Shootout at the Core 2 Corral: Seven P965 Motherboards Compared

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3: The Instigator

Gigabyte is the second classic brand in this line-up. Founded in 1986, the company has consistently offered the same value to both retail lines and large OEMs.

Feature Overview

In an effort to outshine its low-cost Foxconn and Biostar rivals, Gigabyte's GA-965P-DS3 gets as close as possible to the perfect reduced-size layout. An x1 slot above the PCI-Express x16 adds room for small cards without forcing the graphics card to crowd DIMM slots, and the x1 slot below can easily be sacrificed for oversized graphics coolers. Also close to perfection are the power connectors, located front and top to prevent intrusion on CPU cooling. Finally, the front-panel audio connection, located behind the audio ports for easy cabling to bottom, mid, or top front panel ports, is brilliant!

Any caveats are all due to the board's narrow width, most significant of which is a CPU area which may be too crowded for large CPU coolers - even those of asymmetric design. The IDE cable may also get stuck between PCI cards, but there's too little room to move it to the upper edge near the floppy connector.

Added are two SATA ports, courtesy of Gigabyte SATA controller (manufactured by JMicron). Missing are any extra fan headers; the GA-965P-DS3 supports only the CPU fan and one case fan.

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
Northbridge Intel P965
Southbridge Intel ICH8 (82801HB)
Voltage Regulator 3 Phases
BIOS F4 (08/11/06)
Clock Generator ICS9LPRS587AGLF
266.6 MHz (FSB1066) 266.6 MHz (+0.00%)
Connectors and Interfaces
onboard 1x PCIe x16
3x PCIe x1
3x PCI
6x USB 2.0
1x Floppy
1x IDE
6x SATA 3.0Gb/s
1x Front Panel Audio
1x S/P-DIF In
1x CD-In
2x Fan 4 pins (CPU, System)
IO panel 2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse)
1x Serial Port
1x Parallel Port
1x Network
4x USB 2.0
1x Digital Audio Out (optical+coaxial)
1x 7.1 Channel Audio, Mic-In, Line-In (6 jacks)
Mass Storage Controllers
Gigabyte SATA2 (JMicron) 1x IDE (ATA133/100/66)
2x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, JBOD)
Marvell 88E8053 PCIe 1x 1 Gbit/s LAN
Realtek ALC883 7.1 AC97 or High Definition Audio

The back panel offers a traditional midrange mix of legacy ports, USB ports, and digital audio output from coaxial and optical connectors. Six analog audio ports support 7.1 channels, plus microphone and line level inputs simultaneously.

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