Core 2 Duo, much lower power consumption with older chipsets

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smilingcrow
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Core 2 Duo, much lower power consumption with older chipsets

Post by smilingcrow » Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:08 am

I was disappointed that the over-clocking test that I performed with C2D using an Asus 975X based motherboard only allowed an idle power consumption of 88W at minimum. This was with Speedstep enabled and using CrsystalCPUID didn’t allow under-volting and neither did the BIOS.

I received an ASRock ConRoe945G-DVI today and preliminary tests show it idling at 58W when using the onboard graphics in combination with the same hardware as the previous test. The one other difference between the two tests is that the initial one used 3 Nexus 120mm fans at 600 rpm, whereas the current test is using 1 Nexus 120mm at 1100 rpm. That’s not a significant difference and I might try and quantify it later.

Comparing the two tests gives this data;

Chipset, VGA, GHz, VCore (at load), Watts (Idle, CPU Burn-In, Prime95),

975X / 6200TC / 2.13 GHz / 1.150V / 088 102 112 Watts
945G / GMA950/ 2.13 GHz / 1.196V / 058 074 085 Watts
945G / 6200TC / 2.13 GHz / 1.196V / 066 090 101 Watts

A 30W difference at idle when using the onboard graphics is excellent. But I’m really surprised by the 22W difference when using the same VGA card in both boards.
I’m not sure why the 6200TC consumes so much power in the ASRock when the system is under load but with no GPU load! That seems a strange anomaly!!! Anyone?

Both the idle wattages are at 1.15V as Speedstep was enabled; the Vcore shown is for the two tests at load. The Asus 975X test failed Prime95 so would have needed to have run at a slightly higher VCore, which means the wattage under load would have also been slightly higher.
With the ASRock board the Vcore was set to 1.196V using CrystalCPUID although Speedfan reported voltage as being 1.18V. I haven’t tried dropping the voltage lower than this yet at 2.13 GHz to see if it’s still stable, although I will later in the week.
The ASRock was dual Prime95 stable for 1 hour and the VCore looked very stable, more so than the Asus board which cost three times the price.

The other good thing about these inexpensive C2D boards is that when Intel releases the E4300 towards the end of 06 beginning of 07, because it will have a FSB of 200 compared to 266 for current C2Ds, they will over-clock really well even on older chipset boards which are typically only reaching ~300 FSB.
The E4300 has a multiplier of 9 for 9 * 200 = 1.8 GHz. So running it at 9 * 300 = 2.7 GHz. Not bad for a $130 chip on a $50 motherboard.

It’ll be interesting to see if the lower Speedstep multiplier is also set for 6 on the E4300 chips. That would give it a lower Speedstep idle speed of 6 * 200 = 1.2 GHz, quite a bit less than 1.6 GHz of current C2Ds. If the voltage is still restricted to a minimum of 1.15V, then it shouldn’t make any significant difference to the idle power consumption.
It’s preferable for the E4300 to use a minimum multiplier of 6 as when over-clocked to FSB = 300, it would have a Speedstep range of 1.8 to 2.7 GHz, which is easily achievable using the seemingly fixed C2D Speedstep voltage range of 1.15 to 1.325V.
In fact the ASRock wouldn’t go any higher than 1.29V according to Speedstep, as opposed to 1.325V with the Asus board.

According to Intel’s spec sheet for the E6400 that I was using, it has a voltage range of 0.85 – 1.3525V, as do all the E6x00 chips. This seems unusually low unless the Spec is for all C2D chips including the mobile ULV parts. It’s not really feasible for a C2D to idle at 1.6 GHz @ 0.85V, let’s be honest.

The ASRock board retails for under £50 in the UK and supports DVI and dual monitor configurations out of the box. It also sports 4x SATAII ports, 1x PATA, 4x DDR2-533/667 slots, 1x PCIe x16, 2x PCI, Gigabit NIC..
Last edited by smilingcrow on Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

grosskur
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Post by grosskur » Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:29 pm

Thank you! :) This is just the kind of information I've been looking for...

wsc
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Post by wsc » Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:51 pm

Wow.. thanks for the informative post.

Anyone have any luck tracking this board down in the states?
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Post by jaganath » Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:51 am

It’s not really feasible for a C2D to idle at 1.6 GHz @ 0.85V, let’s be honest.
Never say never, I used to run a mobile P4M @ 1.2GHz, 0.835V, and the C2D is a massive leap forward from the P4M in almost every regard. Also if my Sempron didn't have the Vcore lock I think it's highly likely I could get it down to 0.88V @ 1.4GHz.

