X38 Comparison Part 1: DDR2 Motherboards

BIOS And Overclocking

Gigabyte's voltage and frequency selections have a far more reasonable range than those of some competitors: Like a 50-MPH speedometer on a moped, Gigabyte realizes that an 800 MHz FSB clock is just wishful thinking. In fact, the GA-X38-DQ6's 700 MHz bus clock limit (FSB2800) is already way beyond chipset capabilities.

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BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Frequency100-700 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier AdjustmentYes
DRAM FrequencyFSB clock x 1.0, 1.2, 1.25, 1.33, 1.5, 1.6, 1.66, 2.0
PCIe Clock90 - 150 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.50000- 1.6000 - 2.35 Volts (0.00625/0.05 Volts)
CPU FSB Voltage1.20 - 1.55 Volts (0.05 Volts)
Northbridge (MCH)1.25 - 1.625 Volts (0.15 Volts)
Southbridge (ICH)None
DRAM Voltage1.80 - 3.35 Volts (0.05 Volts)
CAS Latency Range
tCAS: 3-7; tRCD: 1-15; tRP: 1-15; tRAS: 1-31

We reached a record-matching 4.168 GHz speed at 521 MHz FSB clock and an 8x multiplier for our E6750 test sample using Gigabyte's X38-DQ6. Dropping the CPU multiplier to 6x allowed a bus speed increase to 535 MHz, which was a middling result compared to top-overclocking P35 boards. There's no long-winded story behind how we reached 4.168 GHz; we simply set the same 1.60 volt CPU core, 1.50 volt CPU FSB and 1.50-1.55 Northbridge voltage used for testing other recently introduced P35 and X38 boards.


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Documentation & SoftwareIntel Processor Installation GuideMotherboard ManualMotherboard Driver CD
Hardware1x 80-conductor Ultra ATA cable1x Floppy Drive Cable4x SATA Data Cable2x eSATA Breakout Plate (2-drives each)2x External Four-Pin to SATA Power Adapter2x eSATA to SATA Adapter Cables1x I/O Panel Shield1x Gigabyte Case Badge

Rather than include the full number of allowed internal SATA cables, the GA-X38-DQ6 provides two internal SATA to eSATA breakout plates with eSATA-to-SATA data cables and ATA-to-SATA power adapters to support four internal drives externally. Of course, the breakout plates can also be used with external devices.

Bonus software includes Norton Internet Security 2007 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0, plus a variety of system, BIOS, and overclocking utilities. Buyers will need to purchase their games separately, but that might be a better choice for anyone who doesn't want the one game included in a certain competing package.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • firesteel
    What happened to this motherboard? I don't see it for sale at places like tigerdirect. Newegg say it's discontinued. Has it been replaced by a newer model or something?