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GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R, ASUS P5B, or something else?

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January 13, 2008 2:57:58 AM

I’m planning to build a computer soon, but I’m uncertain about the motherboard. Here are some choices that I have been considering:


GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R

ASUS P5B

Both of these MOBOs have a single PCI Express x16 (I wasn’t planning on SLI or CrossFire). I currently have an ATI All In Wonder X1900 card, but I was looking to eventually move toward an nVidia 8800GT. However, I was initially planning on using the ATI card, then later move to the nVidia card.

These are two of the few modern boards that I could find that still maintain plenty of expansion slots. Each has 3 x PCI-E x1 and 3 x PCI. The Gigabyte board has a more recent chipset (P35)…P965 for the Asus. Nevertheless, *this review*shows that the Asus P5B benchmarks higher.

All my previous builds have been based on Asus Boards, but it seems what remains is either SLI or CrossFire boards. Given my desire to go to nVidia cards that pretty much leaves the SLI boards and the nVidia chipset. An example of a possible board would be the *ASUS P5N32-E SLI*. The problem with this move is that I would have to get a new nVidia card right away ( I don’t think I can use my ATI card on this board even if I am only using one x16 slot. Furthermore, there are fewer expansion slots and most would be blocked by the video card(s).

With regard to a processor I have been considering the Intel Quad Q6600 ($269) which is compatible with both boards. The Gigabyte board offers the advantage of being compatible with a wider range of dual and quad core processors (45nm and 65nm). For example, it is compatible with the Core Duo E6750 processor ($184), which could save some cash. Nonetheless, I am inclined to go with the Q6600 even though most programs do not take advantage of the quad core. I figure eventually, programs will use that technology and I will already be on the forefront for a difference of $85.

Last, as I mentioned I pretty much have used Asus boards…anyone have experience with Gigabyte. Should Gigabyte be avoided? Despite the professional review provided in this post, *user reviews* from NewEgg which was about 80% favorable, but there were some negative comments which I’m sure if I should be concerned about. Moreover, the *user reviews of the P5B*were worse; although, many comments were about Raid which I don’t like to use..

Anyway, there is a smattering of my thoughts. I was wondering if anyone else had some ides and what they think between these options. Perhaps you have additional options for me to consider.
a c 257 V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
January 13, 2008 3:27:07 AM

I put my money where my mouth is, I just ordered a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R. It looks to me like it has the best shot at properly supporting the new E8500 and Q9450 processors. I have had a good experience with it's predecessor the GA-965P-DS3. The link you referenced was for a review of a similar board which has the combo option of ddr2 or ddr3 memory. Not an exact comparison. In addition, that review was for the revision 1.0 board with the initial F1 bios. Actually, all the reviewed boards were essentially the same performers. Within weeks, you should be able to order a E8400 which will be somewhat faster and cooler than the E6750. If you use the pc for games, I would take the faster clock speeds of a duo, but if you do lots of multitasking, then wait for the new quads.
a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
January 13, 2008 3:37:31 AM

You can use the X1900 on the P5N32-E SLI. You just can't do either SLI or Crossfire with that combination.

I'll vote for the GA-P35-DS3R.

An E6750 is cheaper and better in most games than a Q6600. However, the Q6600 will beat the pants off the E6750 when encoding videos or in Photoshop or in Flight Simulator X. When games start supporting quads properly, you'll wish you had a quad. If this CPU is supposed to last you for more than, say, 3 years, then get a Q6600 or wait for the Q9450. If it's a shorter term thing get an E6550 or E6750 and overclock it.

Related resources
January 13, 2008 4:24:54 AM

go with the GA-P35-DS3R it has the P35 chipset
January 13, 2008 10:36:33 PM

Thanks to all for the replies to my post. The information will be quite helpful. Your answers lead me to believe that the P5B is not the way to go. However, I do have some follow-up question that I hope you can help with.

geofelt said:
It looks to me like it has the best shot at properly supporting the new E8500 and Q9450 processors...Within weeks, you should be able to order a E8400 which will be somewhat faster and cooler than the E6750. If you use the pc for games, I would take the faster clock speeds of a duo, but if you do lots of multitasking, then wait for the new quads.


aevm said:
An E6750 is cheaper and better in most games than a Q6600. However, the Q6600 will beat the pants off the E6750 when encoding videos or in Photoshop or in Flight Simulator X. When games start supporting quads properly, you'll wish you had a quad. If this CPU is supposed to last you for more than, say, 3 years, then get a Q6600 or wait for the Q9450. If it's a shorter term thing get an E6550 or E6750 and overclock it.


