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Shootout at the Core 2 Corral: Seven P965 Motherboards Compared

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November 13, 2006 10:45:42 AM

Launched as a companion to Intel's Core 2 Duo processors, the P965 chipset can be found in a range of products, from fancy to inexpensive. In this review, seven motherboards from six manufacturers compete for your buying dollar.
November 13, 2006 12:19:25 PM

I was not able to follow the link in your post. Got "Page Not Found - Error 404".
Edit: Think the problem was on my end. At any rate it's gone. Ignore me.
November 13, 2006 12:25:46 PM

Pricing from Newegg as of right now:

BIOSTAR TForce965PT Socket T - $104.99 No deluxe on newegg, ICH8 instead of ICH8R...
MSI P965 Platinum - $134.99
Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H - $99.99
GIGABYTE GA-965P-DQ6 - $197.99
Abit AB9-Pro - $145.99
GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 - $146.99
ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP - $224.99

There is an openbox special on the P5B which makes it a good deal if you need WiFi:
Open Box: ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP - $139.99
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November 13, 2006 12:31:04 PM

After I read the whole thing, I have one question? Why couldn't you guys raise the FSB above 334/358 on the gigabyte ds3? My E6400 is benchstable at 430MHz FSB on stock cooling.
November 13, 2006 12:57:24 PM

What a bad article! I've been reading all over the internet and magazines about how good a overclocker GIGABYTE GA-965P-DQ6 is and to you it sucks? Have you considered doing a bios flash? There have been 4 bios releases since the one you used!!!
Either the author knows nothing about the subject or is doing on purpose to beneficiate other brands!
SHAME ON YOU!
November 13, 2006 1:06:19 PM

they also said the p5b was a moderate (dont quote me on the exact word used) overclocker. the bios they used only goes up to 500 fsb and my 6300 boots into windows at 500 fsb and can complete every benchmark but orthos due to my ram i believe. it is completely stable at 457 fsb 3.2ghz
November 13, 2006 1:13:11 PM

I concurificate, the author must be trying to beneficiate some competitorizing brands of computerizification hardware. Such faltificatacity in journalizatifying cannot be permitted to standificate.
November 13, 2006 1:32:54 PM

I agree with GRIP, my DS3 is benchable and stable at 465FSB on stock voltages, at that point it's held back by my memory which wont do over 930.


They probably used some kind of crappy ram, I didnt see where it had the type of ram used, maybe i missed it though.
November 13, 2006 1:58:51 PM

they used

Quote:
RAM 2x 1024 MB DDR2-800 (CL 4.0-4-4-8)
Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 XMS6404v1.1


I didn't read the article as i didnt have time but if they didn't use the most up-to-date drivers thats really disappointing, most times i see tom's using beta drivers even to ensure that they are not limiting a motherboard just because of a bios issue
November 13, 2006 2:39:05 PM

I don't think eSata and firewire are all that important. Maybe for some people, but for me I am satisfied without either of them.

I would rather not have to pay for the extra crap I don't use then have to go buy a $10-15 firewire card if the situation that I needed it were ever to arise.
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 2:41:39 PM

Quote:
After I read the whole thing, I have one question? Why couldn't you guys raise the FSB above 334/358 on the gigabyte ds3? My E6400 is benchstable at 430MHz FSB on stock cooling.


Overclocking may have improved on both Gigabyte boards following newer BIOS releases, but notice BIOS for all boards is dated from late August to mid September. There was obviously a cuttoff date, after which boards were no longer being re-benchmarked.

As for the Biostar board, it was fast and cheap. I saw it a couple weeks ago for around $110, Biostar obviously needs to work on availability.
November 13, 2006 3:21:42 PM

Finding that perfect over clocker is unfortunately left to the enthusiast and requires a little more skill to achieve the reported high fsb speeds.
The article seems to be geared toward first glance which is acceptable.
My take is that the 965 chipset is a powerful over clocker and with a little skill and a lot of luck very stable.
I am a little disappointed in your findings but that’s the nature of beast.
Everyone experiences a different performance level and the article should not be used to make a decision on your next purchase.
It’s a starting point and only one of many comparisons to take into consideration.
Remember the E6700 is toward its limits with the 10X multiplier and harder to push for the average over clocker.
The E6300 or E 6400 would have been the better candidate for higher fsb stability benchmarks and the E6600 for maximum core speed.
But hey that’s only my opinion. :wink:
November 13, 2006 3:38:48 PM

Quote:
After I read the whole thing, I have one question? Why couldn't you guys raise the FSB above 334/358 on the gigabyte ds3? My E6400 is benchstable at 430MHz FSB on stock cooling.


