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Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 965P Express Motherboard Review
Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 965P Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
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 Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard has a healthy dose of enthusiast friendly features like multiple eSATA ports, a unique motherboard heatsink to cool the underside of the PCB, and even a totally silent chipset cooling system. A full compliment of solid state capacitors work to ensure this board will still be functioning years down the road, and not blown and leaking electrolytic fluid.

Built with the workhorse Intel P965 Express and Intel ICH8R chipsets, the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard is compatible with all Socket 775 processors on the market; Celeron D, Pentium 4/D/XE and Intel Core 2 Duo/Core 2 Quad. It supports all Socket 775 processors that operate on a 1066/800/533MHz FSB, and accomodates up to 8GB of DDR2-800/667/533 memory in a dual channel configuration. The bare minimum for Microsoft Windows Vista to run smoothly is 1GB, but PCSTATS recommends starting off with at least 2GB RAM.

Standard equipment includes a PCI Express based Gigabit network connection (Marvell 8056), three IEEE 1394a Firewire ports, a 7.1 channel High Definition Azalia Dolby Digital Live certified audio controller and an additional Serial ATA II/IDE RAID (0,1,0+1) controller. There are eight 3GB/s SATA channels in total and one IDE channel. Six of those come via the ICH8R Southbridge, and two via Gigabyte's additional Serial ATA II controller. Expansion is possible via two PCI Express x16 slots for graphics cards, while high bandwidth devices install into any of the three PCI Express x1 slots. There are two 32-bit PCI slots for legacy devices.

The Intel P965 Express chipset is compatible with ATI's CrossFire technology so you can run two ATI videocards for dual 3D game rendering, the only caveat being that the second PCI Express x16 slot (in orange) has just 4 PCI Express lanes available to it. These PCIe lanes are shared with the boards' PCI Express x1 slots. When populated with a videocard, all three PCI Express x1 slots are disabled.

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. There is some nice gear included along with this board, and we particularly liked the two sets of eSATA cables and external molex power cables.

Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 Motherboard


User's Manual, Installation Guide, 4x Serial ATA II cables, Ultra/133 IDE Cable, Floppy Cable, 2x eSATA brackets, 2x External Serial ATA Cables, 2x External Molex power cables

The Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 is certainly an eye catcher and it's great to see that the motherboard doesn't have just a pretty face, the colours actually serve a higher purpose. Each identify a different port, from which Serial ATA II ports correspond to which controller, to which DIMM slots to occupy to enable dual channel memory.

The motherboard layout is quite good; the main 24 pin ATX and floppy connectors are all located to the right of the DIMM slots which keeps those cables out of the way, and the lone IDE along the very bottom edge set at 90 degrees to the board surface. Of note at the rear I/O panel are four USB2.0 headers, six jack-sensing audio jacks, coaxial/optical audio outputs and one FireWire port. Two dual eSATA / one molex power PCI brackets are included with the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6, but oddly not one single IEEE header or USB header bracket is. There are no less than 3 USB2.0 headers waiting to be used, one IEEE1394a.

If you plan on running a high end Intel Core 2 Duo CPU on this platform, we'd advise you to upgrade your power supply to an ATX2.0 compatible model with an ESP12V connector. The Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 will work with 20-pin power supplies , but older units are not designed to handle the power requirements of modern computers with multiple videocards.

A compatible power supply is definitely required if you plan on running a dual videocard setup, one with at least 30A+ capacity on the 12V line to be specific. This Corsair HX620W PSU is a good option. Alternatively, the modular cable Seasonic M12 700W, or PC Power & Cooling's monster Turbo-Cool 510W Express/SLI are also well suited.

The user manual is well done, providing novice users with enough guidance to make it through hardware installation. Topics like how to install the power supply, optical drives and peripherals such as the keyboard, mouse and monitor are explained in an easy to understand language.

Solid Capacitors in place of the Electrolytic variety

A significant feature on the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 motherboard is the manufacturer's decision to equip the board entirely with solid state capacitors. The box proudly states that the GA-965P-DQ6 uses only "Ultra Durable All-Solid Capacitors," as opposed to standard electrolyte capacitors.

A few years back there was a huge problem with motherboards suffering from burst and leaking electrolytic capacitors. This industry-wide event blossomed into a full blown epidemic, and almost single handily dragged ABIT's name through the mud. The general consensus was that ABIT boards were most affected at the time.

The Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 uses conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors of the kind pictured at left. These are the same type of capacitors mostly found on videocards, or in the CPU's power supply circuitry. The gist of the situation is that Gigabyte have produced a motherboard with only this kind of capacitor, because it improves overall stability of the motherboard in the long term (we're talking 3+ years).

Being a solid device, the physical conditions which caused poor quality electrolytic capacitors to burst after 3 years is a non-issue. If you'd like to read up on the back story of espionage that led to the whole problem of burst and leaking caps, have a look at this PCSTATS article. It's actually a rather complicated story of industry espionage...

Solid capacitors are more expensive than regular electrolytic capacitors, and so the GA-965P-DQ6 costs a little more than an equivalent Intel 965P Express based motherboard.

Next up, PCSTATS investigates Gigabyte's totally silent chipset and motherboard cooling solutions on the GA-965P-DQ6...

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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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