Gigabyte GA-MA785GT-UD3H: BIOS And Overclocking
A list of voltage and frequency ranges can be found on page 21 of this review.
Gigabyte's BIOS options are plentiful, with the only missing option of note being southbridge voltage settings. The eight available BIOS profile save slots are more than double that of the next closest competitor in the roundup.
The GA-MA785GT-UD3H managed to dynamically assign system memory to the graphics subsystem without crashing, as it doesn't have any SidePort cache. The other two SidePort-less boards we tested, on the other hand, would crash if resolutions were changed in certain game titles unless the graphics memory was set to a specific value in the BIOS. The Gigabyte board just worked, and we like that.
This board supports DDR3-1800+ memory speeds with “qualified memory modules.” Our Mushkin sticks weren't on the “qualified” list, but we were only shooting for 1,600 MT/s anyway. Unfortunately, the board wouldn't even boot at relaxed timings with this RAM. This is the same RAM that worked at 1,600 MHz on the Asus and ECS boards, so keep in mind that the Gigabyte offering seems to be a little pickier about RAM compatibility
While the board includes AMD's ACC feature, it also offers the flexibility for the user to decide if they would like to try to unlock dormant CPU cores in X2 and X3 processors. If you just turn on ACC, you won't unlock any dormant CPU cores, but you might get the improved overclocking headroom on first-generation Phenom CPUs. However, if you select the hybrid BIOS in addition to ACC, it allows for the core unlocking of capable processors. This is a great feature because most other boards only offer one type of BIOS, either unlocking dormant CPU cores, which might crash an unwilling CPU, or not unlocking dormant CPU cores to allow for more overclocking tolerance on Phenom chips. The hybrid setting allows the user to choose what works best.
We tested this feature and found that it worked perfectly, allowing our Phenom II 550 BE to function with ACC turned on, but without unlocking the two other on-die cores. This same Phenom II X2 550 would otherwise crash when the hybrid BIOS was used with ACC enabled because the dormant CPU cores were faulty. At the same time, the hybrid setting would allow our Phenom II X3 705e sample to run with four cores activated.
Overclocking the GPU yielded 900 MHz at the stock northbridge voltage. Increasing the northbridge voltage seemed to have no effect on the maximum overclock we could achieve, but 900 MHz remains a solid result that we're happy with.