Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
Future proofed at a low price
on September 2, 2011
The product name for this board says AM3 but this board is actually supposed to work with the future AM3+ cpu's as well. The black socket is proof of that, AM3 boards have white sockets, I was a little disappointed I couldn't find an AM3+ board in this price range with SATA 6 GB/s ports or USB 3.0 but I don't think I'm going to be buying an SSD anytime soon making the SATA 6 GB/s next to worthless for me and few electronic devices out there make use of USB 3.0. The heatsink on the north bridge seemed a little loose but that isn't really a concern. I bought this board to upgrade from a foxconn with the same chipset because it was still using DDR2 ram and I got a hold of some DDR3 ram I wanted to use, I was only looking to spend in this price range for a new board and it was a bonus it'll support the bulldozer cpu's.
Apparently the new AM3+ cpu's will be supported by some of the current AM3 boards with a bios update but the AM3+ motherboards are supposed to have bigger pin holes to support higher power current. The only real differences between the 700 series motherboards and 800 series motherboards are that the integrated graphics are better on the 800 series and they have a SATA III controller and possibly USB 3.0 ports. Unless you're using a SATA III SSD it doesn't offer any benefit over SATA II because HDD's don't even fully saturate the SATA II connections and HDD's made for SATA III are backwards compatible. Furthermore, the only differences between the 800 series motherboards and the 900 series motherboards are the 900 series offer SLI support, AMD states they only give official support for 900 series motherboards to be used with AM3+ CPU's but they also say the previous generation chipsets should work with them as well.
Also, there is a good reason you should buy this motherboard, Gigabyte, over the ASUS AM3+ board being offered for the same price. The ASUS board says it only supports a max TDP on CPU's of 95 W where as the Gigabyte board lists on their website that it supports CPU's with a TDP of 125 W giving it a wider range of CPU support.
I was going to dock a star because a dedicated video card makes the PCI-Express slot close to worthless, a dedicated card will block the PCI-Express slot, but decided against it as I don't even use that slot.
Bottomline: This board worked perfectly out of the box with new RAM that isn't even listed as being supported by the board, I used the G-skill F3-12800CL7D-4GBXM.
My system is an Athlon II X4 635, 500 GB HDD,a Radeon HD 4650, and 4 GB DDR3-1600 ram clocked at 1333 MHz and my OS is Ubuntu 10.10. After swapping out the motherboard Ubuntu gives me an error on boot that says /dev/null not found but I looked up that error and it seems to be only cosmetic, no real problems.
Edit: It's been about a year and a half and the board is still working well. I'm a little disappointed in Gigabyte's ongoing support, or rather the lack of, in bios updates for my board. I'm using the 3.1 revision of the board and they haven't made a bios for that revision in over a year. What that means is I don't have support for the current Vishera CPU's and I won't have support for the steamroller line either.
However, even though the official Gigabyte Bios doesn't support the new processors, I think I've found a way to make my board compatible with current as well as all future AM3+ processors. There is an open-source Bios project called Coreboot and AMD has been including official support for the Coreboot Bios for all of its CPU's since 2011. Coreboot can be easily installed on a motherboard that supports Quick Flash motherboard flashing. This motherboard has the Quick Flash feature and the 7xx series of chipset, which this motherboard uses, has been supported by the Coreboot project for years. Hence, I should be able to use all future AM3+ AMD processors with my motherboard by switching to a Coreboot/SeaBios bios configuration.
I am a happy camper because now I can continue fantasizing about future upgrades for this desktop setup without the worry of buying a new motherboard. Hopefully, this set up will keep me going until all of those HSA SoC processors hit the market. Fun times ahead.