I am not up to date with the schedule or other information regarding E8400, E8500, and Q9450. Do you know if the pricing will be comparable with the E6750 and Q6600, respectively? Can you provide a link where I may read more about this?

I am a user that likes to have a lot of programs running simultaneously, encode video, and play games. I am also stepping up from a Dual Core Pentium D830. I figured that either the Duo Core or Quad Core would boost performance for my usage. I would also prefer to use the computer 3 years or more. That seems to put me in the middle, but perhaps a slight lean toward quad core. Do you think that's correct?

I did a little reading on these forums and one post indicated that the Asus P5K-E is probably the closest match to the GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R. Any opinions on this comparison?

geofelt said:
I put my money where my mouth is, I just ordered a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R. It looks to me like it has the best shot at properly supporting the new E8500 and Q9450 processors. I have had a good experience with it's predecessor the GA-965P-DS3. The link you referenced was for a review of a similar board which has the combo option of ddr2 or ddr3 memory. Not an exact comparison. In addition, that review was for the revision 1.0 board with the initial F1 bios.


I went back to the Gigabyte website to look at the different versions (1.0, 2.0, and 2.1). The fine differences were not very clear to me. Here is how they compared. Differences in FSB, Memory, and Bios were observed, but I do not understand their significance.

I also took note of the GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R rev2.1 MOBO and compared it with GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R rev2.1. The comarison can be seen here. The GA-P35C-DS3R rev2.1 appears to have the combo option of ddr2 or ddr3 memory as per the review I mentioned earlier. I was bothered to see that GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R rev2.1 did not appear to have IDE ATA support in this comparison...is that the fact. I have PATA optical drives that I want to use and not simply discard. Does the GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R rev2.1 MOBO support PATA optical drives, or should I be looking to a GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R rev2.1 MOBO which appears to support PATA optical drives?

aevm said:
You can use the X1900 on the P5N32-E SLI. You just can't do either SLI or Crossfire with that combination.


I thought that nVidia was for SLI and ATI (AMD) was for Crossfire. Are you saying that this only makes a difference if you use two video cards in SLI or Crossfire mode? In which case, does it mean that if I got an Asus P5K-E MOBO I could use an nVidia 8800GT videocard (but only one and not a pair in SLI?

Do you think SLI or Crossfire is important or necessary based on my computer needs described earlier? The most sophisticted game that I am currently playing is Fear.

Thanks again for any help or comments that you can provide.
a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
January 13, 2008 11:54:22 PM

The Q9450 is supposed to cost $316. Sorry, don't remember where I read that, but it was in hundreds of places. I expect the Q6600 will not become cheaper, but they'll just stop making it. Based on what you're doing, I strongly recommend a quad.

Yes, as long as you have only one video card you don't have to care at all if your motherboard supports Crossfire or SLI or neither. Yes, P5K-E with a single 8800GT is a good combination, and it's fine as long as you're not interested in adding a second video card.

You should only consider Crossfire or SLI if you satisfy the following:
- good budget
- play lots of shooter games
- hate to turn the eye-candy down
- have a 24" monitor with 1920x1200 or better

There are people playing at 1680x1050 or even less on two video cards, but I think they're just too picky. :) 

Look at Tom's charts here to get a better idea. 30 fps is pleasant gaming IMO, while 60 fps is really great. More than that is pointless if you use an LCD monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate.
http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html
http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_sli2007.html


January 15, 2008 12:20:25 AM

Thank you for the replies and references. Very helpful.
January 22, 2008 8:14:08 AM

aevm said:
The Q9450 is supposed to cost $316. Sorry, don't remember where I read that, but it was in hundreds of places. I expect the Q6600 will not become cheaper, but they'll just stop making it. Based on what you're doing, I strongly recommend a quad.

Yes, as long as you have only one video card you don't have to care at all if your motherboard supports Crossfire or SLI or neither. Yes, P5K-E with a single 8800GT is a good combination, and it's fine as long as you're not interested in adding a second video card.

