So it goes without saying that the Gigabyte MA770T UD3P ticks all of the boxes that it's meant to and at a rather palatable pricetag. Until recently the AMD Phenom II held the midrange crown as a midrange platform that could sit somewhere between the Intel Core 2 Quad and the Core i7 in terms of Performance/£ and it's added perks such as future upgradability prospects combined with lower ownership costs. The introduction of Intel Core i5 has changed the game by offering performance around that of the Phenom II X4 900 series processors and the Intel Core i7 LGA1366 processors but without the excessive motherboard costs. This does not bode well for AMD as it's Phenom II X4 955 and 965 processors now have much stiffer competition in their price brackets.
This however is where motherboards such as the Gigabyte MA770T UD3P come in. For an AMD alternative to be a competitive proposition, overall ownership costs must be lower and at a couple of pounds shy of £70 offers a fair saving over similar Intel P55 motherboards. The question that remains to be answered however is whether it's a particularly good idea to opt for cheaper and less feature rich motherboard as the base of your new high end system? After all, it maxed out at just 240MHz HTT Base Frequency with an AMD Phenom II processor, it lacks much in the way of VRM cooling and you can pretty much forget about ATi CrossfireX seeing that it only has a single physical PCI-Express 2.0 16x slot. Does any of this matter though? A large proportion of AMD's processor range offer a fully unlocked CPU multiplier, the motherboard remained stable even with it's existing cooling solutions when met with an overclock and with a new lineup of ATi and nVidia Direct X 11 graphics cards round the corner with the potential to perform up to twice as fast as today's best single core GPUs, who really needs Crossfire or SLI? Our tests found that Hard Disk performance was not restricted by the SB710 and the top of the line Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition performed exactly as it should. You needn't worry about memory limitations either as the 770T UD3P supports DDR3 up to 1666MHz (at stock CPU speeds) at voltages at and above the JEDEC specification of 1.500V.
So is this motherboard worth considering? Yes, most certainly. As far as Socket AM3 motherboards are concerned, this is arguably the sweetspot in terms of features relative to price. It's debateable as to whether the Intel Core i5 750 and a base spec Intel P55 motherboard is worth it's slightly higher ownership costs. The answer is more clear for overclockers who are willing to save up for a little longer in order to opt for a platform that allows for a higher overclock. After all, it has already become quite evident that the Intel Core i5 750 is quite capable of reaching 4.0GHz stable, while such a ceiling remains to be the upper end of stable and air cooled overclocks with AMD's current offerings. Combined with the Core i5 being a faster processor "clock for clock", LGA1156 seems to be the way to go for the target audience in question. What if you don't have that much to spend though and what if you aren't so keen an overclocker? Well in that case, the general concensus is that AMD's Socket AM3 is not so bad a proposition and in order to meet this criteria, one needs a quality motherboard for under £80...and cue the MA770T UD3P. Well done Gigabyte.
- Excellent performance
- Fully laiden BIOS
- SB710 Chipset for "Core Unlock" ability
- Overclocks as expected for a board of it's class.
- AMD 770 chipset offers no ATi CrossfireX
- Up to £10 more than other branded AMD770/SB710 boards, however they remain unproven