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What do the numbers and letters mean?

Last response: in Motherboards
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January 4, 2010 10:30:36 PM

I hope this isn't too silly a question. I'm currently typing with my newest build, a GA-MA790X-UD4P MoBo and an Athlon II X2 250 Regor at 3.0Ghz. I selected this board by spending a lot of time looking through Newegg's write-ups and customer ratings. No problems at all with this combo and it is doing exactly what I need it to do. Having said all that, where do I find out what all those numbers and letters in the model number mean? Next time I buy a motherboard I want to be equipped to make a more intelligent selection by comparing model numbers.

Thanks.

RVC

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a c 177 V Motherboard
January 5, 2010 12:48:54 AM

Eekk!! 'm going sorta on supposition and rumor, mixed in (accidentally) with a few facts, and, as the guy I consider my mentor over at TweakTown, LSDmeASAP says: "I don't know everything, I make misteaks all the time, and, sometimes, my spelling is attrocious!" :na:  It's vague and somewhat unfathomable: The GA means nothing, appears to be generic to all Gigabyte's MOBOs, and made its appearance around 2004-2005; in the second grouping, the 'E' prefix made its debut around '07, and I believe, stands for 'efficient'; their UD2 terchnologies had already been in service for a while: low RDS(on) MOSFETs, ferrite core chokes, and Japanese 'solid' capacitors with a solid organic polymer replacing the electolyte, after the 04-05 'popping capacitor' debacle, which was suspected to have been rooted in the 'industrial espionage' type theft of an aqueous electrolyte formula which was not copied correctly, and subsequently 'infected' several Korean supplier's stockpiles...Anyhow, I think the 'E' prefix went along with their "Dynamic Energy Saver" software (which, generally speaking, is a buggy, ill-written POC); then, for Intels anyway, the next bit is the northbridge chipset designation. I have explained this a couple of times, and I think this makes the comparison - the 'X' series chipsets (X38, 48, 58) are kind of like the 'chainsaws' of the Intel line; they have lots of PCIe lanes, and will go like brutal hell, but are 'crude tools' when it comes to overclocking - you either hit it, or you don't - not a lot of room for adjustment; the 'P's on the other hand, are more like scalpels - they usually provide fewer, slower resources (narrower PCIe provisioning, etc.), but are delicate, precise overclocking tools, sometimes down to timing adjustments for each seperate DIMM; if you have the knowledge, and care to spend the time, you can tweak them to picosecond-perfect harmony with your CPU and memory... The 'T' after the chipset designation indicates the DDR3 capable boards, up to the new 1156/1366 platforms, which are only available for DDR3, with the exception of the 35C, which, supposedly, could handle either DDR2 or DDR3 - that was a neat idea, but you want to avoid them like the plague - truth is they were never functionally stable for either memory architecture!

Now, on to the next grouping, which is more obscure, and a lot of guesswork: I believe the 'D' is simply a whole, very wide 'family' designation for MOBOs that share a basic, underlying architecture - they have: RealTek ALC audio codecs and RTL81xx LAN chips, IT87xx LPCIOs, jMicron auxiliary SATA controllers, and on and on... This designation appears, in most products, to have been advanced to 'UD' with the introduction of ultra-durable 3 program, which added two ounce traces to their boards - I alway maintain most of the UD stuff is marketing hype and vaporware, as the capacitor problem was very specific, and ended, for most suppliers, once they 'flushed' their inventories (but the bad taste remained in everyone's mouth forever...), and the whole forward on resistance thing with MOSFETs had always been achieved anyhow, by simply paralleling, which cuts their resistance in half, but the 2oz boards were definitely a good thing - I doubt the change to trace impedance mattered to anything, but, finally, you could 'wrench down' a recalcitrant (and they all seem to be!) heatsink/fan assembly without feeling like you were a half-ounce of pressure away from a loud, sickening 'snap'! The 'Q' suffix boards have always been the 'ultra-enthusiast' boards, usually supporting more features than the contained chipsets actually provided for, and the numbers increase with the number of board features - someone suggested to me that the number is actually the pair count of SATA channels each supports, but that's easily disproven - who knows? The 'M's, I think, are the mini-ATX form factors, and the 'R' designates a RAID-capable southbridge; the 'G' boards have on-board graphics capacity; and I think that leaves us with 'L' and 'H', which I don't have a clue about!

The schema has changed with the 1156/1366 platform; there, the 'A' suffix to the second grouping indicates 'second-gen' boards, with SATA3 and USB3 support (what there is of it, so far!), and the 'M' still is mini-ATX, but they've dropped the 'T', as the whole platform is only available with DDR3... This is a good question; I've never really given the whole thing a lot of thought - hopefully people will pop up with a lot more clarifications, and it might be a good idea to plop it onto TweakTown, too - there are a lot of folks there with a crapperload of GB experience...
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January 5, 2010 9:54:34 PM

Thanks for your time bilbat, and for the info here.

RVC
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January 6, 2010 12:30:17 AM

Thank you bilbat, that was very informative. I have a MA790FXT-UD5P which is also a mouthfull.
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