GIGABYTE GA-990X-GAMING SLI

GIGABYTE GA-990X-GAMING SLIThe GA-990X-Gaming SLI (12ME-990XGMS-1002R) is an enthusiast ATX motherboard for AMD AM3 and AM3+ processors. The board combines the 990X/SB950 chipset with additional logic. The UPC is 889523004784.

  • Supports AMD AM3+/ AM3 Processor
  • Dual Channel DDR3, 4 DIMMs
  • Fast USB 3.1 -The World’s Next Universal Connector
  • PCIe Gen2 x4 22110 M.2 Connector with up to 20Gb/s Data Transfer (PCIe NVMe & SATA SSD support)
  • 2-Way Graphics Support with Exclusive Ultra Durable Metal Shielding over the PCIe Slots
  • 115dB SNR HD Audio with Built-in Rear Audio Amplifier
  • Intel® GbE LAN with cFosSpeed Internet Accelerator Software
  • High Quality Audio Capacitors and Audio Noise Guard with Ambient LED Trace Path Lighting
  • GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP ports
  • All new GIGABYTE™ APP Center, simple and easy use
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ Technology

Considering most use a single video card, this board is actually well designed. Gigabyte wanted to keep the price under $140. Gigabyte also has a 990FX based board that is very similar wt a higher price point.

Overall this board will be a popular retrofit for AMD users who may have a limited budget for upgrades; This board uses DDR3 which eliminates the need for new DDR4 sticks. Gigabyte will likely find lots of  buyers for repair and upgrade. The FX CPUs can support up to DDR3-1866.

The GA-990X-Gaming SLI  has 2 front fan headers and a CPU fan header. The Corsair Carbide 300R has 2 front fans, one rear and one top fan. Generally lower cost boards have fewer fan headers which frustrates the use of PWM fans. Adapters are very low cost.

The AMD 990X will furnish x16 for a single video card or x8 and x8 for dual cards. The board supports a pair of dual GPU cards as well. There is a single EPS12V which is typical for AMD systems.  The board uses the popular 3 slot design which affords lots of room for airflow. The board is designed for 125W processors max.

The SB950 is the best AMD southbridge which provides 12 USB and 6 SATA ports. Gigabyte added the VL805 to add USB 3.0 ports and the Asmedia USB 3.1 as well.

AMD AM3 users will appreciate this new board with its M.2 slot which will do wonders for the performance. M.2 PCI Express SSD cards are lower in cost and dramatically faster. The Samsung SM951 MZ-VPV5120 is 512GB NVMe SSD which will make this motherboard run fast. Lower cost 256GB SSD are practical but with growing game sizes capacity stain is a problem. The GA-990X-Gaming SLI  also supports PCI Express x4 SSD cards. While more expensive, the capacity is greater.

Gigabyte also is using much stronger slots, so that changing the video card is not as problematic. A lot of older board tended to have issues with the slots breaking due to low cost materials. There is also some protection along the bracket edge to protect the traces when a video card is inserted. This is a vulnerable area on motherboard and we appreciate that Gigabyte has taken steps to cover the traces.

In a nod to iTunes and Apple Lossless, Gigabyte uses power isolation of the DAC to prevent noise from affecting the sound quality. They are claiming 115 dB of dynamic range which is above the compact disk.

The Intel LAN adapter is a change from the usual Realtek hardware.

BUILD

So the build is basically a motherboard swap. If a M.2 SSD is purchased at the same time then the fresh install of Windows will be fast. It’s not a bad idea to get a better PSU as well now that 80 PLUS gold are much more affordable. Hard disks can be used for iTunes libraries and backups etc.

Make sure the CPU and CPU cooler has been cleaned with some alcohol to remove all traces of old thermal material. This will prevent any contamination that can cause problems. This way the CPU will not overheat. Fresh SATA cables are low cost, the new clip cables are more secure. Fans can be cleaned as well.

Take note that the rear fan does not have a header, so should be repositioned to make it easier to manage the cable under the motherboard tray, The same applies to top mounted fans. This way adapters and Molex cables are not in the way.