Shootout at the Core 2 Corral: Seven P965 Motherboards Compared


The GA-965P-DS3 offers an extremely wide range of voltage and frequency settings in very small steps, which seems almost ideal for overclocking. Particularly useful are memory voltages up to 2.575 V for extracting the highest possible memory speeds, in tiny 25 mV increments. Gigabyte supports all available memory ratios and the full range of latency settings.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Frequency 100 - 600 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier Adjustment Yes
PCIe Clock 90-150 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore 0.6875-1.6000V (0.0025V) - 2.375V (0.0250V)
Memory 1.80 - 2.575V (0.025V)
FSB Voltage 1.20-1.55V (0.05V)
Northbridge (MCH) 1.25-2.00V (0.05V)
Southbridge (ICH) N/A
PCIe Volage default - +0.35V (0.05V)
Available Memory Ratios (DRAM:FSB)
DDR2-533 (1:1) Yes
DDR2-667 (5:4) Yes
DDR2-711 (4:3) Yes
DDR2-800 (3:2) Yes
DDR2-888 (5:3) Yes
DDR2-1066 (2:1) Yes
CAS Latency Range
tCAS: 3-6; tRCD: 1-15; tRP: 1-15; tRAS: 1-31; Command Rate: N/A

Overclocking stability stopped at 337 MHz FSB at the CPU's default x10 multiplier, and we're still at a loss as to why, since lower-cost parts typically pushed this same part to 346 MHz. Worse still, some settings that booted on the first try failed to "cold boot" and required resetting the BIOS. Constant testing and resets eventually got the board to 348 MHz at a reduced CPU multiplier, but we expected much more from a board with 12 power phases.

Our Take

A wide variety of maladies may have caused our lower-than-expected overclock results - even possible shipping damage or the unforeseen "bum component". Since overclocking is so often "luck of the draw", we'll try not to read too much into these results.

Documentation & Software Quick Installation Guide
Intel CPU Installation Guide
User's Manual
Driver & Tools CD
Hardware 4x Serial ATA cables
1x 80-conductor ATA cable
1x Floppy Cable
2x eSATA adapter brackes (2 drive w/Power)
2x 4-pin SATA power adapters
2x eSATA to SATA data cables
1x Case Badge/Sticker Kit
1x I/O Panel Shield

Special Features

Gigabyte's SATA to eSATA to SATA adapter kits are a nice added touch. The GA-965P-QD6 also includes the same array of EasyTune 5 features, recovery tools, and software as the GA-965P-DS3.

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