In July of 1969, Apollo 11 supposedly landed on the moon. Why do I say “supposedly”? Well, there has been a lot of conjecture as to whether or not it actually happened, and seeing the same small rock formation in photos from two different landings put some doubts in mind. But, we aren’t here to discuss conspiracy theories, after all, they are probably reading this right now and gathering outside to break through one of my windows with tear gas and stun guns…..or I merely want to acknowledge those who believe it may not have happened. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which. Either way, we can pretty much all agree that Neil Armstrong did, in fact, say “one small step for man, one giant step for mankind” when he (supposedly) took man’s first steps on the moon. Though I still wonder why we spent all that money going there in the first place…..



The point of this being, it sometimes takes small steps to become giant leaps. Those anxiously awaiting Bulldozer are already primed for it to be a giant leap. As to whether it will be in the performance category, only time will tell, but in the world of architecture, it is certainly a giant leap right from the start. The thing is, AMD has always been very customer loyal and backwards compatible friendly, so how do you make this leap and retain that stance? One answer is the newly unveiled 990 chipsets, which are capable of handling Bulldozers AM3+ socket, but still retain full AM3 compatibility. So, again, AMD offers the option to upgrade one small step at a time. Based off the 890FX and sharing the 950SB South Bridge, the 990FX is a small step on the noticeable feature end from the 890FX in most cases. On a couple of boards we have seen, SLI support has been added for up to four cards and CrossFire-X support has been upped to four cards across the board. For the serious gamer, this would certainly be a larger step. But, in the end it’s the giant leap into Bulldozer that is the main attraction here.


Gigabyte is coming out of the gate with the GA-990FXA-UD5 AM3+ Motherboard. The Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 AM3+ Motherboard is feature rich and Bulldozer ready, but is still fully compatible with existing AM3 processors. Featuring amenities such as USB 3.0, 8 SATA III connections (with 3TB support), PCIe slots capable of three way CrossFire-X or SLI, and onboard HD audio, the GA-990FXA specs like an enthusiast's dream. Opening the box and finding an all black design with gunmetal heatsinks, the GA-990FXA-UD5 also LOOKS like an enthusiast's dream. The GA-990FXA-UD5 retains Gigabytes most sought after features – Ultra Durable 2oz copper design, Dual BIOS, which almost nullifies the chance of BIOS failure, On/Off Charge and Driver Mosfet VRM technology. Included software includes Gigabyte’s Easy Tune 6 for hardware monitoring, overclocking and tweaking, Cloud OC for remote overclocking and Auto Green, which can link to a Bluetooth cell phone and put the computer to sleep when the phone loses its link. With the GA-990FXA-UD5, Gigabyte presents a strong package of features in a very nicely designed motherboard.