X38 Comparison Part 2: DDR3 Motherboards

BIOS And Overclocking

The GA-X38T-DQ6 provides all of the chipset's available memory ratios regardless of CPU bus speed, but the BIOS now lists which ones are appropriate for any given FSB. This eases overclocking a little, because choosing the "wrong" memory ratio could potentially overclock the chipset beyond its 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 Voltage1.50 - 3.05 Volts (0.05 Volts)
CAS Latency Range
tCAS: 4-11; tRCD: 1-15; tRP: 1-15; tRAS: 1-63

We were able to reach 521 MHz FSB clock (FSB2084) at a measured 1.60 core volts using our E6750's stock 8x multiplier, for a record-matching 4168 MHz CPU clock speed. The 1.60 V measurement came at a BIOS setting of 1.5625 V: the board could overclock our CPU even farther at a setting of 1.60 V, but the measured voltage at that setting violated our chosen limit.

Dropping the CPU multiplier to 6x allowed the FSB to reach a stable 533 MHz, which is somewhat encouraging when we consider the overclocking potential of Intel's new 45 nm cores.

We intended to test every motherboard's "base" FSB1333 setting using a 1333 MHz memory data rate and CAS 5-5-5-15, but the GA-X38T-DQ6 did not function with a CAS 5, setting no matter what memory speed was used. Instead, it was tested at 6-5-5-15, with its command rate manually set to 2T.


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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

Though the GA-X38T-DQ6 supports up to eight Serial ATA drives internally, it includes only four internal SATA cables. Two SATA to External SATA adapter plates support up to four additional drives, and also included are two SATA to eSATA data cables and two four-pin to SATA power adapters for connecting internal drives externally.

Included but not shown are the installation CD and I/O panel shield, parts that were probably lost during a previous inspection. The included driver CD is the same as that used in our previous GA-X38-DQ6 review, so we know it comes with Norton Internet Security 2007 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0, in addition to Gigabyte's assortment of system management and overclocking utilities.

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