Our test sample arrived in a fairly typical gigabyte box styled in white, green and blue stating the model name in large letters and further details about it's key features. Opening the box revealed a fairly standard set of contents including two SATA cables, one IDE cable, an I/O Backplate and a User Manual. Just about all that's necessary to get going and for a motherboard of this price I would not expect any more.
The Gigabyte MA770T UD3P itself sports a fairly conventional motherboard layout, albeit with the narrower ATX style of PCB. As you would expect this motherboard has been built to a lower budget and so features which are arguably unnecessary such as heatpipe coolers, more (physical) PCI-E 16x slots, stacked SATA ports are evidently non existant. On paper however, the cost cutting compromises does not seem to have found it's way into the build quality department of the motherboard. With an array of exclusively solid capacitors, dual hardware BIOS, 2 ounces of Copper in it's PCB and an 8+2 Phase power design allowing for full 140W TDP support, technically this motherboard should not be any less able than it's bigger and more expensive siblings when even operating the range topping Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition. This is all quite hypothetical though so please take a gander at the rest of the review as we put Gigabyte's budget AM3 solution through it's paces!
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition @ 3.40GHz
Gigabyte MA770T UD3P Socket AM3
4GB Patriot DDR3 @ 1333MHz 7-7-7-20 1T
nVidia GeForce 8800GT 512mb GDDR3
Samsung F1 320GB 7200RPM SATA II HDD
Tagan TG420 420W ATX2.0 PSU
BIOS and Overclocking
The Gigabyte MA770T UD3P features a very comprehensive set of tweaking options within it's M.I.T (Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker) section allowing the user to unlock their processor's disabled cores/multipliers/L3 cache with the SB710's Hybrid EC Firmware and ACC configurations. Aside this, options to manipulate base hypertransport frequencies, HT Link and Northbridge multipliers, Memory Frequency (ranging from 1066MHz to 1666MHz) and all of the crucial voltage options (Vcore, Vdimm, NB Voltage, HT Link Voltage). If I could critisise anything it would be the increments by which the Voltages can be manipulated. With increments of 0.02500V, there is little scope for finer adjustments and so one may find that their overclocked processor may have to run a unnecessarily warm when a slight increase in Voltage would have sufficed.
So how did the MA770T UD3P perform when overclocked?
With our AMD Athlon II X2 250 Processor we were pleased to have achieved a respectable 260MHz Base HTT Frequency allowing for an overall overclock of 3900MHz. The result with the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black was a little more conservative however, maxing out at 240MHz. Our test Phenom II sample however is known to be a mediocre overclocker and the achieved 240MHz Base HTT was only attainable with a reduced CPU Multiplier of 15x. With both processors, the Hypertransport Link Multiplier was reduced to keep the overall link speed at 2000MHz and below to maintain stability.