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Post by smilingcrow » Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:23 am

jaganath wrote:Never say never, I used to run a mobile P4M @ 1.2GHz, 0.835V, and the C2D is a massive leap forward from the P4M in almost every regard.
My E6400 failed Prime95 running at 2.13 GHz 1.15V, that’s why I’m not sure that it’s going to be stable at 1.6 GHz much below 1.15V.
Someone posted a link here recently showing a C2D being under-volted very successfully in the BIOS; I think it was using a Gigabyte DS3 board. He was using an ES chip which some people are suggesting are particularly good chips, so who knows! My E6400 could be below average also.

The downside of under-volting in the BIOS is that you usually lose SpeedStep support. If you can undervolt below 1.15V and still be stable at the maximum clock speed of the CPU, then this will turn out to be an advantage regardless of Speedstep not being available.
With an E6300 the chances of under-volting successfully are more likely. Particularly as boards such as the DS3 allow you to lower the multiplier in the BIOS. If you limit an E6300 to 1.6GHz it will give you more leeway to undervolt also.

I’m currently testing another C2D board (ASRock 775Dual-VSTA) and it idles at 59W with a discrete GPU and the same setup as used in the test above. It also consumes less power under load with the 6200TC than the Conroe945G-DVI with the same GPU; 15W less in fact. This seems to confirm that the Asrock 945G board is not so power efficient when using a discrete GPU. The 775Dual-VSTA uses 1W more than the Conroe945G-DVI under all situations, with the advantage of using a discrete GPU versus an IGP. I’ve tested it with AGP versus PCIe and DDR2 versus DDR and will report on this later.

So things are looking good for C2D even using the limited voltage range that Speedstep and CrystalCPUID allow. I have a Gigabyte DS3 arriving tomorrow so I’ll see how that turns out with undervolting. Although, it may turn out that that what you gain in under-volting the CPU is outweighed by the extra power consumption of the P965 chipset!

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Post by cAPSLOCK » Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:55 pm

Thanks for the information, it is definately very useful.

If it's not indiscrete to ask, where are you getting all these motherboards from? You must run a computer shop.
My [url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=343371]custom wood case[/url].

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Post by Anvar » Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:56 pm

Oh, didn't you hear, you get a motherboard for every 100 posts.
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Post by specular » Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:02 pm

wsc, it seems that eWiz is the only one that has it in the US (correct me if I'm wrong), but I'm not familiar with that reseller. When will places like ZZF and Newegg have it?

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Post by smilingcrow » Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:03 pm

Anvar wrote:Oh, didn't you hear, you get a motherboard for every 100 posts.
LOL. That's exactly spot on, as I have 5 motherboards and 500 posts. :D Or 501 when you include this one.

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Post by Mats » Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:38 am

I'd just like to remind you that P965 seems to be running even hotter, it got a pretty high TDP. However, my link doesn't explain why your 975X uses more power than the 945...

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Post by Anvar » Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:10 am

smilingcrow wrote:
Anvar wrote:Oh, didn't you hear, you get a motherboard for every 100 posts.
LOL. That's exactly spot on, as I have 5 motherboards and 500 posts. :D Or 501 when you include this one.
Well, there you go. QED. :wink:
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Post by smilingcrow » Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:10 am

Mats wrote:I'd just like to remind you that P965 seems to be running even hotter, it got a pretty high TDP. However, my link doesn't explain why your 975X uses more power than the 945...
The 975X supports Crossfire which can’t help its power consumption.
Boards using this chipset are high end and tend to have a lot of extra controllers and stuff which also can’t help. This makes it hard to know exactly what is consuming the power.

The ASRock 775Dual-VSTA is looking very good for low power consumption. Using an FX5200 it idles at 53W and running dual Prime95 at the power hungry setting it consumes 77W at 2.13 GHz 1.152V. The test used the same setup as all the others that I’ve run. With a Pico power supply it may well idle under 50W.

At these levels, the need for expensive mobile on desktop and EE SFF chips seems somewhat redundant.

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Post by Mats » Fri Aug 18, 2006 5:56 am

smilingcrow wrote:
Mats wrote:I'd just like to remind you that P965 seems to be running even hotter, it got a pretty high TDP. However, my link doesn't explain why your 975X uses more power than the 945...
The 975X supports Crossfire which can’t help its power consumption.
Boards using this chipset are high end and tend to have a lot of extra controllers and stuff which also can’t help. This makes it hard to know exactly what is consuming the power.
Yeah, you're right. But the numbers I linked to are chipset TDP's, which must be motherboard independent. I'm still surprised that 945P draws more than 975X. I don't even know if 945P supports Crossfire.

