Manufacturer:Gigabyte UK Price (as reviewed):£83.65 (inc VAT) US Price (as reviewed):$99.99 (ex tax) MSRP
Not everyone has the budget or the need to build a dual-socket, Death Star PC that has the power to simultaneously end worlds and heal dying children. It’s for this reason that we’re taking a look at the micro-ATX Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H. The board has the dubious honour of being one of the cheapest current-socket motherboards we could find that still supports USB 3 and SATA 6Gbps and while this will mean it lacks a number of the more enthusiast features we’re used to seeing, it does at least mean it’s likely to be well suited to HTPC (Home Theatre PC) or budget desktop builds.
You don’t need to be part of the CSI:NY team to work out that the UD2H is based around AMD’s 880G chipset. This is AMD’s budget chipset option, but it does still house an integrated ATI Radeon HD 4250 GPU. This GPU isn’t exactly going to get you online and fragging n00bs in Bad Company 2 anytime soon, as it’s based around a measly cluster of 40 stream processors running at a pedestrian 560MHz. For Windows use, basic video playback and even the odd blast on Trackmania: Nations this GPU is fine though.
Click to enlarge
The 880G chipset is connected to AMD's SB850 Southbridge, which brings with it native SATA 6Gbps support, something which gives the UD2H the edge over budget Intel boards. The six ports it provides may seem miserly in comparison to top-end boards but they should be adequate for the kind of budget builds the UD2H is aimed at.
On the expansion slot front, the UD2H comes equipped with a single 1x PCI-E slot, two 16x PCI-E slots and a lonely PCI slot. Don’t get any ideas about running any multi-GPU setups though, as the board doesn’t officially support CrossFire or SLI and even if it did the second of the two 16x slots only actually provides four lanes of PCI-E bandwidth anyway.
As you would expect from a budget board the power circuitry of the UD2H is functional rather than fancy. The compact 4+1-phase design is a lot less comprehensive than that of premium boards but of course you have to expect to make compromises when hitting this kind of price point. The power circuitry also lacks any form of heatsink, which shouldn’t be a problem at stock speeds, but could be an issue if you’re overclocking the bejesus out of the board for extended periods.
Click to enlarge
Thankfully the I/O plate of the UD2H is remarkably fully featured for such a cheap board. A pair of USB 3 ports are present which, along with the aforementioned SATA 6Gbps ports, ensure the UD2H should be able to handle any storage device you throw at it over the next few years. Also present is four USB 2 ports, a single eSATA connection, a network port, a FireWire port and an old-school PS/2 port.
Audio is handled by a Realtek ALC892 HD codec which can output via either an optical S/PDIF or the usual six mini jacks. Rounding out the I/O panel is the DVI-D, HDMI and D-Sub connections powered by the on-board HD 4250.
Chipset AMD 880G
CPU support Socket AM3 Phenom II, Athlon II and Sempron 100 series
Memory support 4 slots: max 16GB DDR3 (1,866MHz)
Expansion slots Two 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots (16x and 4x), one PCI, one 1x PCI-E
Sound Intel HD Audio via Realtek ALC892 with 8-channel support
Networking Realtek RTL8111D Gigabit Ethernet
Overclocking CPU Clock 200 – 500MHz; max voltages, CPU 1.925V, RAM 2.5V, Northbridge 1.5V CPU/NB VID 1.925V
Ports 6 x SATA 6Gbps, PS/2, 4 x USB 2, 2 x USB 3, FireWire, LAN, 4 x surround audio out, line in, mic, optical S/PDIF out