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Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 965P Express Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 965P Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: With a retail price of $235 CDN ($201 US, £102 GBP) the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard offers a good set of mainstream-to-performance features.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Mar 02 2007   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6

The Intel 965P Express chipset

The Intel P965 Express chipset is Intel's mainstream-performance core logic, it supports all Socket 775 processors running on a 533/800/1066MHz Front Side Bus. The P965 Express is married to the ICH8-series Southbridge which replaces the ICH7.

The southbridge used with the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard is the ICH8R model in particular.

Intel has increased its DDR2 memory support to 800 MHz with the P965 Express chipset, putting Intel's latest and greatest at par with AMD's Socket AM2 Athlon64's. Intel calls the new memory controller FMA or 'Fast Memory Access' and gives the system a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 12.8GB/s. Below is breakdown on the full feature set of the Intel 975 / 965 Express series chipsets, including the P965 Express which is used on the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard.

Intel 975 / 965 / 955 Series Chipset Feature Breakdown
Intel 975X Express Intel P965 Express Intel Q965 Express Intel G965 Express Intel Q963 Express Intel 955X Express
CPU LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Pentium D
Front Side Bus (FSB) 1066/800 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz
2 threads
1066/800/533 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz 1066/800MHz
Intel Flex Memory Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dual Channel Memory Support DDR2 800/667/533 DDR2 800/667/533 DDR2 667/533 DDR2 667 DDR2 667 DDR2 667/533
Maximum Memory Capacity 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB
Integrated Graphics - - GMA 3000 GMA 3000 GMA 3000 -
PCI Express x16 2 1 1 1 1 1
PCI Express x1 4 4 4 4 4 4
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SATA/IDE HDD 4/1 6/0 6/0 6/0 6/0 4/1
SATA Speed 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R)
Hard Drive NCQ - Yes Yes Yes Yes -
USB 2.0 Ports 8 8 10 10 10 8
PCI Masters 6 6 6 6 6 6
Audio High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia)

Initially Intel's P965 Express chipset only supported a single PCI Express x16 videocard, however most current motherboards feature two physical PCI Express x16 slots. Given that the ICH8R southbridge has six PCI Express lanes, these have been utilized to support the second PCI Express x16 slot with 4 PCI Express lanes. It's not as ideal as both videocards received the full 16 PCI Express lanes each, but it works well enough with conventional videocards. The Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 is one of the few Intel P965 Express based platforms with two physical PCI Express x16 slots. It also has three PCI Express x1 slots, and these are disabled when a second videocard is installed because they share the same PCIe lanes with the second PCI Express x16 slot.

A dedicated 2GB/s I/O bus connects the Intel P965 Express Northbridge and ICH8R Southbridge together, which might be a little tight if you have many high bandwidth devices installed but should be just fine for the average user.

The Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard comes installed with the ICH8R Southbridge which includes a ton of goodies. There are six 3GB/s Serial ATA II channels (which support RAID modes 0, 1, 5 and 10) as well a 7.1 channel Intel Azalia high definition audio, 10 USB 2.0 ports in total (split between headers and the I/O slot), six PCI Express x1 lanes, and an integrated Intel Gigabit MAC that runs through the PCI Express bus specific to this chipset.

Noticeably lacking from the chipset itself is parallel IDE support. This is forcing many motherboard manufacturers to integrate a standalone IDE controller onto their motherboards (as has been done here) so consumers have something to plug their optical drives into... A block chart of the Intel P965 Express chipset's major features is illustrated below.

Luckily parallel IDE technology isn't overly expensive to add to a motherboard. Next up, PCSTATS overclocks the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard!

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 965P Express Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Passive Cooling System for Motherboard PCB and Chipsets
 Pg 3.  Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 4.  — The Intel 965P Express chipset
 Pg 5.  Overclocking the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sysmark 2004
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PC Worldbench (Graphics)
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PC Worldbench (Office)
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PC Worldbench (Data Crunching)
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra
 Pg 11.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SuperPi, PCMark05
 Pg 12.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 13.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FarCry, Doom 3
 Pg 14.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Quake 4 / Conclusions

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