Intel P965 Showdown - Abit vs. GIGABYTE

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Gigabyte's current strategy for Intel based boards is to focus on the P965 chipset and not the Core 2 capable refresh of the 975X Express. As a result they have created a wide range of P965 based products and the GA-965P-DQ6 is the flagship model. With the DQ6, they took the P965 and mated it with a slew of high-end features. The result is a fully featured motherboard and it's quite the overclocker too. 

Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 Specifications
An Enthusiast Board from Gigabyte

CPU

  • LGA775 socket for Intel Pentium 4/Celeron CPU
  • Support Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition & Intel Pentium D Processor
  • Support Intel 65nm, Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme
  • Support Intel next generation Mulit-Core CPU
  • Intel EM64T / EIST / Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Intel Hyper-Threading technology ready

Chipset

  • Northbridge: Intel P965 Express Chipset
  • Southbridge: Intel ICH8R

Front Side Bus

  • 1066/800/533 MHz

Memory

  • Supports DDR2 800/667/533 memory
  • Dual Channel architecture support up to 8GB by 4 DIMM slots

Expansion Slots

  • 2 x PCI-E X16 slots (x16, x4)
  • 3 x PCI-E X1 slots
  • 2 x PCI 2.2 slots

Audio

  • Realtek ALC888DD 8-channel HD Audio with S/PDIF RCA and optical output ports

LAN

  • Marvell 88E8053 Gigabit LAN Controller

Special Features

  • Durability Enhanced- All Solid Capacitor Motherboard
  • 100% lead-free process and RoHS compliant
  • Silent Pipe Cooling
  • Over-clocking Enhanced
  • 6-Quad Features
  • Intel S-series Features

Back Panel I/O Ports

  • 1 x LPT
  • 1 x Optical + 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output
  • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
  • 1 x PS/2 Mouse
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 1 x COM
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1
  • 1 x IEEE1394a
  • 6 x audio jacks

Internal I/O Connectors

  • 8 x Serial ATA 3Gb/s connector
  • 1 x UDMA ATA 100/66/33 connector
  • 1 x FDD connector
  • 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 connectors (support 6 ports)
  • 1 x audio pin connector (support 8-Channel)
  • 1 x S/PDIF In pin connector
  • 2 x IEEE1394 connector

Accessories

  • 2 x eSATA connector panels (2 x eSATA + 1 x molex per panel)
  • 4 x SATA cables
  • 2 x eSATA cables
  • 2 x SATA power cable
  • 1 x IDE cable
  • 1 x FDD cable
  • 1 x I/O Shield
  • User's manual

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.5cm)

 

 


The DQ6's spec sheet is packed and includes all the features one would expect from a high-end motherboard. The Special Features section of the spec sheet stands out. What exactly are the "6-Quad Features" and the "Intel S-series Features" you ask?

Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 Features
Gigabyte 6-Quad and Intel S-series Features Explained

GA-965P-DQ6 Unique Features

The DQ6 is Gigabyte's first 6-Quad series motherboard. As the name suggests, the 6-Quad feature set consists of six elements. Despite Gigabyte's marketing department's efforts at stretching some of the features to fit them with a "quad" label, we thought that many of them have some practical application.

6-Quad Features

Quad BIOS: Builds on Gigabyte's DualBIOS system. Four copies of the BIOS can be used to recover the system. One stored on the primary BIOS chip, another on the backup BIOS, another on the driver CD, and the final one on the hard drive.
Quad Cooling: Quad Cooling consists of heatsinks linked by a heatpipe system to cover four main areas; the northbridge, southbridge, MOSFETs, and under the CPU socket.
Quad Triple Phase: The DQ6 is the first board to support 12 phases of power. 12-phase power enhances the motherboard's ability to provide steady power during extreme load and over-clocking. Overall system stability is increased as a result.
Quad eSATA2: The DQ6 has support for a total of four external SATA2 3Gb/s ports via the included eSATA headers. Each header has two eSATA ports.
Quad Core Ready: Gigabyte claims that the DQ6 supports the upcoming quad core processors, code named Kentsfield. They have reportedly tested the DQ6 with advanced samples of Kentsfield.
Quad DDR2 Slots: The DQ6 has a total of four DDR2 slots, supporting a total of 8GB of memory.

While some of the 6-Quad features are fairly mundane, we found the DQ6's power management and expandability quite impressive. Support for quad core processors future-proofs the board a bit.

All 6-Quad motherboards are also part of Gigabyte's S-series. The S-series has four S-features, which 6-Quad boards also have.

S-Features

Silent-Pipe: Similar to the Quad Cooling 6-Quad feature, except the underside of the CPU socket is not cooled.
Speed: S-series motherboards offer intelligent over-clocking and voltage modification settings from the BIOS and from within windows.
Smart: The 'Smart' feature consists of a variety of Gigabyte's proprietary utilities including Download Center, @BIOS/Q-Flash, Smart LAN, Xpress Install, Boot Menu, and Smart Fan.
Safe: The 'Safe' feature is made up of a variety of utilities and features built into the board including DualBIOS Plus, Virtual DualBIOS, BIOS Setting Recovery, HDD S.M.A.R.T., C.O.M., Xpress Recovery2, and PC Health Monitor. 

In addition to the 6-Quad and S-Series features, the DQ6 also boasts solid capacitors throughout as opposed to the electrolytic capacitors traditionally used on motherboards. Solid capacitors last longer than traditional electrolytic capacitors and they also contribute to better system stability under extreme conditions.

Tags:  Intel, Gigabyte, WD, DOW, Show, Abit, SHO

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