AMD Llanos has finally hit the market and the new A75 and A55 chipsets have started trickling in from all major motherboard manufacturers. We’ve already seen the Asus F1A75M-PRO in action, and now it’s Gigabyte's turn. The GA-A75-D3H is a mainstream motherboard with their own flavour thrown in like DDR3 memory support upto 2400MHz, dual BIOS and much more. First, let’s have a look at the design and layout of the board.
Design and Layout
The GA-A75-D3H is a full ATX motherboard, which means there is more space for the expansion slots and other components. There's plenty of room around the CPU area, in case you wish to install a larger third party heatsink. Coming to the rear connectors, we have four USB 3.0 ports, which are natively supported. Display connectors include VGA, HDMI and a Dual-link DVI connector for hooking up a 30-inch monitor to the onboard graphics.
Good set of connectors
One thing to note is that if you enable dual-link, you can't use any of the other ports. Other connectors include optical-out, LAN jack, ESATA, USB 2.0 ports and Realtek ALC889 with 7.1 channel support.
Good layout and design
The four memory slots are placed at a good distance from the PCIE slot, so they don't get in the way after installing the graphics card. There are a total of 5 SATA III connectors onboard along with one ESATA in the rear panel. In terms of expansion, we have two x16 PCIE connectors with CrossFireX support, along with three PCI slots and two PCIE x1 slots. Gigabyte has gone with their trademark blue PCB and overall, I didn’t have any issues with build quality of the motherboard.
Since this is not a high-end board, it only has Gigabyte's Ultra Durable 2 feature set, which includes solid state capacitors and Lower RDS MOSFETs for reduced power consumption and heat. We also have On/Off charging, Dolby Home Theatre and Dual BIOS support. A new feature added is an individual fuse for each USB port, so that if one fails, you'll still be able to use the other ports.
The Southbridge gets hot pretty quickly
Gigabyte hasn’t used a UEFI BIOS like Asus, which means you still have to deal with the blue screen and keyboard. Their ‘Touch BIOS’ is only available for the Intel Sandy Bridge platform as of now. Basic overclocking options are present under the M.I.T submenu. The rest of the options are pretty standard across all Gigabyte motherboards. There are a whole bunch of software utilities like EasyTune 6 for monitoring and tweaking settings of the motherboard and CPU. Dynamic Energy Saver 2 is also present and so is Smart Recovery 2 and AutoGreen. All the drivers and utilities are provided on the disk. The bundle includes the user manual, four SATA cables and an I/O shield plate.
- Processor: AMD A8-3850 APU
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-A75-D3H
- Memory: Kingston HyperX DDR3 @1600MHz (2x 2GB)
- Hard drive: WD Velociraptor 300 GB
- GPU: Onboard HD 6550D/ HD 6670 CF
- PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000W
The motherboard came with first revision BIOS (F1), which was quite unstable. After a quick flash to the F2 BIOS, the motherboard was a lot more stable with no random freezing or crashing issues. I did have one big problem, though, the memory simply refused to run at its rated 1600MHz, which was a non-issue for the Asus board I tested. No matter what I tried, I kept getting an error saying the board failed to boot at the specified settings and that the memory would be reset to 1333MHz. Due to this, you’ll notice that the scores are a bit lower compared to the Asus board especially 3DMark and PCMark Vantage.
The performance is hampered a bit by the lower memory speed
Under normal operations, I noticed the Southbridge or as AMD calls it the Fusion Controller Hub (FCH) tends to get quite hot pretty fast. The chip is covered by a small aluminium heatsink but it doesn’t have any fins so the heat is not dissipated quite well. The generous helping of USB 3.0 ports is a welcome change and you have more USB 2.0 headers on the motherboard should you feel the need to expand. Since this is a budget board, you won’t find any debug LEDs or physical power and reset buttons.
Gigabyte has priced the GA-A75-D3H at Rs. 7,020, along with a three year warranty. This pricing is very similar to the Asus FM1A75-M PRO, which is a couple hundred more for an m-ATX board. Now, ordinarily I would suggest you pick a full ATX motherboard, since a m-ATX board generally tends to compromise on features due to the size, but that’s really not the case with this particular Asus board. In fact, the feature set is a lot better when compared to Gigabyte's offering. You get UEFI BIOS, better BIOS utilities, a more compact board, digital VRMs among others, which makes it a better option.
Currently, the board is too expensive but might be worth considering if Gigabyte chooses to drop prices, or add features such as their Touch BIOS.
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