Gigabyte produces some of the best budget socket AM3+ boards around, so it was pleasing to see that it’s continue this trend with the 78LMT-USB. This is a micro ATX, 244 x 244mm board that utilises the AMD AM3+ FX/AM3 Phenom II range of processors on the Ultra Durable 4 Classic setup that protects the valued components against such things as humidity electrostatic interference, power failure and high temperatures. The board consists of four DDR3 slots, up to a maximum memory setup of 32GB dual channel memory, a single PCIe x16 slot and PCle xl slot. There are also six SATA2 ports, an IDE connector (incredibly) as well as provision for eight USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 ports.
The IDE connector is a blast from the past, and it’s this level of legacy support that makes this board quite appealing as opposed to more modernised examples. There’s no UEFI here, just a plain old Award BIOS — and there’s a VGA port as well, which is something else we’re not used to seeing these days. The fact that this board can support a mix of both old and relatively new hardware sets it apart. Linux users who are sick to the back teeth of having to do the UEFI dance every time they fancy trying a new distro will certainly appreciate its absence. Likewise those with IDE drives will also praise this boards ability to bring back their data from a dusty grave at the bottom of the drawer. There are modern connections as well, such as HDMI and the aforementioned USB 3.0, and there’s thouroughly up-to-date on-board graphics in the form of a Radeon HD 3000. That will do a decent enough job of providing desktop visuals and displaying HD content, although serious gaming will require more power.
You could pack this board with an FX 8320 Black Edition eight-core. 3.5GHz CPU, 8GB of 1600MHz RAM, an SSD and an R9 280 3GB graphics card and it will certainly fly, allowing you to play the latest crop of triple-A rated games. Not bad from a board that’s just a tad under $70.
So, although the legacy user can enjoy the benefits the 78LMT-USB3 has to offer, so to can the budget gamer or system builder. The lack of an advanced UEFI also makes overclocking more accessible, at least in the way we used to do things before everything went the way of the Extensible Firmware. What’s more, the Ultra Durable 4 setup makes for a good platform to experiment on with one of the more robust AMD processors.
The Gigabyte 78LMT-USB3 certainly won’t set the world alight with technological advances, but for the purposes of building a stable system that can support the best that old tech and new tech has to offer it has a lot going for it. It won’t break the bank either, but the lack of support for SATA3 and faster SSDs may force many other system builders to look elsewhere for an option.