Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R

June 1, 2007 | 05:40

Tags: #2 #analysis #benchmarking #budget #cheap #core #ethernet #gigabit #p35 #results #review #spdif #testing

Companies: #gigabyte #intel

Overclocking

With the F3 BIOS, we managed to get the board to boot at 475MHz FSB, with a memory ratio of 2.0 in the BIOS (1:1 effective). It was finally Prime95 torture test stable at 465MHz FSB, which for a £90 motherboard with no additional power regulation cooling is seriously great work. The northbridge heatsink needs a little extra cooling to get it up to the high FSBs, but it should get that anyway from normal case airflow.

Stability

The board is fantastically stable, surviving the full 24 hours of bit-tech's stress test that includes two lots of Prime 95, IOMeter and FarCry looping. Even when setting the BIOS straight to 3-3-3-9 (after Ctrl+F1, remember), we had no problems from the outset. Given an early revision BIOS, Gigabyte has excelled itself in making it work so well. We only wished this was repeated in every board we look at, especially in the inexpensive varieties boards where less effort is often applied.

Warranty

Gigabyte offers a three year warranty for the GA-P35-DS3R, which falls in line with the rest of its motherboard and VGA line-up. We feel this is a solid warranty period, because after about three years the board will have lost most its value anyway. The solid aluminium capacitors and Ferrite Cored Chokes will provide a longer life, so you're set up from the beginning really. It's obviously not as good as EVGA's 10 year warranty, but I've yet to meet a person who's seriously using a motherboard from 1997, let alone intending on RMAing it.

Power Consumption


Power Consumption

Power at wall socket. All onboard hardware enabled. Windows desktop Idle, Orthos Load.

  • Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R (P35/ICH9R, X6800) - Idle
  • Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R (P35/ICH9R, X6800) - Load
  • Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi AP (P35/ICH9R, X6800) - Idle
  • Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi AP (P35/ICH9R, X6800) - Load
  • Asus P5K3 Deluxe WiFi AP (P35/ICH9R, X6800) - Idle
  • Asus P5K3 Deluxe WiFi AP (P35/ICH9R, X6800) - Load
  • Asus Commando (P965/ICH8R, X6800) - Idle
  • Asus Commando (P965/ICH8R, X6800) - Load
  • 108
  • 179
  • 144
  • 193
  • 140
  • 191
  • 121
  • 184
0
50
100
150
200
Watts (lower is better)

The power consumption is lower than other boards at idle, mostly due to fewer integrated components which saves a few Watts. During our loaded scenario, the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R uses less power than all of the other boards tested here. At first, the board was only mid 170s during load but it took a little longer to warm up than other boards, eventually levelling out at 179W after fifteen minutes of load.

Conclusions

The obvious few down points of the board are the lack of Firewire and extra USB 2.0 PCI bracket. It's a shame Gigabyte didn't chose to include at least a couple of extra USB 2.0 ports on the rear I/O rather than the questionably useful parallel and RS232 serial ports.

But we're still getting a cheap and solid motherboard that performs extremely well, keeping up with the more expensive P35 boards from Asus. It provides enough expansion that allows you to tailor it for what you want exactly, and a lot of people already have network cards, WiFi dongles and Firewire adapters stuffed away in boxes anyway.

If you do require a lot of add-ons and don't already own them, check exactly how much everything it will cost, because it may be worth investing in a more expensive board that has everything integrated.

Gigabyte includes a range of "3" series boards with very subtle differences, so make sure you check what you're buying. If you want CrossFire, then Gigabyte has the GA-P35-DS3P which also includes Firewire, but you drop a useful PCI slot. If you want an upgrade path, than the GA-P35C-DS3R offers very similar features to the GA-P35-DS3R we reviewed here, but includes two extra memory slots for DDR3-1333MHz. The GA-P35-DS3 (no R) uses the vanilla ICH9 southbridge without Intel Matrix RAID technology and finally the GA-P35-S3 is the cheapest of the bunch with no Ultra Durable II, no solid aluminium capacitors and only six SATA 3Gbps ports.

The price difference between these boards should be very small meaning you can tailor your needs for a little extra money. However it's a double edged sword, making it wholly dependent on your local distributor as to what you can buy in your region. With such small differences there are few companies that would want to stock all the products, because it leaves people easily confused unless you're adept at looking at the fine detail.

Final Thoughts

It's inexpensive, as fast as other P35 boards and overclocks like a beast. You could certainly do better on the included feature and accessories front, but that's not like it doesn't give you plenty of expandability on-board. If I was looking for an inexpensive, solid performing, future proof backbone to a new system; the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R would certainly be high on my list.

  • Performance
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
  • Features
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 7/10
  • Value
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • 9/10
  • Overall
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
What do these scores mean?

Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R Final Thoughts

Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R


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