Looking to build a new PC based around an AMD Phenom processor? No, us neither, but that's not the point about AMD's recent refresh of its motherboard chipsets. What makes them interesting is the news that they bring: boards such as this 970A-UD3 from Gigabyte are ready for the soon-to-be-launched Bulldozer CPUs.

Unfortunately, Bulldozer is a completely new chip and almost inevitably ran into manufacturing problems. So it's been delayed rather beyond the original summer launch date.

Still, if you are looking to build an AMD system it's churlish to complain that you get to play with all of the platform birthday toys before the main present is unwrapped. It's fully backwards-compatible and priced pretty keenly too.

Apart from supporting Bulldozer through the AM3+ socket, Series 9 chipsets such as the AMD 970 featured in the Gigabyte 970A-UD3 aren't substantially different to the previous AMD 890 and 870. So what exactly is that Gigabyte toy box full of?

Gigabye 970a-ud3

Despite many structural similarities, the AMD 970 chipset isn't as fast as the higher end 990X and 990FX. The differences are perhaps over-amplified in the PCMark result, although in real life you won't be missing out on much performance by opting for this board.