Blog - New PC components Part 1 - Overview

New PC components Part 1 - Overview - Page 2 - Component presentation

2011-11-20

Gigabyte GA-880GM-USB3 Motherboard I don't feel like saying much about packaging and accessories. The mainboard came with 2 SATA cables, manual, driver disk etc. It is microATX size and has almost anything I could imagine to need: 4 memory slots, PCI and PCI express slots, lots of USB ports (2 USB3), firewire, eSATA, HDMI, DVI, D-Sub etc. Although I work at a computer shop, never took the time to check out new BIOS features of montherboards. So, I was way behind with this sort of knowledge. Some years ago I was an enthusiast overclocker and did some interesting things with my first computer but later on I lost interest. Now I was shocked to see how finely one can tune this mobo and realted components (mainly RAM and CPU). The first thing that hit me was VGA Core Clock Control, meaning you can o'clock the integrated graphics card. Then, there are options to play with voltages: CPU, RAM, North-Bridge and South-Bridge. The mainboard features core unlock option and can also disable those that are available from factory. This baby has very big potential for underclocking, too; in addition to the before mentioned possibilities, one can take the CPU multiplier to a very low value. The day will come when I make some experiments in this direction in order to see which is the lowest power consumption the mobo can achieve (dig in mind that I am energy-obsessed). Other BIOS features: independent IDE mode configuration for SATA ports, automatic system fan control (works quite well), ErP mode to reduce off-state consumption to less than 1 Watt (PC will consume some more watts because of the PSU circuitry - 18 W in my case). It also has Unganged mode for memory modules. This is good for Phenom CPU owners; that processor has 2 separate memory controllers built in thus sporting a better performance than with dual channel mode but single controller. Also about BIOS I would like to mention that it is a "clean" one, meaning it doesn't look like having any bugs, except one: when starting up, it sounds the CPU fan fail alarm for a second due to the fact that one part of the BIOS doesn't wait for the other part to start the fan. Over the years I saw many fucked up BIOSes. I take as example only what I encountered in the past weeks: cannot set Quick POST (although there is an option for this); CPU and chipset temps are swapped; cannot boot from optical media using certain drives which need 1-2 seconds longer to spin up; no option to set voltages and frequencies...and the list goes on. In none of the before mentioned cases did the BIOS upgrade solve the issue. All these said, let me show you some pictures of this motherboard:
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