The Motherboard Continued
Gigabyte has also kept the same expansion slot layout which is quite good as the last layout was extremely well designed. First off this is one of the few P965 motherboards that have been produced to support AMD Crossfire dual graphics. Only MSI, ASUS and ABIT have boards that are Crossfire ready. There are two PCI Express x16 slots, one is a light blue and the other is a yellow slot. The blue slot is tied directly into the PCI Express lanes on the Northbridge and it operates at full-speed x16 speeds no matter what.
The second slot is more complicated. It operates off the ICH8R's Southbridge PCI Express ports and has a maximum speed of x4 - however, there is a catch. In order to support the additional 3 PCI Express x1 slots, Gigabyte incorporated a PCI Express switch.
This switch routes the 3 PCI Express lanes that go to the extra x1 slots to the yellow slot when they have no cards inserted. If a PCI Express expansion card is inserted into one of the slots, the yellow slot will reduce its speed from x4 down to x2 speed. If all 3 are used the yellow slot will run essentially at x1 speed as the extra lanes are routed from the switch to the extra PCI-E slots.
Lastly we come to the little extras that Gigabyte have graciously added to the board to make it just that extra bit sweet, which we are happy to say remain unchanged as well from the original DQ6.
First on the list we have the Gigabyte SATA 2 chip that you can see on the board. This chip isn't made by Gigabyte but rather JMicron. It is the same JMicron chip that has appeared on most of the motherboards bearing the ICH8 chip, Gigabyte has just lasered off the name and put their own on. This chip controls the purple SATA ports as well as the green IDE port. Last of all is the Texas Instruments PCI based Firewire controller chip that give the board its Firewire ports.
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