GIGABYTE's P35T DQ6 in design is identical to the P35 QD6 we have already reviewed, but with one major difference, we'll get to that in a second. The board's size is a full ATX 30x24cm on a 6-layer PCB. The cleanliness of the layout? Well GIGABYTE are reknowned for focusing on this side of things, especially with their high-end boards. The 24-pin power connector and the FDD connector are placed behind the memory slots. The IDE connector is located on the bottom right of the board on a 90 degree angle, beside this lies the six SATA ports controlled by the ICH9R, and two that are controlled by the JMicron chip. The 8-pin power port is located between the rear I/O ports on the top left of the board and heat pipe assembly. The major difference between the P35 DQ6 and the P35T DQ6 is that the former supports DDR2 memory and the latter supports DDR3 memory.
Like the original DQ6, the CPU area is a little cramped, this primarily due to the amount of voltage regulation and cooling that GIGABYTE has slapped on the board. There are a total of twelve phases to keep the most power hungry CPU happy, which of course is the Pentium Extreme 9xx series. Core 2 Quad consumes a bit but still no where near as much as the Pentium EE. Cooling is handled by what GIGABYTE calls Silent Pipe. This heat pipe is woven around the board to cool the mosfets, northbridge and southbridge. While we didn't picture it, the board has a heatsink on the back that covers the back of the CPU socket, northbridge and southbridge; this is another heat reducing method by GIGABYTE which we are happy to see done.
The rear I/O ports haven't changed from the P965 DQ6 or the P35 DQ6, all the ports are the same and in the same location so there's no need to go into much detail here.
Being a simple DDR3 upgrade version of the P35 DQ6, the slots haven't changed. Two PCI-Express x16 slots are included for Crossfire, one blue one which is run off the MCH's 16 lanes while the orange one runs off four lanes from the ICH9R. Three PCI-Express x1 slots are included and are routed through a switch to allow you to use all the slots at once while keeping Crossfire ability, though at an extremely reduced rate. Two PCI slots make up the last of the expansion options.
The ICH9 series of southbridges do not come with a Parallel ATA channel at all (unlike the ICH8 which does), so in order to get the IDE support on boards now, a third party chip is needed. GIGABYTE uses a JMicron two port SATA and one port PATA PCI-Express chipset. The two purple SATA ports on the board are run off this chip along with the single green IDE port. Intel does not include Firewire on its chipsets either so a Texas Instruments PCI based Firewire chip is included for this purpose.
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