USB 2.0 headsets, a 3pin fan headset, LED demo header, and the 2x USB 3.0 header for the front panel. The Front panel connectors have a plastic shroud to enclose the included EZ plug, to which you can connect all the front panel controls to. Behind this sits 2 pins for CMOS clear.

The Gen 2.0 M2 port features screw mounts for a variety of lengths and acts as the fastest onboard storage option on the motherboard.

The Realtek ALC 1150 gets some audio grade capacitors to help keep the audio signal clear, and is isolated from the rest of the circuitry.

The rear I/O features a universal PS/2 port, 2x DAC UP USB (yellow), 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.1, 2x USB 3.0, an additional pair of USB 2.0 with the Intel powered Rj-45 port, then we get the 8 channel analogue audio jacks along with an optical S/PDIF Out.

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