The core of an extremely capable high-end gaming platform.
With the launch of the AMD FX processor and its extremely overclockable nature, it's easy to overlook that many people won't be running their chips at extreme speeds. GIGABYTE's 990FXA-UD7 is as good as any in the overclocking stakes (and better than many by all accounts), but what it represents first and foremost is the core of an extremely capable high-end gaming platform.
AMD's 'Scorpion' one-two punch of an AMD FX processor and AMD 6000 series GPU combination is a strong contender as a high-end gaming platform considering the current and upcoming range of high-end games, and this board is an excellent base on which to build a Scorpion rig. All of the PCI-E slots are fitted with x16 sockets, enabling more flexibility when designing a multiple card graphics setup (two offer full x16 bandwidth for a two-way CrossFire and the layout means you can fit in four double-width cards using x8 bandwidth on all).
There's the platform's modern connectivity options, with eight SATA 6Gb/s connectors (using both the SB950 southbridge and a third party Marvell chip), four USB 3.0 connections and 7.1 audio with digital output options.
GIGABYTE still maintains BIOS, rather than moving to UEFI, and while it's stable and offers the features demanded by the current platforms, it does seem a little archaic. Extensive Windows-based software tools from GIGABYTE and others will let you adjust and overclock with a pretty interface if you want it.
Ultimately, this is a great board on which to build an AMD FX gaming rig, and especially if you want to load it full of graphics cards for CrossFireX or SLI. There's very little not to like, if you can put up with the old-school BIOS interface.Available from GIGABYTE, retailing for $259
. APC rating: 9/10 (Editor's Choice)