In direct competition to the MSI 990FXA Gaming, we have Gigabyte’s GA-990FXGaming. This is a slightly younger motherboard than MSI’s offering, having been released early this year, but one that still caters for performance and gaming system builders.
Naturally, it supports AMD AM3+ and AM3 processors, with four DDR3 DIMM slots, six SATA 6Gbps connectors and a single M. 2 connector, two PCIe x16 slots, a single PCIe x16 slot running at x4 and three PCIe x1 slots.
The rear I/ O backplate houses a single PS/ 2 keyboard and mouse port, Type- C USB 3.1 port, Type- A USB 3.1 port, two USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, gigabit ‘ Killer’ Ethernet, optical S/ PDIF out and a five- port audio block. Again, though, as with the MSI motherboard, there are no additional video ports for those who want to use AMD’s built- in graphics.
As for design, the Gigabyte GA- 990FX- Gaming certainly ticks all the right boxes. The black- and- red colour theme across the board looks good, as does the red LED along the audio section of the PCB. There’s metal shielding, a single piece of stainless steel, reinforcing the PCIe connectors to offer better support for graphics cards while reducing any snagging you’ll get from placement and removal, as well as supporting the larger GPUs; it also helps reduce EMI.
There’s plenty of room for multiple graphics cards, with ample space between each card’s PCIe slots. There’s also ample room for bigger CPU cooling solutions, although the more extreme heatsinks may interfere with the last DDR3 memory slot, so it’s best to take a few measurements before committing to a purchase.
The addition of the M. 2 port is certainly points scored for the GA- 990FX- Gaming. In fact, it’s quite surprising that the MSI 990FXA missed out on M. 2, since both boards are evenly priced. We assume that it’s down to the younger age of the Gigabyte entry, because M. 2 would have been a little too expensive to include on the MSI motherboard at the time it was manufactured. However, M. 2 is a great feature to have here and something a lot of system builders will opt for over some other motherboard elements.
An interesting feature of the GA- 990FX- Gaming is an upgradeable OP- AMP ( Operational Amplifier). This, according to the product guide, allows you to pull the OP chip out and replace it with another. To be fair, we didn’t have anything to swap it out with and, if we’re being honest, we’re not sure we’d notice the difference. But for those who want an extra audio feature, the OP- AMP will certainly prove useful.
The Gigabyte GA-990FXGaming is a feature- rich motherboard that does an incredible job of ticking all the right performance builder and gamer boxes. It’s priced at £ 135, the same as the MSI model, and it does offer a little more in terms of technology, but it’s still a bit too niche for mainstream system builders.
TheGigabyteGA-990FX-Gamingmotherboardisagreatfoundationfora performancesystem There’splentyoftechnologytoenjoyanditlooksgoodtoo