Gigabyte introduced a new value socket AM3+ motherboard designed for AMD FX processors, the 970A-DS3. Based on the AMD 970 + SB950 chipset, this board is a product of some clever cost-balancing by its designers, which will spice-up both its specs-sheet, and price-tag, compared to the 970A-UD3. To begin with, the 970A-DS3 uses a much lighter component loadout compared to the UD3. The 970A-UD3's Ultra Durable 3 Classic component loadout makes way for Ultra Durable 4 Classic on the 970A-DS3, which includes a better weaved fiberglass PCB that's better resistant to humidity; features high ESD-resistance ICs located in key circuits; anti-surge ICs that prevent installed processors and memory from getting fried if something goes terribly wrong with the VRM; and of course low-RDS (on) MOSFETs and 100% solid-state capacitor design.
The CPU is powered by a simple 5-phase VRM. It is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1866+ MHz memory. Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (wired to the 970), one PCIe 2.0 x16 (electrical 2.0 x4, wired to the SB950), three PCIe x1, and two legacy PCI. Gigabyte didn't cheap-out on the southbridge (by opting for SB710), and so we have a full-fledged SB950, complete with six SATA 6 Gb/s ports supporting RAID5. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the rear-panel, driven by an Etron EJ168 controller. The audio is driven by Realtek ALC887, wired to just a 5.1-channel analog output cluster, apart from the front-panel header. Gigabit Ethernet driven by Realtek 8111E tops it up. Gigabyte included its DualBIOS (AwardBIOS) with the board. Expect this one to be priced around US $100 (or below), making it a nice buy for single-GPU budget gaming-PC builds.