Features of the 8VT880 Ultra Continued
- Chipsets powering the show Continued
Firewire, once only the dream of PC enthusiasts is now a full blown epidemic. Virtually every hardcore branded motherboard has either a VIA VT6306 or Texas Instruments Firewire controller chip onboard. The 8VT880 uses the popular VIA VT6306 chip providing a total of three Firewire ports which is more than enough for the 1394 standard.
With Intel's new CSA being dubbed the Ethernet of choice, Gigabit Ethernet has now become more popular, and set to take the place of the aging 10/100 standard introduced back in the early 1990's. Intel is thus the only company to provide a dedicated Gigabit Ethernet protocol, and with PCI Express somewhat of a future expectation PCI solutions are the only options.
Editor Note - nVidia has only just introduced native Gigabit networking into its nForce3 250 Pro chip for the AMD Athlon 64 processor.
Gigabyte has in the past used Realtek for its PCI Ethernet systems; this is no different with the 8VT880. The Realtek RTL8110S-32 PCI Gigabit Ethernet controller is included to give a base line Gigabit Ethernet system. However, you don't want to use this on 1000mbps along with the RAID controller, you will experience slow downs in the Ethernet and RAID traffic as you flood the PCI bus.
- Intel Prescott ready
Prescott is the latest processor core from Intel, and as you should all know by now, Prescott sucks more juice than its Northwood brother, in fact, without proper cooling on some 3-phase power motherboards you could be looking at the regulators taking a very hefty nose-dive. The 8VT880 uses a rather unique heatsink on the Mofettes to give the motherboard Prescott Ready approval.
When it comes to overclocking, the Gigabyte experience has been a hit and miss affair as well. Either you get the best motherboard for your money or you regret parting with your hard earned money. This motherboard is actually the first of the happy mediums, for the following reasons.
Using the Award 6 BIOS, the overclocking settings are located under the Frequency/Voltage Control menu. Here you can adjust FSB, DRAM ratio, DRAM voltage, AGP voltage and CPU voltage.
- FSB selections are from 100MHz up to 300MHz in 1MHz increments - good for Intel Prescott overclocking.
- DRAM ratios are DDR-266, 333 and 400. This sets the dividers for your DRAM no matter what FSB you run. Keep your FSB and DRAM always synced for best results.
- DRAM voltage goes from 2.5v up to 2.8v in 0.1V increments. 2.9 or 3.0 would have allowed for better results with RAM like OCZ but 2.8 will have to do.
- CPU voltage, for Prescott 1.7v is beyond what you will need, for Northwood, 1.85v is much more preferable. It would be nice to see Gigabyte add this in the future.
- As for AGP voltages with CPU/AGP/PCI ratio locks in place you won't really need this but selections are from 1.5v up to 1.7v in 0.1v increments.
In all we have a great motherboard for Intel Prescott, for Northwood core Pentium 4 processors there are much better products around to choose.
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