Gigabyte 8GPNXP Duo
- Package and contents
The 8GPNXP Duo is Gigabyte's more budget and upgrading friendly motherboard. This is the second motherboard in the 8 Sigma range and is in a silver black and blue box as apposed to the gold box of the 8ANXP-D. While the outsides have changed, very little changes inside. The package is identical with only two major differences. An additional user manual is included for the onboard PATA RAID controller and two extra IDE cables are included for the PATA drives. Apart from this the rest remains identical.
- The Motherboard
While being an 8 Sigma motherboard, it isn't directly based on the same PCB as the 8ANXP-D, as there are some subtle layout changes, however, the same layout gripe with the 4 pin power connector remains. The IDE and FDD connectors are located in the same place as is the 24 pin ATX power connector.
The Expansion slots are the same with one PCI Express x16, three PCI Express x1 and two PCI standard ports to allow maximum compatibility with currant and future add-in cards.
One of the biggest features is its dual memory support. There are a total of 6 DIMM sockets; the two yellow slots are DDR-2 240 pin for support of up to 2GB of DDR-2 memory at a maximum speed of 533MHz. The other four are standard DDR 184pin slots for up to 4GB of DDR SDRAM at 400MHz. This allows you to use your current DDR memory and upgrade to DDR-2 at a later date.
At the center of the action are the I915P MCH and the ICH6R ICH chipsets. This is where the ability for both memory standards comes in. Intel has made all of its I915 chipsets with support for DDR and DDR-2, allowing an easy transition into DDR-2. This is similar to the days of having SDR and DDR sockets on the one motherboard, while you can't use both at the same time, it does allow a much easier upgrade path.
The 8GPNXP Duo uses the same cooling on the North and Southbridge as the 8ANXP-D along with the same support for the additional cooling fan for the Northbridge heatsink if you so desire.
The 8GPNXP Duo doesn't have a second Serial ATA controller chip for additional drive support. Instead, the ITE GigaRAID IDE controller chip is added to give two additional Parallel ATA channels supporting two drives per channel as usual.
The same IEEE1394b Firewire combo chip is used on the Duo as the 8ANXP-D. This gives 800mbps Firewire support to the little brother sigma motherboard. You can expect to see Firewire B external HDD enclosures to start surfacing soon with Firewire B now an official standard.
The exact same network pair comes to the 8GPNXP Duo, a Broadcom NetXtreme PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet MAC and a Marvel PCI Gigabit Ethernet.
Being a cheaper motherboard, I expected to see the U-DPS taken off. However, it remains and provides a total of 8 phases to the CPU when the card is installed. It is the exact same card as the 8ANXP-D so it has the same heatsink cooling unit and the same four LED usage indicators.
Wireless LAN card is also included with this model. In my opinion the ICH6RW would have been a simpler and cheaper option to adding in an additional PCI card for the Wireless system.
When it comes to overclocking, the 9GPNXP Duo pulls up identically in features and problems as the 8ANXP-D does. So going through them again would simply be repeating myself.
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