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Intel P35 Motherboards - Five In The Pit

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 10, 2007 4:00 am

Gigabyte P35-DS4



Gigabyte has put a lot into their motherboards as of late, and their P35 series is definitely no exception. We have already looked at their top line P35-QD6 board which has every bell and whistle you could want. The P35-DS4 is a slightly cut down version of that board. The box is actually the same size as the DQ6 board. The front of the box contains the model number and some artwork similar to the DQ6.



The back of the box contains the same info on the P35-DS4 as what the P35-QD6 contained. Gigabyte has gone with the colour photo of the board so you get a good idea on what you're getting for your money.



Gigabyte has put a good documentation and software bundle with the DS4. Not unlike the Foxconn we looked at previously, there are two manuals; one of them being a quick install hardware manual so that you don't need the full user manual to get the board installed into your case. The Driver CD provided with the board has driver support for both Windows XP and the Vista OS's, both 32 and 64bit.



The accessories included are pretty extensive. There are four SATA data cables, a single IDE cable and a FDD cable. Included is also a USB expansion bracket. For the board to get e.SATA support, Gigabyte gives you 2x 2 port e.SATA port expansion brackets which plug on to some of the eight SATA ports the board has. If you want e.SATA you can run them, if you don't require them you aren't losing any internal ports.



It's down to the board itself now. Gigabyte's boards use a light blue PCB on a 6-layer design. Gigabyte's layout on the DS4 is identical in design to the DQ6, apart from a few things missing. The 24-pin power connector is located behind the DDR2 memory slots. The Green IDE slot is located on the middle of the right hand side of the board, rotated 90 degrees. The 4/8 pin combo port is located between the mosfet cooler and the parallel port.



The CPU area is a little tight, mostly because of the large heatsinks that are used to cool the southbridge, northbridge and mosfets around this area. While the DQ6 gives you twelve phases of voltage regulation; the DS4 is cut down to six phases. While it's not as impressive as the DQ6, it's definitely still good enough for the overclocking.



The rear I/O of the board is identical to that of the DQ6. Gigabyte has elected not to change any of the port placements.



Expansion slots are also unchanged from the DQ6. The DS4 comes with two PCI-Express x16 slots. The blue one is the full x16 speed slot. The orange one is a x4 slot. Unlike the other boards, Gigabyte has come up with a way to allow you to have the extra three PCI-Express x1 slots which other boards don't.


Gigabyte also puts a PCI-Express switch in, this means that if the extra PCI-Express x1 slots aren't in use, the extra bandwidth is routed to the x4 slot. If one card is installed in any of the x1 slots, the x4 slot reduced in speed to x2 speed, and if two PCI-Express x1 cards are used, the x4 slot runs at x1 speeds. Lastly there are two PCI legacy slots.



As we finish off with the extra features, JMicron's PATA/SATA controller chip makes its way onto the Gigabyte board in order to give the board its IDE port. The two purple SATA ports are also controlled by this chip and can be run in RAID, IDE or AHCI mode.


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