You should only consider Crossfire or SLI if you satisfy the following:
- good budget
- play lots of shooter games
- hate to turn the eye-candy down
- have a 24" monitor with 1920x1200 or better

There are people playing at 1680x1050 or even less on two video cards, but I think they're just too picky. :) 


Look at Tom's charts here to get a better idea. 30 fps is pleasant gaming IMO, while 60 fps is really great. More than that is pointless if you use an LCD monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate.
http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html
http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_sli2007.html


Not correct about the Q6600 (at least unless Intel finds another reason to back out of its road maps)...
http://a.slickdeals.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=733...
Quad Core Q6600 will decrease to $224 April 20th, 2008. However by that time the Penryn YF's should be at or near their tray prices and they are a better all around processor especially with the SSE4.1 code that will be written as that is one of the few areas that the Quad cores excel in (encoding).

You are correct about the Q9450's TRAY Price (per 1000 processors) but the mark up will be a good $20-$50 to start when Intel decides to "fix" ;)  there sudden problem with them and release the others. But after a few weeks to month prices should drop well. It was nice to see an introductory battle over the E8400. Buy.com, Ncix.com, and instore at Microcenter the processors could all be had before the official release date for just $20 over Tray price! That's Hot....

However the Q9300 is $50 less albeit it has less L2 cache. But with a shared cache it might not be much of any penalty if it overclocks well.
a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
January 22, 2008 12:19:15 PM

$224, for a Quad that reaches over 3.2 GHz, whoa... Nice, thanks!!!
January 22, 2008 12:43:49 PM

What's the big diff between the GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R, and the GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L?
a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
January 22, 2008 12:57:20 PM

DS3R supports RAID. DS3R lets you have 8 SATA devices, DS3L only 4. DS3R comes with 4 SATA cables instead of 2, has solid capacitors, newer onboard audio chip.
January 22, 2008 4:41:00 PM

oh, the e8400 was listed as a retail at $183. I am almost certain that was in a release from intel. The prices are inflated right now, wait a few weeks and they will be down. My friend told me about one that he got for 190 at a local store (too bad I am no where near him)
January 22, 2008 4:47:42 PM

Thanks for the help.
January 22, 2008 6:02:02 PM

Does the P35 DS3R / DS3L runs on 2.0 Pcie Express x16?
January 22, 2008 6:46:26 PM

You should take a look at Abit IP35 Pro. Great, great MOBO. I love it.
January 22, 2008 6:46:33 PM

Gigabyte seems to have major customer service issues. What is a good asus equivalent in the 100-$150 range?
a b V Motherboard
a b Ĉ ASUS
January 22, 2008 6:47:03 PM

P35 motherboards like DS3R/DS3L do NOT have PCI-E 2.0. They have PCI-E 1. Any PCI-E 2.0 card on the market today, including 8800GT, will work fine on them, at its best speed.

Future cards like HD 3870X2 or 9800GTX or 9800GX2 should also work, but it's not clear yet (to me, at least) if they would be faster in a PCI-E 2.0 slot or not. If you are waiting for one of those future cards I recommend that you get a motherboard based on X38 or 780i rather than P35, so you get PCI-E 2.0 slots. Look at GA-X38-DQ6 for example, if you prefer ATI cards, or EVGA nforce 780i SLI if you prefer nVidia.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128066
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188024
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3569875&CatId=2406
January 22, 2008 6:57:00 PM

I used P5B before and remain somewhat unhappy with it:

1. Too few fan connectors on the motherboard, (like 3 or 4, including CPU_FAN)

2. bastardly ICH8 (not ICH8R) bridge, which CAN support AHCI with your SATA drives but only if you use a modified driver (courtesy of some dude on the asus support forum)

3. bad capacitors (overclocks were unstable)

4. Horrible North Bridge heatsink (you could burn your finger on it), had to replace with an aftermarket part.


I switched to P35-DS4 and I love it.
January 22, 2008 8:17:48 PM

plguzman said:
You should take a look at Abit IP35 Pro. Great, great MOBO. I love it.

I love mine also.
January 22, 2008 11:01:33 PM

After reading replies to this post as well as other threads I became concerned about the P5B and about Gigabyte and Abit motherborads. It would seem from what I read that the support for Gigabyte and Abit is lacking. However, based on personal experience I found Asus to be responsive and accomodating. Does anyone have contradictory experience with these companies? As a relatively new PC enthusiats I am inclined to deal with a company that provides suitable support.

At present I am now looking at the Asus P5K series. The P5K and P5K-E appear to provide the best options for my needs. I would take the p5K today if it were not for the IDE connector being at the bottom left of the board. This would leave a flat ribbon cable stretched across the board no doubt. Position of the P5K board is much better, but I have no interest in the wifi as I already have a wireless router. Does anyone know if the wifi can be disable should I opt for the P5K-E board.
!