Eight P35-DDR2 Motherboards Compared

Gigabyte GA-P35-DQ6

Gigabyte is the second company in this lineup to offer a DDR2 motherboard nearly-identical to its DDR3 counterpart (seen on Page 7 of our previous comparison). The only visible difference between the GA-P35-DQ6 and the DDR3-supporting GA-P35T-DQ6 is the type of memory slot used, so the following description will just briefly recap the main features before moving on to differences in the BIOS.

Features Overview

The GA-P35-DQ6 features the same monster-sized heat pipe chipset/VRM cooling assembly and 12-phase VRM found previously on the P35T version.

Design highlights include Gigabyte's use of the full seven slot positions to support two PCI Express x16 graphics cards, plus three PCI Express x1 and two legacy PCI expansion cards. Like all dual-graphics P35 boards, the second slot is limited to four PCI Express lanes because the chipset only supports a total of 22.

Floppy and audio connector placement is good, but four of the Serial ATA ports are in a location where they may be blocked by oversized graphics card coolers when the card is placed in the second slot. The Ultra ATA connector placement is neither good nor bad: located at the lower part of the board's front edge, it faces forward to avoid cable conflicts with long cards.

Power cable placement is nearly ideal for cases that have the power supply at the top, but the ATX12V connector is difficult to unlatch due to its close proximity to the back-panel parallel port.

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Gigabyte GA-P35-DQ6 (Revision 1.0)
NorthbridgeIntel P35 GMCH
SouthbridgeIntel ICH9R
Voltage RegulatorTwelve Phases
BIOSF5f (06/04/2007)
266.7 MHz (FSB1066)266.7 MHz (+0.0%)
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard2x PCIe x16 (1x x16, 1x x4 pathways)3x PCIe x12x PCI4x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)2x IEEE-1394 FireWire1x Floppy1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)8x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s1x Front Panel Audio1x CD-Audio In1x S/P-DIF In2x Fan 4 pins (CPU/System)3x Fan 3 pins (System/Power)
IO panel2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse)1x Parallel Port1x Serial Port1x RJ-45 Network4x USB 2.01x IEEE-1394 FireWire2x Digital Audio Out (S/P-DIF optical + coaxial)6x Analog Audio (7.1 Channel + Mic-In + Line-In)
Mass Storage Controllers
Intel ICH9R6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10)
GigaByte SATA2 (by JMicron)1x Ultra ATA-100 (2-drives)2x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0,1, JBOD)
Realtek RTL8111B PCI-E1x Gigabit LAN Connection
HDA (Azalia) Controller InterfaceRealtek ALC889A 8 + 2 Channel Codec
Texas Instruments TSB43AB233x IEEE-1394a (400 Mbit/s)

Gigabyte includes a variety of high-end onboard controllers, but only one Gigabit network port. The Realtek ALC889A 8+2 channel multi-streaming audio codec sets the board apart from previous-generation models.

Many legacy ports are seen on the GA-P35-DQ6 back panel, which is also identical to the P35T DDR3 version.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.