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Real World Graphical Performance (Metro 2033, Alien Vs. Predator, and Resident Evil 5)

The selection of games I use are not a comprehensive test as it is only 3 games. I use these games to test the widest range of game variables with the least number of tests. This set covers DX9, DX10, and DX11. It shows performance on a game with a lot of graphical features in Metro 2033 and a game with relatively few graphic features in RE5. In the near future I will be replacing Metro 2033 with Battlefield 3.

As you can see, the difference in gaming is non-existent. There is a maximum advantage of 1.4 FPS for the GA-990FXA-UD3, but this could be due to the number of factors including the Bulldozer Optimization patches for Windows 7. Either way the difference is less than 2% and cannot be felt in day to day use.

SATA 3.0 I/O Performance (CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 & ATTO Disk Benchmark)

During testing I found that CrystalDiskMark had a small issue with how it does its testing. As it was geared to test mechanical HDDs using a single data set (in my case 1 GB in size) and outputs the average performance. This seemed a little misleading as the SSD being tested is often able to max out its performance. I switched to ATTO Disk Benchmark for sequential read/write tests and used the best numbers for the various file sizes to give a better representation of performance.

The GA-990FXA-UD3 comes out ahead of the UD5 in every test by a small margin except for sequential read/write testing for mechanical HDDs. Please note the hard drive test for the 990FXA-UD5 were done on the drive being used as the primary system drive, which could have changed the results. It is also very clear why comparing an SSD to a mechanical HDD is not fair as the random 512K write speed aren't even in the same ballpark. The SSD used is rated to have a 520 MB/s read and 490 MB/s write speed. The GA-990FX-UD3 pushes past the read speed by 3.7 MB/s but falls just over 70 MB/s slower than the best case performance.

USB 2.0 I/O Performance (CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1)

This I/O test will be centered on the performance of the USB 2.0 using a thumb drive. It gives us the opportunity to see if the trend set up by the SATA 3.0 (6 Gbps) performance continues with all other I/O tests.

This time the performance is nearly identical. In every single test the two motherboards are within 1 MB/s of each other. Unlike the previous test, there is no distinct advantage for either motherboard.

USB 3.0 I/O Performance (CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1)

The final I/O test will be with the external HDD connected via USB 3.0. For this test I load the 1 TB drive with around 550 GB of data to simulate expected performance of the drive after use. This is the same data I used when I first tested the 990FXA-UD5 some time ago. It is actually some personal data that I had moved off that drive, but decided to move back for these tests.

This time we get the same performance as we did in the SATA testing. The GA-990FXA-UD3 has better performance in every test, some by a significant margin, except for the sequential read and sequential write tests. Both motherboards are using the same native SATA controller and the same Etron EJ168 chip for USB 3.0, so I am not sure why the same trend is occurring. There may be some difference in how each is attached to the south bridge.

Audio Performance (RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.2.3)

I do not expect much difference in these results as both use the Realtek HD ALC889 codec for the Realtek proved audio chip by default. Both have 6 caps for audio processing as well.

There only difference is in the Dynamic Range and Noise Level in which the 990FXA-UD5 is one tier above our 990FXA-UD3. While this does mean the UD5 should have better audio, real world testing does not reflect this. The same issues I have with the UD5 built-in audio still exist. It produces good sound quality at lower bit rate songs with full body with little distortion or noise; however, there is some slight audio bleed to the front channels during 5.1 playback.

Its not enough to affect enjoyment of a movie or music, but it can create issues with identifying where a sound came from in gaming. It was never a hindrance when playing my usual titles, but I did notice the difference as I was use to using my Xonar DG which does a better job of cross talk control. I could not hear any crosstalk between the left and right channels.

Finally, I would like to point out all GIGABYTE motherboards I have tested so far also support the use of Dolby Digital Home Theater codecs. Using this should create a much better listening experience, but I am not sure how it would affect the performance of the audio system under RMAA. When I test the final board in this line the GA-990FXA-UD7, I will be sure to test both codec packs to see if the quality difference can be measured digitally as well as perceived.

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    Thank you for your review of this board. Most reviewers have focused on the UD5 and UD7 models.  I am lucky to have a Tiger Direct/Comp USA store nearby. I had to choose between the UD3 and the ASUS Sabertooth 990 FX. I chose the UD3 because it had the features I was looking for and was nearly forty dollars cheaper and had an aggregate review on Newegg of 80% (four eggs and up). My build is intended for a multi monitor set up with a heavy emphasis on Photoshop and some reasonably stout gaming, so the dual X16 slots made the sale.
      Cash flow has caused this to be a slow build and during this time I have been wandering the net looking for anyone who has bothered to take the time to feel this particular board out. Your review has reinforced  that this is the perfect board for me.
     My eventual specs will be:
    FX 8150 8 core CPU
    Kingston Hyper-X  1600 mhz (16 gigs)
    Kingston Hyper-X SSD (120 gig)
    3 -2 TB Western digital Caviar green drives
    2 EVGA (or MSI) GTX 560 Ti’s @ 2 GB memory each.
    1 Blu-Ray reader/Burner
       Again, thanks for the review. It was much appreciated.

  • Avro Arrow

    I use it and it runs like a dream.  Keep in mind, as with most AM3+ AMD 900 series chipset motherboards that you have to flash the BIOS to the newest non-beta version on Gigabyte's website in order for it to support Bulldozer/Piledriver CPUs.  I did the BIOS flash and I'm good to go.  😀

  • Simonmarley

     can for the life of me get  sli to run on the ud3 motherboard how can i turn it on ?

  • nate

    you forgot to put what kind of Ram you used, as that can have a major effect on overclocking as well

  • wendy

    can I use a pce-i 2.0 for this motherboard?

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