Gigabyte GA-8INXP: The Dual Perfectionist
BIOS Version: F2 (December 2, 2002)
Gigabyte has really adopted the term "dual" through and through. The 8INXP is being advertised as the "six-dual miracle." This includes: a dual logic processor (Pentium 4 with HyperThreading), dual-channel DDR, dual RAID, dual BIOS, dual power system and dual cooling. While the first few terms are comprehensible, dual power system and dual cooling reveal a curiosity of this board: all significant voltage converters are doubled (dual power system). Half of them are on a little board that sticks up. Gigabyte uses its own fan for cooling. The fact that this is the second fan, in addition to the one on the Northbridge, makes the sixth feature: dual cooling.
Gigabyte souped up the hardware offerings: a Gigabit Ethernet controller from Intel ensures optimal connection to networks; a smart card interface provides a connection for card readers; and an AC97-standard sound system guarantees audio finesse. However, the real attention went to the memory controller: an IDE RAID controller from Promise (PDC20276) was apparently not good enough for the developers, so there is also a serial chip from Silicon Image on the board (Sil3112). Overall, approximately ten hard drives can be operated without additional controllers.
One feature that has not been seen up to now is the possibility of operating a serial device outside the computer as well. Gigabyte includes a special slot bracket for this - very good!
Last but not least, this board delivers the best performance in this test, but it was significantly improved by a CPU speed of 3108 MHz. This is not how to win in a comparison - overclocking is up to the user!