Intel DG33TL G33 Express chipset mATX motherboard

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December 5, 2007 by Lawrence Lee


Intel DG33TL
LGA775 motherboard

Manufacturer Intel
Street Price US$120

Intel branded boards are commonly known for their reliability, and unfortunately, for their inferior integrated video subsystems. Throughout the years, many enthusiasts have snickered at Intel's so-called "Extreme Graphics." Their graphics chips have traditionally been weak, supporting fewer features and performing significantly worse than their competitor's offerings. They were meant for corporate applications where integrated graphics tend to dominate. Yet, Intel is the biggest maker of intergated graphics cards in the world.

Today, the PC is more than just a computer — it's a complete entertainment system used to exhibit music, pictures, and more and more frequently, television and movies. With high definition content becoming popular, even the most basic of systems are expected to support HD playback right out of the box and thus integrated graphics have had to improve dramatically in this regard.

As more users connect their systems directly to big screen HDTVs, connectivity also becomes an issue. For some time, both AMD and nVidia's board partners have been producing many full-fledged motherboards supporting both HDMI and DVI. Just DVI alone was rare on Intel boards. The board under review here is one of the exceptions: The Intel DG33TL based on Intel's G33 Express chipset.

Intel DG33TL: Specifications (from the product web page)
Form Factor Micro ATX (9.60 inches by 9.60 inches [243.84 millimeters by 243.84 millimeters])
Processor * Support for an Intel® Core™2 Quad processor in an LGA775 socket with a 1066 MHz system bus
* Support for an Intel® Core™2 Duo processor in an LGA775 socket with a 1333/1066/800 MHz system bus
* Support for an Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core processor in an LGA775 socket with an 800 MHz system bus
* Support for an Intel® Celeron® processor in an LGA775 socket with an 800 MHz system bus
Memory * Four 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets
* Support for DDR2 800, or DDR2 667 MHz DIMMs
* Support for up to 8 GB of system memory
Chipset * Intel® G33 Express Chipset

Intel® High Definition Audio subsystem in the following configuration:

* 8-channel (7.1) audio subsystem with five analog audio outputs and one optical S/PDIF digital audio output using the Sigmatel STAC9271D* audio codec

Video Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 onboard graphics subsystem with Intel® Clear Video Technology
LAN Support Gigabit (10/100/1000 Mbits/sec) LAN subsystem using the Intel® 82566DC Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Peripheral Interfaces * Twelve USB 2.0 ports (6 external ports, 3 internal headers)
* Six Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s ports, including 1 eSATA port with RAID support
* Two IEEE-1394a ports (1 external port, 1 internal header)
* Consumer IR receiver and emitter (via internal headers)
* One Parallel ATA IDE interface with UDMA 33, ATA-66/100/133 support (2 devices supported)
* One serial port via header
Expansion Capabilities * One PCI Conventional* bus add-in card connector
* Two PCI Express* x1 bus add-in card connectors
* One PCI Express* x16 bus add-in card connector
Microsoft Vista* Premium Ready With a PC built with Intel® Core™2 Duo or Intel® Core™2 Quad processors, and the Intel® Desktop Board, you can experience a more responsive and manageable environment of Microsoft Windows Vista* including a new visual sophistication of the Windows Aero* interface.

The DG33TL has all the basic features you would normally see on a mATX motherboard, though there are also a few surprises such as FireWire, 12 USB ports, support for 6 SATA drives and multiple RAID schemes with said drives. One of the internal SATA ports is actually designated for eSATA — not something you see every day. eSATA offers a fast interface for transferring data externally and it's a welcome addition, especially on a mainstream board. Intel's GMA 3100 powers the onboard graphics.

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