Let’s take a look at the Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H, a microATX, socket AM3 motherboard from Gigabyte based on the AMD 880G chipset, featuring five SATA-600 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and two PCI Express x16 slots.
We have already posted a detailed comparison between AMD chipsets with integrated video. In summary, the AMD 880G chipset is based on the Radeon HD 4250 graphics engine, which is a slower version of the graphics engine used on the AMD 890GX (Radeon HD 4290). Normally, the AMD 890GX uses a new south bridge chip, called SB850, and the AMD 880G uses the older SB710 south bridge. SB850 natively supports SATA-600 ports (a.k.a. “SATA 6 G”) and it is the first chipset with this feature (currently on motherboards based on other chipsets featuring SATA-600 ports an external controller chip must be used). Gigabyte used the SB850 south bridge instead of the SB710 on the 880GMA-UD2H, so this motherboard offers the native SATA-600 ports.
As you may know by now, on systems with integrated video the video memory is achieved by stealing part of the main RAM. Chipsets from AMD have a feature called SidePort, which is an optional memory chip soldered on the motherboard in order to increase video memory. The portrayed motherboard doesn’t have this feature.
In Figure 1, you have an overall look at the Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H.
Figure 1: The Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H motherboard
AMD 880G north bridge chip has 22 PCI Express x1 lanes (the same number used on AMD 870 and AMD 890GX chipsets), with seven internal engines to control them (AMD 890GX has eight engines). The Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H comes with two PCI Express x16 slots (one working at x16 and one at x4), one PCI Express x1 slot and one standard PCI slot. As you can see in Figure 2, the second x16 PCI Express slot is too close to the first one, meaning that if you install a dual-slot video card in the first PCI Express x16 slot you will "kill" the second one.
[nextpage title=”Memory Support”]
AMD CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor – and not the chipset – that defines what memory technologies and the maximum amount of memory you can have. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
At the moment the integrated memory controller from socket AM3 processors supports only DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz under dual-channel architecture, however according to Gigabyte the 880GMA-UD2H supports DDR3 memories up to 2,000 MHz through overclocking. The motherboard has four DDR3 sockets and since at the moment each DDR3 memory module can have up to 4 GB each, you can have up to 16 GB with this motherboard.
The first and second sockets are blue, while the third and fourth are white. In order to achieve the maximum performance you should install two or four memory modules in order to enable dual-channel architecture. When only two modules are used, install them on sockets with the same color in order to enable this feature.
Figure 3: Memory sockets; install two or four modules for the best performance
[nextpage title=”On-Board Peripherals”]
AMD 880G chipset is a dual-chip solution. As we mentioned earlier, the SB850 (commonly paired with the AMD 890GX) is the first southbridge to natively support SATA-600 ports, and the Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H provides five of the six SATA-600 ports supported by the chipset. These ports support RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. The sixth port was routed to the rear panel of the motherboard, making this product to have an eSATA-600 port.
Those five SATA-600 ports are placed at one of the corners of the motherboard, but as the motherboard is microATX, long video cards may block them, as you can see in Figure 4.
The Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H has a parallel ATA port (supporting up to two devices) controlled by a JMicron JMB368 chip. There is also a floppy drive port, controlled by the Super I/O chip (ITE IT8720).
This motherboard has ten USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the rear panel and six through three headers located on the motherboard. This product also has two USB 3.0 ports at its rear panel, controlled by a NEC μPD720200 chip.
Two FireWire (IEEE1394) ports are provided, one standard-sized on the rear panel and one through a header on the motherboard. They are controlled by a Texas Instrument TSB43AB23 chip.
Eight-channel audio is generated by the chipset using a Realtek ALC892 codec. Unfortunately this component isn’t listed at Realtek’s website. The 880GMA-UD2H comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output and you can add a coaxial SPDIF output installing an adapter on the motherboard “SPDIF_IO” header. The analog audio 7.1 connectors are independent.
The Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by a Realtek RTL8111D chip, which is connected to the system using a PCI Express x1 lane and thus not presenting any potential performance issues.
In Figure 5, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with a PS/2 connector for keyboard or mouse (if you use a PS/2 keyboard, you will need a USB mouse and vice versa), four USB 2.0 ports, VGA output, DVI-D output, HDMI output, one FireWire port, one eSATA-600 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, an optical SPDIF output and independent analog 7.1 audio outputs.
Figure 5: Motherboard rear panel
As you can see, this motherboard comes with three different kinds of video connectors, but the HDMI and DVI ports cannot be used at the same time.
