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Gigabyte P35 (DS3R) or Asus P45 (P5Q Pro)?

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June 26, 2008 1:40:25 AM

I’m planning on building a new quad core system. I’ll most likely get c2q 6600 G0 and hd4870.

Now I’m having (even more) difficulty on selecting the right motherboard.

I was planning to get Gygabyte GA EP35 DS3(R) that has realtek 889a audio. And I was almost good to ge when-

For a very similar price I can now get ASUS P5Q Pro that has realtek 1200 audio chip. (board based on newer p45 chipset with pcie 2 standard- nice)

Can anyone tell me the difference between the 2 audio solutions. Most I could find was that 889a is better than 888 and lower number variants. It stands to reason that 1200 is even better, but than again realtek started (afaik) from 880 and went up- 1200 seams too big a jump to be legit... unless its insanely revolutionary... in which case i should be able to find some reviews saying how much better it is... which i cant.
So the whole thing's fishy. That and I know that GA has exclusive rights to the "high-end" realtek 889a. (pre 1200 chip info)

More confusing fact to me is that more expensive variants of P5Q have a different Azalia codec for audio. And in case you’re wondering why I am i stressing so much over audio- is that I already have ASUS P5K-E and I have truckload of truble with its integrated solution. Its also code named Azalia so my hair stands when i hear that name. For this reason alone I was sure I was going to give ASUS a wide breath in my next mobo selection… but here I am.

Any motherboard and/or sound card expert advice very much appreciated. I surfed the net for more info like mad, but I couldn’t find anything useful myself.

Thank you for any insight,
Petar
June 26, 2008 1:55:31 AM

I can't tell you what the differences between the Realtek audio chips are but I can try and clear things up a bit for you.

What will you be using the comp for ? Hardcore gaming ? Casual gaming ? Something else ? If it is for hardcore gaming I say forget both solutions and go for a sound card. Then the question is will you be using XP or Vista ? If Xp I say get a Creative X-fi, because of the EAX5.0 support. If Vista I would say you could try the new Asus Xonar sound cards, they are getting pretty good reviews.

My opinion on Asus motherboards was pretty good a couple of years ago. I had 3 of them. But lately they seem to be getting worse and worse in the quality departement. A friend of mine sells comps and he says right now Asus is the brand he is having the most problems with. Lots of returns.
I bought my first Gigabyte motherboard last october (P35-DS3R) and it is a great board, mind you I don't use onboard sound so I can't comment on that.

Hope this helps !
June 26, 2008 4:17:05 AM

I’ll be using vista32 and xp 64 dual boot. I‘ll be gaming casually, but the main reason im going with ATI card and quad core are because of 3d studio max. ATI 3870 has near 3x better geometry performance than 8800gtx, and that one had 320 shaders. From what I’m seeing 800 shaders aren’t 2.5x better, but they are better nonetheless. HD48x00 has very good gaming performance to booth, so it’s a win win really. Quad core is a must and I plan to OC it to 3.6. I’d get nehalem, but what can i do…

A friend of mine has GA P31 DS3L and that one has realtek 888 chip. It works flawlessly. 889a is supposedly better, but I’d take the 888 just because I’m sure it works. Add-on card really isn’t an option for me. I don’t do sound and I don’t see the difference between the 888 and xfi turbo mega giga- its all the same to me. I just want my sound working. EAX capability is nice to boot, but I never really noticed that big of a difference on my SB Live!.

My Asus P5K-E has super annoying feature to crackle and generate random noise while i’m listening to winamp. Luckily, no such problems in games. I know it’s a software problem, but I did next to everything and tried all drivers and methods to no avail. Win XP 32 was catastrophic. Vista 32 is noticeably better and the best was XP 64. Still, all of them crackle to some degree – again winamp only. I kinda like to listen to music while i work 3d, so having sound that works on desktop as well as in games is a must… i don’t think im asking too much really.
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June 26, 2008 9:31:19 PM

Quote:
I bought my first Gigabyte motherboard last october (P35-DS3R) and it is a great board


I just realized that you own this board. I have a couple of questions for you. What case do you have? Are you using speed fan program? Can you use it to adjust chasis/cpu fan speeds?

If the answer to the last 2 questions was yes- can you reduce CPU/chasis fan speed below 50%? Can you completely stop any/all of the fans using this program?

