Gigabyte’s new motherboard bolsters AM3+ platform with M.2 hard drive support, USB 3.1

Although AMD has its Zen CPU platform coming out in the not-too-distant future, AM3+ is still alive and kicking, and Gigabyte is looking to give it an extended lease on life with a couple of new additions on its latest GA-990X motherboard — most importantly, M.2 storage and USB 3.1 connectivity.

The ATX motherboard is aimed at the enthusiast sector, supporting AM3 and AM3+ compatible CPUs thanks to the 990X chipset. It sports four DIMMs for up to 64GB of DDR3 memory, operating up to 2,000 MT/s according to Gigabyte.

It also packs dual PCIE 2.0 16x slots, so you can fit in a pair of Nvidia or AMD graphics cards and run them in tandem SLI or Crossfire mode – though that will drop the bandwidth of the ports to PCIE x8. It also packs a pair of PCIE 2.0 x1 slots and a couple of traditional PCI ports for those still running legacy add-in cards.

The big additions to this board, which help it stand out and may tempt new system builders who value new storage options, include support for M.2 storage drives and a pair of USB 3.1 ports on the rear. Together they offer high speed internal and external storage for those that wish to make use of the options.

For those running more traditional storage drives, there’s also six SATA III ports and there’s options for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD support too.

The rear I/O panel on the board looks surprisingly sparse up close, though still manages to pack 10 USB ports in total, spanning several generations of the technology, from 3.1 right through to 2.0. There’s also Gigabit Ethernet functionality, a dual mouse/keyboard PS/2 connector and multi-channel audio ports for surround sound functionality.

No word on pricing or availability just yet, but expect this board to launch reasonably soon, as it is already overshadowed by AMD’s looming Zen range. Getting this board out there before there are more hints of its arrival would be a wise move.

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