The best G33/P35 Gigabyte motherboard is ?

Hello all,

I intend to buy a new system next week, after intel's price cut.
I do not intend to overclock, I will not have dual SLI. I may buy a low-end graphics card. and i don't do raid.
I have a liberty enermax 400W, I will buy E6750 or E6550, and I will buy chipset P35 or G33.

Prices in my country are different than what most of you are used to in USA (i assume)
so I will put the models that I consider (and those that are available) and would like to hear your comments.

I put the lower end motherboard as the 100% and calculated the rest.
GA-G33-MS2 (156$, 100%)
GA-G33M-DS2R (171$, 109%)
GA-G33-DS3R (181$, 116%)
GA-P35-S3 (176$, 112%)
GA-P35-DS3 (183$, 117%)
GA-P35-DS3R (195$, 125%)

These are all similary prices, i know, but i put it here for general information.

from the prices above, keeping in mind that I do not overclock, P35 chipset isn't worthy (right?)

The differenced between these three G33 motherboards are things like :
sata bracket, sata cables (2/4), sata connections(4/6/8), raid support, +1 system fan connector and a power fan connector. also more pci and pcie

I came up with a few questions that I hope that you can help me with :

0. of the 3 G33 that i likely to buy, only one of them is in atx form and the others are microatc. I would like to know what is best? the case will be tower (4 cdrom drives) compucase 6x19. Is bigger better? (more room for gigabyte to spread to heat polluters evenly across the board?

1. Is SATA bracket the product which delivers me ESATA functionality? If i intend to use E-SATA and buy the MS2 (with no sata bracket) how can i use esata?
2. About the fans : as i understand, fans only need power to work. despite the CPU fan which has 4 pins - the 4th one to control its speed. Since the sys fan and the poewr fan are just power.. what's keeping me from connecting them using a regular power connector ? (using only the black and red cables for 12V, right?) (i mean - when they come with the 3 pin i can cut that and somehow make a connection with a psu cable. is that safe?
I would also like to know what will happen if i give the fan a 5v - will it just spin at lower speed?
3. It was said in the manual about some model that doesn't have durable capacitors or something of that nature. buy when i visited the product summary page at gigabyte's website for each of the motherboards, they all included the "all solid capacitors design". Does anybody know what this is all about?
4. Could there be any chance that although gigabyte's website name the sata bracket as an item included, that in the box that I will buy at the store won't have it ? (different package, still from gigabyte, that doesn't include certain items)
5. backpanel has 4 usb ports for all models, and they all support 12. The motherboard package doesn't include those brackets for usb 2/4. I believe that I won't be able to get this optional item. How can i get more USB functionality (more than 4) ?
6. Is the board priced higher (due to features) is also better designed? will last longer? is made of better matterials? or the only reason for the price difference is merely the added features?

I know those are a lot of questions,
Don't feel compelled to answer them all.
7 answers Last reply
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  1. What kind of games are you playing? If none at all, or just things like Solitaire or SimCity, then you could get a G33 board and no graphics card at all. If you do want to play something more serious then get a P35-DS3R and a video card. We'll be able to advise you on the card (and you may need a stronger PSU too) if you tell us which games and your screen resolution.

    Are you planning to watch HD videos? You'd need a video card like nVidia 8600 for example.

    P35 is worth buying (rather then 965 or 975 or 650i) because it will allow you to replace the CPU later with something newer.

    If you have an eSATA external drive then you need eSATA ports. If your motherboard doesn't have them they can be added (there are cards for that, taking internal SATA ports and making them available to external devices). Most external disks work with USB 2.0 or Firewire, it's slower than eSATA but good enough IMO.

    A tower case is nice because it allows better cooling and has room to add more disks. However, it weighs more when you go to LAN parties and it takes up more room.

    I'll let somebody else answer the part about cutting cables for the fans. Let's just say it sounds risky. Be very careful. :non:

    Solid capacitors are a good thing, they last longer and they are more stable. They do increase the cost of the motherboard but it's worth it.

    You can add USB ports later, for example with a $20 card that takes a PCI slot and gives 4 USB 2.0 ports.
  2. Thanks for your comment
    I won't be playing any games, but the problem is that I really do need the svideo port. but thats ok i have another machine in the house with chipset 915 and integrated card there + 7100GS so i'll leave it with the integrated and take the GS. (i know it sucks, but it has svideo...)

    E-SATA should allow me to connect a SATA drive - a regular one, right? because it gets power from that port at the back of the computer.
    and hot swap applies to sata 2 right? i consider this an intersting feature that i would like to have.

