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Digital-Daily : Motherboard Reviews : gigabyte_x48_dq6_intel_x48

Gigabyte X48-DQ6 (Intel X48)

Gigabyte X48-DQ6 (Intel X48)
Author: Aleksandr Mitrofanov
Date: 14.02.2008

Gigabyte X48-DQ6
Chipset Intel X48
CPU LGA775 Pentium 4 FSB 1066/800/533 MHz
Celeron Conroe/Prescott FSB 800/533 MHz
Dual-Core Pentium4 Smithfield/Presler
Yorkfield, Wolfdale FSB 1600/1333/1066/800 MHz
Quad-Core Kentsfield, Dual-Core Conroe/Allendale
HyperThreading
Memory DDR2 533/667/800/1066/1200*
HDD 1x UltraDMA/133
8x SerialATA(2xRAID)
Extras 3 IEEE-1394a
Audio Intel HDA
12 USB 2.0
2x Gigabit Ethernet
Price: N/A

In a few weeks, Intel is announcing its new high-end X48 chipset. That even will happen simultaneously with the announcement of the new series of processors rated at the 400 MHz (1600 QPB) bus. These events are directly interrelated because it's just X48 that is the first chipset with the official support for the new bus. Nevertheless, we note that some motherboards built on the previous chipsets X38 and P35 will also support new processors, albeit unofficially.

Since the X48 has not yet been announced, we are not making any final conclusions regarding its attraction nor reviewing its specifications in detail. However, we are sharing some preliminary conclusions with you. In particular, support for the 400 MHz bus seems to be the only advantage of this chipset as compared to X38. It is interesting to note the fact that the release of X48 was planned early in the year, but under the pressure of motherboard manufacturers Intel deferred that event for two months. The thing is that the hasty release of X48 could bring harm to the sales of motherboards based on X38: because of the similarity of specifications the users would have ignored the "outdated" X38. The higher frequencies of X48 also means that this chipset offers a higher overclocking capability, which will certainly appeal to computer enthusiasts. As regards support for the Crossfire, the number of users of this technology is pretty low, even as compared to the number of users of NVIDIA SLI. Therefore, in our opinion, however advanced the progress at that may be, that absolutely doesn't affect the popularity of X48. As regards the expansion options, there are also no pleasant surprises: all the motherboards based on X48 offer the well-known south bridge ICH9(R). Quite possibly, X48 will be compatible to ICH10, but for now we'd better refrain from forecasts at that.

Now regarding motherboards based on X48. The fact that manufacturers acquired first specimens of X48 already in 2007 tells that they had not enough time for the development of the PCB design, debugging the BIOS and software, as well as polishing the overclocking tools. In particular, we obtained a specimen of Gigabyte X48-DQ6, already of revision 1.1. Nevertheless, it uses the engineering version of the BIOS firmware which overstates the FSB speed by as much as 2 MHz. On the other hand, the board is shipped with the release-version package bundle. Therefore, we would call this review as "preview" because the final PCB design is not equivalent to the "finished product": no less important is the final BIOS version.