I'm curious as my current ABIT IC7 (478 board-older) has this ability and I can control all chasis fans including the CPU Fan. Its brilliant and it works like one would expect it to work. I had unpleasant experience with ASUS P5K-E that makes me go into bios and maunaly select option other than "disable" for fan speed control in there. reset. manually select "disabled" once it restarts- and I have to do this every time i turn the computer on (basically at least once every day) or the speedfan wont work. And when it does work, it wont let me lower CPU fan speed below 50%. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that the CPU fan has 4 pin conector. PWM is blame i think.

The other negative experience, also with a newer board is my friends Gigabyte P31 DS3L. It can adjust fan speed only on a very brute like way and only from bios. Selecting "disabled" fan control in bios and hoping that it would work like with ASUS- yields no results. At least the fan speed can be lowerd from maximum by using bios presets, but this is just... inadequate for me.
I'm picky. I like my components working and my hardware operating the way i tell it to- not the way it wants to.
June 27, 2008 12:39:13 AM

I just bought the gigabyte ep35-ds3r basically because it had better audio than the other p35 boards. I was very wrong! It turns out the gigabyte p35 boards have sound problems. There's a lot of forums about it:

http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=2182171&highlight_key=y&keyword1=ga-x38-dq6
http://forums.tweaktown.com/f69/p35-motherboards-dpc-latency-spiking-26456/
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/247210-12-audio-latency-problem-ds3r

Using a sound card improved the problem for me, however there were still glitches. I've switched now to the asus p5q since gigabyte's beta bios didnt fix the problem. I hear gigabyte's fixed the problem with their new p45 boards though
June 27, 2008 1:50:19 AM

Hi JCCCC interesting thing dpc latency. I've never heard of it. Motherboard choice is getting surprisingly harder.

So... what are you saying? that even an addon sound card and the latest bios update didnt fix it for you on the GA model? What about your p5q? what exact model is it? vanila p5q? are you using your addon sound card now or the realtek alc1200 chip that ships with it (asuming its not deluxe/premium/-e variant)?

What graphic card do you have? Are you happy with your system stability? Any random lockups/resets/ weird errors (i had them all on my p5k-e)
June 27, 2008 11:13:40 AM

Yeah even with a sound card and the beta bios (which were supposed to fix the problem) didn't fix it. It seems like most of the gigabyte p35 boards have the high latency problem, people just don't notice it unless the levels are so high it causes audio stutters and glitches, which is what happened to me. It was a good board other than that though, which is why i'd consider the new gigabyte p45 boards which are out any day. I needed a quick replacement so i just got the regular P5Q, haven't built it up yet so i can't comment on it, but i'll let you know when i have.
June 27, 2008 1:47:49 PM

I needed a quick replacement so i just got the regular P5Q, haven't built it up yet so i can't comment on it, but i'll let you know when i have.

Please do. For me, its likely going to be ither P5Q (Pro) or GA EP35 DS3(R)
July 10, 2008 2:52:37 AM

You've probably already made your decision, but i finally installed the p5q. Its a definate improvement from the gigabyte ds3r, there's way more features! Internet within 5 seconds of booting up, far more settings for overclocking, the energy saving software has more than just one setting. If you leave your computer on all night downloading there's a sleep setting for that and the board was far easier to install the front panel connections. The p5q also came with firewire, which is another thing i didn't like about the ds3r besides the poor audio. One thing i did notice however, was the cpu temp might be a little higher with the asus board, although i'm not certain
August 1, 2008 9:39:49 PM

JCCCC,

It’s been I while. I still haven’t made up my mind, partly due to insufficient amount of $ I got recently. So, I'm still indecisive.

Would you mind sharing your opinions of the P5Q so far?

Namely, I’m interested in:

1) OS you’re using
2) Stability – does it BSOD, how often?
3) Sound- does it make noise while idle? Under load? Any cracking or other unpleasantries? Do you use winamp for your daily mp3?
4) what GPU and what PSU do you have?
5) What is ~ DPC latency on your P5Q?

interesting sidenote- i’ve noticed that dpcl on my amd 2500+ is sub 50ms, while on same generation, but intel, Celeron 320D, 2.4ghz (OCed to 166fsb- 3ghz) is ~150ms.

Thank you again.
!