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my results

Post by keyne » Fri Aug 18, 2006 6:01 am

i have an E6400 (retail) on a gigabyte DS3.
Undervolted to 1.00 V in the bios, no speedstep or OC, i'm running at stock 2.13GHz.
Temps:
CPU 27 deg C in idle, slightly over 30 under load... :D
System 45 deg
GPU 80-85 deg (!) this is an Asus 6200TC... :twisted:
(ambient is around 25deg)

i'm running a scythe ninja plus with no fan, a seasonic 380 and a 600rpm 120mm exhaust fan. no ducts.

for reliability i did a memtest86+, the system is in use for a week now without crashes (running Linux).
Last edited by keyne on Fri Aug 18, 2006 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by smilingcrow » Fri Aug 18, 2006 6:30 am

Mats wrote:Yeah, you're right. But the numbers I linked to are chipset TDP's, which must be motherboard independent. I'm still surprised that 945P draws more than 975X. I don't even know if 945P supports Crossfire.
I have a 945G board with a C2D in it and it’s pretty power efficient, it’s idling at 58W using the IGP. I’m not sure how different it is from the 945P! One letter can make all the difference of course. :)
keyne wrote:GPU 80-85 deg (!) this is an Asus 6200TC... :twisted:
(ambient is around 25deg).
I was also surprised by how hot the 6200TC boards idle at. I have a 7600GS which is built on a smaller process than the 6200TC, 90nm v 110nm, and it has a much bigger heatsink also, which helps to keep the idle temp in the 50s. I wanted a bit more oomph for the occasional game and dual DVI support. It’s a much more fully featured GPU yet surprisingly it only consumes an extra 1 - 2W at idle.

Thanks for the info on the DS3, I’m testing one tomorrow so it’s good to have an idea on how well it under-volts. Have you tried lower than 1V or is that the lower limit?

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Post by keyne » Fri Aug 18, 2006 7:09 am

I haven't tested lower than 1.00V as i consider this a very low voltage already.. 1.325 is stock.

dual DVI is nice, i wanted it too.. opted for the cheap card as no passive dual DVI card was readily available to me now. I'll upgrade later i guess.. my monitors (samsung 940T) show a good picture with analog input as well, so it isn't pressing.

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Post by Mats » Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:50 am

Does anybody know the difference between the DS3 and the S3? Only difference I can see is that they use different LAN chips, although both are 1 Gbit.

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Post by smilingcrow » Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:08 am

Mats wrote:Does anybody know the difference between the DS3 and the S3? Only difference I can see is that they use different LAN chips, although both are 1 Gbit.
It surely must be more of a difference than that! I can only suggest downloading the manuals for both and paying particular attention to the BIOS details. The S3 may be castrated in that department.
Mats wrote:
smilingcrow wrote:
Mats wrote:I'd just like to remind you that P965 seems to be running even hotter, it got a pretty high TDP. However, my link doesn't explain why your 975X uses more power than the 945...
The 975X supports Crossfire which can’t help its power consumption.
Boards using this chipset are high end and tend to have a lot of extra controllers and stuff which also can’t help. This makes it hard to know exactly what is consuming the power.
Yeah, you're right. But the numbers I linked to are chipset TDP's, which must be motherboard independent. I'm still surprised that 945P draws more than 975X. I don't even know if 945P supports Crossfire.
I have a Gigabyte DS3 testing at the moment and it consumes less power than the 975X board that I posted about previously; Asus P5W DH Deluxe. It’s 14W less at idle using stock voltages with the same setup. This thing has a vast voltage range in the BIOS: 0.52 – 2.0V. You do lose the ability to change voltage with software when setting a VCore manually in the BIOS, as normal. :(
Using RMClock allows a range of 1.168 – 1.328V, as reported by Speedfan & CPU-Z.
RMClock seems to be much better than CrystalCPUID when working with Speedstep. You can set the C1E flag manually with it amongst other things and the interface is easier to work with once you understand it!!!

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Post by pxa270 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:45 pm

Thanks for the reports. I'm very interested in this board. BTW, how high can this board OC? In the review on http://www.ocworkbench.com/ they first mentioned a that the BIOS can go up to 345mhz fsb, then that they couldn't POST higher than 299mhz, and later in the forums that it would do 320mhz (without mentioning how or what was changed). Pretty confusing.