Gigabyte X48-DQ6 Specifications


Gigabyte X48-DQ6
CPU - Intel Pentium 4 (Prescott (2M)/Gallatin/CedarMill) with the bus speeds 1066/800/533 MHz;
- Dual-core Intel Pentium D/EE (Smithfield/Presler) with the bus speeds 800/1066 MHz;
- Intel Celeron-D (Conroe-L, Prescott) with the bus speeds 800/533 MHz;
- Support for Intel Core 2 Duo/Quad (Kentsfield (4 cores), Conroe/Allendale (2 cores)) with the bus speeds 1333/1066/800 MHz;
- Support for Intel Yorkfield, Wolfdale with the bus speeds 1600/1333/1066/800 MHz;
- Socket LGA775;
- Support for HyperThreading;
Chipset - North bridge Intel X48 (MCH);
- South bridge Intel ICH9R;
- Interbridge communication: DMI;
System memory - Four 240-pin slots for DDR2 SDRAM DIMM;
- Maximum memory capacity 8 GB;
- Supported memory DDR2 533/667/800/1066/1200*;
- Dual-channel memory access;
- Power indicator;
Graphics - Two PCI Express x16 slots;
Expansion options - Two 32-bit PCI Bus Master slots;
- Three PCI Express x1 slots;
- Twelve USB 2.0 ports (8 integrated + 4 additional);
- Three IEEE1394 (Firewire; 2 integrated + 1 additional);
- Integrated High Definition Audio 7.1;
- Two Gigabit Ethernet LAN controllers;
Overclocking options - FSB adjustable within 100 to 700 MHz in 1 MHz increments; multiplier adjustable;
- Adjustable voltage on the CPU, memory, FSB, PCI-E, and the chipset (MCH);
- Gigabyte C.I.A 2;
- EasyTune 5;
Disk subsystem - 1 line for UltraDMA133/100/66/33 Bus Master IDE (Gigabyte SATA2; with support for up to 2 ATAPI devices);
- Support for SerialATA II (6 lines - ICH9R, with support for RAID 0,1,0+1, 5);
- Support for SerialATA II (2 lines - Gigabyte SATA2, with support for RAID 0, 1,JBOD) ;
- Support for LS-120 / ZIP / ATAPI CD-ROM;
BIOS - 2x8 Mbit Flash ROM;
- Award BIOS Phoenix with support for Enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, PnP Features and Trend Chip Away Virus;
- Gigabyte Q-Flash;
- @BIOS, and Face-Wizard;
- Gigabyte Virtual Dual BIOS;
Misc - One port for FDD, one serial and one parallel port, ports for PS/2 mouse and keyboard;
- STR (Suspend to RAM);
- SPDIF In/Out;

Power management - Wake-up on modem, mouse, keyboard, LAN, timer, and USB;
- Main 24-pin ATX power connector;
- Additional 8-pin power connector;
Monitoring - Monitoring the temperature of the CPU, system, voltages,rotational speeds of the four fans;
- SmartFan;
Dimensions - ATX form factor, 245mm x 305mm (9.63" x 12");

Package

Gigabyte X48-DQ6 is packed within a huge box having holographic coating, equipped with a handle to carry it around.

One page tips up, and the user can get a brief idea of all Gigabyte's proprietary technologies, as well as watch the board through a transparent window.

Although the specimen that we acquired was only a sample "for the press", its package bundle almost meets that for the release-version product; the only missing item is the user's manual.

Package bundle

  • Motherboard;
  • *User's Manual in English + Quick Setup Manual;
  • 1x software & drivers DVD;
  • One ATA-133 cable, one FDD cable;
  • Four SerialATA cables;
  • 1x External SerialATA cable + power supply adapter (1 connector);
  • An external module to plug in SerialATA devices;
  • A cap for the rear panel of the housing

The board's package bundle leaves a somehow dubious impression. The thing is that the X48 chipset is Intel's top-end product, whereas X48-DQ6 is a top-end model in Gigabyte's assortment. Therefore, its price should be at about $300, which is rather expensive according to modern standards. From this viewpoint, it is absolutely not clear why the box has not the required quantity of SerialATA cables and power supply adapters. Also missing is a bracket for LPT and COM ports. Anyway, these ports can be seen as outdated, which may be the reason for this saving.

Also missing are additional brackets for USB2.0 and Firewire ports. However, we won't regard that as a shortcoming. The thing is, the number of USB2.0 ports on the rear panel is unusually great - as many as 8(!). The same can be said about Firewire ports as well, which are two.

Of the additional items, we note a special bracket for plugging in external SerialATA devices, as well as an eSATA cable with the matching power supply adapter.

The board comes bundled with a DVD that contains all the required Gigabyte's drivers and utilities, as well as third-party software: Norton and Kaspersky anti-viruses.

Content:

  • Стр.1 - Specifications
  • Стр.2 - Layout
  • Стр.3 - Expansion options
  • Стр.4 - BIOS, system monitoring
  • Стр.5 - Overclocking and stability
  • Стр.6 - Performance and conclusions




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