Overclocking may have improved on both Gigabyte boards following newer BIOS releases, but notice BIOS for all boards is dated from late August to mid September. There was obviously a cuttoff date, after which boards were no longer being re-benchmarked.

As for the Biostar board, it was fast and cheap. I saw it a couple weeks ago for around $110, Biostar obviously needs to work on availability.It appears that even board makers that we would never have dreamed of recommending last year, are actually releasing some nice boards for C2D. I mean, who would've applauded ECS, Biostar, ASRock(was decent already, but still not a top-end mfgr.)? Next thing you know, PChips/PCPartner will have decent boards(i realize that ECS/Biostar are part of PCChips)...who would have ever thought that. :o  It's good though having budget-brand boards perfoming well, as it will put a little more pressure on the big guns...ASUS, ABIT, DFI, MSI, GigaByte, etc. and hopefully force some price drops. I read that a mobo price-war may be coming anyway... thanks to VISTA missing the X-Mas buying season. Cross your fingers. :wink:
November 13, 2006 3:48:59 PM

:cry:  I agree I'm very disappointed in this review. For an enthusiast type performance evaluation you must push the MB's to enthusiast levels. Use an E6300 or E6400 with a high level cooler (and indicate which one). If you've got a limiting CPU, change it out to show WHAT THE MB's CAN DO. Then you see what the difference in your board investment would be (and the ability to change the CPU multiplier).

BTW. If floppy drives are on the way out, few will care where the connector is placed. The audio connector is a bigger PITA if it is in the lower back and the CD/DVD drives are in the top of the typical mid/full tower case. For those who have a bottom PSU position (Antec P180 or some LianLi's), the top power connector is not optimal...a mid board position is better.

Finally, does anyone use the MB fan connectors, except for small NB fans, etc.? If I remember my build, all of my 80mm, 92mm and 120mm fans used the PS's molex connectors.
November 13, 2006 4:07:01 PM

perhaps the author didn't raise any voltages so that s/he got the low fsb you're all complaining about especially with that stock cooling.

me think is that if you get good results with all stocks then you should get much better result with aftermarket cpu cooler and raising voltages.
November 13, 2006 4:13:42 PM

Quote:
is it me or did a MOBO with neither eSATA nor FireWire just got elected to be "Editors Choice" ?!

All things the Biostar TForce P965 Deluxe can offer are demeaned by the lack of these connections. Its like buying a MOBO with USB 1.1 or no USB at all...

While you might getaway with "eSATA is still not the standard," but firewire! COMMON!

yes yes - I bet that a space between the graphics card slot and the next lower slot
is worth it... :roll:

Once this site was the best source for unbiased objective articles... but it seems that "objective" became something money can buy...
Good point. But, I think that it depends on who is doing the review at THG. Some of the articles are still great, while some of them do seem a bit "odd".
November 13, 2006 4:15:18 PM

Quote:
perhaps the author didn't raise any voltages so that s/he got the low fsb you're all complaining about especially with that stock cooling.

me think is that if you get good results with all stocks then you should get much better result with aftermarket cpu cooler and raising voltages.
That's the best way to do an overclock in a review. Show what an average guy should be able to get. Some sites throw on a prommy, and top-of-line everything....which is cool to see, but is sort of irrelevant to 95% of us.
November 13, 2006 4:22:00 PM

Quote:
Use an E6300 or E6400 with a high level cooler (and indicate which one). If you've got a limiting CPU, change it out to show WHAT THE MB's CAN DO.

I agree, they need at very least to use a retail CPU not an old engineering sample & a 6300 should allow for highest fsb (seeing as some boards apparently can't change multi).

Having read the article I went off to do some research on the MSI for a cheap system - guess what? Apparently it runs out of steam around 360-370fsb - too high to show up with TomsHardware's CPU.
Big abit fan though I am I know that the AB9 isn't a great overclocker (low 400s usually) compared to the Asus, Gigabyte, Biostar yet the review says it's the best ... :roll:
November 13, 2006 4:35:11 PM

Quote:
perhaps the author didn't raise any voltages so that s/he got the low fsb you're all complaining about especially with that stock cooling.

me think is that if you get good results with all stocks then you should get much better result with aftermarket cpu cooler and raising voltages.
That's the best way to do an overclock in a review. Show what an average guy should be able to get. Some sites throw on a prommy, and top-of-line everything....which is cool to see, but is sort of irrelevant to 95% of us.

i knew it!! :twisted:

that's why this reviews only show low fsb reached than reported by others, because it's overclocked at stock cooling and voltage (i hardly find such reviews oc. on stock). so see guys.. no worries! this is not a bad reviews, it's even better!!

i always love the way Thomas Soderstrom reviews things. simple, effective, and realistic. glad to have you here! :) 
November 13, 2006 4:43:15 PM

Quote:
:cry:  I agree I'm very disappointed in this review. For an enthusiast type performance evaluation you must push the MB's to enthusiast levels. Use an E6300 or E6400 with a high level cooler (and indicate which one). If you've got a limiting CPU, change it out to show WHAT THE MB's CAN DO. Then you see what the difference in your board investment would be (and the ability to change the CPU multiplier).

