Itching to get a motherboard with next-generation I/O? You don't have to spring for an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor anymore. Both Asus and Gigabyte announced Intel P55 motherboards with 6Gbps Serial ATA and USB 3.0 last month, but now, Gigabyte has followed up with three AMD Socket AM3 boards that can claim the same perks.
These new boards are the GA-790FXTA-UD5, GA-790XTA-UD4, and GA-770TA-UD3, and Gigabyte based them on AMD's 790FX, 790X, and 770 chipsets, respectively. Along with the new I/O, Gigabyte says it also increased the amount of power available through USB ports, just like on the P55 boards. (The firm advertises this new wave of mobos with the "333" label, which stands for third-gen SATA, USB 3.0, and tripled USB power.)
All three AMD boards also feature an "8+2 CPU VRM power phase design," which allows compatibility with 140W Phenom II processors. The Phenom II X4 965, in other words, which is now available with a 125W power envelope—see our review for the details. All three mobos also have AM3 sockets and DDR3 memory slots, so you'll have to check your old DDR2 RAM at the door.
Gigabyte hasn't provided us with detailed specs and prices for the 790X and 770 models, but you'll find out more about the GA-790FXTA-UD5 in the slides below. This enthusiast-targeted motherboard has three PCI Express x16 slots (capable of running in a x16, x8, x8 lane config), a fancy cooling setup, eight internal SATA ports, two eSATA/USB "combo connectors," and some power and reset switches on the PCB. This puppy probably won't be cheap, but considering current prices, its 770-based little brother shouldn't break the bank.
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