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Headquarters Made Of Heatsinks

Gigabyte Motherboard/Graphics Card Factory Tour
By , Sherri Lee
Headquarters Made Of Heatsinks

We start at the entrance, where Gigabyte has an actual model of its headquarters made from CPU trays, heatsinks, and other components that it sells.

The first step in motherboard design is figuring out what platform to design for. After this is decided, engineering teams work with chipset makers like AMD and Intel to come up with a product scheme. Once settled, reference designs are provided, and Gigabyte then goes through its initial work, defining actual board specifications and looking into possible third-party components to add value. Features like onboard RAID, sound, connectivity, and other extras are picked at this point.

Once the specs are finalized, the engineering team begins its layout job in software simulation. This allows for bug checking and other changes to be made before the layout goes to "the wire." During this process, engineers take everything into consideration--even the actual length of traces on a board.

Once done, layers are defined. Typically, you will see four-layer PCBs consisting of the following:

Layer 1: Top layer. This layer carries signals
Layer 2: Copper. Power distribution
Layer 3: Copper. Ground
Layer 4: Bottom layer. Signaling

Signals can be passed through layers by what's known as a "via."

Components, routing, and layout are done on specialized layout software. Often times, several revisions are made to either tune, fix bugs, or change a component.

Of course, this is an oversimplification of the entire process, but this is essentially the major steps before a board enters production.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    08nwsula , June 16, 2009 8:18 PM
    I heard if you are found sneaking around a Gigabyte plant they will cap your ass with 2 oz of copper.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    08nwsula , June 16, 2009 8:18 PM
    I heard if you are found sneaking around a Gigabyte plant they will cap your ass with 2 oz of copper.
  • -1 Hide
    computabug , June 16, 2009 8:20 PM
    TH's comeback to business! Well, maybe not the same 'type' of business *cough* but at least it's getting readers back! :D 
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 16, 2009 8:24 PM
    Pretty Sweet. Looks like a typical PCB manufacturing floor..
  • 7 Hide
    the_one111 , June 16, 2009 8:32 PM
    And another baby motherboard is born Awwwwwwwwwwww....

    It's so cute!
  • 2 Hide
    Ramar , June 16, 2009 8:32 PM
    Awesome story. Thanks guys =D

    Makes me feel even better about my Gigabyte boards.
  • -1 Hide
    computabug , June 16, 2009 8:39 PM
    I thought that board was an HD4850, but it doesn't have the white DVI connectors... maybe they put it on last?
  • -1 Hide
    computabug , June 16, 2009 8:40 PM
    Nevermind! I change my mind: it's a GTS250 for sure! Probably a 1gb OCed non-reference gts250
  • 2 Hide
    argade , June 16, 2009 8:53 PM
    Correct me if I'm wrong but surface mount parts (SMT) come from tape and reel and are soldered in a reflow oven not a wave solder machine b/c they aren't through-hole parts. Also I believe flux is sprayed on the leads of the through-hole parts that need to be soldered in wave for a better solder joint, not the other way around.
  • 0 Hide
    computabug , June 16, 2009 8:55 PM
    Ok sorry for 3 (almost) consecutive posts, but for picture 20:
    "With speed and skill, Sherri covertly moves in to bag a few motherboards and graphics cards."
    Are you guys serious? T_T
  • -1 Hide
    the last resort , June 16, 2009 9:04 PM
    The video card in picture #14 is the 9800GT 1GB edition.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125282
  • 0 Hide
    1ni3shi , June 16, 2009 9:05 PM
    Tuan, prepare to hear from GIGABYTE laywers!
    They'll probably brand your forehead with UD3 or UDV logos...

    You sold out the identity of your THSA Kobe GOOD JOB!!
  • 0 Hide
    NocturnalOne , June 16, 2009 9:06 PM
    You have to wonder if they're going to rename the company when host memory is measured in TB rather than GB. Sort of like a company being called Kilobyte back in the 60s. Sounds to quaint now.
  • -1 Hide
    the last resort , June 16, 2009 9:06 PM
    ooops sorry, didn't notice the next slide had heatsinks.

    The video card in #14 and 15 is the GTS250, 1GB with the custom Zalman cooler.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125266
  • -1 Hide
    tuannguyen , June 16, 2009 9:08 PM
    computabugOk sorry for 3 (almost) consecutive posts, but for picture 20:"With speed and skill, Sherri covertly moves in to bag a few motherboards and graphics cards."Are you guys serious? T_T

    the last resortThe video card in picture #14 is the 9800GT 1GB edition.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814125282


    Hehe, that was meant as a joke. We don't need to do that. :)  We just call Gigabyte and ask.

    / Tuan
  • -1 Hide
    grandshadow3581 , June 16, 2009 9:28 PM
    Fascinating
  • -1 Hide
    stuckintexas , June 16, 2009 9:30 PM
    I worked for quite a while as a Test Engineer and the two pics of their functional test fixture makes me weep. Most engineers would be fired if they tried to release that to MFG.

    @argade - You are 100% correct.
  • -1 Hide
    cadder , June 16, 2009 9:34 PM
    Oh what fun!

    Why are they one of the most popular choices? Both of my GA-EP45-UD3R's work very well. They have a lot of good features and are priced very nicely. That's why.

    BTW, what is a "surgical precession"? Is that some kind of parade?
  • -1 Hide
    NocturnalOne , June 16, 2009 9:35 PM
    stuckintexasI worked for quite a while as a Test Engineer and the two pics of their functional test fixture makes me weep. Most engineers would be fired if they tried to release that to MFG.


    I doubt that that was a production test fixture. Would take much too long and risk damage to the product.

  • 0 Hide
    MrSiko , June 16, 2009 9:36 PM
    Great article! I don't think Gigabyte will mind too much, their facilities come out of this very well indeed.
  • -1 Hide
    computabug , June 16, 2009 9:40 PM
    Hey Tuan, am I right about it being a non-reference gts250 in the picture?
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