BTW. If floppy drives are on the way out, few will care where the connector is placed. The audio connector is a bigger PITA if it is in the lower back and the CD/DVD drives are in the top of the typical mid/full tower case. For those who have a bottom PSU position (Antec P180 or some LianLi's), the top power connector is not optimal...a mid board position is better.

Finally, does anyone use the MB fan connectors, except for small NB fans, etc.? If I remember my build, all of my 80mm, 92mm and 120mm fans used the PS's molex connectors.


well here's another reviews from the same reviewer but using e6300 as reference. check it out. you'll be surprised! but i believe the author didn't raise the voltages to the maximum with that reviews since safety is a must to most newbie/value budget enthusiast like me.

http://www.sysopt.com/features/mboard/article.php/3626076
http://www.sysopt.com/features/mboard/article.php/3636631

me think the vcore was raised only up to 1.45v as a safebet and that explained the not so high oc. reached out compared to the other's reports.
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 5:11:54 PM

Quote:
Use an E6300 or E6400 with a high level cooler (and indicate which one). If you've got a limiting CPU, change it out to show WHAT THE MB's CAN DO.

I agree, they need at very least to use a retail CPU not an old engineering sample & a 6300 should allow for highest fsb (seeing as some boards apparently can't change multi).

Having read the article I went off to do some research on the MSI for a cheap system - guess what? Apparently it runs out of steam around 360-370fsb - too high to show up with TomsHardware's CPU.
Big abit fan though I am I know that the AB9 isn't a great overclocker (low 400s usually) compared to the Asus, Gigabyte, Biostar yet the review says it's the best ... :roll:

Review says it's easiest, the system probably just booted up at higher speeds using stock settings. This author seems to prefer a successful boot followed by a BSOD rather than a black screen at boot, the overclocking path of least resistance.
November 13, 2006 5:35:46 PM

Quote:
is it me or did a MOBO with neither eSATA nor FireWire just got elected to be "Editors Choice" ?!

All things the Biostar TForce P965 Deluxe can offer are demeaned by the lack of these connections. Its like buying a MOBO with USB 1.1 or no USB at all...

While you might getaway with "eSATA is still not the standard," but firewire! COMMON!


This article has its flaws to be sure, but the above is rubbish. Most people (I have no figures to hand, but I'm pretty sure of a decent majority) do not need eSATA or Firewire. If they need firewire, their sound card most likely already has it. If not, an addon card costs... $5? To say a product cannot be recommended because it doesn't have all the features YOU want is ridiculous. Just read the article and find the best recommended one that has everything you need. Sheesh :roll:
Synergy6
November 13, 2006 6:27:03 PM

Quote:
After I read the whole thing, I have one question? Why couldn't you guys raise the FSB above 334/358 on the gigabyte ds3? My E6400 is benchstable at 430MHz FSB on stock cooling.


Overclocking may have improved on both Gigabyte boards following newer BIOS releases, but notice BIOS for all boards is dated from late August to mid September. There was obviously a cuttoff date, after which boards were no longer being re-benchmarked.

As for the Biostar board, it was fast and cheap. I saw it a couple weeks ago for around $110, Biostar obviously needs to work on availability.

Just to add...this board with the F7 BIOS can run a 500mhz FSB. If I had a E6600 or higher with 1066 ram it would certainly surpass it.

A good buy, if you're into overclocking.
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 6:37:54 PM

1. Let's assume 50% of the readers don't know how to overclock. There's just enough info to get them started here, but not enough to help them destroy their system. That's what the forumz are for.
2. Let's assume 90% of the people don't need 6 SATA or 2 LAN. That means the cheaper boards will suite them just fine. And the more expensive boards will suite the other 10% :) 
a c 140 V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 6:50:18 PM

Quote:

.
.
.
Finally, does anyone use the MB fan connectors, except for small NB fans, etc.? If I remember my build, all of my 80mm, 92mm and 120mm fans used the PS's molex connectors.


