Skip to main content

Tom's Socket AM2 Motherboard Summer Slam

Gigabyte M59SLI-S5

Gigabyte brings a quality board to the table with three PCIe x16 graphics card sized slots.

slide show: Gigabyte M59SLI S5

Ports

For expandability, the board features three PCIe x16 slots for video accelerators. The third x16 slot actually runs at x8 speed maximum. In addition, there are two PCIe x1 slots, and two standard PCI slots. For USB and Firewire connectivity we have the four integrated USB ports, and three headers to support for six more USB ports. A single Firewire (IEEE1394) port is on the motherboard and a header for a second port is available on the board as well. Another two gigabit network ports on the panel utilize the nForce5 GbE controller. The SATA connectivity is taken care of with the nForce 590 MCP controlling six nForce ports for SATA/300 devices and a single standard UltraATA/100 connector.

Audio

The M59-SLI-S5 is the only board in the roundup to use the Realtek ALC888DD codec for 7.1-channel high definition audio. Six audio mini jacks, a single SPDIF coax and a single optical out are available for audio connectivity. Headers are available for 5x2 pin front audio, CD-in and SPDIF in and out.

Cooling

The M59SLI features some very impressive cooling. Similar to the Asus boards, a large heat pipe connects the Northbridge, Southbridge and power supply components. The number of available fan headers is typical, three in total, one of which is likely to be used with the CPU.

Bundle

The M59SLI-S5 is the only board in the roundup that did not arrive in a retail package, so we can only get an idea of the software bundle from the Gigabyte Website. The retail package should include: Easy-Tune 5 & M.I.T. (Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker), which is Gigabyte's signature CPU overclocking and voltage tweaking software, R.G.B. (Robust graphics Booter), which, I believe, is Gigabyte's graphics card overclocking software, but without trying it out I can't be certain.

Notes

It is certainly very interesting to see a board with three PCIe x16 slots. For some time now the idea of motherboards that would facilitate three graphics cards has been thrown around - two graphics cards for multi-GPU rendering and one for physics calculations. There are other uses for the third x16 port of course, but it's still nice to see the technology moving in that direction.

slide show: Gigabyte M59SLI S5