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Intel P965 Shootout Part 2 - Gigabyte, ABIT and Biostar

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket LGA 775 in Motherboards | Posted: Nov 27, 2006 5:00 am

Biostar T Force P965 Deluxe



This is the first board we have ever had from Biostar in our labs, and we hope it isn't the last. From our initial inspection the for a mid ATX sided board there is certainly a bit put on there, and some of the layout has suffered to get all of the goods on in such a small space. The 24-pin and 4-pin power connectors are located between the Chipset Northbridge and the rear I/O ports, one of our pet hates for these bulky cables, as you need to run them past the CPU, obstructing the air flow. The FDD port is also located on one of the worst spots, right at the bottom of the board below the PCI slots. If your FDD is up higher in your case, you will need to stretch the FDD cable to reach, causing cable clutter as you have to route the cable rather untidily.



Biostar uses a 3 phase voltage regulations system for the CPU the same as Gigabyte's DS3 series board, while enough for Core 2, don't expect to see Pentium 4's overclocking succeed very well on these type of boards. The CPU area is clear of large components so large heat sinks are no problem here on this board either.



The rear I/O ports are pretty plain. There are no digital ports to speak of and only a legacy serial port for old school connectivity. The rest is as plain as you can get.



Biostar has also not availed itself of the Crossfire ability of the P965 chipset. Only a single PCI Express x16 slot is available for graphics cards. Unlike the rest of the boards however, Biostar includes a single PCI Express x4 slot for use with large scale RAID controllers like the ones we have seen from Highpoint, allowing mass storage without throughput bottleneck that PCI can cause. Rounding off the expansion slots are a single PCI Express x1 and 3 PCI slots. A very well thought out combination.



Since Parallel ATA support no longer exists on ICH8 Southbridges and is not set to return in ICH9, you need an external chip to get ATAPI IDE drives onto these boards. Most companies go with JMicron chips as they have 2 SATA and 1 IDE port. Biostar has gone plain and simple here using a VIA VT6410 Parallel ATA controller chip that is connected to the IDE bus. Also like Gigabyte, Biostar only uses 4 of the available 6 SATA ports the ICH8 supports - where have the extra two ports gone? We don't see any e.SATA ports?

Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 Motherboard


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