I have my rear 120mm and side 80mm fans plugged into my mobo.
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 6:56:29 PM

Hell yeh, you can monitor fan speeds though motherboard sensors, and some boards even let you adjust the fan speeds. That's even tidier than a fan controller.
November 13, 2006 7:37:32 PM

In short, what *are* you babbling about?

Only 50% of people here know how to OC? This is a hardware enthusiast site, of which one large part of is overclocking. So I would dispute the figure. However, even if people don't know how/want to OC, it doesn't hurt to skip by the relevant section. Also, it shows them what the potential is, if they decide to take it up with the help of this site.

99.999% of people don't use *every* feature on their motherboards. That's a fact of life, unless you get it custom made it's not going to be a perfect fit. However, I fail to see what relevance this has to.. anything.

You've just admitted eSATA appeals to perhaps 5% (a rather optimistic figure) of the market, yet you want the awards to REQUIRE it? What are you smoking? Why should the awards be given or retracted based on a feature >95% of those who read the article have no use for? NB: I didn't say the whole market, I said "those who read the article".

As for Firewire... are you being paid to push it? Furthermore, what on *earth* does your forum "rank" have to do with how many Firewire devices you know of? As with eSATA, just because you have an interest in a technology doesn't mean the awards should revolve around your needs.

Yes, the article is about extremes. All I can say is, if you think a *Firewire port* is the extreme, you need to look a bit harder. The car analogy is similarly bizarre.

Synergy6
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 7:41:08 PM

The most difficult part is, of the three ~$150 boards:
1.) The Abit has a screwy layout and only 1 PCIe x16 compatible slot
2.) The MSI has two x16 compatible slots, but only one network connector
3.) The Gigabyte DS3 has only one x16 compatible slot, only one network connector, the suckier southbridge, AND is cramped around the CPU cooler.

That leaves #1 and #2 for choices. According to forum guys, the Abit goes around 50MHz farther on bus speeds than the MSI.

I guess it just sucks having a $150 budget. Then again, the DQ6 cost about the same as the Asus board and it doesn't have dual gigabit either, WTF!
November 13, 2006 8:25:35 PM

Quote:
is it me or did a MOBO with neither eSATA nor FireWire just got elected to be "Editors Choice" ?!

All things the Biostar TForce P965 Deluxe can offer are demeaned by the lack of these connections. Its like buying a MOBO with USB 1.1 or no USB at all...

While you might getaway with "eSATA is still not the standard," but firewire! COMMON!

yes yes - I bet that a space between the graphics card slot and the next lower slot
is worth it... :roll:

Once this site was the best source for unbiased objective articles... but it seems that "objective" became something money can buy...

Firewire is dead. Its extinct. Just like PATA. Learn to live with it.
November 13, 2006 8:29:13 PM

Hell yeah! This is the kind of stuff I expect from TG. Nice job. Excellent round-up, great follow-up for the 975X article. Organized very well. And thanks for the overclocking, helped a BUNCH.

~Ibrahim~
November 13, 2006 8:43:43 PM

I don't completely agree. I think they should have chosen a later cut-off date for the bios revisions, as on a lot of these boards significant changes have been made, i.e. 3 or 4 revisions including betas. The cutoff date was apparently late September. You can't tell me it takes a little more than a MONTH to benchmark a few motherboards and hammer out some text to go with the pretty pictures. Ridiculous. 2 weeks would have been more acceptable, that should be plenty of time to run the benches, write the text, get a quick edit, etc. I think it paints an incomplete and possibly inaccurate picture of the 965 options currently available. Furthermore, the introduction of the 680i chipset last week completely changes the equation when it comes to performance motherboards. The depth of the article was good, as it usually is here, but seriously guys, work a little faster or something.
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 8:55:57 PM

If you look at how many reviews this guy puts up a week, well, chances are the review just got rotated out of circulation by about a month.
November 13, 2006 9:02:23 PM

This article was written by one of the most knowledgeable freelance (IIRC) writers on the web when it comes to tech related data and he knows a hell of a lot more about hardware than you think. You think this is the only article he was working on at the time? I read he had been working on at least two other reviews at the same time as this one. It's easy to judge from such a narrow perspective and point out what you think is wrong but you don't have all of the details so I wouldn't be so quick with the harsh accusations.

