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- The color scheme is a motley blend of blue, yellow, orange, and every other color in the rainbow. Admittedly, a minor beef.
is placed horizontally at the bottom of the board, making routing
IDE ribbon cable to the top half of a tall case quite a stretch.
- Due to its small size, the board has only seven mounting holes instead of the usual nine for an ATX board. In some PC cases, only six of these mounting holes can be utilized.
- A VRM cooling heatsink is noticeably absent.
- No Firewire/IEEE1394 interface. Not a big deal unless you specifically need it; generally it's not found on budget boards.
- Last but not least, the CMOS battery is located directly below the PCI-E 16x
slot along with the reset jumper. A video card with a large
heatsink makes this jumper virtually inaccessible. However you may never need to
use it because Gigabyte's "Virtual Dual BIOS" feature works very
well. Not once was it necessary to reset the CMOS during the course
of testing, because last stable settings are restored in the event of POST failure.
- The rest
the connectors are on the edges as they should be to reduce cable
- The 3 PCI slots are located at the bottom of the board, which is the standard, preferred configuration. PCI-E 1x cards are still very
uncommon and many users are hanging onto expensive PCI sound
cards, TV tuners, and RAID controllers, and ideally you want to keep
them as far away from the video card as possible.
- There are four fan headers, two 4-pin headers (one above
the DIMM slots and one next to the floppy port) and two 3-pin headers
(one to the left of the northbridge and another just below the floppy
the use of solid-state capacitors brings a big grin to our faces.
Countless number of motherboards have failed over the years due
to substandard electrolytic capacitors bulging, leaking fluid, and
sometimes exploding. (See badcaps.net) Gigabyte puts our minds to rest by using solid capacitors made
with an organic polymer, which reduces impedance, endures more heat while
maintaining high capacitance, and lasts up to 6 times longer. This
is an expensive move on Gigabyte's part and it makes the DS3's low
price even more remarkable.
The northbridge heatsink is not
particularly large, nor does it stand out in any other way aside from
the color and branding. The middle row of fins is very wide, like
a series of fat razor blades. Gigabyte would have done well to
chop this row up into multiple fins, and remove the nameplate
altogether for the sake of better cooling performance.
The design of the southbridge heatsink is much more practical with many narrow fins
for increased surface area and airflow.
around the CPU socket is good, and should
accomodate most third party heatsinks. However, some Scythe
Rev. B owners have reported that the metal rentention mechanism needs
be filed down to clear the capacitors around the CPU. Those
using the Sunbeam Tuniq Tower 120 have discovered they need to
insulate the underside
of the PCB where the metal backplate makes contact with the board, to
prevent a short. This may apply to other coolers as well.
We are also happy to report the Thermalright
Ultra-120 Extreme fits in
the proper east-west orientation, though the heatpipes come within
touching the northbridge heatsink.
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