Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review :: Gigabyte MA790FX-DS5 Layout

06-03-2008 · Category: Motherboards

By Ben Sun

The layout of the board is excellent and is reminiscent of the other Gigabyte motherboards on the market today. The CPU area is surrounded by the SilentPipe heatsink/pipe combination, effectively cooling the CPU area during operation. As the cooling solution surrounds the NB, SB and power MOSFET, it is all-around cooling solution.

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  CPU Cooling

CPU Cooling

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  Expansion slots

Expansion slots

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  PCI


Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  PCI Express x16 locks

PCI Express x16 locks

CrossfireX is ATIís trademarked term for their multiple-GPU solution. Up to four ATI cards can be used together to improve performance in games and applications. The MA-790FX-DS5 has two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots that can be used for Crossfire mode. Note that with two slots you canít use four ATI cards at the same time. Two HD3870X2 cards can be used as the slots are spaced far enough apart to use two of them.

Other expansion on the board includes two PCI Express x1 slots and two PCI slots. PCI Express x1 devices including SATA controllers, Creative Labs X-Fi sound cards and LAN cards are becoming more prevalent, meaning that the inclusion of two PCI Express x1 slots is great. The PCI Express x16 slots are of the 2.0 Generation, meaning that they provide up to 8GB of bandwidth to the video card from the chipset. Each x16 slot operates at full x16 mode.

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  CPU Cooling rear

CPU Cooling rear

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  SATA II


Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  2x GSATA+ITE chip

2x GSATA+ITE chip

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  Front Panel IO

Front Panel IO

Gigabyteís board sports six SATA2 3 Gb/second ports for HDD expansion. SATA drives have taken over for the IDE standard and the inclusion of eight means that you are unlikely to run out of ports to install HDDs on. If you need more ports, the board sports two external SATA ports on the rear I/O allowing for additional drives to be installed. A IDE port and a FDD port round out the drive expansion on the MA-790FX-DS5.

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  Gigabyte SATAII chip

Gigabyte SATAII chip

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  IDE+FDD


Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  Capacitors


Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  Gigabyte SATA II 2nd chip

Gigabyte SATA II 2nd chip

Onboard audio takes the form of the Realtek ALC889A CODEC. The ALC889A is Realtekís most advanced CODEC on the market today with support for 110 (dB) DAC SNR, 7.1 channel surround sound+2 channel secondary audio stream, the full range of DAC Sample rates and support for HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Full Rate Audio support. Onboard audio has mostly taken the place of external audio solutions as it has reached the point where itís good enough for most users.

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  24-pin power

24-pin power

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  8-pin power

8-pin power

Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  memory


Gigabyte MA-790FX-DS5 Motherboard Review  Onboard Audio

Onboard Audio

The rear I/O on the board includes the standard PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, S/PDIF ports, six USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire 1394a and b port, two external SATA ports, the Gigabit LAN RJ-45 jack, and six jacks for the onboard audio. The inclusion of two Firewire ports and six USB 2.0 ports is excellent as many boards will only include the 1394a port and four USB 2.0 ports.

The rear of the board has the CPU mounting bracket to mount the CPU on the motherboard. Thereís a small heatsink under the CPU mounting bracket that is under the NorthBridge mounting area. Gigabyte goes the extra mile on cooling the NB, as most motherboard manufacturers will just have the CPU mounting bracket and nothing else.

The 8-pin power connector is on the top of the board next to the rear heatsink of the SilentPipe cooler where it should be. The 24-pin power connector is directly below the memory sockets, allowing for easy routing of the power cable around the components from the PSU. The ITE 8718f chip controls the fan speeds and monitors the temperatures of the various parts of the motherboard. It also controls a FDD controller and a KB controller.

The Texas Instruments TSB43AB23 controls the Firewire ports on the board. Gigabyte includes two of their Gigabyte SATA2 controllers on the board, to control the eight (including two external SATA) SATA ports on the board. The Winbond W83303AG controls the USB current, and memory voltage control of the board and is the ACPI controller of the MA-790FX-DS5 board.