Ooops, Crashman beat me to it :wink:
November 13, 2006 9:36:50 PM

No, I understand that he's busy, but why the delay posting it? I mentioned that the article is very good and possesses great depth, but unfortunately it IS outdated, there's simply no getting around that. I don't think it's too harsh for me to expect Tom's to be quicker on the draw, it's their job! I've always liked the site and the quality of the reviews, but this is an issue they need to address. Normally it's not as big of a problem, but in this specific case, I think some of this information might be a bit misleading due to the glut of 965 based mobo bios revisions that have been introduced.
I'm not trying to stir up a hornet's nest here. Anoobis, I never in any way attacked the technical competence of the article's writer, it is clear that he knows more than enough to do his job. I'm also sure he was probably working on more than one article, though I'd need confirmation from the source to be sure. But if it's gotten that bad, isn't it time for THG to possibly hire some new reviewers? This is an industry where things change significantly on a week-by-week basis. The bottom line is that I'm kinda peeved that Anandtech already posted a decently thorough review of the 680i, and a week later THG finally gets around to posting on the 965. I like this site better, and I simply hoped they'd be more up-to-date.
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 9:42:59 PM

I'm sure the next one will be up quicker!
November 13, 2006 9:45:44 PM

I hope so! You a wolverines fan?
November 13, 2006 9:49:45 PM

Quote:

Firewire? How many pieces of hardware can you count using this? I can count at least 5 and look at my rank - i am still a n00b! even I have a firewire that is being used...

I've had Firewire on my boards for something like 4 years & in that time I've never once used it (I always use a card reader rather than download direct from camera) ...
eSATA is a feature that I'm more likely to use though.
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 10:09:55 PM

Spartans eat wild animals. So do Chipewas :p 
November 13, 2006 10:47:57 PM

Ouch! Better luck next year!!
a b V Motherboard
November 13, 2006 11:35:29 PM

Size wise, Chips are two classes down from the big teams. Still, they manage to get around 2 games a year against them. When they win, nobody notices.

I don't even keep track, so I was surprised a couple years ago when I heard at the end of a game that Chips beat Ohio State. I walked around campus and said "hey, how about that game" and everyone said "what game". Heck, even when I said "Chips v Ohio State" they looked at me funny "We played Ohio State?"
November 14, 2006 4:47:21 AM

Quote:
What a bad article! I've been reading all over the internet and magazines about how good a overclocker GIGABYTE GA-965P-DQ6 is and to you it sucks? Have you considered doing a bios flash? There have been 4 bios releases since the one you used!!!
Either the author knows nothing about the subject or is doing on purpose to beneficiate other brands!
SHAME ON YOU!

LMFAO tomshardware just got PWNED by a "stranger" on his FIRST post!
Thats how low the quality of the site has fallen...

The only thing I got from that review was that cool picture of all the motherboards stacked up... :roll:
November 14, 2006 4:49:45 AM

Quote:
This article was written by one of the most knowledgeable freelance (IIRC) writers on the web when it comes to tech related data and he knows a hell of a lot more about hardware than you think. You think this is the only article he was working on at the time? I read he had been working on at least two other reviews at the same time as this one. It's easy to judge from such a narrow perspective and point out what you think is wrong but you don't have all of the details so I wouldn't be so quick with the harsh accusations.

Ooops, Crashman beat me to it :wink:

Better not to write anything at all then.
a b V Motherboard
November 14, 2006 5:01:23 AM

When I said $150 refering to three boards, I was refering to three boards that were in that neighborhood. I know, $135 for MSI, $145 for DS3, $150 for AB9-Pro, give or take $5 depending on the moon cycle
November 14, 2006 12:06:44 PM

Did the Chips really beat OSU once? I wouldn't know, I'm a WVU guy myself, I'm just stationed here and it's hard to avoid getting drawn into the insanity
November 14, 2006 1:00:23 PM

Ok I am confused. So the P965 is that newer chip even though it has a lower number than the 975???
November 14, 2006 1:25:45 PM

Yes, the 965 is newer than the 975. The lower number is a nod to the fact that it is considered the more "mainstream" of the chips.
November 14, 2006 2:22:26 PM

Quote:
Spartans eat wild animals. So do Chipewas :p 


You mean they eat them after they finish their primary intent?
November 14, 2006 2:36:25 PM

Quote:
Spartans eat wild animals. So do Chipewas :p 


You mean they eat them after they finish their primary intent?

If by "primary intent" you mean "beastiality/sodomy" then the answer is a resounding YES. There's a dearth of things to do in Michigan apparently...
November 14, 2006 4:03:59 PM

8O

Ohh, this thread has taken a turn for the surreal.
November 14, 2006 4:16:28 PM

Quote:
If you agree with one or more points, I guess I rest my case - if you don't - then I guess we will never agree!


I don't agree with any of the points, so we'll go with the latter.
Ronaldo38741
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