Time to look at the board itself. On the surface the board looks just like any other board that GIGABYTE puts out. A full sized 30x24cm 6 layer PCB in the ocean blue colour returns to us; GIGABYTE love their blues.
The 24-pin power connector along with the single black FDD port are placed on the upper right hand edge of the board behind the four DDR2 memory slots that the board is equipped with. The 4/8 aux power port is located in its usual spot on the upper left hand side of the board, right behind the PS/2 ports. The single green IDE port is located on the bottom right hand edge of the board, just in front of the six SATA ports that the ICH10R controls.
The CPU area is extremely clean and open. Thanks to the solid state components used for the voltage regulation system, a lot of space is freed up. We had no problems installing our OCZ Vanquisher heatsink to the board and removing it; this is also because the DS3R doesn't have any heatsinks on its Mosfets. The DS3 series of boards uses a standard four phase voltage regulation system to provide the CPU with all its power needs. Being a basic board, it's not aimed at extreme overclocking.
The rear I/O ports are almost an identical replica of the X48T-DQ6, however it's missing one of the two network connectors. For this reason, GIGABYTE provide the same I/O shield but with one of the network ports blocked off.
Lastly on the list are the expansion slots and the extra little features added to make it what it is. The board has two PCI Express x16 slots; one blue and one orange. The blue slot is connected to all 16 lanes from the Northbridge and supports PCIe 2.0 specs. The orange slot is electrically only able to provide four lanes and runs off the ICH10Rs PCIe channels. This is the same as how the older P35 was given its Crossfire support, so the DS3R has Crossfire support but it's the older 16/4 configuration. Since four of six lanes are taken up by the orange slot, there is only a single x1 PCIe slot. However, if you want to use the x1 slot you can't have a GPU in the orange slot. Four PCI legacy slots are also included for legacy connection.
Taking up the last two PCIe lanes are a PCIe x1 Realtek Gigabit Ethernet controller and a Marvell PCIe to IDE controller. To give the board FireWire support, a Texas Instruments PCI to FireWire-400 controller is included with three-port support. Two of them are on the rear I//O in the form of a 4-pin and 6-pin connector and one in the form of a 9-pin header for either a PCI Expansion cover or a front panel FireWire port connector.
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