Articles

GIGABYTE 880GMA-UD2H Motherboard Review

Author:Morry Teitelman

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Thursday , October 14, 2010

GIGABYTE's 880GMA-UD2H board joins the company's ever growing AMD lineup, with full support for the latest six core processors, chipset based SATA 6G support, and USB 3.0 support. Don't let its small form factor fool you though, this board packs a punch.

Introduction

GIGABYTE is on the forefront computer component industry, as a long time top tier manufacturer of high quality and high performance parts. GIGABYTE leverages its manufacturing prowess to push the technological envelope, bringing to market great enthusiast tech products without risking stability. GIGABYTE in known for its utterly stable products, ensuring stability through the use of quality components and cutting edge designs. The 880GMA-UD2H is among the latest AMD boards from GIGABYTE, melding up to the minute technology with unmatched stability and performance.

The GIGABYTE 880GMA-UD2H motherboard is designed around the AMD 880G and SB850 chipsets for a good mix of integrated offerings. The chipsets allow the board to support the following list of technologies: AMD Socket AM3 processors including the newest Phenom II X6 line, DDR3 memory operating in Dual Channel mode up to 1333MHz officially, and ATI Hybrid CrossFireX graphics mode. GIGABYTE chose to integrate the following devices in to the 880GMA-UD2H: 5 SATA 6G ports and 1 e-SATA port (RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 capable) on the AMD SB850 controller; 1 ATA-133 IDE port on the JMicron controller; 10 USB 2.0 capable ports (4 in rear panel, and 3 onboard headers supporting 2 ports each); 2 hybrid USB 3.0/2.0 capable ports in rear panel; 2 IEEE 1394 capable ports (1 in rear panel, and 1 onboard header supporting 1 port each); 1 Realtek GigE Ethernet port in the rear panel; Realtek 8-channel HD audio codec with integrated S/PDIF optical output port; Southbridge integrated ATI Radeon HD 4250 graphics controller with VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI output ports in the rear panel; and a PS/2 keyboard / mouse port in the rear panel.

Main Specifications Overview:

Detailed Mainboard Specification List:

Packaging

Lately, GIGABYTE has toned down its box art flair and gone with a simple design showcasing the board and supported technologies. It did not deviate from this trend with the 880GMA-UD2H, as the board and its supported technologies are easily identified. Packaged in with the board are the following accessories: an IDE ribbon cable; SATA drive cables; the rear panel shield; and the normal complement of manuals and drivers discs.

Board Layout

One thing that GIGABYTE certainly excels at is board design. The 880GMA-UD2H has a superb layout for its micro-ATX form factor, with not an ounce of space wasted. Surprisingly, there are no real tight areas on the board. While the North and Southbridge chipsets are adequately cooled by standalone heat sinks, I did find that the CPU power circuitry did get quite warm when you pushed the board past stock. A cooler on those critical ICs just above the CPU socket would not have been a bad idea. GIGABYTE silk-screened the board version in the upper left corner, with a version 2.0 board used in testing. The serial number is located on a white sticker along the outside edge of the primary 24-pin ATX power connector. GIGABYTE chose to use high quality polymer solid-electrolyte capacitors to regulate the board's power needs.

Believe it or not, the CPU socket area is clear of obstructions, with components placed far enough away so as to not inhibit even the larger cooling solutions. GIGABYTE used the standard AMD socket AM3 based hold down mechanism for the CPU cooler. The Northbridge chipset is to the direct left of the CPU socket, covered by a good sized heat sink. Just above the Northbridge cooler is the front panel audio header, with the 8-pin ATX12V power connector and CPU_FAN header located to the upper left of the CPU socket.

The 4 onboard DD3 memory slots are located just below the CPU socket, in a dual colored array. Dual Channel memory mode is activated by placing like modules in matching colored memory slots. The onboard ATA-133 IDE port, floppy port, 24-pin ATX power connector are located just below the DIMM banks.

The AMD SB850 Southbridge chipset is located just below the onboard PCI- Express x16 slots, covered by a low profile standalone heat sink. The 5 chipset controlled SATA 6G ports are located to the lower left of the chipset, with the front panel header located in to the left of the SATA ports. The CMOS battery, and onboard USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 headers are located to the left and upper left of the chipset, along the board's edge.

GIGABYTE chose to integrate a total of 4 ports in to this small form factor beast: 2 PCI-Express x16 slots, 1 PCI-Express x1 slot, and 1 PCI slot. The SYS_FAN header, CMOS reset jumper, serial port header, and S/PDIF I/O header are located along the outer edge of the PCI slot. The CD_IN header is located to the upper right of the PCI slot.

The 880GMA-UD2H's rear panel is comprised of the following ports: shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse port; 2 USB 2.0 ports (yellow colored ports); 1 e-SATA port; 2 hybrid USB 3.0 / 2.0 ports (purple colored ports); 1 IEEE 1394 port; 1 Realtek GigE Ethernet port; VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI graphical output ports; and 6 analogue and S/PDIF optical output ports.

GIGABYTE EasyTune 6

For windows based monitoring and overclocking, GIGABYTE packages version 6 of their EasyTune software on the install DVD with the version shown being revision B10.0408.1. The application functionality is accessed via a series of tabs in located at the top of the application window.

The CPU tab shows real time system statistics on the various bus speeds, and well as detailed CPU and BIOS related information. The memory tab shows memory statistics for all onboard slots on a slot by slot basis. Note that the information shown in both tabs in very similar in nature to the data you would see in the freeware CPU-Z application.

The Tuner tab allows for user controlled manipulation of the various board bus speeds and voltages. In Easy mode, the Easy Boost button is accessible, allowing for software controlled overclocking of the board and CPU.

The Advanced mode allows for full user control of board bus frequencies and voltages, with settings shown similar in nature to those shown in the BIOS. The Core Boost tab gives the ability to unlock and use disabled cores on the processor. This is useful when using Phenom II X2, X3, or X4 based processors that have cores factory disabled.

The Graphics tab shows current core and memory speed for the video card in use, as well as allowing for direct video card based core and memory speed manipulation.

The Smart tab contains settings for manually setting the CPU Smart Fan temperature thresholds for optimal CPU cooler performance.

The HW Monitor tab displays statics on all BIOS monitored voltages, fan speeds, and temperatures. This screen also allows for the configuration of alert settings for the monitored fan speed and temperature devices.

The Quick Summary screen, access by clicking on the left most icon in the upper icon bar in the main window, gives real time status on the motherboard and BIOS, processor bus and speed settings, and specific board temperatures and voltages.