I know the focus here is on silent and low power, but the C2Ds are such sweet OCers, it's always nice to have the option.

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Post by smilingcrow » Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:13 pm

pxa270 wrote:Thanks for the reports. I'm very interested in this board. BTW, how high can this board OC? In the review on http://www.ocworkbench.com/ they first mentioned a that the BIOS can go up to 345mhz fsb, then that they couldn't POST higher than 299mhz, and later in the forums that it would do 320mhz (without mentioning how or what was changed). Pretty confusing.
I’m going to over-clock it over the weekend and will report back.
I’ve seen people reporting hitting 450 – 500 FSB with this board. You have to have the later BIOS versions and you also need to know what you’re doing. You need to have very fast RAM to over-clock it as it can’t run the memory slower than the FSB speed. So you need PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) just to hit 400 FSB. DDR2-667 gives you 333 (1333).
You also have to add voltage to the Northbridge and probably sacrifice a chicken or two. :o Luck comes into it as well of course.
pxa270 wrote:I know the focus here is on silent and low power, but the C2Ds are such sweet OCers, it's always nice to have the option.
There are plenty of people here who like high power systems also. In case you missed it, I wrote here about over-clocking a C2D with an Asus P5W DH Deluxe. To summarize, it was running cool and very quietly at 2.9 GHz at stock voltages.

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Post by pxa270 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:40 pm

Ok, thanks. Can't wait for the results. BTW where did you find reports on OCing on this board? I look all around the net but only found OCworkbench. And the Asrock page does not show any newer BIOSes.


I'm still on the fence between building a new Intel or AMD budget system, and these two are my primary choices:

http://www.ocworkbench.com/2006/asrock/ ... DVI/g1.htm

http://www.ocworkbench.com/2006/asrock/ ... DVI/g1.htm

I'll probably go with the Intel if the Conroe945G OCs well. Most E6400s seem to handle 2.7+ Ghz with ease.

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Post by smilingcrow » Fri Aug 18, 2006 4:26 pm

pxa270 wrote:Ok, thanks. Can't wait for the results. BTW where did you find reports on OCing on this board? I look all around the net but only found OCworkbench. And the Asrock page does not show any newer BIOSes.
Sorry, we’re talking at cross purposes here, this thread had drifted into talking about the Gigabyte DS3, which is what I thought you were talking about.

I have no plans on over-clocking any of the lower end C2D boards that I’m testing and have mentioned here. From what I’ve read they don’t over-clock very well, ~300 FSB being typical.
It seems as if you’re hoping for an inexpensive, low power motherboard that over-clocks well, you are going to have to wait for ATI and the usual suspects to play their hands.

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Post by pxa270 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 4:37 pm

Ok. Maybe AMD then. In the budget segment they're still pretty competitive (especially if the budget mATX C2D boards don't really OC).

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Post by grosskur » Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:53 pm

pxa270, I'm also deciding between Intel and AMD for a budget micro-ATX system. Thanks for pointing out the ALiveNF4G-DVI board. I was previously looking at the Biostar TForce 6100 AM2 (review).
Seems to overclock decently, but it doesn't have GbE or DVI.

Leaning toward Conroe now, though. Really interested to see some power consumption numbers for the new Radeon Xpress 1250 (formerly RS600) boards. Also, IGP performance should be considerably better than on the 945G :)

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Post by Mats » Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:38 am

If anyone is looking for Gigabyte P965 OC results you should look here.
It seems like the mobo raises Vcore automatically above stock if it's set to Default, if needed when OC:ing.

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Post by pxa270 » Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:44 am

The Asrock doesn't have GbE either. In fact, the Biostar and the Asrock seem nearly identical, apart from DVI/LPT1 vs COM1. The Asrock is much better available here in the Netherlands than the Biostar though.

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Post by smilingcrow » Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:55 pm

Mats wrote:If anyone is looking for Gigabyte P965 OC results you should look here.
It seems like the mobo raises Vcore automatically above stock if it's set to Default, if needed when OC:ing.
I’ve found the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 (P965 chipset) to be disappointing. At stock CPU settings it is more frugal than the Asus P5W DH Deluxe (975X chipset) that I tested, but it’s worse than all the other boards that I looked at. The difference is 14W at idle using RMClock.
When you start over-clocking the board though, its power consumption rises quickly to match and even in some cases beat that of the Asus. I put this down to the need for the memory to run faster in the Gigabyte versus Asus and the fact that the chipset seemed to demand to be over-volted more than the Asus required.