Other smaller features present on the 880GMA-UD2H include the presence of a legacy serial port (available through a header on the motherboard, but the motherboard doesn’t come with the adapter to use it), and a core unlocking feature, which allows you to unlock hidden cores from certain AMD CPUs (if you are lucky to have a CPU with hidden cores).
In Figure 6, you can see the accessories that come with the 880GMA-UD2H: manuals, SATA and ATA cables, case rear plate, drivers disc, and a Dolby sticker.
The Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H comes with a five-phase voltage regulator circuit. Of the five available phases, four are used to generate the CPU main voltage (VDD, a.k.a. Vcore), while the other one is used to generate the voltage required by the integrated memory controller, the HyperTransport controller, and the L3 memory cache (VDDNB). Therefore, this motherboard has a “4+1” configuration.
In Figure 9, you can see the voltage regulator circuit.
Figure 9: Voltage regulator circuit
All capacitors used on this motherboard are solid made in Japan and the voltage regulator circuit uses ferrite chokes, which are better than iron chokes. Please read our Everything You Need to Know About the Motherboard Voltage Regulator tutorial for more information.
[nextpage title=”Overclocking Options”]
The 880GMA-UD2H provides several overclocking options. Below we list only the main ones available with the F4A BIOS.
- CPU reference clock: From 200 MHz to 500 Hz in 1 MHz steps
- PCI Express clock: From 100 MHz to 150 MHz in 1 MHz steps
- GPU clock: From 200 MHz to 2000 MHz in 1 MHz steps
- CPU voltage: Offset from -0.600 V to +0.600 V in 0.025 V steps
- CPU PLL voltage (VDDA): From 2.20 V to 3.10 V in 0.02 V steps
- Memory controller voltage (VDDNB): Offset from -0.600 V to +0.600 V in 0.0125 V steps
- Memory voltage: From 1.300 V to 2.500 V in 0.02 V steps
- Memory termination (VTT) voltage: From 0.770 V to 1.100 V in 0.025 V steps
- North bridge (chipset) voltage: From 0.900 V to 1.500 V in 0.020 V steps
- PCI Express PLL (VDDA) voltage: From 1.450 V to 2.100 V in 0.050 V steps
Plus integrated graphics processor options and memory timings, which can be also tweaked.
Figure 9: Overclocking menu (Cont’d)
Figure 10: Integrated graphics options menu
Figure 11: Memory timings options
Figure 12: Memory timings options (Cont’d)
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H motherboard include:
- Socket: AM3
- Chipset: AMD 880G + SB850
- Super I/O: ITE IT8720
- Parallel ATA: One, controlled by a JMicron JMB368 chip
- Serial ATA: Five SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10)
- External SATA: One eSATA-600 port, controlled by the chipset
- USB: 10 USB 2.0 ports, four soldered on the motherboard and six available through three headers on the motherboard, and two USB 3.0 ports controlled by a NEC μPD720200 chip available on the motherboard rear panel
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): Two ports, one normal-sized soldered on the rear panel and one available through a header on the motherboard, controlled by a Texas Instrument TSB43AB23 chip
- On-board video: Yes, Radeon HD 4250 engine running at 560 MHz (40 processing cores)
- On-board audio: Produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC892 codec (eight channels, no technical information is provided), with an on-board optical SPDIF output
- On-board LAN: One Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by a Realtek RTL8111D chip, connected to the system through a PCI Express x1 lane
- Buzzer: No
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: Two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (the first one always working at x16 and the second one always working at x4), one PCI Express x1 slot and one standard PCI slot
- Memory: Four DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to 16 GB up to DDR3-2000 through overclocking)
- Fan connectors: One four-pin connector for the CPU cooler, and one four-pin connector for an auxiliary fan
- Infrared Interface: No
- Extra Features: CPU core unlocking, Easy Energy Saver
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: One
- Programs included: Motherboard drivers and utilities
- More Information: https://www.gigabyte.com
- Average Price in the US*: USD 85.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this First Look article.[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
This is a “First Look” article, but you can check the performance of AMD 880G chipset in our Foxconn A88GM Deluxe Motherboard Review. Traditionally motherboards based on the same chipset achieve the same performance level.
As it happens with any integrated video solution, the on-board video of the Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H isn’t powerful enough for playing the most recent games in high quality. However, you may be able to play high-definition videos and even play not-so-new games at lower image settings.
The Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H is a great mainstream socket AM3 motherboard, with the newest technologies such as USB 3.0 and SATA-600, and supporting the latest AMD CPUs. Thanks to the DirectX 10.1 on-board graphics, HDMI output, optical SPDIF output, eSATA-600 port, and the microATX form factor, it is also a good choice for HTPCs (Home Theater PCs).
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