    As for the CPU, would you consider throwing a CPU just to buy one a little better? I doubt it worth it... I would rather buy a new motherboard and a new cpu 2 generations after (after hyprin)

    is the ATX motherboard (only the most expensive G33) built better? because it has more room? to dissipate heat, or other things i haven't thought about. I think that being a larger board (considering the fact that i have a large case..) is an advantage by it self, but i have nothing to back this up with
  3. You can use a regular SATA disk with an eSATA port if you have an "eSATA enclosure". Here's a sample:

    No idea about hot swap, sorry. In general an external drive can be taken off or added without a reboot, I do it all the time with my Cowon MP3 player and my LaCie USB external hard disk. I would expect the same with eSATA, but I'd better let somebody else answer who has actually tried it.

    hyprin??? I think you mean Penryn. Let's say you pay $200 for an E6750 now, and 6 months from now a Penryn CPU is available and it also costs $200. I bet the Penryn would be 10% or 20% faster or so, not much more, and I wouldn't bother upgrading. You can make this decision when the Penryn is out and you have benchmarks and you know the prices - hard to decide now.

    I'm wondering, maybe you need something better than the E6750, since you're already thinking of upgrading it before you even bought it. You could get a Q6600, it's more future-proof and just a few bucks more ($266 after July 22).

    A larger board is probably better. That is, the smaller boards are made for home theatre PCs or small-form factor cases, and they have to make some compromises to achieve the smaller size. (Fewer features, reduced cooling, more crowded, etc.) If you don't care about the size, might as well get the ATX board. It's also good to stick with the standard, I guess, that would also mean the ATX.
  4. Thanks for the feedback,

    USB technology supports hot swap, this allows you to connect, unplug, plug again etc, and a restart to the machine isn't required.
    SATA2 i believe also does (but not 1)
    I also believe that en external case is not required, at least in theory. i guess i will wait for an answer. Because if you are correct, then I would probably not need this feature (as it requires to buy the case)

    I keep forgeting the word Penryn, sorry. I do not intend to upgrade ever this computer, as it is suggested from the P35/G33 chipset only Penryn is supported (one generation up the chain) which is not that a big improvement that one should throw his old cpu for...
  5. Intel's AHCI is supposed to support E-SATA hot swap. I have never tired it on mine though. You may have to enable it in the BIOS before you install your OS.
  6. Well Im having some adventures with eSATA. I dont actually own
    an external sata drive yet but I want too. It seem there are actully some issues to using eSATA on MB's that dont have an actual eSATA
    port (and you dont want to install a PCI card). I was told by a couple of Asus support guys that p5k-vm(g33 chipset) does NOT support hotswap UNLESS you install ACHI drivers
    DURING os install. THE CATCH is that if you insatll ACHI you cant use
    ATAPI over sata meaning you cant use a sata dvd drive-which of course I just bought. But I think there are some mbs that support
    hotswap w/o ACHI, but I dont know what part of hardware determines that so I dont know how to begin to predict that capability.
    I anyone knows about that please add.
  7. In regards to the eSATA hotswap and such.

    1) ACHI is the way to go if your operating system supports it. I just setup Vista on a new Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P and had no problems with all-ACHI (on the Intel ports, ICH9 controller). I installed from a SATA DVD.

    Again, there is generally only one reason to not use AHCI - your operating system won't support it. And don't assume you can change later, once you install a OS on a boot disk with AHCI off, turning it on in BIOS will likely result in you not being able to boot (did this myself on my first Vista install on Gigabyte 965P-DS3).

    2) The ability to "hot swap" is more of a software / driver issue than a hardware issue. Read again the wiki

    3) For $20 and up you can get a 2-port PCI-Express 1x Silicon Image chipset (Newegg sells several brands) SATA. These have very good drivers and I tend to get one just to see how my performance and hot swap compares.

    4) I repeat from #1, the Intel AHCI on the motherboard works fine with SATA DVD drives. As long as your operating system has drivers (Vista and newer Linux does).

    5) eSATA can be done with strictly passive cables that convert non-eSATA ports into eSATA. I've done this for both desktop and Supermicro servers without problem.

    I recommend the passive cables over active converters for eSATA.

    Try to avoid eSATA/USB combo external drives if you are a performace junkie. They often "hide" the SATA features of the drive and incur a performance overhead. I've seen NCQ hidden from the operating system when the drive inside the enclosure supports it fine (hooking up drive directly shows supported, going through enclosure - it is not).
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