Gigabyte has used the exact same PCB as the original DQ6 motherboard. The layout is a full ATX design measuring 30x24cm in length and width. Gigabyte uses a 6 layer PCB to give it a very clean trace and electrical layout to facilitate better overclocking.
Connectors remain also unchanged with a great layout design implemented. The 24-pin power connector along with the FDD connector resides behind the DDR-2 memory slots which are colour coded yellow for Channel 1 and red for Channel 2. The 4/8 pin multi CPU power connector sits between the heat pipe blocks and the PS/2 ports at the top left of the board - a very sensible place. The single IDE port is located at the bottom right of the board; this is because it does not run off the Southbridge but off a companion chip due to the ICH8 series lacking any parallel ATA channels.
This is where the original DQ6 and the revision 3.3 differ. While both boards have twin 6 phase voltage regulators for the CPU (total of 12 phases), the original DQ6 used electrolyte capacitors - the DQ6 Rev 3.3 uses all solid capacitors.
Solid capacitors have unique advantages over the electrolyte capacitors. Firstly they have a longer lifespan and they don't leak or blow out as the electrolytes have been known to do. Second the solid capacitors run a lot cooler than the electrolyte versions. Cooler running mean you can use less of them on a board and gain the same results as having more electrolyte ones, saving PCB space. Third the solid units are smaller than the electrolyte ones meaning they can be placed closer to the CPU socket without obstructing the surrounding area. The only downside to these are the price, they cost more to make and purchase, resulting in higher prices, however, if the result is good enough the costs are justified.
One of the next major changes in the Rev 3.3 DQ6 is support for native 1333MHz Quad Pumped FSB processors. The next lot of Intel Core 2 processors will come out with 333MHz FSB to help unleash the power of the already impressive platform. Even on the original DQ6 motherboard, 333MHz FSB was easily attainable but it's nice to know that the Rev 3.3 boards will do it natively for those upcoming processors.
Voltage systems are cooled with heat pipes and heat blocks. Another nifty feature that was included on the first board, but we never talked much about it, is the rear cooling system that Gigabyte has placed on the board. The back of the PCB holds a heatsink that covers the back of the CPU area, and the Northbridge with a separate plate for the Southbridge - in all it's a fantastic cooling setup by Gigabyte and should aid quite nicely when overclocking.
As for the rear I/O ports, no changes again have been made to them. You still get the PS/2 ports, a single serial and parallel, a couple SPDIF ports consisting of a Toslink and a RCA port, USB, Firewire LAN and audio.
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