There are big differences between the current and previous BIOSs.
The current BIOS (F4) doesn’t allow you to over-clock the FSB and still manually set the VCore using RMClock or CrystalCPUID. As soon as you increase the FSB by a small amount, it automatically pumps up the Vcore to a fixed value of 1.44V, which has a horrible consequence on the power consumption.
The previous Bios version (F3) does allow RMClock (etc) to control the Vcore dynamically when over-clocking. I found that it was unstable when over-clocking compared to the Asus board; this was using exactly the same components. When I found its power consumption rising to meet that of the P5W DH Deluxe and with a lower O/C potential I quickly became disinterested in it.

It does offer the ability to under-volt in the BIOS to very low levels. This does help the idle power consumption, but my experience was when I tried undervolting, it just wasn’t stable. Someone else reported a more positive experience on this forum with the same CPU on this board.
It also seemed very temperamental about which RAM it liked and has no way to manually set RAM settings in the BIOS with both versions that I used! You are stuck with the SPD settings.

IMO, RMClock is a much better utility than CrystalCPUID for managing Speedstep settings. It offers more features, such as the ability to turn C1E off and on and generally has a greater range of settings than CrystalCPUID. Speaking as someone that has used CrystalCPUID with AMD systems for many a year, I did initially find RMClock a bit unfriendly. Now that I understand it and Speedstep more, I would it exclusively with Intel systems.

Note: All VCore values reported are those seen by Speedstep and CPU-Z, which agreed on the VCore in all cases. CPU-Z is useful as it responds to a change in VCore instantly, whereas Speedstep is slower to poll the VCore value but allows you to graph the VCore values, which helps to see how much fluctuation there is in VCore. VCore stability is important, especially if you want to over-clock and probably in extreme under-volting also.

I will write up all this data and host it on a website, as I’ve spread it over multiple threads and posts to try and bring it to peoples’ attention ASAP, knowing in advance that it begs to be collated together to make comparisons easier. I’m not sure where to host it though; does anybody have an idea?

Note 2(Added)
You can adjust the RAM settings in the BIOS, you need to have joined the Masons though and be initiated into the fact that you need to hit [Control+F1] in the BIOS to able to do so. Freakin’ weird, as you can over-clock the shit out of everything else as standard!!!
Last edited by smilingcrow on Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by smilingcrow » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:05 pm

pxa270 wrote:Ok. Maybe AMD then. In the budget segment they're still pretty competitive (especially if the budget mATX C2D boards don't really OC).
The over-clocking potential with the boards that I tested using the older chipsets is severely constrained by them not being able to provide more than 1.29V. With the same E6400, the 975X & P965 boards allowed up to 1.325V, which seems to be the stock for these chips. I’m talking here about the VCore that is used by default or by using RMClock. The later two boards also allowed upping the VCore in the BIOS of course.

It may also be that these chipsets simply can’t handle a FSB much above 300 with stock voltages. More may be possible with upping the Northbridge voltage, but value boards don’t typically offer that possibility.

Looking around at how high people have over-clocked P4s with these chipsets will give an indication of where the limitation lies. A deluxe over-clocking friendly 945 chipset board may be the best budget solution for now! Most don’t support C2D unfortunately though :(

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Ewiz

Post by truckman » Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:54 pm

specular wrote:wsc, it seems that eWiz is the only one that has it in the US (correct me if I'm wrong), but I'm not familiar with that reseller. When will places like ZZF and Newegg have it?
I buy from Ewiz occasionally. They seem to get stuff out the door faster than Newegg, and Ewiz's warehouse is a day closer to me for ground shipments. They are generally competitive pricewise. Their main shortcoming is a limited selection, though they carry some items that are hard to find elsewhere. For instance, I purchased some Via C3 CPUs and socket 370 motherboards from them a while back to build a couple of very low powered systems, including my Hauppauge PVR-350 -based PVR.

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Post by HueyCobra » Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:52 pm

Mats wrote:Does anybody know the difference between the DS3 and the S3? Only difference I can see is that they use different LAN chips, although both are 1 Gbit.
From HardwareZone's Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 review:
Zachary Chan wrote:Following their new S-series motherboard lineup, Gigabyte actually has two versions of the board, which you can identify by its naming suffix. There is the regular 'S3' and the Durability Enhanced 'DS3' model that is in all essence exactly the same board except that it sports the new All-Solid Capacitor design.

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